NEWS | Oct. 19, 2017

29th CAB welcomes new wave of future NCOs

By Staff Sgt. Isolda Reyes 29th Combat Aviation Brigade

Over 90 Soldiers from the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade graduated from Camp Buehring’s Basic Leadership Course since the CAB’s arrival in the Middle East in April 2017.

The final graduation class on October 3, contained 15 CAB Soldiers and was well attended by members of senior leadership. The 35th Infantry Division’s Command Team, Maj. Gen. Victor Braden and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Newton, representatives, commanders and command sergeants major from the 29th CAB and subordinate and regional adjacent units were all in attendance.

“It’s a great program that helps keep our junior enlisted Soldiers on their career path while deployed,” said the 29th CAB’s Command Sgt. Maj. Steven McKenna. “This helps with retention and motivation.”

BLC Class 709-17 had over 140 junior enlisted Soldiers complete nearly four weeks of training prior to the graduation proceedings, which included the ceremonial cutting of the cake by the oldest and youngest member of the schoolhouse team.

“The foundation of Army leadership really does start at BLC,” said Spc. Laurean Pope, human resource specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 29th CAB, who previously graduated BLC on the Commandant’s List. “I took away so much, not just from my instructors, but also my peers.”

The guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffith, from the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, spoke about the responsibilities that awaits the soon-to-be NCOs as they transition to leaders who become proficient at their job and upholding the Army values.

Newly-graduated Soldiers echoed those sentiments.

“What I learned in BLC was how to analyze and make decisions,” said Spc. Kamau Miller, human resource specialist with HHC, 29th CAB. “The instructors taught me the power of teamwork and collaboration, which has made me more confident in myself and my abilities.”

Also in attendance to congratulate and support these new graduates were the many supervisors and senior NCOs, who were standing tall while proudly watching their Soldiers walk across the stage on graduation.

“It’s a great opportunity for the junior enlisted in my section,” said Master Sgt. Dean Elliott, the 29th CAB’s human resources non-commissioned officer in charge. “Now they don’t have to compete for these school slots back in the states.”

In the end, Soldiers from the CAB have built a strong foundation for future success by graduating 93 Soldiers from the NCO Academy.

The ceremony ended with the Creed of the Non-Commissioned Officer, as the entire room erupted with its opening line; “No one is more Professional than I. I am a Non-commissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers.”