Category Archives: Commandant

USASMA’s international students help local college celebrate diversity

Photo by David Crozier, USASMA Master Sgt. Kippei Shiba of Japan talks to one of many visitors to the EPCC Administrative Services Center Saturday, about his country’s customs, traditions and history during the inaugural EPCC International Festival and Cultural Bowl. Members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 International students along with representatives from the Academy’s International Military Student Office spent the day helping EPCC celebrate diversity by providing 28 of the 33 countries represented at their inaugural event.
Photo by David Crozier, USASMA
Master Sgt. Kippei Shiba of Japan talks to one of many visitors to the EPCC Administrative Services Center Saturday, about his country’s customs, traditions and history during the inaugural EPCC International Festival and Cultural Bowl. Members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 International students along with representatives from the Academy’s International Military Student Office spent the day helping EPCC celebrate diversity by providing 28 of the 33 countries represented at their inaugural event.

The El Paso Community College Administrative Services Center took on the identity of a mini United Nations March 1, as the college’s Diversity Program put on its inaugural International Festival and Cultural Bowl thanks to the help of five local cultural groups and several international students from the International Military Student program at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas.

The first-ever event, hosted by the EPCC, combined a two hour academic challenge event with an international fair in hopes of promoting a broader cultural awareness among El Pasoans and the surrounding area.

“We are here celebrating diversity,” said Olga Chavez, director of Diversity Programs for EPCC. “We have two tremendous events going on – One we have the academic side with the culture bowl in which high school students come together in teams and answer questions on different cultures, and we are doing our international festival in which the Sergeants Major Academy and five other organizations from other cultures have come together to show off their country. We hope to let people know what different cultures are, because many of us in El Paso never get out of the district or out of our own cultures. So we want them to explore and learn more about each other [through this event].”

Photo by David Crozier, USASMA Sgt. Maj. Amran Mohammed of Malaysia talks to one of many visitors to the EPCC Administrative Services Center Saturday, about his country’s customs, traditions and history during the inaugural EPCC International Festival and Cultural Bowl. Members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 International students along with representatives from the Academy’s International Military Student Office spent the day helping EPCC celebrate diversity by providing 28 of the 33 countries represented at their inaugural event.
Photo by David Crozier, USASMA
Sgt. Maj. Amran Mohammed of Malaysia talks to one of many visitors to the EPCC Administrative Services Center Saturday, about his country’s customs, traditions and history during the inaugural EPCC International Festival and Cultural Bowl. Members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 International students along with representatives from the Academy’s International Military Student Office spent the day helping EPCC celebrate diversity by providing 28 of the 33 countries represented at their inaugural event.

Chavez said the Academy’s involvement in the event was important for many reasons, but mainly because of the fact that there are so many different countries represented through the Sergeants Major Course.

Doropeo Franco, assistant director of Diversity Programs for EPCC, lauded the Academy for being able to provide representatives for 28 of the 33 counties that participated in the inaugural event.

“This festival would not be possible without the support of the Sergeants Major Academy,” he said. “They have been so good to bring the students and the families and their flags. It is just a tremendous thing that they are doing for us. “

Joyce Stophel, the Field Studies Program Manager for the International Military Student Office at the Academy, said the students volunteered to take part in the event and were happy to help EPCC kick off their inaugural event.

“[EPCC] knew about the Sergeants Major Academy having the international program and asked if we would join in with them to expose the high school students to more of the different cultures in El Paso. They wanted to give them the experience to meet each of the countries and their representatives, a sergeant major, and to learn a little bit about their countries [face-to-face] rather than sitting in a classroom textbook-wise,” she said. “This also falls under the field studies program by helping us to get our students out and meet with the local schools. We also get to promote our host family sponsorship program as a way of meeting people throughout the community that might be interested in sponsoring some of our internationals for the next class.”

Photo by David Crozier, USASMA The El Paso Folk Dance team Karadeniz performs a traditional Turkish folk dance during the El Paso Community College inaugural International Festival and Cultural Bowl, held Saturday at the EPCC Administrative Services Center. The dance troupe were one of several who helped EPCC show the Spirit of Diversity of El Paso and included international students  and their families from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy who represented 28 of the 33 countries participating in the event.
Photo by David Crozier, USASMA
The El Paso Folk Dance team Karadeniz performs a traditional Turkish folk dance during the El Paso Community College inaugural International Festival and Cultural Bowl, held Saturday at the EPCC Administrative Services Center. The dance troupe were one of several who helped EPCC show the Spirit of Diversity of El Paso and included international students and their families from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy who represented 28 of the 33 countries participating in the event.

With table arrangements and audio/visual equipment provided by EPCC, the Sergeants Major Course Class 64 international students brought in their laptops, brochures, artifacts and country flags prepared to talk about their country to any and all who would listen.

“The first thing I try to explain about is which place is best to visit in my country,” said Sgt. Maj. Amran Mohammed of Malaysia. “Then I try to explain to them about my flag, my language, my customs, traditions, everything. So far I really, really enjoy it.”

Master Sgt. Kippei Shiba of Japan had a similar experience.

“Today I talk about my culture and give demonstration of our traditions to everyone,” he said. “They are very interested about the Samurai Sword and Japanese calligraphy, and my son; he is wearing his karate suit so we are talking about that also. This is very awesome, I really enjoy this.”

To encourage visits to all of the international displays and participants, USASMA made up a passport book which students and visitors could take

Photo by David Crozier, USASMA Master Sgt. Siim Vark of Estonia talks to a group of Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadets from Irving High School Saturday, about his country’s customs, traditions and history during the inaugural EPCC International Festival and Cultural Bowl. Members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 International students along with representatives from the Academy’s International Military Student Office spent the day helping EPCC celebrate diversity by providing 28 of the 33 countries represented at their inaugural event.
Photo by David Crozier, USASMA
Master Sgt. Siim Vark of Estonia talks to a group of Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadets from Irving High School Saturday, about his country’s customs, traditions and history during the inaugural EPCC International Festival and Cultural Bowl. Members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 International students along with representatives from the Academy’s International Military Student Office spent the day helping EPCC celebrate diversity by providing 28 of the 33 countries represented at their inaugural event.

to each station to have it stamped and to meet with the different cultures. As attendees made their way through the numerous information booths to get their passport stamped they were entertained by various dance and musical groups who performed on the main stage and further cemented the theme of the Spirit of Diversity.The event expected to attract more than 400 people throughout the day.

