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116th offers alternative NCO Academy

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- In the past, when a team member was selected to attend the Noncommissioned Officer Academy short notice, it made it a lot harder to get the mission done ... not anymore.

The 116th Air Control Wing, like many Air National Guard bases, recently started conducting Satellite Non-Commissioned Officer Academy classes that leave NCOs in the workplace.

"It's the exact same curriculum as the Air Education and Training Command NCO Academy In-Residence Course," said Master Sgt. Alicia Cline, Force Development Technician for base education and training. NCOA instructors at The Training and Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, TN broadcast the course across the US. "I'm one of four site facilitators who manage the classroom at the wing level. Our troops will be attending two nights of class a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for the first twelve weeks and then the last two weeks they go to McGhee Tyson to complete the in-residence portion. Once they complete their in-residence course work, they graduate and get full credit just as if they went to the in-residence academy."

The class is beneficial because it allows needed professional development to be executed while members can still maintain their normal Air Force duties.

"The program benefits the member's work center because they're not gone for six weeks," said Master Sgt. Cline. "A lot of members can't afford to take time off, especially our Traditional Guard members who work in the civilian sector. Another plus is that Active Duty, ANG, and AFRC members are eligible to apply" said Master Sgt. Cline."

Keeping our troops in the workplace isn't the only benefit from the newly implemented class.

"Attendees get 12 semester hours of management, the same amount of Community College of the Air Force credit awarded to those who attend in-residence," said Master Sgt. Cline. "And like the in-residence academy, they also gain valuable leadership and managerial skills."

The 116th kicked off its first class Feb. 27th along with 170 students, nationwide, taking part. The class provides opportunities for NCOs around the country to communicate directly.

"It is a live broadcast with two-way audio," said Master Sgt. Cline. "Members actually participate in the class."

The avenue to get enrolled in the class is the same as for the in-residence academy.

"Members need to contact their Unit Training Managers for eligibility criteria and application instructions for the Satellite NCO Academy," said Sergeant Cline.