Story by Maj. Jay R. Adams
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office
New Orleans — The tactical operations center of the 13th Corps Support Command hums with activity as expert logisticians plan and coordinate relief to hurricane stricken New Orleans.
Senior officers abound but the backbone of this beehive of activity is noncommissioned officers.
Recognizing the value NCOs could bring to the TOC, the Army developed the Battle Staff NCO Course (BSNCOC). Amidst the devastation in New Orleans, 13th COSCOM NCOs apply battle staff principles to provide to provide life-saving aid to the citizens of Louisiana.
"I feel glad being in the U.S. Army," said Master Sgt. Dorothy M. Glowinski-Lyons, a unit supply specialist currently serving as the COSCOM logistics sergeant major. "I like to see everyone come together to help people."
"The NCOs job continues to grow as they take on more responsibility," said Sgt. Maj. Bryan D. Kroontje, a senior maintenance supervisor and COSCOM operations sergeant major.
"The battle NCO takes information from Joint Task Force-Katrina, reads it, gets what is pertinent to us, and then constructs a FRAGO," said Kroontje. "She is the focal point for anything coming from above."
"They make everything happen," said Kroontje, referring to the role NCOs play in actually establishing the TOC. They consolidate Soldiers from the entire TOC. They build from the center and spread to the other sections."
While most of the senior NCOs in the COSCOM are BSNCOC graduates, Staff Sgt Billy Joe Jones is getting his training on the job. Jones, a military police supervisor, stepped into the senior intelligence sergeant position to fill a vacancy.
"I assist the Intelligence Officer in building products," said Jones. We basically provide situational awareness to the commander."
Jones outlined the role of NCOs in establishing the TOC. "Basically we get guidance from the [operations]sergeant major and then he lets us execute."
"We set up the TOC," said Glowinski-Lyons. "We set it up for the officers while they are planning."
"I think NCOs play a vital role in any TOC or battle staff," said Sgt. Maj. Maura B. Newby, the COSCOM's personnel services sergeant major. "The NCO provides the structure and support for their specialty that the officer uses to make decisions."
"We manage the reporting systems that are internal to the battle process. This frees up the officer to conduct business or answer direct questions from the leadership," said Newby.
As the operations sergeant major, Kroontje synchronizes the efforts of all the staff NCOs and he is proud of the efforts of the COSCOM NCOs in responding to Hurricane Katrina.
"After OIF, we had a large turnover of people, especially senior NCOs," said Kroontje. "The crew is relatively new. This deployment has allowed us to develop the team."
Everything the COSCOM has been asked to do, we have accomplished in an excellent manner," said Kroontje. "It is not often we get a chance to help fellow Americans and it has been a very good exercise for us to develop the skills that we can take on to Iraq."
Jones echoed those sentiments. "I've been in the Army 13 years and this is the first time I have directly helped U.S. citizens. It feels good."
Glowinski-Lyons credited her BSNCOC training. "It was a very interesting school. They taught me a lot of things I didn't know. I think it was the best military school I've attended."
The mission of the Battle Staff NCO Course (BSNCOC) is to train battalion and brigade staff noncommissioned officers to serve as integral members of the battle staff and manage the day-to-day operations of battalion or brigade command posts, according to the BSNCOC website.
"The focus of Battle Staff is to train NCOs to operate in this environment, analyze the relevance of information, and disseminate it," said Kroontje.