CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – In a ceremony held at Camp Bondsteel, Nov. 1, Warrior Leader Course students received their certificates for completing the two-week course.
This graduation included 48 Soldiers and was the culmination of the WLC program for the current rotation of U.S. Soldiers in Kosovo. The previous two classes were held in September and October, with the entire program graduating a total of 156 newly trained Army leaders, said Sgt. 1st Class Anibal Quinones, 640th Regional Training Institute, non-commissioned officer in charge of WLC at Camp Bondsteel.
“One hundred fifty-six Soldiers enrolled, and 156 Soldiers graduated,” said Quinones. The 640th is a Utah National Guard team based at Camp Williams, Utah. The team came to Kosovo in order to conduct three iterations of WLC for the Soldiers currently deployed to Camp Bondsteel in support of the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
“As leaders,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Gilbert Arocho, command sergeant major of MNBG E, “it is important to provide motivation and direction to your Soldiers. Keep them motivated, provide them with guidance, and empower them to do the tasks they are assigned.”
Arocho, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and a member of the Puerto Rico National Guard, was the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony, and emphasized the importance of the leadership skills the graduates learned during the course.
“Leadership is a broad topic,” said Arocho, “but it all boils down to one thing. The worst enemy a Soldier will ever encounter is a leader that doesn’t know his job. Don’t become the enemy of your Soldiers.”
During the ceremony, Spc. Ryan Nemeth, Ames, Iowa, and Sgt. Bess Wilson, Sheridan, Ark., both of Task Force Aviation, MNBG E, were presented with awards for achievement during the course. Nemeth, of the Iowa National Guard, was recognized as the Distinguished Honor Graduate, while Wilson, of the Arkansas National Guard, received the Distinguished Leadership Award.
WLC is the first school of the Non-Commissioned Officer Education System, a series of advanced leadership training that is required for all enlisted Soldiers to advance through the NCO ranks.
In a final word of advice to the graduates, Arocho summed up the role of the new Army leaders.
“You will succeed as long as you live the Army Values and the Warrior Ethos. Most importantly, take care of your Soldiers. Today is a great day for the Army.”