by Carl Bergquist
Air University Public Affairs
7/26/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- The commandant of the Air Force Senior NCO Academy here said a milestone was reached by the class that graduated from the academy July 21.
"This was the largest class in the history of the SNCOA, but we hope the next class will be larger still," Chief Master Sgt. Alex Perry said.
The chief said the annual production goal for the academy is 2,200 students, and by working with the Air Force Personnel Center's Delta Team, the team that schedules students to come to SNCOA, and with wing and squadron leaders and formal training specialists throughout the Air Force, he is ensuring the classes are filled.
"The cap for each class is 450 students, but the last class had 457 students," he said. "I felt it was more advantageous to accept the extra seven students than not, so we improvised and added another flight to the class to make room for them."
Chief Perry said normally the SNCOA has 30 flights for each class, but expanding to 31 flights "worked out very well."
"We have a great staff and faculty, and the instructor who took up the expanded class really stepped up to the challenge," Chief Perry said.
Master Sgt. Michael Trim, an instructor from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., attended the six-week class and said it was the best of the four professional military education courses he has taken during his 20-year Air Force career.
"It wasn't what I expected," he said, adding that the course was conducted on a mature, professional basis.
Sergeant Trim said the size of the class did not interfere with his education in any way and may have provided some benefits.
"Having the opportunity to talk with so many other senior NCOs has refocused some of my managerial skills," he said. "It has made me realize we already use many of the skills, but it redefined my techniques to help me better use them."
Master Sgt. Robert Hopkins, who works with radio frequency transmission systems at Pope AFB, N.C., described the SNCOA course as "very challenging with a definite difference between the NCO academies and SNCOA."
He said the size of the class did not detract from his learning and actually offered a chance to draw off the experiences of the other students.
"As a senior NCO in an Air Force unit that deploys often to a joint environment, the course will be very helpful in how we fight and interact with our sister service members," he said. "The SNCOA has taught me how to better relate a commander's intent, which is critical in a deployed location."
Chief Perry wanted to thank all the members of the team at the SNCOA for helping assemble the largest SNCOA class ever.
"I want to thank Senior Master Sgt. Sang Chung, who is our superintendent of student administration, the division chiefs and the rest of the 43-member staff as they all have done a terrific job," he said.
Adonica Simpkins, SNOCA student administrator, said at first the larger class presented a load for the academy, but it was easily worked out through SNCOA Vice Commandant Chief Master Sgt. Steve Ray.
"We received the information about the students through the Delta Team and other sources and put that information into a data base," she said. "The vice commandant then decided how to set up the class."
Chief Perry said for the future, he hopes to fill every class. The goal for the incoming August class is 32 flights serving 476 students.