Tag Archives: FRG

USASMA course prepares husbands, wives for new responsibilities as spouses of senior enlisted

By MEGHAN PORTILLO
NCO Journal

At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, the Army’s newest sergeants major are not the only ones preparing for major life changes. The students’ spouses are also developing their own leadership skills in the academy’s Spouse Leadership Development Course.

Dody Myers, right, joins other spouses of USASMA students for a lecture on the American Red Cross. Throughout the Spouse Leadership Development Course, the spouses learn about programs available to Army families. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
Dody Myers, right, joins other spouses of USASMA students for a lecture on the American Red Cross. Throughout the Spouse Leadership Development Course, the spouses learn about programs available to Army families. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

The 42-hour course prepares spouses of senior enlisted Soldiers for the leadership support positions they will take on within their military communities. Lectures and small group discussions focus on topics such as conflict management, protocol, public speaking and team building. Senior spouses’ roles within the Family Readiness Group are discussed in detail, as well as military benefits and the multitude of programs and resources available to Army families. Examinations are not conducted, but the students are required to give a presentation. The course’s vision is to expand senior spouses’ leadership capacity, broaden their opportunities and recognize their significant contribution to readiness.

“Among the many topics in SLDC, we introduce spouses to the aspects of senior level protocol and etiquette, media engagement, and the use of social media,” said Sgt. Maj. Melissa O’Brien, SLDC director. “They are about to be the face and voice of a new command supporting their military spouse during changes of command, changes of responsibility, memorial ceremonies, along with a whole host of other installation events. Our goal is for spouses to understand how their role transitions into one of leadership support beyond the company, battery, or troop level where many of them actively served as Family Readiness Group leaders. They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, but now it is time for them to mentor young spouses to carry on the role as FRG leaders.”

The course, offered about once a month, is almost always full. Though it is designed for the spouses of students attending USASMA, the course is open to spouses of sergeants first class and above at Fort Bliss. Spouses from other installations, the Army Reserve and National Guard are also welcome to attend, but they are required to pay for their travel expenses.

“I’ve been a command sergeant major coming up on a dozen years now,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, USASMA’s commandant. “Depending on talent and ambition, Soldiers may spend 30 or 40 percent of their entire career as E9s. That is a long stretch for the spouse, too, with those kinds of community obligations. Having this training will make it a lot easier on that spouse from the start.”

A new role

Much of the information covered in SLDC would benefit any military spouse, Defreese said, but the course also addresses the specific commitments and social changes facing the spouses of sergeants major.

Barb O’Neill attends a lecture during the Spouse Leadership Development Course at USASMA. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
Barb O’Neill attends a lecture during the Spouse Leadership Development Course at USASMA. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

“You are going to be a senior leader within your community, even if you don’t wear a uniform. Those spouses are a part of the senior culture and social group of a community on post, so that’s why it’s a little different for them,” Defreese said.

One of the major changes a senior spouse faces is that of his or her role in the FRG, said Jane Defreese, the commandant’s wife. Spouses of senior enlisted Soldiers are no longer leaders, but instead advisors, she explained.

Each company/battery/troop has an FRG, and the leaders of each are “down there in the nitty gritty, doing everything they can,” Jane Defreese said. Advisors at the battalion, brigade and division levels, on the other hand, are there to make sure the leaders have the right information and the support they need.

“I love the first day when my husband and I go in and talk to the class and tell them, ‘You are no longer going to be the FRG leader. You are now going to be an advisor,’ and they get wide-eyed and a little nervous about that term,” Jane Defreese said. “But by the end of the course, they are more comfortable, and they know what their roles are going to be. They know it is important for them to step back and let the FRG leaders do their thing.”

Rochelle Blue, who attended the first SLDC of Sergeants Major Course Class 66, said she learned so much in the course, even though she had been a senior spouse for seven years.

“Before I took the class, I thought I had to go in and be in charge of all these things,” Blue said. “But now I know I’m more of an advisor; I’m the one who goes in and looks over things. I am supposed to see how I can make things better, how I can help spouses and their families. And I absolutely love it; because it takes a strong military family to support their Soldier. And now that I know the best way I can help, I’m excited about it.

“I know it is difficult because there is often no one to explain your role as a spouse and how it changes when your spouse is promoted,” Blue said. “I think if more spouses had this class, they would feel more comfortable stepping up into that leadership position. If you go in blind, of course you are going to be afraid. You are afraid you might embarrass your spouse because you don’t know what is going on. This course has opened my eyes and made me more confident. Now I know and understand not only how to help support my husband, but I know what to do on my end.”

‘Resources, not rescues’

If a family has an issue, especially during a deployment or when their Soldier is away for training, senior spouses within the FRG will point them in the right direction to find the help they need. SLDC strives to arm the spouses with the resources they need to address any situation.

Some of the programs overviewed during the course include the Association of the United States Army, bereavement clubs, the American Red Cross and Survivors Outreach Services.

