We recently watched as the third cohort of our Soldiers graduated from Warrior Leader Course, which enables Junior Enlisted Soldiers to become Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). Occasionally, a Soldier will be promoted to Sergeant without having yet had the course, but can't then be promoted to Staff Sergeant without it. Given the sorry state of the economy in California at the moment, it would be much more difficult for these Soldiers to attend a course like this Stateside. WLC while on Active Duty was a golden opportunity for them.
I was glad to see a large crowd gathered in the Theater for the graduation ceremony, despite it being fairly early on a Sunday morning. The Commanding General and his Command Sergeant Major were there to present the graduates with their diplomas.
Nine members of our Battalion received their certificates at the event, though only eight of them managed to get into the 'formal' photograph afterward, for some reason.
Several of my buddies mugged for the camera, obviously having a good time, or trying (I think) to appear serious and/or intimidating.
It wasn't just the NCOs who looked to have their photos taken, either....
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