Academy embraces holiday spirit with 12 Days of USASMA

The students and families of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 joined forces with the Staff, Faculty and families of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy to celebrate the holiday season Ultima-style with the 12 Days of USASMA.

The Fort Bliss Bell Choir entertains the USASMA family during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA. The bell choir has been a staple of the Academy’s holidays events for several years and are always well received.
The Fort Bliss Bell Choir entertains the USASMA family during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA. The bell choir has been a staple of the Academy’s holidays events for several years and are always well received.

The annual event began on Dec. 4 with the International Holiday Celebration and tree lighting ceremony which attendees were treated to a musical compilation from the Fort Bliss Hand Bell Choir, and songs of the season from the USASMA Carolers and Word of Life Combined Choir. Attendees also learned a bit of Christmas culture from abroad with presentations of how Christmas is celebrated in Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. Following the opening ceremony Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant, brought everyone outside for the lighting of the Academy’s Christmas Tree.

Surrounded by children, Malloy commenced the countdown and within seconds The 12 Days of USASMA were officially in full gear to include the introduction of Santa with candy canes for the children.

“One of the biggest reasons why we do the 12 Days of USASMA is because one of the most important assets the Army has, and which leads to a lot of our success, is the families,” Malloy said. So when you look at the holiday season, especially around the Christmas events, we leverage the opportunity to do different things for the families. You have the 12 days of Christmas so we just changed it upon a little bit to the 12 days of USASMA and have events so that we could open up a broad window on the calendar for families to come out and participate in various scheduled events as their schedules allowed.”

The Sergeants Major Course Class 64 Carolers entertains the crowd with some Christmas favorites during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA.
The Sergeants Major Course Class 64 Carolers entertains the crowd with some Christmas favorites during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA.

Each night from Dec. 4 through Dec. 13, weekend not included, the Academy planned different activities for the families that included pictures with Santa; movie nights with pajama contests, popcorn, hot cocoa; the reading of the “Night before Christmas;” a Magic show; Holiday Treat night featuring foods from around the world; and the Bus tour of Holiday Lights which culminated with a stop at Fred Loya’s holiday of lights spectacular in East El Paso.

“One of our strongest supporters year after year has been Fred Loya and the Christmas light show that he puts on. It really sends a strong message and sets the example for what it means to give,” Malloy said. “He starts setting up his lights in August and it is an absolutely first-class professional event. Then on a Wednesday and Thursday night each year he opens up his home for special sessions for the Sergeants Major Academy and their families. This year we took about eight bus loads of families over to see his light show. Absolutely a first class event and is really one of the highlights of what we do during the 12 days of USASMA. “

The event was the culmination of planning from the entire Academy, Malloy said, and is just another example of Team Ultima and how it does business.

USASMA families get a close up look at the festival of lights on the property of Fred Loya during the Bus Tour of Holiday Lights portion of the 12 Days of USASMA. Each year Fred Loya puts on two special shows exclusively for USASMA and its family members.
USASMA families get a close up look at the festival of lights on the property of Fred Loya during the Bus Tour of Holiday Lights portion of the 12 Days of USASMA. Each year Fred Loya puts on two special shows exclusively for USASMA and its family members.

“Between the entire Academy, each one of them took a portion of the 12 Days of USASMA and worked it. The students of Class 64 did a phenomenal job with the opening ceremonies and all of the events associated with that all the way up to the closing events with the international students lead by the international military student office. The Staff and Faculty directorate as well as the Sergeants Major Course and the Fort Bliss NCO Academy did an amazing job on the 12 Days of USASMA. It was a huge success.”

Hunting the Good Stuff – Class 64 students earn Master Resilience Trainer identifier

Class 64 students gather in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center on Day 1 of the Master Resilience Trainer Course taught by members of the Fort Bliss Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Training Center. Class 64 is the first class that will graduate from the Academy with the MRT additional skill identifier of 8R.
Class 64 students gather in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center on Day 1 of the Master Resilience Trainer Course taught by members of the Fort Bliss Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Training Center. Class 64 is the first class that will graduate from the Academy with the MRT additional skill identifier of 8R.

Noted American novelist Richard Bach said, “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.” In other words, there is good and bad in every situation or event, it just depends upon your point of view.

Understanding those differing points of view and how individuals face and cope with “adversity, adapt to change, recover, and learn to grow from setbacks” has been an Army focus since the establishment of the Ready and Resilient Campaign and the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program in 2008. Through CSF2 the Army seeks to “increase the resilience and enhance the performance of Soldiers, their families and Army civilians.” Included in CSF2 is Master Resilience Training where individuals are trained to teach proven resilience skills to Soldiers in order to enhance their performance and increase resiliency, both individually and collectively – “being Army Strong is about much more than being physically fit; it is about mental and emotional strength, as well.”

At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, resiliency training began about three years ago when one of the cadre attended the MRT Course taught at the University of Pennsylvania and came back to USASMA and developed a program of instruction for students attending the Sergeants Major Course.

“Ramzy Noel (one of the senior instructors of the Sergeants Major Course) had heard of this and got involved in and he piloted a program here to teach [MRT] at the academy,” said Mike Hayes, senior instructor in the Department of Command Leadership. “He got it blessed off on by [the] director of the Sergeants Major Course, and he taught an abbreviated version of the class in the auditorium to the [sergeants major course students].

Hayes soon followed Noel’s footsteps and attended the University of Pennsylvania training and joined Noel in teaching the class. Last year the Sergeants Major Course reorganized into new departments and the responsibility for the course fell strictly on Hayes to manage. That is about the time, Hayes explained, when the leadership of the Army’s CFS2 program came to USASMA and gave a brief to sergeants major course students about the program. From there, an agreement was reached where individuals from the Fort Bliss Comprehensive Soldiers and Family Fitness Training Center would take on the duties of teaching the course and the students would graduate from it with the additional skill qualifier of 8R – they could now teach the course themselves instead of just knowing about the course.

“It enhanced the quality of training and all the sergeants major will be level ones (Level I) upon graduation, Hayes said. “The intent behind it was to get a lot more senior level, senior NCO, involvement in the program. Some units had programs in place but they weren’t really going after things. So leadership felt that if they had more believers at the senior level, more would get involved and then the programs would get better.”