Nadia Wheeler attends a lecture as part of the Spouse Leadership Development Course at USASMA. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
Nadia Wheeler attends a lecture as part of the Spouse Leadership Development Course at USASMA. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

“I wish I had taken this course when I became a senior spouse seven years ago, because I gained so much valuable information that I could have been using,” Blue said. “For example, I hadn’t realized the depth of what the American Red Cross has to offer. And Survivors Outreach Services – I never even knew they existed. I was so excited to hear about it, because they offer so many things to help families get through those hard times. I really learned so much. I hope more spouses want to jump in and take this course so we can support each other and build a stronger military – both on the spouses’ side and the Soldiers’ side, together. It takes both.”

Learning from each other

One of the goals of SLDC is to create an environment where the spouses can learn from each other. Though their husbands or wives all hold the same rank, the spouses in the class come to the table with many different experiences. Some have been military spouses for 20 years. Others, like Mike Menold, are new to the Army.

“It makes for a very interesting group,” Menold said. “My wife works for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, so we are new to living on post. And being a newbie spouse, and a guy – I was the only guy in our class – I brought a different dynamic in the sense that it’s a different world outside of the military. Most of the spouses are used to living on post and accustomed to moving every three to five years. A lot of them talked about what they want to do with their lives now that their kids are grown. Some of them are grandmothers. And here is this 50-year-old guy saying, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a 4-and-a-half-year-old, and I’m just starting.’ Talking to them about what it is like becoming a parent later in life and how much more I appreciate it, they embraced that. We really did learn from each other.”

Not only do the spouses in SLDC learn from each other, they build a support system. Before they leave USASMA, they have forged a network with other spouses on whom they can rely for help and guidance.

“I loved meeting all the other spouses,” Blue said. “I learned that I am not alone, that we have a lot in common. I built new friendships and a new support group – even after the course, we still talk and come up with new ideas. I know I can count on these other spouses who went through the course with me.”

Adapting the course to student’s needs

To make the class accessible to as many spouses as possible, USASMA offers two evening courses each semester from 5 to 10 p.m. The late course is the only option for many spouses, who, like Blue, work or attend classes during the day.

“It was tough because I was at school all day and then at SLDC at night,” Blue said. “I am glad they offer that though; because in today’s military, a lot of the spouses are not stay-at-home moms or dads. They have careers or school; they are working toward things. I am really glad they offered the night course so I had the opportunity to attend.”

The academy also offers a condensed course for international spouses that focuses more on the social and team-building aspects instead of U.S. programs and resources that would not be available to them in their countries.

“In most countries, spouses have no involvement with the military,” Dennis Defreese said. “Even England – their spouses are not involved with the military at all. However, attending this course still benefits them, because it goes back to being an effective communicator. It’s about being part of a social group and understanding other people’s reactions and personalities.”

Theresa Murch, who is at Fort Bliss with her husband while he attends the Sergeants Major Course, said that even though the dynamics between spouses in Australia are completely different, she learned a lot in the course that will be helpful to her back home.

“I enjoyed hearing about how America does it, because your Army is run quite differently from ours, and if I can learn something to take back to my country, all the better,” she said.

Murch said her favorite part of the course was when she and her classmates were required to give a presentation on a topic of their choice.

“I didn’t know what to talk about, but it made me step out of my comfort zone. And the other women who don’t speak English as well – they all got up and did such a great job. I was so proud of them.”

Murch’s class brought together spouses from the United States, Turkey, Jordan, Brazil, Bosnia, Japan and Macedonia.

“In some countries, spouses have no involvement in the Army whatsoever,” she said. “But I think, even for those countries, learning a little bit – even if you know just one person who you could help – it is a productive course.”

The Spouse Leadership Development Course at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, prepares spouses of enlisted Soldiers for leadership support positions within the military community. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
The Spouse Leadership Development Course at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, prepares spouses of enlisted Soldiers for leadership support positions within the military community. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

Sergeants Major Course students, spouses spruce up Junior Enlisted Family Center as Class 66’s legacy project

By MEGHAN PORTILLO
NCO Journal

Class 66 at the U.S. Sergeants Major Academy has chosen to revamp Fort Bliss’ Junior Enlisted Family Center as its legacy project, and the students’ spouses have been leading the way.

Mike Menold was elected by his Family Readiness Group to lead the project along with fellow spouse Darlene Carlan. Menold and Carlan attended the first Spouse Leadership Development Course offered this year at USASMA. The project has allowed them to put into use the networking and leadership skills they gained in the course, Menold said.

The JEFC, run by the Armed Services YMCA, is a place where Soldiers of sergeant rank and below and their families can come for free food, housewares, clothing, books and furniture. They are also welcome to borrow ballgowns for formal occasions.

Before, junior enlisted and their families had to pick through piles of donated clothing, such as the one above, in order to find what they needed. “That is not an image you want to see,” said Mike Menold, the project lead. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
Before, junior enlisted and their families had to pick through piles of donated clothing, such as the one above, in order to find what they needed. “That is not an image you want to see,” said Mike Menold, the project lead. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

“Our commitment was to make it a friendlier environment for the junior enlisted,” Menold said. “Before, they used to walk in through the back door past mounds and mounds of donated goods, and they would be literally picking through the piles to see what was there for them. That is not an image you want to see. By having the clothing sales store – we call it clothing sales even though everything is free – set up like a boutique with clothing racks that we keep refreshing from the back stock room, it makes them want to come back.”

