By Mr. Wallace McBride (Fort Jackson)January 26, 2017
Non-commissioned officers at Fort Jackson are getting a bird's eye view of combat logistics, courtesy of a training program conducted by the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Conducted quarterly, the Battle Staff NCO Course is designed to provide Soldiers with the skills to serve as members of the battle staff and perform daily operations of command posts. The program involves 159 academic hours taught over a period of 22 days through online video training from Fort Bliss. Sixteen Fort Jackson Soldiers participated in the program through distance learning initiatives, interacting with instructors -- and other students -- in a classroom at the post's Education Center.
The course can enhance a Soldier's career and provide flexibility in future assignments, said 1st Sgt. Brian Castro of 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, and one of the Soldiers helping to manage the course here on post.
"Wherever you move within the Army, you can always be slotted into the NCOIC position of a staff," he said.
Successfully completing Battle Staff doesn't result in an automatic promotion, he said, but it's still valuable learning. The course focuses on the major areas of plans, graphics and overlays, military intelligence, and combat service support. Participants are subject to testing almost daily.
"It's military schooling from the Sergeant Major Academy, so it's really good to have," he said.
Joining Fort Jackson in the current phase of instruction are forts Benning, Bragg, Campbell, Lewis and bases in Germany. The first days of the class focus on the basics of war fighting, cumulating in instruction on a software system that allows commanders to simulate battlefield management.
"(The course) enables me to see the bigger picture," said Staff Sgt. Johnny Thomas, of the 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, who's been in uniform for 16 years.
"A lot of times you don't know what's happening above you, so you want to question it. This class enables you to know what everyone else is doing and how they get (there.)"
He said he hopes the course will allow him to get a platoon sergeant position later.
"You can maybe take the course within the first six years (of your career) if you're a staff sergeant and ready to move up," said Sgt. First Class Anthony Michael Roszko, HHC/ATC, who has been in uniform for 14 years. The Battle Staff NCO Course is available for staff sergeants through sergeants major selected for staff assignments at the battalion and brigade level, regardless of their military occupational specialty.
"This is my first time taking a break," Roszko said. "I've been deployed almost my entire career. I haven't had the opportunity to come to this course."