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September 28, 2012

Spotlight

Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell
Noncommissioned Officer Academy

(Editor’s note: “SPOTLIGHT” is a continuing series about tenant activities and missions at Fort McCoy.)

What is it?
The Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy located at Fort McCoy provides professional development and leadership training to Soldiers through NCO Education System (NCOES) courses.
PHOTO: Soldiers attend the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy Warrior Leader Course. Photo by Geneve N. Mankel
Soldiers attending the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy Warrior Leader Course at Fort McCoy train on tactical entrance and exit of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. 
(Photo by  Geneve N. Mankel)

The NCO Academy at McCoy is one of 33 Armywide — four Reserve, 15 active duty and 14 National Guard. It falls under the command of the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center at Fort Knox, Ky.

Courses offered are the Warrior Leader Course (WLC), Advanced Leader Course-distance learning (ALC-dl), Battle Staff NCO Course (BSNCOC), Small Group Instructor Course and Army Basic Instructor Course.

WLC is the academy’s most-attended course, with 90-100 students attending each of the 12 training cycles each year. It is the first course in the NCOES program and provides junior-enlisted Soldiers and NCOs with the building blocks to become good leaders.

The most-rigorous course offered is BSNCOC. The functional course trains staff sergeants through sergeants major for duty in battalion- and brigade-level staff positions. The Academy’s mobile training team also instructs this course at remote locations — the only academy Armywide to do so. The team has traveled to Hawaii, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey. Units in California, Kentucky and Texas have contacted the team to schedule a class.

ALC is offered Armywide to eligible Soldiers though distance learning.

What have they done?
The NCO Academy was activated at Fort McCoy in 1988 and was training students in World War II-era buildings. The first phase of a multi-phase construction project — an administration facility, building 1361, and the WLC Classroom and barracks, building 1360 — was completed in 2007. It was dedicated and named after Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell, an Army Reserve Soldier from Menomonee Falls, Wis., who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004.

In fiscal year 2011, more than 1,700 Soldiers were trained in the WLC course. The academy is the busiest NCO Academy in the Army Reserve. The modern facilities, training sites, and equipment allow more troops to attend training.

The academy received its reaccreditation from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in February. It is evaluated every three years for reaccreditation.

The Commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Garry L. Cole II assumed command from, Command Sgt. Maj. M. Kevin Dubois in July.

What do they have planned?
The academy’s campus has been expanding since 2007.

The next phase of the expansion is construction of a classroom facility, building 1364. The facility is scheduled to be in use by spring 2013.

A new billeting facility that can house 174 students has been approved, and construction will break ground by this fall or spring 2013. A dining facility has also been approved for construction.

Once all the construction projects are completed, the NCO Academy at McCoy will be one of the only academies Armywide that is set up as a self-sufficient campus-style organization.

Other than for physical training and field work, students will be able to remain within the campus for training.

Upgrades to the NCO Academy’s tactical training base at Fort McCoy are being conducted through the installation’s Troop Projects program. A tactical operations center and an aid station are in the process of being constructed.

Changes are in store for the WLC. The length of the course is expected to increase to 17 or 22 days to accommodate new potential graduation requirements, including the Army Physical Fitness Test, land navigation and height/weight standards. The changes are pending approval by the Sergeant Major of the Army.

Why are they important?
The NCO Academy at Fort McCoy is one of the largest Active Guard Reserve tenant organizations on post.
It brings many Soldiers and their Families to the Fort McCoy community and also brings a large number of students to the installation each year.

The professionalism and knowledge of the academy’s cadre ensure each student receives the best instruction while still maintaining a high graduation rate and standards.

Resources:
For more information about the NCO Academy, call 608-388-2046/5378.

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