Non-commissioned officers in class on Fort Jackson found out being on a battle staff was more than just about "plotting boards inside a tactical operations center."

The Soldiers are taking part in the Battle Staff NCO Course held in the Soldier Support Institute scheduled to end Aug. 22.

Soldiers taking the 159 academic hour-long course learn how to track unit elements, draw and design graphics, mission analysis, military decision making process, and other battle staff-related elements.

Class instructor Sgt. 1st Class Celicia Mcgee, a New Orleans native with six deployments during her 14-year career, said the course is more than that; it helps NCOs to "understand higher echelon staffing positions" work together.

The information taught in the course was useful to Mcgee, who is assigned to 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, during her deployments because it helped her "understand how everything works in a Brigade Combat Team; how we move units from here to there."

For Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Rice, an infantryman just coming off the trail at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, the course is a good way to see the battlefield in a different light -- the shared knowledge helps broaden a Soldier's understandings of the Army.

Rice, a Sturgis, Michigan native, said he found it "kind of neat" to hear about his classmates' experiences during the course and how the class "translates to the boots on the ground."

From the perspective of Staff Sgt. Stephen Barlow, a visual information equipment-maintainer and a drill sergeant with Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, the course helps the NCOs figure out how the battle is being planned.

"I see how this big picture comes about," said the Calhoun, Georgia native with nine years in the Army. The course helps make "more sense to how orders trickle down" to units in the field.

The battle staff course is for NCOs assigned to, or projected to be assigned to battalion level or higher coordinating staff positions. The students will be eligible to receive the 2S Additional Skill Identifier at the end of the course.

The course is beneficial in a number of ways.

"It definitely helps me as I go to the senior NCO ranks," he said. "I'm able to see the big picture."