By Sgt. Jason Stadel, 16th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentJune 30, 2009
FORT BLISS, Texas -- In the 36 years since the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy opened its doors it's had representation from 66 different countries' noncommissioned officers.
To honor the more than 500 international students that have been mentored at USASMA an International Student Hall of Fame was dedicated, June 26.
The first International Student Hall of Fame class inducted three students from Australia, Botswana and Macedonia. Warrant Officer Stephen Ward, Australian Army Regimental Sgt. Maj. graduated from the USASMA non-resident graduate course in 1994. Botswana Sgt. Maj. Herman Bahuma is the current Defense Force Sergeant Major in Makopong Village, Botswana. He is a graduate of USAMA Class 48. And Sgt. Maj. of the Army Boban Stojanovik, is the Macedonia Armed Forces sergeant major. He is a graduate of the USASMA Class 58.
These three students were nominated by their respective armed services to be a part of the inaugural class of the International Student Hall of Fame.
Col. Donald Gentry, 18th USASMA Commandant, said the leadership and ability provided by U.S. Army noncommissioned officers makes enrollment into USASMA for international students very sought after.
"...they look at the United States of America and the United States Army especially for a model their NCO Corps," Gentry said.
In addition to being inducted into USASMA's first International Hall of Fame class Ward was an infantry instructor at Fort Benning, Ga., in the early 1990s. He was awarded the U.S. Army Infantry School's Instructor of the Year in 1991. Ward said the opening of the International Hall of Fame shows the cooperation and respect for the world's armies.
"It was an honor to be recognized," Ward said. "It shows the relationship that the U.S. Army has with other nations. This hall of honor was created to acknowledge and appreciate the service of Soldiers from other countries."
In 2006 Stojanovik became the Republic of Macedonia's highest ranking enlisted Soldier. He said it was an honor to be inducted into the hall of fame. Stojanovik said NCOs need to learn and adapt to the ever changing role of the world's armies.
"(As noncommissioned officers) we need to meet future challenges, maintain our advantages with maximum results and we must keep pace with the talent of the 21st Century Soldier," Stojanovik said.
Officials at USASMA would like to have an induction ceremony at the start of every school year. Gentry said he has already received nominations from the next class.