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Staff NCO Academy adopts new course techniques

In an effort to improve the knowledge and leadership capabilities of Marines around the Corps, the Enlisted Professional Military Education Program and Camp Pendleton’s Staff Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy has recently modernized its teaching approach and restructured the course curriculum.

The Staff NCO Academy’s mission is to provide sergeants and staff noncommissioned officers of demonstrated potential with the essential education and leadership training that will enhance their professional qualifications and prepare them to assume duties of greater responsibility, ultimately allowing for greater contributions to the Corps as leaders.

“We are determined to produce a stronger, smarter and more efficient Marine than we ever did before,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert A. Ledferd, director, Staff NCO Academy, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “I strongly believe the changes that have been made are for the good of the Corps and the Marines wanting to advance to the next level.”

Not only did the academic complexity of the sergeant’s, career and advanced courses increase, but the intensity and amount of physical training has been raised as well.

“Any Marine who is striving for better self improvement should, without a doubt, attend these courses,” said Master Sgt. Frank M. Puebla, deputy director, Staff NCO Academy. “This is a great way to share ideas with peers from all around the Corps.”

As students have been exposed to the new adjustments of the courses the instructors had to adjust their style of teaching. A style Ledferd says, that provides students with a college-level atmosphere.

One such change is the instructors are now referred to as faculty advisors.

“This is because the instructors are not only instructing, but also mentoring,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dave Yabut, communications chief, School of Infantry.

After the students have finished their classes, they are broken into smaller groups with their assigned faculty advisor. The faculty advisor gives the students a scenario and leads a group discussion on what the students would do in that situation.

“The faculty advisors here at the academy are hand picked to ensure that the school only offers the best education possible,” said Puebla. “I am more than confident that our advisors are as prepared as can be to educate the future leaders of the Corps.”

Although alterations have been to the courses, to include a Web site for students to keep in contact with their instructors and to view their grades, no days have been added to the course.

“The amount of knowledge that we all gained these past few months has really been impressive,” said Staff Sgt. Rodney J. Redhead, career course honor graduate, class 1-10. “I wouldn’t see any reason why those in charge of this academy would alter the course again; I believe they hit the nail on the head with this idea.”

For more information about the academy, contact the academy’s administrative noncommissioned officer in charge at (760) 763-0213 or visit

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