On the weekend 10-12 March 2017, I completed the Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Class (ANOC) of the Texas State Guard. Although the J-7 (Joint Training directorate) at headquarters likes to maintain the fiction that their orders and guidance ensure that training is the same for everyone, in fact, it depends a lot on who commands in the classroom.
My third class, BNOC, was dedicated to us: we were all BNOC. However, the second class I completed, Primary Leadership Development (PLDC), was, like this one, held in a joint force, cross-component environment. We did not train with them; but we all socialized after hours. So, I benefited from the opportunity to compare and contrast this ANOC with a previous session for another group. The courses were compatible, but not identical.
We all studied the meaning of Leadership, the principles of Supervision, and the application of Leadership Behavior. We all had lessons in Counseling and Mentoring. We all engaged in exercises in applied Creative Thinking. We placed all of that into a narrative of Teamwork based on Management Principles, tempered by Risk Management. The specifics of the PowerPoint slides and the practical exercises were different for us.
Our ANOC instructor was a Marine. Only about half of us in the TXSG are prior federal military. (I am not. ) While Marines can be found in the Medical Rangers, the Air Component, and the Army Component, most of them are (of course) in the Maritime Regiment. Technically, that is the uniform that I wear. However, I am not in TMAR; I am a clerk in the command group. But I knew our instructor. And in real life, he is a high school mathematics teacher. So, this class went well for me.
Non-commissioned officers are the backbone of the military and the reason our military is the best trained, most professional, and most respected in the world. First-line supervisors execute the day-to-day operations with precision whenever and wherever duty calls. Foreword, Army FM 7-22.7
One of our lessons was on the Abilene Paradox. No one really wanted to go to Abilene, but each of them thought that everyone else did, so they each went along with what they misperceived the consensus to be.
In the other ANOC that I observed the new high-ranking sergeants directed us lower non-coms in close order drill. In this class, the instructor called the commands. However, his lessons included several ways to achieve those troop movements. He even taught us “counter march, right about” which, rolling caissons or not, is not a proper command – but is cool to do and see done.
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