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NCO Academy, RTS-Maintenance team 
to train Active Guard Reserve soldiers 

      The Regional Training Site-Maintenance (RTS-Maintenance) and the Noncommissioned Officer Academy organizations at Fort McCoy teamed to help train Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) maintenance personnel and return them to their units in a timely manner.

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Tony Prewitt (second from right) observes students working on a Central Tire Inflation System on a five-ton truck. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Sgt. 1st Class Tony Prewitt (second from right) observes students working on a Central Tire Inflation System on a five-ton truck. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Sgt. 1st Class Tony Prewitt, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic Basic NCO Course (BNCOC) instructor, said the February training was for staff sergeants working as motor sergeants and some RTS-Maintenance personnel from other locations.              

     Students first spent two weeks at the NCO Academy learning the soldier duties of their position.  Then they spent two weeks at RTS-Maintenance at Fort McCoy learning the maintenance aspects.   It was the first time AGR personnel had attended the maintenance BNCOC at RTS-Maintenance.

      "The course would take 12 weeks at the proponent school," Prewitt said.  "This gets the soldiers back to their units much faster.  The soldiers have to have this to be qualified as staff sergeants in their military occupational specialty (MOS)."

      Even though the course is shorter, students learn the required basics and the standards established by the Army for the MOS, he said.

      Sgt. 1st Class Rickie McCaulsky, RTS-Maintenance senior instructor, said the program is similar to the coordination between the organization and the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center (ARRTC) at Fort McCoy.  That coordination allows maintenance personnel attending Active Guard/Reserve Entry Training at ARRTC to immediately attend MOS training at RTS-Maintenance, he said.

      "Many of the soldiers in this (BNCOC) course are motor sergeants and are the only full-time military personnel in their unit's maintenance section," McCaulsky said.  "The longer you take them away from their section, the more their work can get backlogged."

      The Reservists supporting these soldiers generally train with their units one weekend a month so the Reservists don't have a lot of extra time to help complete the backlogged work, McCaulsky said.

      Staff Sgt. Steven Wiser, an AGR motor sergeant with the 182nd Transportation Company of Traverse City, Mich., said he is the only full-time person in his section.

      "One of the advantages of taking the course here is that we function in a Reserve environment," Wiser said.  "For me to be gone to a proponent school, my work would pile up, and it's hard for someone to pick up the slack.  I can knock this training out quickly and get back to my unit."

      Attending training at the NCO Academy also helps the staff sergeants develop their leadership skills so they can pass the knowledge on to less experienced soldiers, Wiser said.

      Staff Sgt. Jim Schaale of RTS-Maintenance Devens said he would teach lessons learned from this course to other soldiers after returning to his duty station.  Schaale will teach the BNCOC MOS portion for maintenance personnel when he returns to his duty station.  The Army requires future instructors to take the course before they teach it.

      "This training shows me how I should go about teaching to other soldiers,"  Schaale said.  "I can share this information with other instructors."

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