WLC builds future leaders
February 24, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Army placed new curriculum into effect for the Noncommissioned Officer Academy class previously known as the Primary Leadership Development Course, Oct. 2005. Although some studies have changed, the key focus of the course, now called the Warrior Leader Course, still remains: "prepare Soldiers to become leaders."
The mission of the Warrior Leader Course is to prepare Soldiers - senior private first class through junior sergeants with approximately three years of service - for positions of higher responsibility as section leaders. The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command redesigned the program of instruction so that Soldiers are able to visualize, describe and execute squad-level operations in varied operational environments. According to the NCO Academy commandant, these changes add rigor and relevance to the course, while improving confidence and leadership skills in the junior leaders of today's Army.
"The new 17-day POI is packed with 136 hours of leadership enhancement tools to better facilitate today's warrior leaders on the battlefield and in garrison," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Taylor, 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart NCO Academy commandant.
The WLC is now using a facilitator system wherein small group leaders, or instructors, aid junior leaders in achieving excellence in areas of professional ethics, self discipline, leading, training, maintaining standards, communications, interpersonal skills, planning and tactical warriors skills, said Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor.
"WLC teaches Soldiers how to become leaders and brush up on their basic level 2 skills that all Soldiers need to possess," said Staff Sgt. Stephanie Sanders, a WLC small group leader.
"The biggest hurdle for students at WLC is what we teach the Soldiers to overcome - being able to convert from follower to leader," she said.
With the new POI, drill and ceremonies has returned to the junior leaders' professional development.
According to Soldiers at the NCO Academy, the addition of drill and ceremony was needed.
"Bringing back (drill and ceremony) brings about esprit de corps and a higher level of camaraderie," said Staff Sgt. Sanders.
For many, the new changes have been well received.
"I love (drill and ceremony)," said Sgt. Christina Ratisher, a cryptologic linguist, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, and a student at WLC. "I haven't done it since basic training, and I just like doing it."
According to Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor, the combat focus of the course culminates in a 36-hour Situational Training Exercise. The tactical warrior skills emphasize the knowledge small-unit leaders need to excel in a contemporary operational environment.The course constantly adapts to world threats by incorporating the experience and the demands of today's battlefield.
"Every student receives detailed, squad-level combat leader training," he said. "This approach reinforces all small unit tactics, techniques and procedures. It produces competent, innovative, adaptive and agile combat leaders required by the current operational environment."
In order to graduate from WLC, Soldiers are expected to demonstrate their understanding and ability to apply what they were trained.
"Soldiers enter the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart Noncommissioned Officers Academy to learn," said Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor, "and they must lead in order to leave."