Dominican Republic Army studies MCoE, WHINSEC NCO academies

Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Olvera of Army South makes a point in the discussions between the Henry Caro NCO Academy and a delegation from the Dominican Republic Army about NCO professional development. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alfredo Montero)

Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Olvera of Army South makes a point in the discussions between the Henry Caro NCO Academy and a delegation from the Dominican Republic Army about NCO professional development. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alfredo Montero)

By Lee Rials, WHINSEC Public Affairs /

The visit of Brig. Gen. Santo Domingo Guerrero Clase to the Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation had a serious purpose – an in depth look at how the U.S. Army develops noncommissioned officers.

Clase, who commands Joint Task Force “Curtain,” an Army unit that supports the Dominican National Police operations, brought a team with him that included the director of the Training Division, Col. Ambiorix Cepeda, and the officer in charge of a newly formed NCO Development Course, Lt. Col. Bienvenido Urenna.

They came to study the operations of the Henry Caro NCO Academy and the Roy P. Benavidez NCOA to gather ideas on conducting that course in the Dominican Republic’s Army.

Discussions also delved into the relationships between commissioned officers and NCOs, and the appropriate roles of each in their services.

The two-day trip began with an overview of MCoE, then a discussion with the commandant of the Caro NCO Academy, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Ames, and a tour of training sites used in its courses.

WHINSEC offered a look at how it operates, particularly how the NCO courses are administered. The visitors were able to see the NCO Professional Development Course and NCOPD-English, both in session now.

Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Olvera, command sergeant major of Army South; and Sgt. Maj. Vaughan Overton, of Army South’s Regional Affairs Directorate, accompanied the delegation. Army South is the Army component of U.S. Southern Command, and has direct contact with the ground forces of the region.

Two of the visitors have significant connections to Fort Benning and WHINSEC. Cepeda has been a student at the School of the Americas and at WHINSEC, and an instructor in the Institute from May 2010 to June 2012. Olvera was the Institute’s Command Sergeant Major from April 2013 to March 2015.

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