FORT CAVAZOS, Texas –
Three U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 646th Regional Support Group, and mobilized to Fort Cavazos, Texas, in support of the Mobilization Support Brigade mission, graduated from the U.S. Army’s Basic Leader Course at the III Corps and Fort Cavazos Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Jan. 31.
Sgts. Kyra Cure, Deployment Readiness Center (DRC) DD214 Human Resources NCO, and Caitlyn Smith, DRC Mobilization Operations NCO, and Spc. Derek Johnson, Mobilization Support Brigade Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group (ADACG) Human Resources NCO, were among the 261 BLC graduates.
BLC, formerly the Primary Leadership Development Course and Warrior Leader Course, is the first noncommissioned officer course available to Army Soldiers. The course prepares specialist, corporals, and sergeants for leadership roles as noncommissioned officers with emphasis on core competencies such as readiness, leadership, training management, communication, operations, and program management in BLC is crucial. Graduates are well-prepared to lead team-sized units, equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive as successful noncommissioned offices. The comprehensive training ensures a strong foundation for effective leadership within the military.
Command Sgt. Maj. Alexis Figueroa Moran, 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, command sergeant major, served as the guest speaker and encouraged graduates to use lessons learned during the three weeks of training to help them be better leaders.
“As you embark upon your journey as an NCO, you will play a key part in the development of Soldiers,” Figueroa Moran said. “You’re at the very front where Soldiers start to ask questions because you are an NCO. Just remember you are not going to know everything, but that’s okay, just ask.”
Figueroa Moran emboldened the graduates to use available resources whenever they may be unsure about a particular question or subject matter.
“You have many leaders around who can help you out. The best trait that we bring as NCO’s is our experience,” he said. “You will not learn experience in school, you got to live it.”
Following the presentation of the graduates, current and former NCOs, along with the graduates stood to recite Noncommissioned Officer’s Creed, which details what NCOs will and must do as leaders.
Command Sgt. Maj. Darren Dwyer, 646th Regional Support Group, Mobilization Support Brigade, command sergeant major, attended the graduation and shared his thoughts on what it means to be an Army NCO.
“An NCOs dependability and discipline, especially under stress is what makes our Army the most lethal fighting force in the world,” Dwyer said. “Being accountable, humble, and reliable are other traits that NCOs live by and exemplify. The NCO Corps makes things happen and is the backbone of the Army.”
The III Corps and Fort Cavazos Noncommissioned Officer Academy is an active-duty training institution and in most cases is not an option for Army Reserve Soldiers. Opportunities may be present if deployed to theater where an active-duty school is available or mobilized stateside to an active-duty post.
Spc. Derek Johnson enjoyed the opportunity to attend BLC at Fort Cavazos. “Working with active-duty counterparts during BLC was a good time,” said Johnson. “I believe, we as classmates, had many things to learn from one another. I believe it made a much better environment for classroom discussions.”
Sergeant Maj. Laura Schneider, 646th Regional Support Group, Mobilization Support Brigade, logistics sergeant major, was thrilled the MSB Soldiers had the opportunity to attend BLC while mobilized.
“Being here at Fort Cavazos, “The Great Place” has allowed for some of our Troop Program Unit (TPU) or Army Reserve Soldiers to take advantage of active-duty opportunities while balancing our primary mission,” said Schneider. “I am very pleased that we have been able to get some of the junior enlisted and newly promoted NCOs enrolled in BLC during our mobilization rotation in support of contingency operations. I am grateful for this last opportunity to serve as part of this mission and to be able to coach and mentor Soldiers.”
Sgt. Caitlyn Smith expressed similar sentiments about attending active-duty BLC. “I feel that being in a course intermixed with active-duty Soldiers set me up for success,” said Smith. “They were more proficient with things from the start and were easily willing to step in and help me.”
Sgt. Smith and Spc. Johnson provided insight on how completing BLC impacts them and their careers.
“Graduating BLC will impact my career greatly,” said Smith. “I took the first big step in becoming a NACO, only allowing myself to build on that path in the future.”
Johnson added, “graduating BLC will allow me to have more upward mobility in my career and increase my ability to perform duties in my MOS, as well as duties that may come from broadening assignments.”