With the agreement in place between USASMA and CSF2, instructors from the Fort Bliss center began teaching the 10-day course to the students of Sergeants Major Course Class 64. As the SMC is broken down into five departments and five semesters, the MRT course is taught at the beginning of each semester as each group rotates into the Command Leadership phase of the course. The course itself consists of lectures in the auditorium and small group instruction and interaction in the classroom.

In the group rooms students use the skills they have learn to walk through scenarios that get progressively more complicated. Above, a student leads a discussion on an activating event, the thoughts that accompanied the event which eventually led to consequences - actions based on those thoughts.
In the group rooms students use the skills they have learn to walk through scenarios that get progressively more complicated. Above, a student leads a discussion on an activating event, the thoughts that accompanied the event which eventually led to consequences – actions based on those thoughts.

“The overall mechanics of the program is typically they get information in the large group setting where they learn a skill or a component of a skill, a theory behind something that works, and then the real work is when they go to the small group room with an assistant primary instructor and some facilitators and we ask them to actually use the skill or theory they just learned,” said Dr. Erin Towner, Psy D, Master Resilience Trainer/Performance Expert and primary instructor for the course. “Here is this skill, now walk through it; this is how your MRT is trained to do it; try it for yourself. After they get their feet wet with the skill, all the skills are worked through with a partner, and then we work in the small group rooms debriefing the skill, talking about what we learned in doing the exercise and a lot about application – how do you use this or see this being used.”

Sgt. 1st Class David Parish, a Level IV MRT instructor and assistant primary instructor with the 5th Armored Brigade, 1st Armored Division, said the intent is to educate senior leaders as to what it is an MRT does so it can be better utilized in the field.

“The overarching goal of teaching sergeants major students the program and actually walking them through the entire program is designed to give them a deeper understanding of what an MRT is,” he said. “[It’s] also to show them how they can use their MRT as a force multiplier; how they can use their MRT more effectively in their units; and what their MRT’s left and right limits actually are.”

Parish said the latter part is significant because MRTs in the field have been asked to do things that actually aren’t in an MRT’s realm or scope. He added leadership has heard reports back from Soldiers who have been asked to be like a triage for their unit – to decide whether or not somebody needs to go to mental health.

“We are not training in a two-week period to be clinical psychologists. We are not giving anyone a PhD in clinical psychology,” he said. “So leaders need to understand things like you still have those outside resources that you need to reach for [that are outside an MRT’s scope].”

Parish said that MRT is based on science and is intended to give Soldiers skills to cope with things before they happen as well as give them life skills for everyday living.

“Resilience is a skill. Resilience skills are really designed for before an event occurs in your life. So before a traumatic event happens, before life just slaps you in the face,” Parish said. “These are the skills we want you to know beforehand.”

He added, MRT is not trying to teach anybody a set of skills for after an event has already occurred.

MRTcompetencies“Say you are suffering from a disorder like PTSD,” he said.  “We are not teaching you these skills to treat your PTSD, we are teaching you these skills to treat your life and how you would use these skills for long term and hopefully reduce or eliminate the PTSD before it happens.”

MRT training is broken down into four modules of instruction, Dr. Towner said.

“The first module is foundations. It contains foundational components about resilience, performance enhancement and the six competencies that build resilience and performance,” she said. “We also teach them the skills of energy management and goal setting”

Module two she said is the longest module and is focused on building mental toughness.

“That is a lot of cognitive behavioral skills, the basic skills like the Army saying, ‘Suck it up and drive on,’” she said. “Knowing these skills; this is how you do that; telling somebody to get over something, or how do they get over something? This is the way, and there are very specific set of skills to use in certain types of situations to develop those competencies we talk about.”

In Module three the students learn about strength of character.

“The students take an assessment and they get a rank order of their strengths,” Dr. Towner said. “Then we have a lot of conversations about how have you used these strengths, where has this gotten you, how do you find this in your Soldiers, and how are you going to leverage this in your Soldiers? That module is an entire day.”

Module four is all about communication, she said. From there they move on to looking at scenarios.

“They have learned all these skills and then we give them a scenario and then ask them what skills make sense to work this scenario,” she said. “We ask them how should they be working with this Soldier and the scenario gets progressively more complicated and [it forces them] to see what other assets and resources you can use on post to help this Soldier – what other assets are available.”

Towner said it is all aimed at setting them up for success before the “stuff” happens.

The students of Class 64 who took the course in the first semester agree.

“Up until I came here and I took the MRT course, I knew very little of it,” said Master Sgt. Juan Pena who was a brigade operations sergeant major with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. before attending the Sergeants Major Course. “When you are talking resiliency it’s about people’s feelings and emotions and how they are able to handle and cope with different situations. It has just been through my experience that I have been able to help soldiers out with their situations, shortcomings and shortfalls. However, the MRT course gave me a whole different insight on how to problem solve, look at better ways of doing things and also how to be more positive each and every day. This is probably one of the most beneficial training exercises or training event that I have ever been involved in.”

Master Sgt. Clay Usie who was a senior military instructor at Louisiana State University and a 1st Sgt. with the 75th Ranger Regiment, before coming to USASMA, said that he had used and taught resiliency as soon as the Army stood up the CSF2 program on Fort Benning, Ga.

“My battalion commander became a big fan of it and we started sending all of our senior instructors for the ranger assessment and selection program and we started teaching resiliency training within the program,” he said. “I think it complemented what we were doing. I don’t have the statistics right off hand but we have shown an increased accession rate since we implemented MRT.”

Throughout the course students are taught about MRT competencies of self awareness, self regulation, optimism, mental agility, strengths of character and connection. They learn about thinking traps, activating events, icebergs (personal beliefs and values), problem solving, and putting things in perspective, mental games, real time resilience, communication tools, and how to hunt for the good stuff.  The course also shows the students how to conduct pre-deployment training, post-deployment training, teach energy management and goal setting.

The expectation from the Sergeants Major Course students going forward, Hayes explained, is not to go out and teach the course, but to use the knowledge they have gained to ensure the program is working out in the field.

