FORT HOOD, Texas - Sgt. First Class Elaine Warthen (kneeling), from Wrightsville, Ga. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, works with Sgt. Raul Lopez, HHC, 589th BSB, on site alignment and triggers squeeze during the Iron Caisson's Team University training on Fort Hood, Texas, March 21-25. The 589th NCOs trained on basic rifle marksmanship prior to testing out their skills at the electronic simulator the following day.

FORT HOOD, Texas - School bells ring and chime throughout Killeen, signaling the start and end of a new day of learning for school-aged children.

However, for some of the Soldiers on Fort Hood, the start and end of a day of learning is signaled by the bugle calls of Assembly, Reveille, Mess Call and Retreat.

The leadership within the 589th Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Fires Brigade implemented a plan to strengthen the knowledge throughout the ranks of the noncommissioned officers in the battalion.

The Iron Caisson's NCOs attended a week-long professional development and training course, March 21-25, ranging from basic skills like conducting physical fitness and basic rifle marksmanship to the career advancing knowledge of writing awards and developing a proper NCO evaluation report.

The program was designed by Command Sergeant Major Sheila Nelson who not only wanted her NCOs to know the standards but achieve the standards.

"The junior NCOs learn from the seniors, but at the same time, the training turns into a give and take session," said Sgt. First Class Mark Jackson, a Fort Worth, Texas native, 589th BSB. "A lot of the newer NCOs have new ways of leading. They also have current information because they don't experience that much lag-time between getting to the unit and coming out of the schoolhouse."

From the first formation to the last formation of the day, school is in session for the 589th BSB Soldiers.

"All week we've been conducting what we like to call 'Team Leaders University,'" said Sgt. Raul Lopez, from Dallas, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 589th BSB. "We spend this time together learning from our senior leaders and peers; coaching, developing and mentoring all the NCOs in the battalion."

The senior leaders set out to better the Iron Caisson's NCOs; believing a more educated and prepared NCO in tactical and technical skills would create better leaders of Soldiers.

"What's special about our program is, that we get all the various MOS's in the unit together to work toward an understanding of everyone's job," said Lopez.

Besides developing NCOs in a particular specialties and additional duties, the course also helped to better prepare NCOs for promotions and career progression.

"The topic I found most useful was preparing for promotion and NCOERs," said Sgt. James White, Company A, 589th BSB. "It's good to cover some of the small topics that will get you promoted. It's too easy to overlook important details that may keep you from getting promoted."

As Iron Caisson's closed out the week of learning, refining skills and techniques, they will head back to their Soldiers to begin the process of developing new leaders.

Page last updated Thu March 31st, 2011 at 13:45