First WLC Class Graduates Ten Soldiers
Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO
FORT WORTH, Texas—The 4th Regiment is the first unit in the Texas State Guard (TXSG) Army Component Command to offer the Warrior Leadership Course (WLC) which is a training program for junior NCOs to learn the fundamentals of leadership, what is expected from an NCO, and how to be a more productive leader. The course was held over two weekends in March and April, 2014.
CSM Albert Willars, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 4th Regiment, worked with teams of 4th Regiment NCO instructors to develop class materials. The Senior NCO Instructor was MSG William Seaman; the primary instructors for theory were SSG Dennis Burks and SSG Angie Ogle; for land navigation were SSG Stephen Wilson and SGT Anthony Miller; for physical fitness training was SGT Martin Joseph; for communications was SGT Michael Corso; and for drill and ceremony was SSG Stephen Wilson and SSG Dennis Burks; additional instructors included SFC Richard Schilling, SSG Laura Burks, and SGT Mary Wilson. Instructors were chosen based on the following criteria: RBOT instructor qualified, a 50-question exam on leadership, experience in technical training areas, and experience performing and teaching those training areas.
The course was developed using established leadership doctrine from ADRP 6-22 Leadership Fundamentals and the FM7-22.7 U. S. Army NCO Guide, and the U. S. Army Sergeant Major Academy for Army War Leadership. These manuals and curriculum were used to identify the key topics that were necessary for the WLC. TXSG ACC Commander BG Jake Betty and ACC Senior Enlisted Advisor Lloyd Schook approved the training plan of the 4th Regiment WLC.
This new WLC will replace the Primary Leadership Development Course (online) and will provide hands-on leadership training experience. “The more leadership training that we can give to our junior enlisted,” CSM Willars commented, “the more they will learn what leadership is about, how to treat their soldiers, and how to approach their soldiers.”
The need for a new approach for NCO leadership training concluded that the online PLDC provided theory but not hands-on training. Other factors also played a role in revising the leadership training, including travel time and the costs associated with attending a course away from a home station. Instead every regiment has experienced NCO leaders who are readily available and reach regiment can tap into that pool of experience. PFC Tessa Smith, 3rd Battalion, stated that she learned from WLC “to take responsibility as a leader.” She feels very “fortunate to be learning from strong NCOs as to how to develop my own leadership skills.”
The objective of the new training was to develop junior NCOs into leaders through hands-on experience. SFC Richard Shilling, 4th Regiment Training and Operations NCO, stated that “there is a big difference between knowing the leadership commands in theory and getting up in front of your soldiers and giving the correct commands.”
According to PFC Adrian Washburn, 3rd Battalion,“the WLC course allows me to learn leadership techniques and to experience firsthand how to command a squad.”
The first weekend from March 22-23, 2014, focused on the theory and practice of leadership. Subjects covered included history of the NCO, Army Leadership, Army values, the Warrior Ethos, what is expected of a leader, and how to set the example for the troops. This training also focused on functional topics not strategic topics. Small team leadership of was emphasized. “I am beginning to understand what it takes to be a leader. This is a great class,” commented SPC Colin O’Brien, 3rd Battalion.
The second weekend of April 26-27, 2014, was the hands-on training. Soldiers in the WLC were put into leadership positions with the cadre working with them to execute the leadership role. The soldiers exercised giving commands, moving formations around, leading teams during land navigation, manage members of their teams, and how to use team members to the best advantage of the mission. The motto for the WTC was "NO MISSION TOO GREAT.”
At the end of the course ten junior NCOs graduated from the WLC course on April 27, 2014.