Structured Self-Development Courses


I honestly don’t know how many veterans read my blog but am sure those who do know about SSD courses.  I find that they have become a bane to my very existence.  Before, when you wanted to get promoted to E-5 and above we followed a different set of rules. Now, you have to navigate through these non-user friendly modules (and with these sites developed by government contractors does this issue does not surprise me in the least) which take forever to complete. (Can you tell I DON’T like them)????

The main reason is you are expected to take a test and you cannot push on towards the next module until you pass it.  Unless you take notes or print out each module section then you’re not going to pass.  I know if you want to succeed hard work is always the key. I am simply venting here because in the past NCO’s did not have to jump through so many hurdles.  And when you’re a reservist the rest of life seems to always get in the way.

When I left the Army for almost a decade what I returned to did not resemble what I had left.  (That’s a rant for a different day)…..

For those of you who don’t get what these are here is additional information taken from the Army Times:

The program of courses soldiers need to be eligible for promotion is now mandatory.

The long-planned policy to make the online Structured Self-Development program a requirement for Noncommissioned Officer Education System attendance took effect April 1 for the entry-level course, and will be followed this year and into 2015 by the other courses.

The new requirement is crucial for the Army’s nearly 1 million active and Reserve enlisted soldiers, given that NCO Education System courses are required for promotion.

Under the service’s schools-for-stripes policy, the Warrior Leader Course is required for advancement to staff sergeant, the Advanced Leader Course for sergeant first class, the Senior Leader Course for master sergeant and the Sergeants Major Course for sergeant major.

Structured Self-Development courses are not specific for the different specialties and career fields of the Enlisted Personnel Management System but address issues that are common across the service, such as health and fitness, Army history, ethics, military writing, leadership and effective management.

(Read more about it here)

The value of education

Ever since I could remember I wanted to attend college…I craved knowledge—to soak in as much as I possible could.  Mom and dad bought the Childcraft encyclopedia series which my young mind devoured.

Being the oldest, I always felt the pressure to set the example,being the typical 1st born overachiever.  I had to ensure that any of my actions or inactions did not warrant any criticism from my parents due to having 2 younger siblings.

I strived for perfection and that also included obtaining a college education.

But my thirst for knowledge didn’t end there. I also sought out additional military schooling and ended up earning 3 (very different) job types. Thankfully this has proven career saving especially now when the Army has been mandated to downsize its force and those individuals who are double-slotted in a particular job type are having to find new homes…which also included me.

Though I would much rather stick with the personnel side of things am finding that my military occupation skill (MOS) of 35F (Intelligence Analyst) is in high demand because of our current political situation.

I can never stress enough to young people how important it is to value a good education. To take the time (and initiative) to start planning out your life.

Before you know it you will be facing adult problems and life circumstances that warrant having a well-rounded background. The key is finding something which fits your passion.  When you do that, it’s not so hard to work that 9-5. 🙂

Stage Fright

I am not a fan of public speaking. I rank it up there with my fear of heights.  I have to give a class next week regarding a work topic technicians on my team are having problems with. On the plus side developing this class and presenting incorporates my second Masters in Human Resource Development:

According to Human Resource Development (HRD) is:

the framework for helping employees develop their personal and organizational skills, knowledge, and abilities. Human Resource Development includes such opportunities as employee training, employee career development, performance management and development, coaching, mentoring, succession planning, key employee identification, tuition assistance, and organization development.

An Expert Technician’s job includes most of the above mentioned skills ( and trust me this position keeps me very busy…)

Now if someone can give me the pill of courage to keep the shakes at bay. 🙂

A leader must earn the right to lead others

One of the many traits that the military tries to install in soldiers is being able to have the confidence to lead others.

Becoming a leader is a process. Some may think that there are natural born leaders however I don’t feel this is always the case. An individual may have traits that can mold them into becoming one however, it takes a certain amount of experience and yes even mistakes to create a leader and humility to produce a great one.

