Third Army builds the best: How a mix of Soldiers from around the world are building the Army's
April 4, 2011
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - In January 2011, small group leaders from throughout the Army come together for the first time at Camp Buehring, Kuwait with one single goal. That goal is to provide junior-enlisted Soldiers with the training required to lead in today's Army.
From January to April, NCOs from all across the world, and all components, including the Army Reserve and National Guard, have come together to form a mobile training team to train. The team is training the next leaders in the Army at the Third Army NCO Academy at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
"The first time we met was when we got here," said Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Macias, and a Fountain, Colo., native, who serves as the commandant with the Third Army NCO Academy. "We bonded right away once we got here. The instructors know the program of instruction, and kept their eyes on the goal of training every student to the highest of standards."
The Third Army NCO Academy provides the 15-day WLC to deployed Soldiers in the Middle East to include Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend.
The advantage to completing WLC while deployed is that it allows Soldiers more time with their families after redeploying, said Command Sgt. Maj. Macias. "This particularly helps the National Guard and the reservist because it is two more weeks they can spend with their family."
This opportunity allows Soldiers from all three components to complete the required course and not fall behind in the Army Noncommissioned Officer Education System.
"The instructors here have been great. They have given us a lot of information in the past couple days," Spc. Ekta Shrestha, who serves as a Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer with the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, and a Fort Hood, Texas native. "Since I have only been in the Army for a year. I didn't know a whole lot of things. But with this training I am able to get a greater knowledge of how things are done in the Army."
The MTT is made up of SGLs from different academies across the Army. They quickly began to bond after meeting for the first time when they arrived in Kuwait to ensure they could provide the best training possible for the Soldiers.
"Even though all the SGLs have come together from across the world, we all have the same standard, because WLC is standard across the board," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Baumgartner, who serves as an SGL with the Third Army NCO Academy.
Coming from the Fires Center of Excellence NCO Academy at Fort Sill, Okla., Baumgartner was able to learn a few new tricks himself that have helped him become a better SGL.
"I have definitely been able to learn new methods to accomplish our tasks from the other SGLs," said Baumgartner. "I have learned new methods of teaching that have helped me improved in my skills when training the Soldiers and making sure they get all the information."
The Third Army NCO Academy has a diverse staff not seen in other NCO academies. The SGLs bring a wide range of experience allowing the Soldiers to learn from the experiences from different components and areas of expertise.
"All the instructors have a great knowledge in what they are teaching. They know how to teach it," said Sgt. Erik Welch, who serves as a NCOIC of system maintenance with Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery and a Fort Hood, Texas native. "They all bring different perspectives going from National Guard, Reserve and Regular Army, but over all they set a great example and show us how to be better leaders."
Using the new Army WLC POI, which began in October, the SGLs are able to pull from their own experiences to better prepare the Soldiers for things they may come across as a junior NCO.
"The way we teach now is from our own experiences," said Baumgartner. "We show the students how to find the answers using Army regulations and field manuals instead of just giving the answer to them."
The new 15-day course teaches the Soldiers garrison tasks often overlooked due to the forward-deployed mindset of today's Army. Many of these tasks include how to fill out a counseling statement, how to type up memos and how to lead Drill and Ceremony. The course also trains Soldiers on how to lead the new Army Physical Readiness Training.
"This is the wave of the future. You hear the term one team, one fight, instead of training at different academies, well why not train together'" said Command Sgt. Maj. Macias. "It is a lot easier and a lot better for everybody to bring their own experiences from all three components. They then get to intermingle and mix with each other and learn from each other."