News | Aug. 24, 2018

Members Seize Opportunity for Joint Enlisted PME

By Air Force Master Sgt. Minnette Mason Joint Task Force Civil Support Public Affairs

Navy petty officers and a Marine Corps noncommissioned officer from Joint Task Force Civil Support soaked up some joint-service enlisted professional military education recently during two separate events in West Virginia and Florida.

JTF-CS is a total force, comprised of active, Reserve and Guard members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as civilians. Once assigned, members receive additional training tailored to prepare them for upcoming missions.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Yavon Robinson and Petty Officer 2nd Class Abdulrazak Amadu traveled to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to attend Backbone University, a two-day course established by the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or SEAC. Robinson is an operations specialist in the Joint Operations Center, and Amadu is a personnel specialist.

The course is recommended to enlisted personnel from all military branches and is based on the book The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed Forces.” Some course topics include: Noncommissioned Officers and Petty Officers: Who They Are, What They Do; Service Identity and Joint Warfighting; and International Roles.

“It was a great course—very informative, very educative and insightful,” Amadu said. “It redefined my understanding of the roles of NCOs and POs, and shed more light on how important and powerful NCOs and POs are in the armed forces.”

Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. James Brown, JTF-CS command senior enlisted leader, said he is working to host Backbone University at JTF-CS so a majority of the unit’s NCOs and POs can attend the course. He said one of the lines of effort for Army Maj. Gen. William Hall, JTF-CS commander, is to increase readiness through training.

“Through continued NCO development, training and mentorship, JTF-CS will be better able to face tomorrow’s uncertainties,” Brown said.

Addressing some of these uncertainties was one accomplishment for Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jordan Freking, a command planner who works with Global Force Management and with the Joint Operations Planning and Execution System, or JOPES. He attended the three-day Air National Guard Enlisted Leadership Symposium at Camp Dawson, W. Va.

“The symposium provided a great opportunity for us [active duty members] to truly learn how the Guard operates and what they bring to the fight overseas, as well as on the home front,” Freking said.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Vincent Smith, logistics specialist, was also selected to attend the symposium. Both he and Freking discussed and interacted with other attendees after hearing from a variety of subject matter experts in their respective fields.

“The Air National Guard Enlisted Leadership Symposium was a unique experience,” Smith said. “It allowed me to learn about some of the personal and professional challenges that Guardsmen encounter and how similar they are to the active component of the Navy.”

Freking echoed Smith’s sentiments and said he offered some insight as an active duty Marine Corps NCO.

“The evening social and combat dinner gave both active and Guard members the opportunity to interact with each other and ask each other important questions that otherwise might not have been answered,” Freking said. “I personally feel that bringing a few active duty members to the symposium benefits both services and allows Guard members who are interested in temporarily filling an active duty billet a small glimpse at what it's like before committing to it.”

Attending the two enlisted development events is part of an “NCO initiative” at JTF-CS, Brown said. In addition, he plans to institute an official mentoring program for all enlisted personnel.

“With oversight by our Operations and Training directorates, NCOs and POs will revamp and reinvigorate the command’s indoctrination and newcomers training program to better prepare new personnel for the command’s unique mission,” Brown said.