For many of us in uniform a non-commissioned officer has earned the right to lead others. We embody trust, integrity, honor and selfless-service.  Schooling is a prerequisite in order to understand the various demands of the military. One such school is the Warrior Leadership Course.  This course covers the following topics:

  • Leadership
  • Training Management
  • Map Reading
  • Land Navigation
  • Drill and Ceremony
  • Warfighting

It is taught at an NCO academy and gives solders the opportunity to stand out among others and earn those stripes. Please visit the schools listed below for more information. And GO ARMY!


Warrior Leader Course (WLC)

WLC is the first course of many leadership courses in a program called the Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES). Any Soldier who wants to become a Sergeant must attend WLC. Take this opportunity to see the things Soldiers experience in this course.

Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course (BNCOC)

This level of leadership course teaches Soldiers to lead within specific Army jobs. Upon completion, Soldiers will be considered for promotion to Staff Sergeant.

Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course (ANCOC)

The Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course (ANCOC) is an Army job-specific course for Sergeants First Class and promotable Staff Sergeants.

First Sergeant Academy

This fast-paced course prepares Sergeants First Class and Master Sergeants for the position of First Sergeant of a company, battery or troop.

Army Sergeants Major Academy

This course is designed for noncommissioned Officers to become senior leaders in the Army.

Command Sergeants Major Academy

This course is designed for Sergeants Major to learn how to lead at the Battalion Command level.

Racism is alive and well in the heart of America

I was reading Cool Red’s blog regarding the incident her daughter has recently went through. It’s a shame this day and age we still have such archaic thoughts on race.

Her children are mixed:  Arab and American.  Cool Red’s story reminds me of  “my adolescent cross to bear” being of mixed race.  Kids these days really should know better but bullies will be bullies (must be that inferiority complex) and these kids in Wyoming were simply ignorant.  WHY in the world put a young girl through such trauma?  It’s difficult enough for kids.  WHY add to it?

I taught my daughter (who is also of mixed race) to respect other cultures and religions.  Obviously some of these kids need a refresher course on being compassionate.  Frankly I am glad the school stepped in and denounced such perversity.  Calling someone a terrorist simply because they are of a certain race/culture is completely asinine.

Origins of the universe

Since I was a child my eyes have scanned the stars….seeking to unlock it’s celestial secrets.  I have always been fascinated by the world around me, what made the planets, where the universe came from, how did we get here?  Many questions for even we, human beings are as timeless as the heavens above:

This theory was born of the observation that other galaxies are moving away from our own at great speed, in all directions, as if they had all been propelled by an ancient explosive force.

Before the big bang, scientists believe, the entire vastness of the observable universe, including all of its matter and radiation, was compressed into a hot, dense mass just a few millimeters across. This nearly incomprehensible state is theorized to have existed for just a fraction of the first second of time.

Big bang proponents suggest that some 10 billion to 20 billion years ago, a massive blast allowed all the universe’s known matter and energy—even space and time themselves—to spring from some ancient and unknown type of energy.

The theory maintains that, in the instant—a trillion-trillionth of a second—after the big bang, the universe expanded with incomprehensible speed from its pebble-size origin to astronomical scope. Expansion has apparently continued, but much more slowly, over the ensuing billions of years.

Scientists can’t be sure exactly how the universe evolved after the big bang. Many believe that as time passed and matter cooled, more diverse kinds of atoms began to form, and they eventually condensed into the stars and galaxies of our present universe.

Origins of the Theory

A Belgian priest named Georges Lemaître first suggested the big bang theory in the 1920s when he theorized that the universe began from a single primordial atom. The idea subsequently received major boosts by Edwin Hubble’s observations that galaxies are speeding away from us in all directions, and from the discovery of cosmic microwave radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson.

The glow of cosmic microwave background radiation, which is found throughout the universe, is thought to be a tangible remnant of leftover light from the big bang. The radiation is akin to that used to transmit TV signals via antennas. But it is the oldest radiation known and may hold many secrets about the universe’s earliest moments.

