Senior Enlisted Leaders Training Conference promotes ideas, professional development
April 8, 2011
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The annual U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Senior Enlisted Leaders Training Conference was held March 21-24 here.
This year's theme was "The Profession of Arms: Space and Missile Defense Noncommissioned Officers Training our Warriors."
"The Army is an American Profession of Arms," Sgt. Maj. John Mattie, USASMDC/ARSTRAT G3 sergeant major, said during comments to the attendees. "It is defined as a vocation comprised of experts certified in the ethical application of land combat power, serving under civilian authority, entrusted to defend the Constitution and the rights and interests of the American people."
With that theme in mind, the purpose of the event was to carry out a professional forum providing senior noncommissioned officers with the education, knowledge and information about new Army and space programs as well as build esprit de corps within the command for all active, National Guard and Reserve components.
"This year's conference was unquestionably the best one yet," said 1st Space Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. James Ross, who has attended the past four SELTCs. "Every year we have made adjustments to the agenda, and this year I think we really got it right. I believe the Profession of Arms starts with the NCO Corps and sets the U.S. Army up for continued success well into the next decade."
Presenters from various areas of professional development briefed attendees.
USASMDC/ARSTRAT Command Sgt. Major Larry S. Turner kicked off the conference with opening remarks and a command video. Then he inducted Staff Sgt. Keon Ellison, Staff Sgt. Tony Lopes, and Staff Sgt. David Sizemore into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Assisting Turner with the inductions were Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy; Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin L. Hill, senior enlisted leader of International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces - Afghanistan; Chief Master Sgt. Thomas S. Narofsky, command chief master sergeant of United States Strategic Command; and Col. Timothy Coffin, deputy commander for operations, USASMDC/ARSTRAT.
Next, Roy discussed the relationship between the Army and Air Force and how NCOs for both services have to continue to train the NCO Corp to make it stronger and better.
Other highlights of the week included a video presentation from Army Astronaut Lt. Col. Shane Kimbrough. He spoke about his mission to the International Space Station as an STS-126 Endeavour crewmember (Nov. 14-30, 2008) and answered questions. Following Kimbrough's remarks, Soldiers had an opportunity to speak with him and get autographed photos.
Mattie moderated a discussion panel that included retired Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Borja, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Frank J. Mantia - who all served as CSMs of USASMDC/ARSTRAT. They each provided opening remarks followed by questions from the NCOs in attendance.
Turner said he was very pleased with so many outstanding briefs.
"The Warfighter brief has always been the best briefing that we have on the schedule," said Turner. "This year's brief was no different. Command Sgt. Maj. Hill (who presented the brief) touched on several areas - from how we, as Space NCOs, support the Warfighter, to being better NCOs and the DADT (don't ask, don't tell) policy."
Command Sgt. Maj. William C. Baker said, "As a senior NCO, it was a great opportunity to have senior command sergeants major who have served at the highest levels of the Army and Air force present. To learn from their experiences will only enhance our NCOs and ensure success in the future."
Following the morning briefings on the final day of the conference, the senior NCOs went on a staff ride and tour of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
There were many positive comments from the attendees regarding the success of the conference.
"This year's Senior Enlisted Leaders Training Conference was the best I have ever seen," Baker said. "It set a high standard for all other units to follow. I know our senior noncommissioned officers are better informed and have a better understanding of the demands and challenges ahead."
Turner also said this was a very good conference.
Aca,!A"I think we had a lot of experience Aca,!A| a lot of knowledge shared,Aca,!A? Turner said. Aca,!A"I think all of the NCOs left here a lot more educated, more knowledgeable as space professionals, and just being more professional NCOs."