Six soldiers from the Texas National Guard’s 1st Armored Division Main Command Post-Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) recently graduated from the Basic Leader’s Course at the Fort Bliss Non-commissioned Officer Academy, which marks a major breakthrough in cooperative development between the 71st Troop Command (TXARNG) and 1st Armored Division.
Because BLC is the gateway for junior enlisted Soldiers to become Non-Commissioned Officers, slots for the school are coveted by ambitious Guardsmen. Those slots, however, are often challenging for Guard units to obtain.
Motivated to see the division be at its best, 1st AD agreed to the allocation of school seats to be shared with the Guardsmen in the 1AD MCP-OD at the same standard as other 1st AD units. This training agreement offers a higher rate of BLC opportunities for 1AD MCP-OD Soldiers when compared to much of the Guard.
The newly minted NCOs of 1AD MCP-OD will now blend into the 1st AD headquarters as peers among the division’s leaders.
“The new 1AD MCP-OD BLC program achieved proof-of-concept this last September, which is the first time in the unit’s existence,” said Maj. Jonathan Ireland, the unit’s full-time officer in charge. “This was truly a collaborative effort between 1st AD HQs, 71st TC, and the Joint Forces Headquarters – Texas Joint Staff Sections; J37, J38.”
While the 1st AD will be the immediate beneficiary of these newly trained leaders, the Texas National Guard gains Soldiers who completed Professional Military Education and have the experience of working in an active-duty division headquarters.
“This partnership just makes sense for everyone involved,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Marius Pusar, 71st Troop Command sergeant major. “Each entity, the Soldiers, the Texas Guard, and 1st Armored Division directly benefits from this relationship, and I am looking forward to the thriving relationship with the 1st AD MCPOD.”
Leaders from America’s Tank Division agreed.
“The 1AD MCP-OD direct efforts are forging new NCOs for the 1st Armored Division,” said Sgt. Maj. Ben Castro, 1st AD G2 sergeant major. “The success of this program and unit is a testament to the dedication, determination, and diligence of our Soldiers in the 1AD MCP-OD.”
As to not be outdone by the Guardsmen’s active-duty counterparts, two of the six MCP-OD attendees, Sgt. Kolby Gill, and Spc. Robert Kern, graduated the course on the Commandants list.
“I could not be prouder of the soldiers who performed so well at the inaugural class of the 1AD MCP-OD BLC program,” said 1AD MCP-OD 1st Sgt. Tyler Sprout. “These Soldiers forged the way forward for future enlisted Soldiers to attend the 1AD MCP-OD BLC program in the future.”