Satellite NCO Academy now offered at Otis

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kerri Cole
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
Eleven Staff and Technical Sergeants of the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 102nd Intelligence Wing and the Rhode Island Air National Guard's 143rd Air Wing, flight name: "Boston Strong", began Class 13-9, a satellite Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy here on Aug 27.

The NCO Academy in-residence or via satellite is a requirement for promotion to Master Sergeant in the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Airmen have the option of either taking the satellite course or attending the traditional 6-week in-residence school.

For 19 years the satellite NCO academy sites in Massachusetts were primarily at Hanscom Air Force Base or Joint Force Headquarters in Milford, which for some full-time working Airmen is a long distance to commute from Cape Cod.

Senior Master Sgt. Lenny Perkins (co-lead Satellite NCO Academy facilitator) and Tech. Sgt. Debra Sardina (future Satellite NCO Academy Facilitator) saw a need to bring the Satellite program closer to home, right here at Otis ANGB. They coordinated the recruitment and training of several facilitators, and worked with the EPME team at McGhee-Tyson to get Otis registered for its very first satellite program in more than 10 years.

"I enjoy giving back and developing junior NCOs in this environment. It's what I was taught to do from my mentors and senior NCOs who avidly practiced the core values," said Perkins.

The Satellite NCO Academy is a 13-week distance learning version of the NCO Academy. The satellite program was specifically designed for Airmen who cannot attend the six-week program for whatever reason, but still need the education, experience and credit of attending the program in-residence.

"For Airmen that have those responsibilities both in their civilian and military lives which hinder them from attending the traditional six week in-residence course, the Satellite NCO Academy program is a good way to fulfill the requirement for professional military education with an in-residence course. It gives the student practical knowledge and experience to become future leaders", said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Mello, lead Satellite NCO Academy facilitator.

During the first phase, students attend four-hour training sessions two nights per week at Otis. Facilitators help the students participate in interactive training lessons; these lessons are broadcast over the Air National Guard's Warrior Network Satellite System.

"The home station portion so far is really good," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Morgado. "We have a good dynamic in our class and our facilitators are great. They are really involved in what is going on. They go above and beyond to make sure we are prepared."

In the second phase of the program, students travel to McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tennessee for a two and a half week capstone in-residence experience at the Training and Education Center. Class 13-9 is scheduled to graduate in December.

"As long as there are qualified facilitators and an interest from the Airmen here at Otis, we will continue to provide this satellite program for years to come," said Mello.

Requirements to attend the Satellite NCO Academy are; a current passing physical fitness test and the rank of Technical Sergeant, (Staff Sergeants may attend based on availability of open seats in the class). Additionally, you must have obtained a seven level in your AFSC.

For future consideration as a student in the next Satellite NCO Academy course, please express your interest to your Unit Training Manager and they can up-channel your request through the proper channels.