“Now you know what right looks like, you know what the program consists of. You know what the skills are and you know what the requirements are. So when you get to your unit as an S3 sergeant major and your commander says ‘what is the status of my MRT program?’ You can go down and see how they are doing it [with the knowledge of how it is supposed to be done],” Hayes said. “We tell the students to make sure that it is alive and vibrant in your organizations, that you are meeting Army requirements for pre-deployment and post-deployment and that the quarterly training requirements are being met. The second thing is make sure it is good quality. Make sure your programs are teaching quality. If you have good quality and you get involved in the training it is going to stick more.”

Although the Academy is the only place where students are taught the entire Level I course and receive certification, Parish said that parts of MRT is taught at all levels of Army training from basic training to the Advanced Leaders Course.

 

 

Pritchard assumes duties as USASMA’s deputy commandant

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held a change of responsibility and retirement ceremony Nov. 7, when Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt relinquished his duties as deputy commandant to Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Prichard in the academy Cooper Lecture Center. Immediately following the change of responsibility, the academy held a retirement ceremony for Weygandt.

Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard holds onto the Halberd after receiving it from Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy commandant, as a symbol of his assumption of responsibility as the deputy commandant of the Academy in ceremonies Nov. 7 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. In the earliest of times Infantrymen armed with pikes and halberds proved a powerful force. The Halberd could be used as a spear to impale a combatant, as an axe to hack the enemy, or as a hook to grapple a rider from his horse. The metal covered “butt point” allowed the weapon to be placed in the ground as a marker. In 1755, the Virginia Act “for the better regulating and training of the militia required” NCOs to be armed with the cutting sword and the Halberd. In camp, the sergeant would stake his halberd in front of his tent so he could be easily located by his officers and men.
Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard holds onto the Halberd after receiving it from Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy commandant, as a symbol of his assumption of responsibility as the deputy commandant of the Academy in ceremonies Nov. 7 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. In the earliest of times Infantrymen armed with pikes and halberds proved a powerful force. The Halberd could be used as a spear to impale a combatant, as an axe to hack the enemy, or as a hook to grapple a rider from his horse. The metal covered “butt point” allowed the weapon to be placed in the ground as a marker. In 1755, the Virginia Act “for the better regulating and training of the militia required” NCOs to be armed with the cutting sword and the Halberd. In camp, the sergeant would stake his halberd in front of his tent so he could be easily located by his officers and men.

Command Sgt. Major Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant, presided over both ceremonies and gave remarks after the passing of the Halberd and retirement ceremony.

“We were privileged to witness the changing of the guard [today] where sergeant major Weygandt relinquished the responsibility of the deputy commandant over to command sergeant major Joe Pritchard,” Malloy said.  “The one thing the Army has which is definitely constant is change. You can’t stop it from happening and today marks another of those moments.”

Malloy recounted Weygandt’s career in the Army and then turned his attention to his service to the Academy.

“He has led many efforts at the academy. He created the commandants pre-command course and updated the spouse leadership development course,” Malloy said. “He was instrumental in working with the joint community and worked very hard with the Army staff to bring to life the 22-day Warrior Leader Course as well as the new Sergeants Major Course and helped to reorganize the entire command structure at the academy. Thank you for all you have done, not only hear but over your 25 years in the Army.”

Malloy then turned his attention to Pritchard, the incoming deputy commandant.

“Just with all great units we pass the mantle from one leader to another and today we do so with Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Pritchard,” he said. “He is the right person to serve as the deputy commandant as he has the right background and experience to make this Academy and our Army very successful. Welcome to our team it is going to be a great ride and you are going to enjoy it. We are excited to serve with you as we continue to move this academy and our noncommissioned officer education system into the future.”

Following Malloy’s remarks, he turned the podium over to Weygandt who thanked all for attending the ceremony.

“You honor the Weygandt family with your presence today,” he said. “There is no other place where I would want to conclude my military service to this great nation and for that reason, today is truly a great day for this old Soldier. I could not have asked for a better culminating assignment than to serve here at USASMA. The future of the Army is in good hands [at USASMA]. ULTIMA strong this is Halberd 7 signing off the net.”

As the incoming deputy commandant, command sergeant major Pritchard kept his remarks short after thanking all who attended.

“It has been over 10 years since I was sitting her as a student in Class 54. A lot of things have changed, there is a lot to catch up on but Lori and I are up for the task to get it done,” he said. “As Lori and I go from ‘Aloha’ to ‘Howdy ya’ll,’ we are up for the task. We are ready to get it done. We could not think of a better place to serve, a place that gives back to the institution, to the future leaders of our Army.

“This institution is dynamic and very complex, but it is not about one. It is about all of us, a one team atmosphere getting it done. Because ultimately it is all about Army strong, giving back, so our strategic leaders are successful whenever it comes time for us to place ourselves in harm’s way and to win the battles to come – Halberd Strong, Army Strong.”

From the Commandant

CSM Rory Malloy
CSM Rory Malloy

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind at USASMA. We graduated and said farewell to Class 63, held a Black and Gold ceremony handing out some 185 degrees, hosted the chief of staff of the Army and the SMA, recognized the spouses and our international students, and inducted three great International NCOs into the Hall of Fame. Then we were able to take a knee, so to say, and get some needed summer vacations in and process the year that had been.

But it wasn’t all sit back, relax and wait for Class 64 to arrive. The cadre and staff of USASMA continued their work behind the scenes ensuring the in-processing of Class 64 would go smoothly, putting the finishing touches on the new curriculum, and continuing their efforts on all of the other NCOES courses and training products we are responsible for. In this bulletin we will explain some of the work we are doing to prepare command sergeants major to be a commandant of an NCO Academy. One would think it is relatively easy, but the task of being a commandant is unique – you’re a command sergeant major, but you are also a commander with limited command authority. That is not a typical role for a sergeant major and there are some challenges that need to be taken into consideration when being selected to lead an academy.

Something else we have been busy doing at USASMA is creating a venue for you to give us direct feedback on issues that appear in this bulletin. David Crozier, our command communications guy, has been working hard on developing our presence on DoD Live, a blog site that lets us not only use it like a website but it also allows the directors of the different departments to keep you updated on important changes and to seek feedback from the field. We hope this will become like a virtual critical task selection board or a process action team where input is received from all over the Army as to what is needed to be trained in our courses.  That site is located at http://ncolcoe.armylive.dodlive.mil/ and already has some great articles and information posted. One caveat though, like most blog sites there is a comment period — 30 days — and after that time, comments are closed. Comments are also controlled by an administrator so no one person can take over the threaded discussions. That being said, we urge everyone to visit the site often, give us feedback and help us move our NCO Education System forward as we support NCO 2020.

