REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Fifty-two Soldiers convened Nov. 5 in northern Alabama for a week of professional development and the opportunity to learn about the nation's leading Army installation for aviation and missile research, development and testing.

The noncommissioned officers of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command will complete a physical fitness test and receive briefings, training, and facility and capability tours. They will conclude this session of NCO Professional Development with a tour of Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tenn., a Civil War historic site.

Soldiers are stationed at each of the RDECOM's seven research, development and engineering centers across the country. They provide technical and operational input to the RDECs where they are assigned.

The command has about 16,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel whose mission is to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers.

Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie, RDECOM's senior enlisted adviser, said the week-long training sessions help NCOs better understand how science enables the Soldiers' mission and learn first-hand how scientists and engineers develop technologies.

"RDECOM Soldiers have hands-on information about using that science and technology on the battlefield," Beharie said during the NCOPD in March at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center in Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. "When those Soldiers leave RDECOM and are assigned to operational units, they will take with them a new perspective about the Army.

"Being assigned to RDECOM widens their knowledge about the process of how technologies are provided to Soldiers."

The location of the NCOPDs rotates to each RDEC, and the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is hosting this session.

In addition to briefings and tours of AMRDEC, the NCOs will receive briefings on Army Materiel Command, RDECOM's higher headquarters, and Aviation and Missile Command, both located at Redstone Arsenal.