FORT SNELLING, Minn. –
Staff and recent graduates from the Sergeants Major Academy (SGM-A) Course gathered here to teach senior enlisted candidates how to prepare for the next two years by attending distance learning courses and juggling family and civilian career obligations. Realizing these expectations, the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) designed a two-day seminar titled the Senior Leader Preparation Orientation (SLPO) Course, exclusively tailored for the Army Reserve component.
"I think the big piece of the Reserve capacity (is that) we have a lot of different things to balance, from families to careers. So, the orientation itself gave us the opportunity to understand not just the expectations and workload will be, but to put us one-on-one with the instructors and some of the students who are going through the course." said Master Sgt. Artez Briseno, an intelligence senior sergeant with the 301st Military Intelligence Theater Support Battalion in Phoenix, Arizona.
A brief primer on the SGM-A course distance education program, it is the U.S. Army NCO educational capstone for certain military branches and our multi-national partners. The remote or distance education (online) programs are more academically rigorous and resemble civilian college and university coursework. Students who graduate from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) now have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership and Workforce Development.
In a town hall forum, future students were allowed to ask questions to Sergeants Majors and staff who had gone through the course, giving them tips on how much time to set aside each day to meet their scholastic demands.
"It really gave us the ability to understand what our lives are going to look like for the next year and a half and got us excited to attend a course that many of us are wondering if it is worth it," said Briseno.
Following mandatory height and weight tests for attendees, USARC Command Sergeant Major Andrew Lombardo and his staff briefed students on new changes coming down the pipe for the Army. Candidates then out-processed to travel home, after preparing to begin the course in a few months.
"The clear explanation what we are going to step into that the cadre has brought to us, is pivotal to success," said Briseno.