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Satellite NCOA provides balance of home, work and academic networking

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Q. Hill
  • 179th Public Affairs Journalist
Most senior members of the military will agree that every Airman should attend at least one of their Professional Military Education (PME) courses in-residence. Some believe that when a member attends these courses, they receive a level of education and hands on experience that cannot be duplicated by completing the alternative Career Development Courses (CDCs). However, many guard members have difficulty leaving their civilian jobs and home life long enough to complete the weeks of PME in-residence classes.
Satellite courses were developed to help guard members get an in-residence experience while training at their home base for the majority of their course work. Recently, seven members of the 179th Airlift Wing attended the Satellite Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) by completing 12 weeks of training at the base twice a week then completed their training at McGee-Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee for two weeks.
Tech. Sgt. Nicole R. Wagoner, a recent NCOA graduate, said she decided to take the satellite course because she did not want to leave her family and did not feel she would have the time to devote in the CDC course. She said the satellite class gave her a chance to immediately use the course's management technique in her daily job. Wagoner believes the course provided a better experience and greater learning than what she would have received in-residence where she would have waited six weeks to practice the new skills.
Both Wagoner and her classmate, Tech. Sgt. Lisa M. Athy, agreed that the networking opportunities they received at the 179 AW and McGee-Tyson ANGB were extremely valuable. Athy said the class bonded during their home station-training block, then when they were split up at McGee-Tyson, they had an opportunity to bond with their counterparts from throughout the Air National Guard.
Another point that Athy and Wagoner agreed on was that the satellite course is not an easy way to complete the course, as is a widespread misconception. They said that the home station block added to the end of their regular work days and the training at McGee-Tyson was very fast paced with assignments due each day.
Both Airmen said that members considering the satellite course should speak with someone who has recently completed the training before committing to the course. They will gladly answer questions for those who are considering the course.