Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
More than 40 leaders across the state of Kansas visited Fort Leavenworth and the Lewis and Clark Center to learn about issues relevant to Kansas from a military perspective by focusing on Army leadership and education April 29.
The visiting leaders are members of the 2021 Leadership Kansas Class.
“Leadership Kansas serves as a catalyst for the continued development of leadership throughout Kansas by identifying 40 leaders annually from across Kansas, informing those leaders about key state issues, inspiring those leaders to maintain involvement in the social, business and political fabric of Kansas and their communities, and maintain a cohesive, relevant Leadership Kansas alumni network,” according to the official Leadership Kansas website.
The main portion of the visit was a panel discussion with six military and civilian personnel in the Fort Leavenworth education system, including Col. Samuel Saine, director of the Center for the Army Profession and Leadership; Col. Charles Rambo, director of Army Credentialing Continuing Education Services for Soldiers at Army University; Maj. Andrew Powell, School of Advanced Military Studies student; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Kilgore, Combined Arms Center command chief warrant officer; Command Sgt. Maj. Mildred Lara Gonzales, School for Command Preparation instructor; and Francesca Marion, chief of academic operations at the Army Management Staff College.
Each briefly spoke about the different parts of the military education process.
Saine briefed on CAPL’s educational process of leadership and leader development.
“From the Army’s perspective, leadership and leaders committed to their profession and ethic provide a purpose, direction and motivation to inspire others to risk their lives to accomplish given missions,” Saine said. “To prepare leaders to fulfill that responsibility, the Army Profession develops soldiers and Army civilians to demonstrate character, competence and commitment through career-long training, education and experience.”
Rambo briefed on professional military education, from the Basic Leadership Course through the Army War College.
He also talked about ACCESS, which manages volunteer education systems, tuition assistance and the Army Credentialing Program, which began in 2020.
“We give soldiers the skills that they need to step out of the Army and step right into another job,” Rambo said.
Powell told of his own journey of education that led to his participating in SAMS, noting that seven of his 16 years in the Army have been in military education.
“That just shows the wide range of the generalist approach (of education) … that we’re not as specialized but our leadership carries across a wide range of environments in which we can act and execute,” Powell said.
Kilgore talked about the steps a soldier takes to become a chief warrant officer, including going to Warrant Officer Candidate School and other courses.
“A warrant officer in the Army is someone who specializes and becomes an expert through training and experience over time in a very specific field or a very specific skillset,” Kilgore said.
Lara briefed on the various stages of education a soldier must go through to become a noncommissioned officer, including the Basic Leader Course, the Advanced Leader Course, the Senior Leader Course, the Sergeants Major Course, and the Nominative Leader Course.
“What we’re trying to do for our NCOs is we must be able to think independently and act decisively while meeting the commander’s intent and give professional leaders that have moral and ethical standards,” Lara said.
Marion told how civilians support the military and how the Army Management Staff College works to educate supervisors.
The introductions from the panel members were followed by questions from the audience.
Dr. Vishal Adma, president of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City, Kan., said he never knew the vast amount of education and training that soldiers went through.
“Not a lot of Kansans are aware about what truly happens at Fort Leavenworth. It would be helpful to find avenues to provide this education so they are more aware,” Adma said.
“Although it may not translate directly into my current job role, this gives me a better perspective about what this institution does in our state, which translates into training of future American and world leaders, which makes me feel proud.”