In August we welcomed the 526 students and family members who make up Class 64 of the Sergeants Major Course. I can tell you that what I have seen already from these great NCOs, it is going to be a banner year. We also welcomed the first international student from the Ukraine. He along with the other 39 international students bring a unique perspective to our academy.

Class 64 is going to have some challenges that the last class didn’t — closed book tests is probably the biggest. The Class is also being trained and certified on master resiliency and will graduate with the MOS modifier. Another first for this class is that they will participate in PT as a group and were given an APFT test at the very beginning of class start. We are serious about fitness and setting the standard for those to follow and failure to maintain said standards is grounds for removal from the Sergeants Major Course. As of this bulletin, there have been 4 students dropped from the course for failure to meet the fitness standards and 6 students were dismissed from the course due to profiles which prevented them from taking the APFT. The biggest PT challenge for students coming to the Academy is the fact that El Paso sits at an elevation of 3,800 feet. So a word to the wise for Class 65 selectees — get in shape now.

Until our next bulletin.

Ultima!

CSM Rory Malloy

Commandant, USASMA

USASMA welcomes Class 64

DSC_3487

With memories of Class 63 still fresh, the staff and faculty of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy had very little down time to rest up before welcoming in a new batch of senior noncommissioned officers and their families.

The initial onslaught of arrivals to the academy began even before Class 63 graduated. Several students arrived early to be sponsors and mentors to the 38 Class 64 international students who were taking part in the international pre-course, a 10-week course designed to help prepare them for the rigors of the Sergeants Major Course. Mike Huffman, director of the International Military Student Office, said this year’s pre-course was more robust than in years past.

“This was the longest amount of time the international students have had to prepare for the sergeants major course. We did a lot of preparation teaching the American Psychological Association –APA – style of documentation for their essays,” he said. “The students were given in-depth blocks of instruction on exactly how the instructors will be grading their research papers. So they will be able to write them with some confidence.”

Huffman also alluded to the newest and possibly biggest challenge that not only the international students, but all students, will face this year – closed book testing.

“This is the first year of closed book testing, so that is going to be a challenge for the Sergeants Major Course,” he said.

 

In-processing_DBC6128

While the international students were navigating the pre-course, their sponsors, when not helping their international partners, were kept busy helping the cadre prepare for the arrival of the rest of Class 64. On August 7, USASMA welcomed the remaining infusion of students. Coming in from all around the Army, more than 300 Soldiers descended upon the Academy to begin Day 1 of in-processing, marking the beginning of their 10-month long educational experience.

“We are doing four briefs along with the Post Relocation Fair which will happen later on today at the Centennial Club on Fort Bliss,” said 1st Sgt. Zachary Smith, first sergeant of the Sergeants Major Course. “Then tomorrow the students will conduct in-processing with Finance and then complete their Fort Bliss and academy in-processing on Thursday and Friday.”

On Day 1 the students received their group room assignments along with what department they would be in and where they were actually starting the course. On the last day of in-processing, the students and their families were treated to a BBQ-style icebreaker complete with hot dogs, chips and sodas, a DJ and jumping balloons for the children to let loose some energy.

“Today we are bringing the students and their families here for this icebreaker to set the tone for a great year,” Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Coleman, director of the Sergeants Major Course said.  “We want to let them know that their families are welcome and it is a time to not only get engaged into school, but it is a time for the families to come together and enjoy this year with them. “

Coleman said the picnic-style icebreaker came about naturally because it is summer, still warm, and the weather accommodates it, but more so because a lot of these students have come off deployments and missions and haven’t had these opportunities to bring their families together for an event like this.

 

The welcoming continuesice7

The next two weeks saw the students attending mandatory briefings and training, as well as unpacking household goods and getting their children ready for the new school year. With so much going on during the day, the Academy set aside a couple of evenings to properly welcome the spouses and give them some much needed information and support.

The first evening was dedicated to the international spouses and was hosted by the IMSO in true Texas fashion.

Mike Huffman, IMSO director, welcomed the students and their family members, but not before each learned the Texas way of greeting one another. The group was informed that everything in Texas is bigger, including the welcome and all were mentored in saying, “Yee Haw” and “Howdy Partner.”

Huffman, with the assistance of Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, deputy commandant and Mrs. Deborah Malloy, spouse of USASMA commandant Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, introduced the international spouses to key members of the academy staff and were encouraged to participate in the English as a Second Language course, the spouse leadership development course and to explore the El Paso community.

The next evening get together focused on all of the spouses of Class 64 and was hosted by Weygandt, Coleman and Mrs. Malloy. The spouses were shown a breakdown of the school year and how their Soldier would be affected, as well as given a calendar of important events and holidays. The spouses were also provided a full briefing on the ULTIMA family readiness group and the Spouse Leadership Development Course. During each of the presentations the cadre opened it up to questions and concerns from the spouses.

With all of the orientations complete, it was time to start the academic year with some pomp and circumstance.

USASMA inducts three into Hall of Honor_DBC6689

The United States Army Sergeants Major Academy recognized the singular and cumulative achievements of three former sergeants major that have made significant contributions to the Academy and the Noncommissioned Officer Education System in a ceremony held Aug. 23 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant hosted the ceremony and spoke about each of the inductees — Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeffery Colimon, former TRADOC deputy chief of staff for Education; Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Danny R. Hubbard, former Academy director of Doctrine and Training and former TRADOC G3/5/7 sergeant major; and Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeffery Wells former TRADOC G3/5/7 sergeant major and HQDA G3/5/7 sergeant major.

“This year we have the great honor of inducting three great Americans into the history books as members of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy Hall of Honor. They join the likes of great leaders such as Gen. [Ralph] Haines who is known as the father of our sergeants major academy and the establishment of our noncommissioned officer education system for his vision professionalized our NCO corps,” Malloy said. “Also amongst the ranks includes our first command sergeant major for the Academy, Sgt. Maj. of the Army William Bainbridge, as well as a former chief of staff of the Army, Gen, Gordon Sullivan one of the most passionate leaders to serve our NCO corps.”

