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Ellsworth Airmen earn honors at NCO Academy

ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. -- Four Ellsworth Airmen took home honors from 06-7 Non-commissioned officer Academy at Keesler Air Force Base. 

"Ellsworth's top showing in the NCOA was not a surprise to me," said 28th Bomb Wing Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. John Gillette. "I know the caliber of NCOs we have and what they bring to the fight everyday. Ellsworth has made professional development a top priority and it not only shows in the classroom but in every unit on base." 

Students attending the professional military education are instructed in three major curriculum areas: Supervision, communication and profession of arms. 

"It was a lot of work," said Tech. Sgt. Todd Wivell, 28 Comptroller Squadron. "It was the hardest military schooling I've ever been to because of the constant work load." 

Sergeant Wivell said his favorite part of the course was leadership management, because it allowed for an open discussion between NCOs. 

In the supervision area, students learn basic human behavior, leadership theories and team building skills necessary to improve processes in today's Air Force. Through classroom discussions and practical exercises, students learn how to successfully lead their subordinates and work effectively with their supervisors toward mission accomplishment. The communications curriculum hones writing and speaking skills to help NCOs become more effective communicators.
Profession of Arms lessons offer students a chance to review their role as NCOs, as well as instilling a heightened sense of duty and pride toward their country. 

"I look every student in the eye before they depart for the academy and tell them winning awards is not the objective but if it happens, it is a bonus," said Chief Gillette. "I tell them to do their best and to focus on learning leadership principles and how to execute those principles. It is obvious that this group of NCOs took that advice seriously. The curriculum is tough and to graduate is a milestone in an NCOs career." 

The following service members represented Ellsworth at the 06-7 NCO course: 

Award Winners 

Tech. Sgt. Kevin Mendelsohn, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron - Academic Award & Distinguished Graduate 

Tech. Sgt. Todd Wivell, 28th Comptroller Squadron - Distinguished Graduate 

Tech. Sgt. Amy Rohde, 28th Operations Support Squadron - Distinguished Graduate 

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Minney, 28th Maintenance Squadron - Distinguished Graduate
Class Attendees 

Tech. Sgt. Steven Aukes, 28th MXS 

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Brandon, 28th Maintenance Operations Squadron 

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Cools, 28th Medical Operations Squadron 

Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Osler, 28th Maintenance Group 

Tech. Sgt. James Powell, 28th Operations Group 

Tech. Sgt. Michael Schmidt, 28th AMXS 

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Thompson, 28th MXG 

Tech. Sgt. John Torres, 28th AMXS 

Tech. Sgt. Douglas Wynne, 28th Communication Squadron