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A Conversation with the Director of the Satellite P.M.E.

October 2012 -- Recently Tech Sgt. Arthur DesLauriers of the 143d Public Affairs Staff had the opportunity to talk with Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Traugot, Director of Satellite Professional Military Education (PME). SMSgt. Traugot visited the 143d to observe the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) attending the Satellite NCO Academy (SNCOA) Class 13-1. SMSgt. Traugot has over 31 years of service with the Air Force and is currently assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base (ANGB), Knoxville, TN. During his visit to the 143d, SMSgt. Traugot took the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of both the site facilitators and the satellite instructors. The SNCOA is a 12 week home station program open to Technical Sergeants and select Staff Sergeants to attend two nights a week followed by two weeks in-residence at McGhee Tyson ANGB. SMSgt. Traugot's conversation with TSgt. DesLauriers is below.

TSgt. DesLauriers: Why PME?

SMSgt. Traugot: PME is more than just a check in a box on the list to promotion. PME promotes the growth of the Airman. It also takes what is important to the leaders of the Air Force to the future leaders in the Air Force. PME helps the NCO learn and do things. People can get narrowed minded; PME broadens the Airman's knowledge through training. It teaches skills to Airmen that are not just Air Force skills.

TSgt. DesLauriers: What is the significance of the Satellite NCO Academy?

SMSgt. Traugot: The Satellite Course allows Airmen to attend a program that enriches the Airman with classroom discussions and a classroom environment. The Satellite NCO Academy allows a student to attend the NCO Academy without leaving their family or job for a six week period of time. With the many shortages and present ops tempo, the Satellite NCO Academy has become a viable option for guardsmen. It fills a niche for the guardsmen as well as some active duty Airmen. It has lifted the burden on the missions of some active duty units by allowing active duty Airmen the flexibility to attend the Satellite NCO Academy.

TSgt. DesLauriers: Are we getting the same NCOs as the traditional six week in-residence program?

SMSgt. Traugot: Most definitely, the Satellite NCO Academy is very demanding. The students are getting the same information, testing and grading procedures as the in residence students. In the Satellite NCO Academy the students must balance their everyday family lives, jobs and attend a demanding course. By far the Satellite NCO Academy is the most demanding way to complete the course, but yet it is extremely rewarding.

TSgt. DesLauriers: What are some changes you have seen over the years which have impacted the NCO?

SMSgt. Traugot: Most notably are the advances in technology. Each year we are asked to do more with less. Cuts keep coming; we still have a mission to complete. The highly educated NCOs of the Air force have taken the challenge and are getting the job done. Technology has allowed us to do more with less.

TSgt. DesLauriers: What advice do you have for the new NCO?

SMSgt. Traugot: Don't try to do it all by yourself. No one knows everything. Find someone you trust/respect as a leader. Pick their brain. Ask the what if questions, the how questions, the why questions. Get to know your Airmen and what motivates them.

TSgt. DesLauriers: What is the most memorable assignment you've had in your 31 years with the Air force?

SMSgt. Traugot: This assignment, teaching our NCOs is and has been by far the best assignment.

TSgt. DesLauriers: Is there anything you like to add?

SMSgt. Traugot: I feel the Satellite NCO Academy is the future of PME. This is the future; the future is here. The Satellite NCO Course is in its 18th year. Traditional Guardsmen, AGR and now Active Duty NCOs are attending. The rest of the Air Force is finally catching up to the Guard!
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