Warrior Leader Course a success for Kentucky Soldiers in Africa

Story by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler, Task Force Longrifles Public Affairs

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Sgt. Bradley Osbourne, a Danville, Ky. native, was the distinguished honor graduate for the Warrior Leader Course at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa in March 2013. Soldiers of the deployed unit were offered the chance to complete the course instead of waiting until they retuned home.(KYNG photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler)

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — Every enlisted Soldier Army-wide who wants to continue being promoted and more importantly, to eventually lead other Soldiers must at some point attend Warrior Leader Course. Some deployed Soldiers have to wait until they return home to attend this mandatory step their career progression. But for members of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, WLC came to them in the Horn of Africa.

Task Force Longrifles is proud to announce that 58 out of 62 Soldiers graduated from the intensive, March 2013 edition of WLC, conducted here at Camp Lemmonier. The unit shared more pride in the fact that the distinguished honor graduate of the course, Sgt. Bradley Osbourne is one of their own.

WLC is usually a month-long course that teaches Soldiers the basic skills to lead small groups of Soldiers. It is also a course that is offered at several locations in the U.S., but this is only the second time in 10 years it has been offered here to Soldiers. The Texas National Guard and the Kentucky National Guard were the only states to make the school available to their Soldiers while here at Camp Lemonnier.

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Sgt. Alexa Becerra, a Versailles, Ky. native, and one of the six nominees for Distinguished Honor Graduate, prepares to receive her graduation certificate. Following close behind are WLC graduates Spc. Brandon Bell and Sgt. Travis Berthold. (KYNG photo by Capt. Chris Fitzwater)

The instructors said this group was a little easier to instruct and train than normal. “This unit already had great cohesion and it was evident that the working relationships of the Soldiers were already established. This made it easier for us because we didn’t have to manage those relationships the way we normally would in the US with a class full of Soldiers who don’t know one another” said Assistant WLC Commandant Master Sgt. Rick Ewert.

Task Force Longrifles Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Gividen pushed to get WLC brought to Africa for his Soldiers. He said the reason behind bringing the course to the Soldiers here, rather than waiting until they got back to the U.S. was simple, “We [leadership] wanted to get as many young Soldiers through the course as possible.”

WLC is not MOS (military occupational specialty) dependent, every Soldier must attend if they have any desire to be promoted. It’s an intensive school with the primary emphasis on leadership skills. It also prepares Soldiers to advance to the rank of staff sergeant.

The Soldiers of Task Force Longrifles were able to attend this course here in Djibouti thanks to the officers and the NCO corps already in place within their units. The NCOs covered down on the their mission so that the junior Soldiers could attend.

“Our command truly came together and stepped up to the plate to cover down on shifts and work longer hours to be able to make this all possible for us,” said Sgt. Alexa Becerra with Task Force Longrifles.

“Being able to complete this milestone for my career while deployed was a great opportunity for me,” she said. “Going through the Warrior Leader Course here in the Horn of Africa was a very unique experience; one that not many Guard Soldiers will be able to say they had.”

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