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June 6, 2014

Ready for duty at tactical operations centers

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Gustavo Bahena
Public Affairs Office NTC and Fort Irwin

Battle Staff NCO Course 12-14 graduates: (Top row) Sgt. 1st Class Catherine Jones, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Nolan, Sgt. 1st Class Arkadiy Yeliseyev, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Everett, Sgt. 1st Class Shayne Henricksen, Sgt. 1st Class Eduardo Luna, Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Hubacek and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Pulver; (bottom row) Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Arnold, Sgt. 1st Class Oscar Ayala, Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Espinosa, Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Burch, Sgt. 1st Class Marlon Thomas, Staff Sgt. Sarah Robinson, Sgt. 1st Class Blanca O’Daniel and Staff Sgt. Al Nacpil.

 
Sixteen non-commissioned officers assigned to this installation graduated from an intense, fast-paced course at a ceremony here, April 30.

The NCO’s – staff sergeants and sergeants first class – completed Battle Staff NCO Course 12-14 through video teleconference broadcast from Fort Bliss, Texas. The 22-day course is administered by the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy and prepares NCO’s for staff operations at battalion-level units and higher. According to the USASMA, the training helps sergeants become familiar with the duties of other staff sections. It provides NCO’s with an understanding of the processes of tactical planning and operations, so they can assist in all functions within a tactical operations center.

The USASMA Web site list of topics covered in the BSNCOC includes mission command, staff operations, urban operations, contemporary operational environment, graphics and overlays, military decision making process, and sustainment and support operations. Course attendees completed a staff exercise as a culminating event prior to graduation.

Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Freeman, top non-commissioned officer with 916th Support Brigade, gave a graduation address, congratulating the NCO’s. He described battle staff duty as very hard work and necessary for the success of units. Unit commanders rely on battle staff personnel for winning on the battlefield and the survival of Soldiers, Freeman explained.

“Make no mistake, the greatest commanders in the world cannot be successful without the efforts of their battle staffs and battle staff non-commissioned officers,” Freeman said.

Freeman spoke about an experience while deployed to Afghanistan and how battle staff operations were crucial in saving Soldiers’ lives in combat. Soldiers in a battle relied on personnel in the TOC to provide air support from the U.S. Air Force and reinforcements by coalition paratroopers.

“That stuff does not happen on accident and it doesn’t happen without a great deal of planning and urgency and an organized, well trained, very professional battle staff who understood that the lives of Soldiers were on the line; and it was their action that was going to win the day and their action did win the day,” Freeman said.

Sergeant 1st Class Blanca O’Daniel, course graduate and NCO-in-charge of personnel for Regimental Support Squadron with 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, served with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division during a deployment to Iraq in 2009. Her duties involved the accountability of personnel that would be conducted in a TOC. With her new training, she better understands the entire spectrum of operations managed inside a TOC, she said. The course had some elements that were very challenging, said O’Daniel, whose husband is also a senior NCO and serves with Operations Group here.

“The most challenging part was intelligence preparation of the battlefield and military decision making process,” said O’Daniel, who has served 17 years.

Freeman expressed to the NCO’s that the experience gained from BSNCOC will benefit the warfighter. He thanked them and their families for their service.

“You need to be very proud of what you do,” Freeman said. “I am honored to be amongst your ranks.”




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