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Satellite NCOA Class Graduates Seven

Members of the Utah Air National Guard graduated from the first ever satellite Non-commissioned Officer Academy course held at the Utah ANG base on Dec. 17.  The graduates received their certificates at the ANG Training and Education Center in Knoxville, Tenn. after completing the two week in-residence phase of the course.  (Courtesy photo)

Members of the Utah Air National Guard graduated from the first ever satellite Non-commissioned Officer Academy course held at the Utah ANG base on Dec. 17. The graduates received their certificates at the ANG Training and Education Center in Knoxville, Tenn. after completing the two week in-residence phase of the course. (Courtesy photo)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Seven Utah Air National Guardsmen graduated from the first satellite Non-commissioned Officer Academy course held at the Utah ANG Base in over 10 years on Dec. 17.

The graduates were presented their certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony held at the I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center located on McGhee-Tyson ANG Base in Knoxville, Tenn.

The graduates are:

Tech. Sgt. Melissa Adams and Tech. Sgt. Aimee Nielson of the 151st Air Refueling Wing's Financial Management Office, Tech. Sgt. Nathan Bird of the 151st Logistics Readiness Squadron, Tech. Sgt. Ronald Ford and Tech. Sgt. Sherri Weaver of the 151st Services Flight, TSgt. Bertley Hunt of the 151st Maintenance Group and Tech. Sgt. Michelle McEntire of the 101st Information Warfare Flight.

Sergeant McEntire was honored as a Distinguished Graduate during the ceremony. Tech. Sgt. Denaloy Stillman, one of two Utah ANG site facilitators, was selected for the 2008 Site Facilitator of the Year Award by the ANG Training and Education Center staff.

The satellite NCOA course is a 12-week distance learning course where students learn skills that will help them become better leaders. Some of the areas of study include: foundations of managerial communication, AF culture, military ethics, situational leadership and interpersonal communication. The students attend night classes twice a week for four hours. Upon completion of the distance learning phase, students must attend the ANG TEC at McGhee Tyson ANG Base in-residence for two weeks to graduate.

"Satellite NCOA is the hardest way to go through the academy," said Sergeant Stillman. "It takes a lot of commitment, but it is really something to be proud of when all is said and done," I'm very proud of the students in the class. It took a lot of energy to get through it, and they did."

The benefit of taking the course via satellite was that students could remain at their home station for the first phase, rather than being TDY and away from their work and families for the six week in-residence course, Sergeant Stillman added.

"Some students don't have the opportunity to leave their full-time jobs for an extended amount of time for their Professional Military Education," she said.

This was the first time the course had ever been offered at the Utah ANG base.

"I was approached at the Non-commissioned Officer Academy Graduates Association annual seminar by Senior Master Sgt. Tim Kumes from the TEC about establishing a site in Utah," said Tech. Sgt. Kristie Tuero, president of the Utah chapter of the NCOAGA. "I enlisted the help of Sergeant Stillman and we started by selling the idea to the base leadership. Once they were on board, we had to find a location that could host the class on base, and work to acquire the necessary supplies and connectivity that would be needed to have the class."

Master Sgt. Avery Bocage, another Utah ANG site facilitator, said that one of his biggest challenges during course was keeping the students committed to finishing.

"We had 11 students start the course, but had just seven finish," he said. "I was very proud of the seven who showed that commitment though, and was proud of their improvement over the length of the course...particularly in their marching skills. I hope that I was able to mentor the students in a good and positive way."

The next class is scheduled to begin on March 3. Anyone interested in either attending or facilitating should contact Sergeant Tuero in the 151st Communications Flight.