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The Louisiana Army National Guard’s Multi-Component Cadre Basic Leader Course (BLC) at Camp Cook in Ball implemented a new curriculum during the August rotation of the school.
The revamped BLC is part of the Army’s Noncommissioned Officer 2020 initiative, released by the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command in 2015. The NCO 2020 will develop the next generation of professional NCOs who can thrive in chaos and ambiguity, as well as adapt and win in a complex world by being provided with appropriately designed learning experiences at each level of leadership.
The BLC focuses on the Six Leader Core Competencies – readiness, leadership, training management, communication, operations and program management.
In 2016, the Louisiana Army National Guard’s BLC became one of two multicomponent course locations, along with Fort Carson, Colorado. The academy is led by a National Guard commandant and has cadre assigned from all three components.
This fiscal year, the BLC is prepared to train a combined 1,760 Soldiers from the National Guard, active duty and Army Reserve.
“When you have people from all different backgrounds, it really pushes everyone to expand beyond their own experiences,” said SPC Shelby McCloudrey of the Army Reserve’s 409th Engineer Company at Fort Collins, Colorado. “The group discussions help us build social relationships and really improve as communicators with other Soldiers.”
During the 23-day course, Soldiers write an informative essay, two reflective essays, a resume and a Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention essay. Soldiers are also evaluated on public speaking, physical readiness training instruction and squad drills.
“The essays help me see what is expected of me as a noncommissioned officer because I know there is a lot of writing involved,” said SGT Andrea Keiter of the Army Reserve’s 282nd Engineer Company, based in Colorado. “The essays are a foundation … something to build on in the future.”
These assignments help teach Soldiers how to write professionally and communicate effectively, using basic English and grammar. As Soldiers progress through the years in their professional military education, the writing will increase in difficulty.
“Soldiers come in knowing how to shoot, move and communicate, but we throw in writing essays and grammar,” said SSG Timothy Bouyea, a facilitator at BLC. “A Soldier can give you an amazing brief and be able to completely explain everything, but [can] often go blank as soon as you tell them to put it to paper.
“It’s our job to make sure they are able to convey information in a professional manner.”
CSM Howard Ivory, the Louisiana Army National Guard’s logistics senior enlisted advisor, was the guest speaker for the class graduation Aug. 30, 2018, at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, Louisiana. He spoke with the 157 graduates about what it means to be an NCO.
“Graduates, give yourself a round of applause,” CSM Ivory said. “Now I don’t want to burst your bubble, but you’re going to get very few of those in your future as a leader. We don’t do what we do for the applause or awards. We do it because we love it, and it’s the right thing to do.”
BY SGT NOSHOBA DAVIS, LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD