WIESBADEN, Germany -- U.S. Army Signal Soldiers gathered for a series of classes and presentations about higher education opportunities, the promotion system and other personnel readiness issues during the quarterly Soldier Development Program Jan. 18, 2018 in Wiesbaden.
The classes were organized by the 102nd Strategic Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, and included participants from Baumholder, Grafenwoehr and Kaiserslautern, and locally from the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command TAC-Europe.
The Soldier Development Program provides Soldiers with information on a wide variety of personal and professional topics, including higher education, designed to grow junior Soldiers into future leaders.
"This is a unique program concentrating not just on the military stuff, but also stuff that's going to help you in your military and civilian life," said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Davis, 102nd Strategic Signal Bn. senior enlisted leader.
Davis has been in the Army for 27 years, but said he could have benefited from having this information much earlier to help him in his career and better prepare him to transition to life after the military.
Cris Weisbecker, Education Services Officer at the Wiesbaden Education Center, emphasized the importance of Soldiers researching which programs and colleges might suit them best, as well as having a plan in place to pay for tuition, books and fees.
"You do want to have a plan in advance of when you are ready to take the classes," Weisbecker said. "Come in and talk to us if you are unsure."
She spoke about the many different options available to help Soldiers and family members pay for classes, including tuition assistance, federal grants and local scholarships. Weisbecker also spoke about how to navigate the GoArmyEd website, and how to get promotion points for college credits or to test out of courses altogether.
Additionally, there were presentations about classes and programs available at each of the four higher education institutions in Wiesbaden - Central Texas College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Maryland University College.
Spc. Liliana Martinvirgen, assigned to the 2nd Theater Signal Bde. Cyber Security Division, is working on an associate's degree in Spanish, but said she would also like to pursue a bachelor's degree. She said the information presented on educational opportunities and the promotion system was beneficial to her and to Soldiers at all levels, especially new Soldiers.
"As a young Soldier, especially for one coming straight out of (Advanced Individual Training),
I think going through all that stuff they can get some kind of an idea how to get promoted," Martinvirgen said.
"Our goal is to give everyone a roadmap and information on how to go from private to master sergeant and beyond," said Sgt. 1st Class John Brandt, 102nd Strategic Signal Bn. S-3 Operations, Plans and Training noncommissioned officer in charge.
The next quarterly Soldier Development Program session will focus on NCO evaluation reports.
2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.