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NCO Journal July 2016 Articles

The official magazine of noncommissioned officer professional development

SEAC Visits Afghanistan, Endorses Tough Physical Fitness Regimen

By Lisa Ferdinando - Department Of Defense News

“Come on, sergeant major, let me see those cartwheels!” reverberated through the fitness center in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month during an intense early-morning workout session led by the senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. military. Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, prodded Army Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Clark about those flips, then quickly shifted his rallying cry away from the Resolute Support/U.S. Forces Afghanistan senior enlisted leader to another Soldier.

Article published on: July 28, 2016


U.S. Army NCOs Lead Training of Djibouti’s First Logistics Unit

By Jonathan (Jay) Koester - NCO Journal

As the soldiers of Djibouti joined the African Union Mission to Somalia to help fight the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, they had a major weakness: The Djiboutian army had no logistics unit. That made resupplying their soldiers in Somalia difficult and sometimes impossible. Djiboutian army officers requested U.S. Army help, and a Regionally Aligned Forces group of U.S. Army Soldiers recently spent five months in Djibouti training the country’s first army logistics unit.

Article published on: July 25, 2016


This Month in NCO History: July 20, 1950 — a Heroic Stand At the Battle of Taejon

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

From the moment Sgt. George Dalton Libby arrived on the Korean Peninsula with the rest of the 24th Infantry Division on June 30, 1950, the odds were stacked against them. But Libby’s efforts through extreme adversity would earn him the nation’s highest military honor. The Taro Division was the first American force to reach the Republic of Korea in response to the invasion by the North Korean People’s Army five days earlier. The 24th ID was charged with slowing the advance of the North Korean assault until more U.S. forces could arrive. But that was no easy task.

Article published on: July 20, 2016


Retired Soldier, Cancer Survivor Hopes His Story Resonates With NCO Corps

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

It’s difficult to fathom the unbridled stamina required to be a full-time Department of Defense civilian employee, a college professor, a motivational speaker, an author and a marathon runner. But it comes easy to Gregory Q. Cheek. That’s because the retired Soldier — and cancer survivor — considers every day a gift. He has been determined to get the most out of every sunrise since he received the grim news six years ago that Stage 3 cancer in his head and neck would likely cut his life short.

Article published on: July 19, 2016


Former NCO Vows to Learn From First Professional Boxing Loss

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

Sammy Vasquez Jr. walked out of the ring dejected. The 30-year-old former sergeant in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard had just finished battling Felix Diaz to a standstill in a welterweight boxing match Saturday night at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. For Vasquez, it was the first time he didn’t emerge from a fight victorious. Instead, he heard a judges’ verdict of a majority draw. Then, Vasquez was called back to the ring.

Article published on: July 18, 2016


NCO Journal Podcast Episode 1

NCO Journal

U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy’s Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Williams and Master Sgt. Elizabeth Blackburn discuss TRADOC’s second State of NCO Development Town Hall and explore leadership challenges.

Article published on: July 18, 2016


WCAP NCO’s Story of Courage Shared with Sports Superstars at ESPY Awards

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

Sgt. Elizabeth Marks is more than merely fit for duty. She is a testament to service. On Wednesday night, the biggest names in sports were introduced to her story. Marks, a combat medic and member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete program of Fort Carson, Colorado, was presented with the Pat Tillman Award for Service during the ESPYs. The awards show, which recognizes grand sports achievements, aired on ABC.

Article published on: July 14, 2016


Educational Shifts within the United States Army: Changing the Perception of Education at the Unit Level

By Staff Sgt. Adam E. Wahl

The United States Army is on the doorstep of many significant changes as we transform from a large force, operating at a high tempo, to a smaller force that is prepared to fight on the battlefields of tomorrow; a critical aspect to how we make this transition will find its roots in education. The debate between civilian versus military educational systems should instead seek answers on how we can best integrate these systems as a two-pronged approach to learning. Leaders at all levels must overcome challenges in funding, time and mission requirements to set all of their subordinates on a path that will ensure their success as well as those around them. According to government data , only six percent of our enlisted force has completed a bachelor’s degree. By fiscal year 2025 the Army should strive to have a rate much closer to the national average of thirty four percent.

