Staff Sgt. Jaime Salaza, narrator of the 20th Field Artillery Regiment’s recent noncommissioned officer induction ceremony at Fort Hood, said a sergeant’s business is to train and lead soldiers, every hour of every day.
Getting soldiers from the regiment’s 2nd “Deep Strike” Battalion, of 41st Fires Brigade, ready for their nonstop job as noncommissioned officers comes down to professional development. That is where Sgt. Maj. Edgar Fuentes steps in.
The battalion’s senior enlisted adviser, Fuentes started a professional development forum to help prepare soldiers to become NCOs.
The first installment of the program, which resembles the NCO professional development program already in place, was held Nov. 1 at Howze Theater.
First on the agenda was a class on the education benefits available to soldiers, NCOs and their family members.
Francis Judkins, a counselor with the Fort Hood education center, said pursuing education can only help the soldiers throughout their careers and in their lives outside the military.
“I know myself, I’m going to get more education and start college courses,” said Sgt. Adam Smigielski, a battalion multiple launch rocket system crew member, after the briefing.
The second class day focused on the Army as a profession, outlining what will be expected of soldiers as they prepare to become NCOs.
“Because I learned the right way to do things, I can teach my soldiers the right way to do things,” Smigielski said.
The battalion plans to continue the training on a quarterly basis, Fuentes said.
The next lessons are scheduled for January and will feature classes on team building and counseling.
“They (the senior sergeants) are showing that if you want to stay in the Army, they are going to help, so you can further your career,” said Spc. Fredrick Puff, a battalion multiple launch rocket system crew member.
The first time they came out of the training, every soldier was more excited about the Army, said Staff Sgt. Nicolas Weisenberger a battalion multiple launch rocket system crew member and section chief. He also noticed changes within some of the soldiers in the battery.
“When I say, ‘I need this to happen,’ I don’t have to give them (soldiers) the step by step on how to do it,” he said. “They are going out there with the initiative and drive of, ‘If I want to be a leader, I should be able to do this mission on my own.’”