By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana Army National Guard (LAARNG) sent nearly 820 Soldiers to various military professional development and additional skill identifier (ASI) schools around the country, October 2021 – October 2022.
These schools include well-known certifications like Airborne and Air Assault schools as well as career progression and professional development schools for enlisted Soldiers and commissioned officers.
“Our leaders should prioritize Soldiers’ lifelong learning throughout their careers to promote self and professional development,” said Master Sgt. Lee Fox, the LAARNG schools quota manager.
The LAARNG commissioned 24 new officers through Officer Candidate School. Thirty-two lieutenants graduated the Basic Officer Leadership Course, 48 officers graduated the Captains Career Course, eight officers graduated from Intermediate Level Education and three officers graduated from senior service colleges.
More than 540 enlisted Soldiers completed noncommissioned officer (NCO) professional development schools needed to advance in their career. These include the basic, advanced, senior and master leader courses. Another seven graduated from the Sergeants Major Academy.
“They 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 Fox.
Fox said that there are an abundance of opportunities to send personnel to schools outside of the professional development system, and that it is important that leaders look for chances to send Soldiers to the many available additional skill identifier and special qualifications identifier (SQI) producing courses.
“Having the drill sergeant identifier has been huge for professional growth for me, and I can inform recruits of what to expect once they join and after while helping remove some of the fear of the unknown,” said Staff Sgt. Ralph Dunn, Jr., a recruit sustainment NCO and drill sergeant with LANG’s Recruiting and Retention. “The biggest benefit of these courses is that they allow a bridge to be built between the active component and the National Guard and provide a first-hand interaction with any new changes that have been made with the training courses.”
Some of the most common ASIs and SQIs include: Air Assault, Airborne, Common Faculty Development-Instructor Course, Master Fitness Trainer, Master Resiliency Trainer, Pathfinder and Sapper Leader. Fox stressed that the units sending Soldiers to any courses must ensure that they meet all prerequisites required to attend.
“The requirements of each school often change on a yearly basis,” said Dunn. “By continuously going to these schools whether it be NCOES school or specialty schools, it gives the Louisiana National Guard the upper hand to stay as current as possible with changes as they come.”