The big bang theory leaves several major questions unanswered. One is the original cause of the big bang itself. Several answers have been proposed to address this fundamental question, but none has been proven—and even adequately testing them has proven to be a formidable challenge.

For our origins are just as mysterious as how it all began……


Leadership training

"Go Army!"

"Go Army!"

I’ve tenatively put in dates for Warrior Leadership Course for mid-March late October/November (in Nebraska)……..hopefully by Spring Fall the weather will have thawed out will be reasonable over there–(note:  I really don’t care for cold weather, especially if I am going to be out in the field for a set period of time or doing any type of PT…sure I’ll “get over it” but still….).

Never been to that state…curious as to what’s out there.  I love to travel and visit this great country of ours.

So, what is WLC?

Well, it prepares soldiers to advance in the Army non-comissioned officer slots, teaches an individual about leadership skills and from what I understand, since 9/11 it’s more combat oriented (am already a sergeant, attending so I can advance in rank):

WLC, formerly called Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC), is the first leadership course Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) attend. WLC is a month-long course that teaches Specialists and Corporals the basic skills to lead small groups of Soldiers. This course is hard hitting and intensive with emphasis on leadership skills and prepares Soldiers to advance to the rank of Sergeant.

Watch the videos above to get a firsthand look at the challenges offered by this course. The course culminates in an extensive Field Training Exercise (FTX) where Soldiers experience what it’s like leading a platoon of Soldiers in the field.

The course topics include:

  • Leadership
  • Training Management
  • Map Reading
  • Land Navigation (fun stuff…had it when I was going through 96B Intel Analyst school in Fort Huachuca back in 1987)
  • Drill and Ceremony (trust me on this one…it’s like riding a bike…you never forget)
  • Warfighting (will be interesting. I used to participate in war games while on active duty…was fun…but I know this will be a little different.)

This course is not MOS dependent. It is taught at an NCO Academy. WLC students live at the Academy for the duration of training that combines classroom instruction with practical application in the field.

Any Soldier who would like to move up in rank is required to take this course.


 I have been an NCO for a period of time.  I know how to lead and do it quite well.  I just need to get this schooling under my belt.  I enjoy being a non-comissioned officer and have toyed with the idea of becoming a Warrant but honestly I don’t want to deal with any more basic training type of schooling and WLC is about the closest I will come to it.


Is it really that bad or just a matter of perspective and attitude?

 “Top 10 reasons why constant complaining is so toxic in the workplace.”


1. “It makes things look worse than they are.” If your job is 80% positive and 20% negative but you spend most of the time complaining about the smaller 20%, things will look worse than they are.

2. “It becomes habit.” The more you focus on the negative, the harder it gets to switch into a positive mindset.

3. “You get what you focus on.” If you focus on the negatives of the present; that’s all you tend to see in the future. Confirmation Bias

4. “It leads to onedownmanship.” That’s nothing…my story is worse.

5. “It makes people despondent.” Why take action, we are doomed.

6. “It kills innovation.” What’s the point; it’s hopeless.

7. “It favors negative people.” Being the most negative provides status among complainers.

8. “It promotes bad relationships.” Promotes interpersonal relationships based on negative experiences.

9. “It creates cliques.” Complainers unite.

10. “Pessimism is bad for you.” Research has shown that people who are more likely to see the world in a positive light live longer, are healthier, enjoy life more and are more successful at work.


The free online book:  “Happy Hour is 9 to 5; Learn How To Love Your Job, Love Your Life and Kick Butt at Work” provides some decent advice.

Dog tags are in

dog_tagsThis weekend is drill.  Have to pack up 2 ACU’s, boots, cover, and other little knick knacks to tide me over for a couple of days.

I get to pick up my tags and see about any possible reenlistment bonuses out there for this gal.  It was intially recommended to me to enlist a year and see if any policy changes were implemented.   I still plan to get the college student loan repayment option and see if there are any available $$ bonuses.  I am hoping there is so that I can use some of it for bills and a downpayment on a home.  The dream is still out there……………..