YAVORIV, Ukraine—Soldiers assigned to 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division graduated Basic Leader Course, Nov. 5 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
A mobile training team from the Noncommissioned Officer Academy from 7th Army Training Command came to Ukraine to teach the 22-day course to 38 Soldiers, who are currently on a six-month deployment in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.
This is the first course of study for enlisted Soldiers in the U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Education System. It is designed to give each Soldier the basic knowledge and skills necessary to become successful leaders. The course teaches Soldiers the basics of leadership, training management, map reading, land navigation and drill and ceremony.
Spc. John Murray, human resource specialist assigned to 6-8 Cav., was recognized as the Distinguished Honor Graduate of the class. The third member in his immediate family to join the Army, Murray said he pushed himself to excel in this course to make his family proud.
"The Army is becoming smarter and more competitive," said Murray. "I wanted to make distinguished honor graduate to help push me farther ahead in my career and separate myself from my peers."
To achieve distinguished honor graduate, the Soldier must have the highest grade point average, achieve an initial passing score in all tested areas, and receive no adverse counseling. He spent long hours each night studying the criteria to ensure he was able to successfully pass each test.
"This course helped me learn a lot about myself," said Murray. "I learned that when I dig deep and push myself, I am able to achieve anything that I set my mind to."
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Sweezer, assigned to the 7th Army Training Command attended the graduation and gave the Soldiers a few words of wisdom as they begin their journey to becoming leaders.
"I challenge you to return to your units, and share what you have learned from attending this course," said Sweezer. "I encourage you to be empowered to lead and take care of Soldiers by teaching, coaching and mentoring them."
Soldiers of 6-8 CAV are currently responsible for training Ukrainian ground forces as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. JMTG-U is training Ukrainian land forces and building a team of Ukrainian cadre who will ultimately assume that responsibility. The training is designed to reinforce defensive skills of the Ukrainian Ground Forces in order to increase their capacity for self-defense.