Article published on: July 13, 2016


2nd NCO Town Hall Unveils Changes to Professional Development

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

Training and Doctrine Command’s second State of NCO Development Town Hall kicked off June 23 with a tighter focus and a new format. This one emphasized leader development, which TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport calls “Line of Effort 1” of the NCO 2020 Strategy.

Article published on: July 12, 2016


Soldiers’ Concerns Addressed In Changes to SSD, NCO PME

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

With Structured Self-Development and other Professional Military Education courses now a requirement for promotion, Soldiers expressed concerns about course capacity, opportunity for fast-trackers and consequences for failure to meet requirements during Training and Doctrine Command’s State of NCO Development Town Hall 2. TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport and his fellow panelists had answers, suggestions and an open mind.

Article published on: July 12, 2016


Writing Skills Will Be Emphasized In New NCO Professional Military Education

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

The topic that prompted the most discussion — and the most anxiety — at last month’s State of NCO Development Town Hall 2 wasn’t even directly on the agenda. What had Soldiers most worried was the NCO Professional Military Education’s new emphasis on writing. During the second segment of the town hall, representatives from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy — Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant; Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Huggins, deputy commandant; and Charles Guyette, director of the Directorate of Training — described the new Master Leader Course and its writing requirements.

Article published on: July 12, 2016


Army University to Improve Education in Service, Opportunities Afterward

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

Adjustments to the NCO Educational System aren’t just about changing professional military education expectations and opportunities for enlisted personnel. They’re part of a larger effort by the Army to align education at every level. That alignment is happening under the Army University. Army U was among the last topics addressed at Training and Doctrine Command’s State of NCO Development Town Hall 2, but it might have the furthest-reaching effect for Soldiers – extending far beyond their retirement from the Army.

Article published on: July 12, 2016


Preparation for Master Leader Course Well Underway, Set To Launch Next Year

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

Training and Doctrine Command is making sweeping changes to many areas of the NCO Professional Military Education, but perhaps the most noticeable is a new requirement — the Master Leader Course. “There’s been a gap for several years in our NCO Professional Development system between the Senior Leader Course and the Sergeant Major Course,” Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis E. Defreese, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy commandant, said during TRADOC’s State of NCO Development Town Hall 2.

Article published on: July 12, 2016


More from The Town Hall: What’s next from TRADOC

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of Training and Doctrine Command, detailed progress in several aspects of the NCO 2020 Strategy and Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development during the second State of NCO Development town hall June 23. But he mentioned several other initiatives that Soldiers should watch for.

Article published on: July 12, 2016


WCAP NCO, 2016 Paralympian Will Receive Pat Tillman Award for Service at ESPYs

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

The accolades keep coming for Sgt. Elizabeth Marks. Marks, a combat medic and member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program of Fort Carson, Colorado, just finished securing her spot during the weekend on the U.S. Paralympic swim team that will compete at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in September. The honor, the first for a WCAP swimmer, comes less than two months after Marks made international headlines for a gracious gesture after claiming her fourth gold medal at the 2016 Invictus Games.

Article published on: July 11, 2016


Boxing Phenom, Former NCO Sammy Vasquez Jr. Sets Sights Even Higher

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

Fast-rising boxing star Sammy Vasquez Jr. wants to reach the top. Literally. The 30-year-old former sergeant in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard says he wants to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, once his days in the ring are done. “I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Vasquez, a native of Monessen, Pennsylvania, during a recent phone interview. “I just think it would be pretty cool to take a picture on top of the highest mountain on Earth.”

Article published on: July 11, 2016


Army Heritage Center Looking For NCOs to Gather Soldier Stories

By Jonathan (Jay) Koester - NCO Journal

Army history is storied and vast. But that vast history really comes down to one thing: Soldiers telling their stories. The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is working to collect and preserve as many of those Soldier stories as they can, but they need help from NCOs. Though the center has more than enough veterans ready and willing to tell their tales, there aren’t enough volunteer Veteran Ambassadors to sit down and record those tales.

Article published on: July 6, 2016


3 NCOs Earn Spots on U.S. Olympic, Paralympic Teams

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

For three NCOs, there was reason to celebrate this weekend. But not merely because it marked another year of independence for the country they defend as U.S. Army Soldiers. For this trio, there were berths on U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to commemorate.

Article published on: July 5, 2016