FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The senior noncommissioned officer of the Aviation Branch took time Sept. 21 to answer Soldiers' questions and brief them on the future of the Branch.

Command Sgt. Maj. Tod L. Glidewell, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, spoke with about 70 NCO Academy Advanced and Senior Leader Course students at the Seneff Building.

"The biggest force multiplier on the battlefield is Aviation," he said, noting the Branch is crucial to the military's current operations overseas. Because of that, much needs to be done to better prepare warfighters and take care of them personally and professionally, he said.

Glidewell discussed future changes to the NCO education system.

Soldiers will soon be able to complete more training on computers from their home stations, reducing traveling and time away from their Families and units, he said. Also, more NCOES courses will count for college credit, helping servicemembers to obtain degrees.

"The Army's getting very serious about the education piece," he said. "Take the opportunities and get your Soldiers involved as well."

Glidewell addressed NCOs' concerns regarding aircraft maintenance, standard operating procedures, operations downrange, unit transformations and other issues affecting Aviation Soldiers. The information was intended for Soldiers to take back to their home units and share with the servicemembers they lead.

"I think we need to provide you with the assets to train Soldiers," Glidewell told the students.
"We are the smartest and the best Branch in the Army," he said. "I truly appreciate the burden you carry for our Branch and Army."

This brief is conducted by the senior NCO for every academy class, and benefits students in many ways, said academy Commandant Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Mitchell.

"He lets NCOs know the state of the Branch and the way of the future," Mitchell said. "It's good because it lets them know that they are important. It gives him one-on-one time to hear concerns from their perspectives as Soldiers."

The discussion on Unmanned Aircraft Systems was one of interest to Staff Sgt. Jason Kudla, who is stationed with the UAS Training Battalion at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

He appreciated Glidewell taking the time to meet with younger Soldiers on their level to discuss UAS business.

"It's good that he's coming down to see what's going on, find out the problems and discuss how to take care of them," Kudla said.

Other students said they also benefitted from the brief as a whole, and believed their discussion with Glidewell will bring about positive changes across the Army.

"It's good to see they care what our thoughts are. I think it will make a difference, because they're concerned with how things are," said Sgt. 1st Class Hector Acosta, who is moving here from Fort Hood, Texas, to work with 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment.

"It's great knowing we have support, they care what we think and they can fix it," said Sgt. Sarah McClintok, A Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment. "Every time we have one of these briefs, you always see changes right after."