FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Jan. 21, 2021) -- A new leadership course developed by the 75th Field Artillery Brigade ensures its supervisors have the skills and resources needed to take care of their Soldiers and families.The three-day Diamond Leaders Academy graduated its first class of 24 Soldiers in December, said Lt. Col. Jason Atkinson, 75th FAB deputy commanding officer.Much of the training focused on building cohesive teams through interpersonal connections as part of  the “This is My Squad” initiative. The course emphasized implementation of the support network between Soldiers, families, co-workers, and leaders.Course topics range from vehicle inspections to welfare checks to time management to communication skills, said Atkinson. Training was conducted with classroom instruction and hands-on training; it ended with a practical exercise.The course was developed with help from agencies here and at Fort Hood, Texas. A pilot  course was conducted in November, with feedback from participants and leaders throughout the brigade, said Atkinson. A couple weeks later the first class was held before holiday block leave.The course is open to all Soldiers in the brigade who will be in leadership positions ranging from corporals and higher, Atkinson said.Graduates are recognized by their respective battalions at intimate patching ceremonies where their subdued “Diamond Brigade” shoulder sleeve insignias are replaced with a color version.The color patch symbolizes the leaders’ completion of the academy and that they are trained leaders that their Soldiers can rely on, said Atkinson.Atkinson replaced the subdued brigade patches on four graduates from 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery during a ceremony Jan. 14, at the battalion’s headquarters in front of a dozen of their fellow “Red Dragons” Soldiers.Graduate 2nd Lt. Richard Compton, 3-13th FA training officer, said there was a lot of dialogue and hands-on instruction; not so much slide presentations in the course. Subjects included communications skills, community resources, and support services.“It’s making sure you are taking care of your Soldiers, being there for them,” he said.He said classroom instruction was face-to-face with physical distancing and masks, and held at the Graham Performance Enhancement Center here.Graduate 1st Sgt. Efrain Castro, 66th Forward Support Company, said that he found the course to be a refresher, but still gained much that he will use as a leader.Atkinson said the Diamond Leaders Academy will be offered quarterly, and is sharing its training model with other installations.