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FOCUS ON THE FORCE: 819th RHS member opts for Marine's Senior NCO Academy training PDF Print E-mail
on Saturday, 09 June 2007

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by Airman 1st Class Dillon White
341st Space Wing Public Affairs Office

6/8/2007 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Master Sgt. Bill Miller, superintendent of the 819th Airborne RED HORSE flight, successfully completed the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Advanced course at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va., April 14.

The training focused primarily on planning an infantry battalion combat mission and increasing physical conditioning. Battalions are groups of approximately 5,000 servicemembers. 

"They assumed you had leadership skills at that point in your career already," Sergeant Miller said. "The course taught every phase of coordinating combat arms." Coordinating combat arms means having artillery, air support, infantry, medical support and other essential units in the right place at the right time. 

At the end of the six-week course, a field exercise tested what the students had learned. The three classes comprised of E-5, E-6 and E-7 Marine Corps sergeants were separated into offense and defense with personnel, security, operations, logistics and communications sections. 

In one exercise scenario, a reconnaissance element was 30 kilometers away and was under attack with no medics and low ammunition, Sergeant Miller said. 

"We looked at the resources on hand and used them to render aid and get them back in the safe zone," he said. 

"Those guys can take nothing, turn it into something and get the job done," Sergeant Miller said about the Marines. 

There was also a final physical training exam that students had to pass to graduate. It included timed two-minute crunches with a maximum of 100 crunches, chin-ups performed without time restrictions and a three-mile run that Sergeant Miller was required to complete in 26 minutes as dictated for his age group. 

"If you didn't pass, you went home with a certificate of attendance," Sergeant Miller said.
"One morning, they told us we were going on a short run," the senior NCO said. "We ran more than four miles to the obstacle course, did the obstacle course twice, then ran back." 

"I thought I was in shape. Those guys tried to run me into the ground," he said. The class did different physical training every day, including last-man-up where everyone runs in a line formation and the last person in line sprints to the front. 

"Everything helped you pass the final physical training exam," said Sergeant Miller. 

He also overcame the language barrier of his host military branch. A Marine asked him to open a hatch and he replied, "What, you mean this door?" 

The floor is called the deck and yes sounds more like aye, aye. 

"My instructor said 'For the next six weeks, you're Gunny Miller,'" he said. An E-7 in the Marine Corps is a gunnery sergeant. 

"I learned as much sitting around with classmates in the dayroom as I did in the classroom," he said. "We talked about how they approach stuff and how we approach stuff. The faculty encouraged that." 

Sergeant Miller will be sewing on his E-8 stripes this year and is grateful for his chance to train with the Marines. 

He attended the Marine SNCOA course, as opposed to the Air Force SNCOA, to broaden his horizons at the senior level of professional military education. 

"I would recommend it to anyone," said Sergeant Miller, "Go in with a totally open mind and be ready to absorb some new concepts."

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Last update: Saturday, 09 June 2007

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by: sam (Registered) on 01-11-2010 14:20


by: sam (Registered) on 01-11-2010 14:20

congratulations Sergeant Miller. I wish I had had the opportunity to do what you did. Smsgt E. Lopez, ret. :)



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