Malloy said that each of this year’s inductees shared a theme in that each was instrumental in the development of the Warrior Leaders Course, the creation of Structured Self-Development, the use of distance learning as well as video teletraining to further the education of noncommissioned officers.

While Colimon and Hubbard could not be at the ceremony, both recorded video acceptance speeches thanking the Academy for the recognition. Present to accept his plaque and take part in the ceremony, Wells gave a gracious acceptance speech.

“Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I ever dream that I would be standing here being inducted into something like this in front of my peers. So I share with you that it is an honor to be here,” Wells said. “When I talk about the NCO corps and education it was all about the corps. It was never about me and it can never be about you. It has to be about those in which you are going to lead. The legacy that you will leave behind is supposed to be an honor to the true corps.”

SMA welcomes Class 64, challenges them to excel

With the pomp completed, it was now time for the circumstance — the opening ceremonies for Class 64.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy began its 64th iteration of the Sergeants Major Course August 23 welcoming in the 526 students who comprise the class during opening ceremonies in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. On hand to mark the event was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, the 14th sergeant major of the Army, who was the guest speaker.

“It is quite an honor to be here and I want to offer you my congratulations to everyone who is in this auditorium. It has taken you a great deal of work and service and sacrifice to be here and I would like you to reflect on that; on who helped you along the way to be in the position that you are today – sitting in a seat amongst 526 or so of your peers – and to understand that there were a whole lot of others, I believe it was about 78 percent or so, that were not selected to be in one of these seats,” Chandler said. “That means something about you and your commitment, your character, your competence, your professionalism and your support to your nation, whether you are part of the United States armed forces or one of our partner nations that is here today. Congratulations it really means something.”

Chandler challenged the students to seize the opportunity and to understand that the Army of tomorrow is in their hands.

“We are at a crossroads right now and what I would like everyone to understand is that we are in the process of reducing the size of the Army and there are so many unknowns out there we are not sure where the bottom is going to be. What I would ask you to do is while you are here, is understand that you are here to be the leader of the future and that your leap from organizational leadership to strategic level leadership is one that is going to be predicated on your commitment to what this course provides,” he said. “You are going to have to lead the army into the future. You are going to have to decide what type of army you want, because it is going to be on your shoulders.”

Chandler also challenged Class 64 to be the kind of leader that keeps the trust and ensures it is about the NCO Corps and the future of the corps.

“You represent every other NCO in the Army. Remember who you are and why you are here and understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity … to learn something and carry our Army into the future,” Chandler said. “Take a few minutes and reflect on the privilege of being here and be a part of a team and learn together and you will come out on the other side a much better well-rounded individual, sergeant major. We need you in the future. We need you to continue to move the NCO corps’ reputation and attitude of let’s get it done, let’s solve the problem, into the future.”

USASMA celebrates Women’s Equality Day

_DBC6890The United States Army Sergeants Major Academy officially recognized Women’s Equality Day Aug. 26 with a ceremony produced by members of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center.

_DBC6900Using a small table placed in the middle of the auditorium stage and a makeshift voting ballot box, Class 64observance committee took the audience on an historical tour of the Women’s Suffrage movement and the passing of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. One-by-one, a short bio was read aloud on the accomplishments of noted persons involved in the civil rights movement which concluded with the question, “Who am I?” Those revealed included: Susan B. Anthony, who co-founded the American Equal Rights Association among other things; Gerrit Smith, a social reformer, abolitionist and politician who played a leading role in the anti-slavery campaign; Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was the president of the National Women’s Suffrage Movement for more than 20 years; Lucy Stone the first women to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Massachusetts and co-founder of the American Women Suffrage Association; Alice Paul who co-founded the National Women’s Party; and Ida B. Wells, the daughter of slaves, who was a journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist and sociologist and who established several notable women’s organizations.

The final “Who am I” introduced the audience to the guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Evelyn Hollis — a woman who was born and raised in Tuskegee, Ala., took basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. and then advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, S.C., where she learned her craft as an administrative specialist. She later retrained into the combat arms career management field and before she retired after 28 years of service became the first female in the Army to assume a leadership role as a command sergeant major of a combat arms unit.
Hollis outlined the history of the movement which led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 noting it was a story that should inspire women today to continue the push for equality for all.
_DBC6915“[Elizabeth Stanton] Cady summed up just how hard the fight had been – 56 referendums, 480 efforts to get state legislators to submit suffrage amendments, 277 campaigns to get state party conventions to include women suffrage points, 47 campaigns to get state constitutional conventions to write women suffrage into state constitutions, 30 campaigns to get presidential party conventions to adopt women’s suffrage and 19 successive campaigns with 19 successive congresses,” Hollis said. “Realize that women not only won the right to vote in 1920, they also won the right to hold public office. Recently women have begun to vote in larger numbers than men. Still as I speak today, women are just 18 percent of the representatives in congress, and only 20 percent of our senators. Generations have worked to secure these political rights for us.
“Now it is our turn to use them wisely and to further equality for women in other areas as well. Like Rosie the riveter with her strong arm flexed, let’s have our motto be ‘We can do it.’ Let’s do all we can for full political, social and economic equality for everyone and settle for nothing less.”
Following Hollis’ remarks, Malloy addressed the audience with a message that looked at the Army and the decision to open up combat specialties to women.
“As a father with a daughter and a son, one thing that every parent would like to have, I am sure regardless of which nation you are from, is that your children would have the same opportunities and the same rights that any other person would have to be successful no matter what they choose to do,” he said. “So as we continue to work and improve what was started so many years ago, what we have to do as leaders is to open our minds, take the blinders off, and embrace the change which lies before us in allowing our female Soldiers and warriors to serve in any position that is open to them in the Army.”
While attending the Sergeants Major Course students are involved in marking numerous heritage events with special observances that are planned and executed through the different committees. Students assign up for committees at the beginning of each course iteration. Besides the heritage observances, students also volunteer thousands of hours in the local community working on community projects, mentoring school children and participating in community events.
_DBC6940

USASMA inducts three into Hall of Honor

_DBC6689The United States Army Sergeants Major Academy recognized the singular and cumulative achievements of three former sergeants majors who have made significant contributions to the Academy and the Noncommissioned Officer Education System in a ceremony held Aug. 23 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant hosted the ceremony and spoke about each of the inductees — Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeffery Colimon, former TRADOC deputy chief of staff for Education; Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Danny R. Hubbard, former Academy director of Training and Doctrine and former TRADOC G3/5/7 sergeant major; and Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeffery Wells former TRADOC G3/5/7sergeant major and HQDA G3/5/7 sergeant major.

