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Missouri Guardsmen shine in advanced noncommissioned officer course
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 29, 2009) — A pair of Missouri National Guardsmen from Fort Leonard Wood’s 7th Civil Support Team, a special unit of full-time National Guardsmen trained to respond to civilian emergencies, earned extra recognition in separate phases after graduating from the 3rd Battalion, 104th Regiment, 3rd Chemical Brigade Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course on post.

Staff Sgts. Robyn Boatright and Jamie Turner were named honor graduates for phase III and phase II, respectively, of the course.

“It means I did a good job and I was able to get the name ‘7th Civil Support Team’ out there,” Boatright said of the accomplishment. “Since it’s here at Fort Leonard Wood, we’re expected to be able to achieve at higher standards.”

For her efforts, Boatright, who lives in Success, earned a pair of Chemical Corps coins that feature the Chemical Corps Regimental Crest. One was from the regimental command sergeant major and the other from the chief of Chemical Corps, presented by Col. Leslie Smith, U.S. Army Chemical School commandant.

Boatright said she simply tried to be the best noncommissioned officer she could during the course.

“I’m not really sure exactly what I did to impress the instructors or Command Sgt. Maj. Sally Ledbetter,” Boatright said. “All I know is that I am a noncommissioned officer and I try to be the backbone of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps, just like the Noncommissioned Officer Creed says.”

The Army has dedicated 2009 as the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer in recognition of the professionalism, commitment and sacrifices of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps. Throughout the year, the Army wants to educate the public on the roles and responsibilities of today’s noncommissioned officer. Internally, the Army is working to enhance and accelerate education, fitness and leadership development of these soldiers, who form the backbone of today’s Army.

Turner’s reward was that he was added to the commandant’s list.

Because he and Boatright had access to their unit on post, while most students in the class did not, Turner, who lives in Iberia, said helping the class was a no-brainer.

“In the evenings we made little study guides of all the questions and answers,” Turner said. “We came to the unit, printed them out, and made copies. We tried to help people with the test. Everything was testable, but they weren’t giving us information to help make it easier to test.”

“I think it would be the same way if we were at another civil support team’s unit, they would have done the same thing — went above and beyond and took care of the class,” Turner said.

Boatright said she too reached out to some soldiers to assist them in certain aspects of the course, whose members consisted of Guardsmen, Reserves and members of other civil support teams in the nation.

The Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course is a requirement for promotion and is tailored toward each soldier’s military occupational specialty.

Boatright and Turner took the two-week phase I instruction in February on post before going through the nine-day phase II in April.

“Just being a part of the 7th Civil Support Team, we train on this type of stuff non-stop, every day,” Boatright said. “We have to be experts in our field, so it should be expected when we go to a school that we do know the chemical side.”

Boatright and Turner, who are their active Guard unit’s reconnaissance team chiefs, have completed five of their seven phases of basic noncommissioned officer and advanced noncommissioned officer courses together — a pairing that has helped both of them — over the past three years. Turner said they play off each other’s strengths.

“Sometimes she needs the motivation in the field and I’m not the classroom guy, so we have our ups and downs,” Turner said. “We can help each other get through it easier and that way, you always have a buddy in the class that helps you get started more quickly.”

It was particularly valuable to Boatright recently when the roof off her home was blown off by a tornado on the same day phase III was beginning.

“Staff Sgt. Turner was able to help me out so I didn’t get behind the first day when we were supposed to do the in-processing,” Boatright said. “He was able to pick up my slack and the school was very helpful in letting me deal with my emergency instead of just kicking me out of the school and letting me do it another time. They worked with me, since I am here at Fort Leonard Wood. I got my roof somewhat stabilized and was able to attend school.”

Boatright and Turner are now caught up on all their schools and should have to attend anymore for a few years so they can focus on their jobs at the unit.

“Now we’re done,” Turner said. “We don’t have any more noncommissioned officer education system schools required until first sergeant’s academy, so the senior recon members will be here now.”

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