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NCOs realize benefit of in-residence PME from home

Tech. Sgt. Joe Guillory, 129th Communications Flight, and Tech. Sgt. Joe Barros, 149th Combat Communications Squadron, partcipate in the Satellite NCO Academy class in the 129th Rescue Wing Headquarters Building conference room, Oct. 9, 2008. The Satellite NCOA was created to provide Airmen an alternative to the six week in-residence Academy that still offers the education and experience of in-residence training. (Photo courtesy of 129th Military Personnel Flight)

Tech. Sgt. Joe Guillory, 129th Communications Flight, and Tech. Sgt. Joe Barros, 149th Combat Communications Squadron, partcipate in the Satellite NCO Academy class in the 129th Rescue Wing Headquarters Building conference room, Oct. 9, 2008. The Satellite NCOA was created to provide Airmen an alternative to the six week in-residence Academy that still offers the education and experience of in-residence training. (Photo courtesy of 129th Military Personnel Flight)

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Ten non-commissioned officers from all across the 129th Rescue Wing have been gathering two nights every week since September in the Wing Headquarters conference room to learn and grow professionally together. 

Believe it or not, these dedicated NCOs are attending the NCO Academy from here at Moffett. They aren't alone trying to complete the course work by correspondence at home after work. They also aren't away from their families, work, or unit for six week chunk of time. 

The Satellite NCOA was created to provide Airmen an alternative to the six week in-residence Academy that still offers the education and experience of in-residence training. The course follows the distance learning concept - students are taught by trained, certified Enlisted Professional Military Education instructors via a live two-way audio and one-way video feed. 

The distance learning concept allows students to view the instructors teaching the lesson and interact with them in a question and answer format, which has shown to be critical to the learning environment. Certified Site Facilitators are present in the classroom during instruction and lead the students in a guided discussion of the lesson material. 

"We ensure the students understand the material presented in the course by asking the students questions about the material." said Senior Master Sgt. Neal Crisman, Lead Site Facilitator for the 129th Rescue Wing and 129th Military Personnel Flight member. "We ask 'how' and 'why' questions as opposed to 'yes' or 'no' questions." 

The class consists of home station and in-residence phases. During the home station phase, students attend class four hours a night, two nights a week. While in class, students and facilitators are considered part of the NCO Academy and fall under the NCOA Chain of Command. 

Students receive the same curriculum as those attending the in-residence schools and are held to the exact same standards of academics, physical fitness, discipline and professionalism as in-residence students. 

"The students seem happy to be here. It's a nice a nice option for them because they are only gone from home for two weeks instead of six," said Tech. Sgt. Alan Barnett, Course Facilitator and 129th MXS member. "This is especially good since there's a deployment coming up." 

The course ends with a two week in-residence phase taught at McGee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn. Upon completion student receive in-residence credit for the NCO Academy. 

Additional satellite academies are scheduled for the upcoming year. Here's a snapshot of the training schedule for 2009:

- NCO Academy: March 2 - May 15, 2009 (in-residence May 25 - June 5)
- NCO Academy: Sept. 14 - Nov. 27, 2009 (in-residence Dec. 7 - 18)
- Airman Leadership School: March 2 - May 15, 2009 (in-residence May 25 - June 5)
- Airman Leadership School: Sept. 14 - Nov. 27, 2009 (in-residence Dec. 7 - 18) 

If you are interested in attending a satellite academy or would like more information, please contact your Unit Training Manager.