The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence formally welcomed the 708 students of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Sergeants Major Course, Class 70 during ceremonies August 9, in the center's Cooper Lecture Center. Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, the 22nd commandant, hosted the event and welcomed the students to what will be their home for the next 10 months.
"This is going to be a great year, an awesome year for you all," he said. "For the record there are 708 in attendance for Class 70. So, if you want to tie the record for graduation (previously set by Class 68 who had 708 graduates), everybody has to graduate. Everybody has to finish."
Taking a cue from the Soldier's Creed, Sellers told the class that everyone graduating does not mean we are going to enact the no sergeant major left behind law.
"That is not going to happen. You getting there will be by design and because you earned it," Sellers said. "I want you to finish. I want you to do well, but you are going to earn it."
The NCOL CoE and USASMA world class staff will help the students get across the finish line, Sellers said adding that you will not encounter a more knowledgeable, respected and trusted group of military and civilian professionals in your career ever. "Mark those words."
Sellers then turned his focus on the makeup of Class 70 noting the nine members of the sister services -- 5 Marines, two airmen, and two coastguardsmen -- and the 61 international students representing 49 partner nations.
"On behalf of the United States Army, thank you for attending this course, spending your time with us," he said. "What you bring to the classroom is vital and cannot be substituted."
To the class, you might be wondering what to expect for the coming year," Sellers said. Thanks for asking, he quipped.
"Collectively we are going to challenge you and examine you in the following areas according to the new DA Form 1059 (Service School Academic Evaluation)," he said. "We are going to comprehensively look into your intellect, your character, your competence, your behavior, your knowledge, your physical fitness, and your leadership abilities -- all to determine if you truly are ready to be a sergeant major. So get comfortable with being uncomfortable."
Sellers noted the students are going to get more out of this course than any other PME class, or continuing education class, they have taken in the past. You will be taken out of your comfort zone that you normally work in within your Career Management Field and you will learn from others.
"Have fun and enjoy your time here," he said. "Reengage with your self and your family and enjoy what El Paso has to offer. Take care of yourself both physically and mentally."
To survive the year, Sellers showed the students his 10 Imperatives to success, his "Top Ten" in reverse order.
• #10. Graduate with a good DA Form 1059.
• #9. Know your profession
• #8. Stay off the Blotter
• #7. Reconnect with family and self
• #6. Earn a degree or get credentialled.
• #5. Get better every day.
• #4. Networking -- make connections.
• #3. Treat others with dignity and respect.
• #2. Remain humble.
• #1. Check your ego at the gate.
"There is no room for egos inside the classroom, there is no room for egos in the auditorium, there is no room for not treating people with dignity and respect, and there's no room for not being humble," Sellers said. "All of you are great. That's why you are here, but you are no longer the best first sergeant in your organization, the best master sergeant, the best platoon sergeant. You are now equal. So, take this humility, check your ego, be confident in what you do, and then lead the change."
Sellers ended his remarks by challenging the students to get in shape, lead by example, understand the Army Combat Fitness Test is here to stay and know that Army leadership requires sergeants major to do what their class mottos is -- lead the change.
"If we can't do it, our Soldiers aren't going to do it," he said. "This is our opportunity to get it right, an opportunity to lead the effort and have ownership in the way we do business."
The Sergeants Major Course educates senior enlisted leaders from our Army, sister services, and allied militaries to be agile and adaptive senior noncommissioned officers through the study of leadership, the conduct of Unified Land Operations, and the application of Joint, Interagency, and Multi-National organizations in an era of persistent conflict. The SMC is the consummate institution that prepares them to execute at all command levels throughout the Department of Defense. This Professional Military Education (PME) is provided by leveraging both resident and distributive learning (dL) educational methods and technologies.
The NCOL CoE provides professional military education that develops enlisted leaders into fit, disciplined, well-educated professionals capable of meeting the challenges of an increasingly complex world. We develop, integrate and deliver education and training readiness. We are the premier institution driving innovative development for enlisted leaders; constantly focused on readiness.