Hall of Honor inductee Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeff Colimon
Hall of Honor inductee Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeff Colimon

“This year we have the great honor of inducting three great Americans into the history books as members of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy Hall of Honor. They join the likes of great leaders such as Gen. [Ralph] Haines who is known as the father of our sergeants major academy and the establishment of our noncommissioned officer education system for his vision professionalized our NCO corps,” Malloy said. “Also amongst the ranks includes our first command sergeant major for the Academy, Sgt. Maj. of the Army William Bainbridge, as well as a former chief of staff of the Army, Gen, Gordon Sullivan one of the most passionate leaders to serve our NCO corps.”

Malloy said that each of this year’s inductees shared a theme in that each was instrumental in the development of the Warrior Leaders Course, the creation of Structured Self Development, the use of distance learning as well as video teletraining to further the education of noncommissioned officers.

Hall of Honor inductee Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Dan Hubbard
Hall of Honor inductee Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Dan Hubbard

“Sergeant major Wells recently served as the Army G3 sergeant major and prior to that he was the TRADOC G3/5/7 sergeant major.  His vision of transforming the NCOES to the one Army school system has provided us the opportunity to leverage assets across our entire Army to better train our NCOs under one program of instruction and none standard regardless of the component or the NCO academy to which they attended,”Malloy said. “Sergeant major Colimon, our second inductee is yet another great leader with the drive and the vision to transform our NCO Corps and Army well into the 21st century. He believes that every Soldier from the time they enter our Army until they return back to civilian life, should have the opportunity to earn a degree from a college or university of their choice. His vision convinced universities they could leverage a Soldier’s experience and training into their degree programs in order to produce a better educated college graduate.

“Sergeant major Hubbard’s career was nothing less than impressive. Always graduating at the top every class and every course in which he attended, as well as being selected as the United States Army drill sergeant of the year. He championed the use of video teletraining concept which is still in use today by our battle staff course enabling the academy to deliver the course to 24 stations around the globe live from this academy. It is my honor that we induct three great leaders into the USASMA Hall of Honor.”

Following Malloy’s remarks, each inductee’s full bio was read aloud before their plaques were revealed for all to see. Because of budget constraints Colimon and Hubbard were unable to attend in person, but both videotaped acceptance speeches that were played to the crowd.

Hall off Honor inductee Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeff Wells
Hall off Honor inductee Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeff Wells

“I am deeply honored to stand before you today as a recipient of this illustrious award,” Colimon said. “I would like to express my appreciation not only for this award, but for the opportunity to shape the professional development of Soldiers. I recognize that it is a privilege to support the NCO corps and its pursuit of lifelong learning.” “It is truly a humbling experience and an honor to be inducted into the hall of honor and to join the distinguished list of folks who have been selected and placed into the hall before,” said Hubbard. This is not something I was expecting and it truly is humbling. … I think that NCO education and the development of NCOs in general is very important to the future success of the Army.”

“Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I ever dream that I would be standing here being inducted into something like this in front of my peers. So I share with you that it is an honor to be here,” Wells said. “When I talk about the NCO corps and education it was all about the corps. It was never about me and it can never be about you. It has to be about those in which you are going to lead. The legacy that you will leave behind is supposed to be an honor to the true corps.”

Following the remarks by Wells, the official party moved out to the Hall of Honor where Wells was assisted by former commandant, Lt. Col (Ret) John Kirby; former deputy commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Rick Rosen; current deputy commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt; commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy; and the 14th Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, in the unveiling of the wall plaques amongst the 23 others who were inducted in prior years.

Class 64 begins instructional year

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held the opeining ceremonies for Class 64 of the Sergeants Major Course August 23 in the Academy's Cooper Lecture Center. On hand to be the guest speaker was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, the 14th sergeant major of the Army. Class 64 consists of 526 students from the active Army, Army National Guard and Reserve, the U.S. Air Force, The U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps and 39 international students from 22 partner nations.
The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held the opeining ceremonies for Class 64 of the Sergeants Major Course August 23 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. On hand to be the guest speaker was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, the 14th sergeant major of the Army. Class 64 consists of 526 students from the active Army, Army National Guard and Reserve, the U.S. Air Force, The U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps and 39 international students from 22 partner nations.

By David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy began its 64th iteration of the Sergeants Major Course August 23 welcoming in the 526 students who comprise the class during opening ceremonies in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. On hand to mark the event was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, the 14th sergeant major of the Army, who was the guest speaker.

After recognizing the students who make up Class 64, — 419 Active Component, 10 Army National Guard, 47 Army Reserve, two U.S. Air Force, three U.S. Coast Guard, six U.S. Marine Corps and 39 International students from 28 partner countries — Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASAMA’s commandant, gave a brief welcome.

“Congratulations on your selection and attendance to the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy,” he said. “Over the next 9 ½ months, as you complete your education and your training, embrace the opportunity in which you have and leverage the time you have been given to develop yourself.”

Malloy then introduced Chandler to the Class who not only gave remarks, but opened it up to a 30-minute question and answer session.

“I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who is in this auditorium. It has taken you a great deal of work, service and sacrifice to be here and I would like you to reflect on that,” he said. “Reflect on who helped you along the way to be in the position that you are today — sitting in a seat amongst 526 or so of your peers —and to understand that there were a whole lot of others, about 78 percent or so, that were not selected to be in one of these seats.”

Chandler challenged the students to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy El Paso and the community, heal emotionally and physically, reconnect with their families and to focus on learning as much as they can because the Army of the future is in their hands.

Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy commandant, addresses the crowd during the 2013 Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony. The Academy formally recognized the accomplishments and contributions of Sgt. Maj. (ret) Jeffery Colimon, Sgt. Maj. (ret) Danny Hubbard and Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Wells in improving the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. The inductees join the 36 other fellow honorees.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy commandant, addresses the crowd during the 2013 Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony. The Academy formally recognized the accomplishments and contributions of Sgt. Maj. (ret) Jeffery Colimon, Sgt. Maj. (ret) Danny Hubbard and Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Wells in improving the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. The inductees join the 36 other fellow honorees.

