Sept. 5, 2019 —
The Colombian Advance Joint Special Operations Forces Noncommissioned Officer Course kicked off its second iteration after an opening ceremony held in Canto Norte, Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 26, 2019.
The first AJSOF NCO course in Colombia was initiated in March of this year after months of planning between Special Operations Command South, the Joint Special Operations University, and the Colombian military leadership in an effort to continue enabling the advancement of the NCO Corps. The course prepares Colombian senior NCOs for increased leadership responsibilities in the joint and combined environment, and assists students to become adaptable, critical thinkers, while improving skills through increased education at the operational and strategic level.
During this cycle, several of the former graduates from the first course were standing by to assist the primary instructors.
“The opportunity I have to implement the knowledge the course has given me, I take full advantage of because the knowledge we are receiving in this course should be spread and should be shared,” said Colombian Sergeant First Class Jose Julian Jaramillo K., Command Advisor to the Special Operations Battalion N: 2 of the Colombian National Army. “This knowledge helps us grow professionally and grow personally for each of us, and will raise our standard. This knowledge should be shared to improve our understanding and improve our concept of the noncommissioned officer.”
Colombian Marine Corps Forces Sgt. Maj. Hugo Suarez Argenas, Sergeant Major and advisor to the Marine Corps Special Forces Battalion, noted how it felt to train his troops and comrades.
“It feels really good. You feel capable and empowered with advanced knowledge that you can offer to them. We can offer them direction, we can offer them motivation, we’re seen as leaders with slightly different capacities from units that we have in Colombia,” said Suarez.
The AJSOF NCO Course lasts three weeks and is currently taught by primary instructors who are retired sergeants major within the SOF community. The goal is for the Colombian Special Forces to take the lead as primary instructors for the course within two or three years.
“I see this course in two or three years very well developed and structured in the special operations units contributing to a specialized professional career,” said Suarez. “I see this organized into our Joint Special Operations Command to provide a specialization to our special forces.”
The magnitude of the event was not lost to the former students now serving as assistant instructors.
“The course helps with the professional development of noncommissioned officers in Colombia,” said Jaramilo. “It’s important to assess the level where we are at, but more importantly to receive these lessons to raise our level of understanding in professionalizing the noncommissioned officer force and highlight our performance within our jobs."
“The course is very important because we are receiving an advanced education, a special education, and for the organization it is very important, said Suarez. “The institutional education and the capacity that we can now offer is the backbone of our men.”
U.S. Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Jerome Root, SOCSOUTH Senior Enlisted Leader, spoke to the AJSOF NCO course during the second day of class and further stressed the importance to everyone.
“I think we can all agree, education is the key to our future success. We as NCOs are the backbone within our respective militaries and it is essential at our level that we have the best education possible to properly advise our commanders and to operationalize their intent,” said Root.
There are two AJSOF NCO courses and four Basic JSOF NCO courses scheduled for next fiscal year. According to the primary instructors, each course will have some of the graduates assisting until they are ready to fully take over.