SMA Course graduates 705 NCOs, 59 are international NCOs

SMA Course graduates 705 NCOs, 59 are international NCOs

Friday, August 3, 2018

Greetings from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), our Army’s association for education and professional development, and a major supporter of the Army’s Soldier for Life efforts.

The month of June 2018 marked a significant milestone in the history of NCO and soldier education as the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) effectively changed its name to the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence (NCOL CoE) on June 22, 2018.

USASMA was founded July 1, 1972, as a capstone, premier learning institution for senior enlisted leaders with Col. Carl Morton, commandant, and Command Sgt. Maj. William G. Bainbridge, Academy CSM, as the first leadership team.

For the past 46 years, USASMA and the NCO Education System experienced multiple changes and mission growth.

The Sergeants Major Course has evolved over the years, and now manages 27 different programs of record and missions in support of the NCO Professional Development System (NCOPDS) for NCO development.

The 705 senior noncommissioned officer graduates came from all three components of the Army, the United States Marine Corps, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, and 59 international students from 46 countries.

Over the years, USASMA transformed as needed to provide the Army and our nation world-renowned training and education leader development programs to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex, chaotic and uncertain world, and develop leaders who are fit, disciplined and well-educated professionals.

The NCOL CoE name is now reflective of the broader role and responsibilities supporting NCO professional development, while USASMA continues its original core mission of developing future sergeants major with the Sergeants Major resident, nonresident, Special Forces Senior Enlisted Academy, modified Sergeants Major nonresident Courses, the international military student pre-course (IMSPC), and the Spouses Leader Development Course (SLDC).

As of 1 March 2018, The NCOL CoE was officially aligned with Army University and the Combined Arms Command, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. and USASMA aligned under the CGSC for academic governance.

Today, when a soldier graduates from initial entry training (IET) or One Station Unit Training (OSUT), all are automatically enrolled in the distance learning course Structured Self-Development 1 (SSD I) which must be completed as a prerequisite to attending their first resident NCO PME course.

Coming soon, the Army will transition to a new transformed Distributed Leader Course 1 (DLC I) where the Army will enroll all soldiers when they reach the secondary zone for promotion to sergeant.

As the NCOL CoE develops and implements the six new levels of DLC, these courses will follow the same enrollment policy when soldiers reach the requisite zone of consideration for promotion for each rank.

The NCOL CoE is responsible for the analysis, design, development, delivery and evaluation of all leader core competency course curriculum for five levels of enlisted Professional Military Education (PME) from the Basic Leader Course through the Advanced Leader, Senior Leader, Master Leader, and the Sergeants Major Course.

The NCOL Coe contributes to the curriculum content for the Nominative Leader Course, executed at the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

For the first time ever, NCO leader development is sequentially and progressively linked across all five levels of NCO PME to provide focus on life-long learning throughout a leader’s career.

Additionally, the NCOL CoE includes in its many missions the Battle Staff NCO Course, Commandants Pre-Command Course, USASMA Fellowship program, Staff and Faculty Development, NCOPDS Program Management, Defense Enterprise Education Program, the African Military Education Program, and the Soldier’s Guide and NCO Guide, to name a few.

For more information about the NCOL CoE go to

The newly named NCOL CoE hosted the graduation ceremony for Class 68 of the 10-month United States Army Sergeants Major Course on June 22, 2018.

Class 68 began their quest last August 15, 2017, culminating on graduation day with 705 senior noncommissioned officer graduates from all three components of the Army, the United States Marine Corps, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, and 59 international students from 46 countries.

The guest speaker for the graduation was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey.

“Looking at the next generation of stewards for our profession, it’s a great day to be a soldier,” Dailey said.

Dailey added, “Special thanks to our international fellows, your participation in this cause symbolizes the commitment we have as nations as we partner around the world. The professionalism and creditability you bring to this course is invaluable.”

Each year the students of the Sergeants Major Course historically make significant contributions to the local community through their volunteer efforts.

David Jerome, CEO of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, unveiled and presented to the USASMA a class scroll listing the graduates of Class 68.

“The chamber represents business and we do that because business we believe is humanity’s single greatest creation for the generation of wealth, jobs and productivity in our communities,” said Jerome.

Jerome continued, “The chamber has 1,600 members,” adding, “to comment for all of them, how blessed we are as a nation to have individuals such as yourselves who are willing to stand up for all of us.”

Dailey congratulated the graduates of Class 68 on their accomplishments and provided some guidance and lessons learned through 30-years of service, saying; “this is just the beginning, a sergeant major, the pinnacle of our profession.”

Adding, “Your job is to lead soldiers and win. That’s what we do, and to do that, you have to ensure your soldiers are trained and ready to fight – fight and win our nation’s wars.”

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Dailey, Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, commandant NCOL CoE, and the USASMA leadership presented the student leadership of Class 68 their diplomas first, followed by eight special recognition awards.

The recipient of the Association of the U.S. Award for Military Writing was Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Farley, who most convincingly wrote on an item of military interest.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Troy Welch, AUSA’s director of NCO and Soldier Programs, center, and retired Sgt. Maj. Norma Helsham, left, present the AUSA Award for Military Writing to Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Farley. (Photo by Spc. James Seals)

The recipient of the U.S. Army Award for Excellence in Leadership was Sgt. Maj. Mark A. Halliburton, who displayed a strong positive attitude and a professional sense of urgency.

The recipient of the Army Historical Foundation Award for Military History was Sgt. Maj. Ross H. Eastman II, who produced the most thoroughly researched paper concerning an event in military history.

The recipient of the Halbert Physical Fitness Award was Sgt. Maj. Christine E. Selvin, who demonstrated the highest degree of physical excellence, motivation and professionalism.

The Gen. Ralph E. Haines Jr. Award for Research was presented to Sgt. Maj. Theresa R. Coble, who produced the most thoroughly researched paper concerning a contemporary issue facing the U.S. Military. Coble also served as the class public affairs officer.

The recipient of the Sgt. Maj. of the A4rmy William G. Bainbridge Ethics Award was Master Sgt. Scott Obergaywich, who wrote most convincingly about the professional military ethic as exemplified by the personal and professional qualities of the 5th SMA.

The recipient of the Col. Francis J. Kelly Counterinsurgency Writing Award was Sgt. Maj. Mark A. Millearity, who wrote the best 10-15-page paper, over the length of the course, reflective of all five departments as applied to counterinsurgency warfare.

The recipient of the International Student Excellence Award was Warrant Officer Class 1 (Sgt. Maj.) Craig Batty from Australia, who excelled above all others in field study program participation, academic achievement and essay presentation.

The Association of the United States Army congratulates all graduates of Class 68 on this monumental milestone in their careers and to wish them and their families the greatest success in the challenging assignments to follow.

Now more than ever America’s Army needs AUSA, and AUSA needs your membership support.

Membership is the volume knob to ensure your voice is amplified many times over and heard throughout the halls of Congress, from sea to shining sea across this country, and throughout every small town and community in-between.

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Still Serving, Still Saluting!