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Education equals growth in leadership and readiness for La. Army National Guard Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana Army National Guard sent nearly 1,700 Soldiers to various military professional development and additional skill identifier (ASI) schools nationwide, October 2022 – October 2023.

These schools include well-known certifications like Airborne and Air Assault schools and career progression and professional development schools for enlisted Soldiers and commissioned officers.

The LAARNG commissioned 25 new officers through Officer Candidate School. Eighty officers completed officer professional development schools which include the Basic Officer Leadership Course and the Captains Career Course. Another eight graduated from Intermediate Level Education and Senior Service Colleges.

Twenty-nine warrant officers completed professional development schools, including the Warrant Officer Basic Course and the Warrant Officer Advanced Course. Another 15 graduated from Warrant Officer Intermediate Level Education and Warrant Officer Senior Service Education.

Approximately 442 enlisted Soldiers completed noncommissioned officer professional development schools needed to advance in their careers. These include the basic, advanced, senior and master leader courses. Another seven graduated from the Sergeants Major Academy.

“Our Soldiers develop more MOS [military occupational specialty] proficiency by attending job-specific professional development schools, which in turn makes them a more valuable asset within their respective units,” said Mr. Lee Fox, the LANG’s state quota source manager.

Fox explained that the LANG provides an abundance of opportunities to send personnel to schools outside of the professional development system and that it is important for leaders to take advantage of these chances to send Soldiers to additional skill identifier and special qualifications identifier (SQI) producing courses.

For Soldiers like Sgt. Demetrius Williams, who attended the Army’s Master Fitness Trainer course this past fiscal year, the course provided him with an additional skill that coincides with what he enjoys doing outside the military.

“I am taking up personal training on the civilian side, and it’s something I enjoy along with just being able to help Soldiers and civilians reach their overall fitness goals,” said Williams. “These courses make you beneficial to the unit. The MFT course creates the opportunity to mentor Soldiers in ACFT [Army Combat Fitness Test] training, one’s overall health and provide some dietary guidance.”

Some of the most common ASIs and SQIs include Air Assault, Airborne, Common Faculty Development-Instructor Course, Master Fitness Trainer, Master Resiliency Trainer, Battle Staff, Drill Sergeant, Ranger, Pathfinder and Sapper Leader. Fox stressed that the units sending Soldiers to any courses must ensure that they meet all prerequisites required to attend.

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