Institute graduates 26 students upon completion of the Small Unit Leader Course
Small Unit Leadership Course Police and Military students worked alongside during five weeks as they tackled course academic requirements in the areas of Human Rights and the Rule of Law; Leadership skills; and problem-solving skills within a Joint Interagency Intergovernmental and Multinational (JIIM) environment. U.S. Army Photo by SGT Vladimir Varlack. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

COLUMBUS, GA – On Thursday, 26 students, representatives of Colombia and Panama, were recognized during a ceremony at the Columbus Ironworks.

The graduates were part of the Small Unit Leadership Course and are members of the Colombian Army, Colombian Police, and the Panamanian National Police. During the five-week course, they received instruction on Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Leadership skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to be first-line supervisors of small groups. Additionally, students enhanced their critical thinking problem-solving skills within a Joint Interagency Intergovernmental and Multinational (JIIM) environment.

During the course, students received instruction and facilitation from several senior enlisted non-commissioned officers, led by SGM Diego Penaha, a guest instructor from Brazil. His team consisted of former Senior Enlisted Advisor from the Colombian Army, CSM(RET) Armino Posso; SGM Jose Bustamante, a guest instructor from Perú; and Master Sergeants from the several countries represented at the Academy.

“It was a great experience for us and a great opportunity to gain all of this knowledge from such group of instructors and fellow students,” said Dragonent (SGT) Ana Restrepo, Colombian Army. “The training was second to none, and we are returning back to our countries with a vast amount of knowledge to help us become better leaders,” she added.

Graduates returned to their countries on Friday.

“Unfortunately, its time to return back to our countries. We have gained new friendships that have become as family. They will be forever in our minds and hearts,” concluded Restrepo.

For Penaha it was bittersweet as well.

“This is my last class at WHINSEC. It has been a rewarding experience to be able to facilitate to such a diverse group, said Penaha. This class consisted of 50 % Police Force members, and their contributions to the class were great and many times on point,” he added.
He concluded, “It is an honor to be part of their professional formation.”

The Roy P. Benavidez WHINSEC NCO Academy now moves to prepare for the Senior Enlisted Advisor course.