Two Soldiers recognized as honor graduates

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/16/2013)(readMedia)-- Story by Sgt. Kassidy L. Snyder, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs

Three Illinois Guardsmen graduated from the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) June 21 at the 127th Aviation Support Battalion Hangar on East Fort Bliss, Texas.

Master Sgt. Mary Dixon of Chapin, Ill., with the 129th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) in Springfield, Ill., Master Sgt. Anthony Mollusky Jr. of Kincaid, Ill., with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago and Master Sgt. Christopher Tipton of Springfield, Ill., with Joint Force Headquarters in Springfield, Ill., were among the 648 graduates.

Only 20 graduates were National Guardsmen, while most were active duty Army. Mollusky and Dixon were in the top 20 percent of the class and recognized as honor graduates.

"There was a great sense of accomplishment in exceeding the course standards," said Dixon. "Few National Guardsmen have an opportunity to attend the resident Sergeants Major Academy, and I am grateful for the chance to prove that National Guardsmen are an integral part of the fighting force."

The USASMA residence course is a 10-month-long class that provides tools to develop critical reasoning, creative thinking and decision-making skills. Soldiers are provided an education that teaches them to enhance their character, self-expression and strengthen teamwork abilities. The USASMA is also offered as a nonresident course which culminates with two weeks of resident instruction at the academy.

"I highly recommend the resident course," said Dixon. "It is a fantastic opportunity to develop long-term relationships with senior leaders from across the Army, as well as our sister services and international partners."

Mollusky also noted it was a great opportunity to concentrate on the curriculum on a full-time basis rather than spending nights and weekends doing homework.

The course prepares master sergeants and sergeants major to elevate from a tactical level of thinking to an operational and strategic perspective.

"It was very demanding with many writing assignments, tests and oral presentations," said Mollusky. "We heard presentations from every major combatant command and major agency in the Army."

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno was the guest speaker for graduating class 63 and reminded the graduates to "Never forget what our most important aspect of the Army is, our Soldiers."

More than 120,000 Soldiers have graduated from USASMA since it was founded in July 1972.

"Commit yourself to the philosophy of lifelong learning," said Tipton. "If you've been thinking about that next military school, then get after it. The more you open yourself up to various avenues and environments of learning, the better it helps you become a critical thinker and problem solver."

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