GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Service members from the Republic of Cyprus, Sweden and Slovenia graduated from the Basic Leader Course (BLC) Aug.1 at the 7th Army Training Command's (7ATC) Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA).
Service members from allied and partnered nations took part in the academy's 22-day course, which encompasses four phases and 169 credit hours.
These four phases included foundations, leadership, readiness and assessment.
Slovenia has been sending multinational service members to the 7ATC NCOA to attend BLC for numerous cycles.
"It was a very nice environment to be in," said Slovenian Army Pfc. Denis Tojnko. "I created bonds with people."
During Tojkno's time in the course, he gained a few American friends along the way.
“We created a bond after a month,” said Tojnko. "People here are very open minded and no one turned their back on me.”
Tojkno learned what it means to be a leader in the U.S. Army, and later on how to apply those skills back home in Slovenia.
Swedish Air Force Airman Cpl. Henrik Andersson attended BLC during the cycle and trained alongside future Noncommissioned Officers.
In the Swedish BLC course, his peers voted him as most deserving of the opportunity to attend BLC at the 7ATC NCOA.
“It is a privilege to come here,” said Andersson. "We vote on ourselves, and the one who get's the most votes gets a ticket to the 7ATC NCOA."
“Camaraderie is a big thing here,” said Andersson. “Everything we did here went into becoming a great leader.”
Multinational service members graduating from BLC at the NCOA have the opportunity to implement what they have learned and apply it to the way they become leaders in their countries.
Cyprus is the 36th country to send multinational service members to BLC as part of a continuing partnership.
"This was the first time the NCOA was able to host Cyprus soldiers at the NCOA," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Lopez, instructor at the 7th ATC NCOA. "We hope to see more Cyprus soldiers so that we can further interoperability."
The 7th Army NCO Academy's mission is to train and develop future leaders who are adaptive, disciplined and ready to lead effectively at the squad and team levels. Elements of the course include the Army Physical Fitness Test, daily physical training, classroom instruction, drill and ceremony, land navigation and the culminating training exercise at the end of the 30-day course.