“We are at a crossroads right now and what I would like everyone to understand is that we are in the process of reducing the size of the Army and there are so many unknowns out there we are not sure where the bottom is going to be,” Chandler said. “What I would ask you to do is while you are here, understand that you are here to be the leader of the future and that your leap from organizational leadership to strategic level leadership is one that is going to be predicated on your commitment to what this course provides. You are going to have the Army in your hands and you are going to have to decide what type of Army you want, because it is going to be on your shoulders.”

Chandler also challenged Class 64 to be the kind of leader that keeps the trust and ensures it is about the NCO Corps and the future of the corps.

“You represent every other NCO in the Army. Remember who you are and why you are here and understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity … to learn something and carry our Army into the future,” Chandler said. “Take a few minutes and reflect on the privilege of being here and be a part of a team and learn together and you will come out on the other side a much better well-rounded individual, sergeant major. We need you in the future. We need you to continue to move the NCO corps reputation and attitude of let’s get it done, let’s solve the problem, into the future.”

The Army’s culminating enlisted Professional Military Education (PME) institution is the Sergeants Major Course. This course provides tools to develop critical reasoning, creative thinking and decision-making skills. Soldiers are provided an education that teaches them to enhance their character, self-expression, and strengthen teamwork abilities. The course assists in the development of logical, practical and original reasoning abilities necessary for problem solving. Students analyze problems based on available information, arrive at logical solutions and decisions with reasonable speed, communicate reasoning and decisions orally and in writing, and supervise to ensure proper execution. Intellectual honesty, integrity, and professional values and standards are highly stressed. The SMC contains a total of 1,484.7 instructional hours, and is also offered as a nonresident course which culminates with two weeks of resident instruction at the academy.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Acadmey held its opening ceremonies for Class 64 of the Sergeants Major Course Aug. 23 at the Academy's Cooper Lecture Center. The guest speaker for the event was the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army, Sergeant Major of the Army Rayomnd F. Chandler III. During the ceremony the Academy recognized the members of the sister services attending the course as well as the international students. Above, the 39 International students from 28 partner nations are recognized.
The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Acadmey held its opening ceremonies for Class 64 of the Sergeants Major Course Aug. 23 at the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. The guest speaker for the event was the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army, Sergeant Major of the Army Rayomnd F. Chandler III. During the ceremony the Academy recognized the members of the sister services attending the course as well as the international students. Above, the 39 International students from 28 partner nations are recognized.

Arnett assumes leadership of Fort Bliss NCO Academy

 

Photo by David Crozier, USASMA Command Sgt. Maj. Marion Arnett receives the NCO Academy colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, deputy commandant of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, during a change of responsibility ceremony Aug. 15 in the academy’s Cooper Lecture Center, while Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Forsyth looks on. The passing of the unit colors signifies the changing of responsibility from one commandant to the other and puts full faith and confidence in the ability to command with fairness and impartiality and to train and mentor and care for the welfare of the Soldiers.

Photo by David Crozier, USASMA

Command Sgt. Maj. Marion Arnett receives the NCO Academy colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, deputy commandant of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, during a change of responsibility ceremony Aug. 15 in the academy’s Cooper Lecture Center, while Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Forsyth looks on. The passing of the unit colors signifies the changing of responsibility from one commandant to the other and puts full faith and confidence in the ability to command with fairness and impartiality and to train and mentor and care for the welfare of the Soldiers.

The Fort Bliss Noncommissioned Officer Academy changed leadership Aug. 15 as Command Sgt. Maj. Marion Arnett assumed the responsibility as the commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Forsyth during a change of responsibility ceremony held at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, USASMA’s deputy commandant, presided over the change of responsibility and gave remarks after the unit colors were passed between the outgoing and incoming NCO Academy commandants.

“Today we are changing out the guard of one of the most challenging positions that an NCO could ever serve,” Weygandt said. “This is a position where command sergeants major are asked to demonstrate their incredible resolve and fortitude and step well outside their comfort zone to perform command-like duties; something that is unfamiliar and quite frankly uncomfortable for an NCO.”

Weygandt said the Army only selects the best to fill a commandant position and that it did right selecting Forsyth to serve for the past 3 years and also did right in selecting Arnett as his replacement.

“The Army did well when they picked sergeant major Forsyth to serve in this position.  He has held the torch of leadership for more than three years and has performed exceptionally well expanding the role of the NCO academy in so many ways,” he said. “His academy has served as the test bed for proponency-adaptive initiatives for the Warrior Leaders Course. This was critical in ensuring new curricula systems and outcomes were on point before USASMA released the final product to the Army. He has lived through the evolution of three different programs of instruction changes and is narrowly escaping the start of the next generation change. He even led the charge in earning the title of institution of excellence.”

In addressing Arnett and his family, Weygandt expressed the Army’s confidence in his ability to continue the path of excellence into the future.

“I am sure that the Army has got it right as we are looking forward to you picking up the reigns and continuing to strive for excellence in educating the next generation of NCO leadership for our Army,” he said. “Please take solace in knowing that you are coming into a great family and we are proud to have you as part of this great ULTIMA team.”

Following Weygandt’s comments, Forsyth and Arnett addressed the crowd.

“Six thousand two hundred and seventy nine students, 139 internationals, 37 months, 34 cycles, 33 Saturdays, 24 training holidays, 5 piloted concepts, three curriculum changes, two first sergeants, one triennial accreditation, and zero smoke breaks,” Forsyth said.  “My assignment as the commandant has been fast, furious, and truly rewarding. I thank the dedication and devotion of all members of the NCOA both past and present. I attribute [the academy’s] success not to any one individual, but to the culminating efforts of all assigned.”

Arnett said that he wanted to keep things very short when addressing the crowd and thanked all for attending. He particularly thanked Forsyth for the easy transition of authority and that he understands he has big shoes to fill.

“I can’t do it by myself. It is not a one man or one woman thing to do,” he said. “I believe in one team one fight, and I am looking forward to moving forward and picking up where sergeant major Forsyth left off. I have two words for you – by example.”

Arnett comes to USASMA from an assignment with the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. Forsyth will transition to USASMA’s Directorate of Training as he prepares for his retirement after 31 years of service.  Forsyth is also the longest serving commandant of the Fort Bliss NCO Academy.