CAMP RED CLOUD, Republic of Korea -- Leaders walked across the stage armed with tools to level the playing field in intricate operations.

Sixteen 2nd Infantry Division ROK-U.S. Combined Division NCOs received certificates of completion for Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officer Course 16-18 at a commencement ceremony held at the installation theater June 28.

The ceremony marked the completion of the first-ever 2ID/RUCD Battle Staff NCO Course, which resulted from the desire of Division Command Sgt. Maj. Phil K. Barretto for NCOs to apply strategic thought and maintain relevancy.

Barretto tasked Sgt. Maj. Tommie L. Jones, 2ID/RUCD logistics sergeant major, to spearhead the establishment of Warrior BSNCOC from the ground up.

Jones emphasized the significance of equipping NCOs with the knowledge required to plan complex operations is vital to mission success.

"In examining our staff, officers arrive trained while NCOs are forced to learn on their own," said Sgt. Maj. Tommie L. Jones, 2ID/RUCD logistics sergeant major. "By bringing the Battle Staff NCO Course here, we are leveling the playing field; now the NCOs on our staff can provide more relevant input and become more effective partners," said Jones.

The graduates took the 22-day, reverse-tour (11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.) course through a combination of video teletraining and practical exercises administered by the Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Center of Excellence at Fort Bliss, Texas and instructors here.

Guest speaker Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Camacho, 2ID/RUCD surgeon sergeant major, commended the group for academic success and challenged graduates to maintain the significance of their training.

"Our division has a complex, continuous operating environment," said Camacho. "When we talk about the 'Military Decision-Making Process,' we emphasize how we support commanders and staff to make the right decisions to exercise proper mission command," he said.

Honor graduate, Staff Sgt. David K. Arnold, 2ID/RUCD operations NCO, earned the highest-grade-point average of 98.1 percent.

Arnold described his experience in BSNCOC as challenging but rewarding.

"As a young NCO, you are not normally exposed to the larger picture of how sections all work together; how one action can affect everyone else," said Arnold. "BSNCOC affords you the opportunity to see how it all comes together," he said.

Other notable achievements included Master Sgt. Jermon V. Brown, 2ID/RUCD operations NCO, who earned a grade point average of 96.2 percent and Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth J. Meckel, 2ID/RUCD communications NCO who was recognized as the best assistant instructor during the ceremony.

Due to the success of the first 2ID/RUCD BSNCOC, future courses are in the planning stages to facilitate training more battalion and higher echelon staff NCOs to serve as integral members of staff and manage daily operations.

The BSNCOC 16-18 graduates: Staff Sgt. David K. Arnold, Sgt. 1st Class Kenny M. Bailargeon, Sgt. 1st Class Marie Y. Boyd, Master Sgt. Jermon V. Brown, Staff Sgt. Michael E. Carroll, Sgt. Joshua D. Coston, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Davis, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua D. Elder, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua D. Elder, Sgt 1st Class Cavelle L. Horn, Staff Sgt. Kyi A. Johnson, Staff Sgt. John M. Majerus, Staff Sgt. Manuel R. Olivoalvarez, Sgt. 1st Class Wilburn S. Rose, Sgt. 1st Class Adrian Silva, Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy D. Whisler, Master Sgt. Jeffrey M. Williams.