The JEFC is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. Junior enlisted Soldiers and their families may choose up to 10 free items each day, or up to 30 each week. There is a waiting list for larger items such as couches, tables and appliances.

Mike Menold was elected, along with Darlene Carlan, by their Family Readiness Group to lead the project. Menold and Carlan attended the first Spouse Leadership Development Course offered this year at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
Mike Menold was elected, along with Darlene Carlan, by their Family Readiness Group to lead the project. Menold and Carlan attended the first Spouse Leadership Development Course offered this year at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

“It was a mess before,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd Pritchard, the executive director of the ASYMCA at Fort Bliss. “The spouses and the Soldiers really did so much to make the place welcoming to the junior enlisted and their families when they come in. We are so grateful for their time and their hard work.”

A large part of an NCO’s life is dedicated to taking care of Soldiers and their families, and this legacy project reflects that dedication, said Pritchard, who was USASMA’s deputy commandant before retiring and taking his position at the ASYMCA.

“It helps them financially,” said Nicole Range, the JEFC program coordinator. “Some come in here for baby items or to get uniforms when their kids go back to school. I saw one little one come in here without shoes on – the mom said they had broken. There weren’t any that fit her son on the shelf, but I was able to find a pair in the back that were the right size. She was so happy. People really appreciate this. It helps. I hope more senior NCOs will take notice of this place and send their Soldiers our way when they see they are in need.”

Based on the amount of food available, the JEFC will help out families in need as much as possible. It is much better to move the food than to have it sitting on the shelf, Menold said.

 

The goal of the legacy project was to make the JEFC a welcoming place for junior enlisted Soldiers and their families to come and find what they need. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
The goal of the legacy project was to make the JEFC a welcoming place for junior enlisted Soldiers and their families to come and find what they need. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

“Before, they didn’t have a process to handle their inventory or move the product out,” Menold said. “Some of the food was two years past the expiration date. We dumped about a ton and a half of food and outsourced almost two tons of food that was on short date that wouldn’t move through here quickly enough. So we got it out to soup kitchens, where it would be used right away. We started a network for them. We are not only giving them a nice new beautification of the building, we are giving them a whole new process of how to manage the system. I had USASMA students writing inventory programs for me, running the wires for the monitoring system. Students came in and painted all these walls.”

To make the JEFC a more family-friendly environment, the Soldiers and spouses set up a play area in the corner where kids can keep busy while mom and dad shop. They also built a changing room with a full-length mirror so visitors can try on clothes to see if they fit.

Before, junior enlisted Soldiers had to come through the back door or walk through the Fort Bliss Officer and Civilian Spouses’ thrift shop to access the JEFC. Now, they have their own entrance. They walk in to see housewares neatly displayed. Books and movies line the shelves, and in a larger room men’s, women’s and children’s clothing is organized and hung on racks donated by Under Armour and other stores on post.

The JEFC, run by the Armed Services YMCA, is a place where Soldiers of sergeant rank and below and their families can come for free food, housewares, clothing, books and furniture.  (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
The JEFC, run by the Armed Services YMCA, is a place where Soldiers of sergeant rank and below and their families can come for free food, housewares, clothing, books and furniture. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

“As USASMA spouses, we are only here until graduation in June, and part of the continuity that we want to leave is more than just a legacy project,” Menold said. “We hope other spouses can get involved and volunteer here. The hardest part is turnover of volunteers and controlling the stock. There is always more for the spouses to do.

“When you think about who the junior enlisted Soldiers are — they are the lowest paid of all the armed service branches, and yet they are the very tip of our fighting force’s spear,” he said. “They are the ones dedicating the most, and we can give them more support through the ASYMCA. That’s why I am so passionate about being involved here.”

The JEFC, run by the Armed Services YMCA, is a place where Soldiers of sergeant rank and below and their families can come for free food, housewares, clothing, books and furniture.  (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)
Sergeants Major Course students and their spouses beautified Fort Bliss’ Junior Enlisted Family Center as the legacy project for Class 66. (Photo by Meghan Portillo / NCO Journal)

USASMA to host grand opening for new NCO Heritage and Education Center

By MEGHAN PORTILLO
NCO Journal

An original copy of the Blue Book, written by Baron Friedrich von Steuben and published in 1782, is one of the prized artifacts on display at the NCO Heritage and Education Center at Fort Bliss, Texas. The book was the first attempt to outline what NCOs’ duties and responsibilities were. (Photos by Meghan Portillo/NCO Journal)
An original copy of the Blue Book, written by Baron Friedrich von Steuben and published in 1782, is one of the prized artifacts on display at the NCO Heritage and Education Center at Fort Bliss, Texas. The book was the first attempt to outline what NCOs’ duties and responsibilities were. (Photos by Meghan Portillo/NCO Journal)

Veterans have been moved to tears as exhibits conjure memories of the battles of their past, and future leaders have been inspired during school field trips to the Museum of the Noncommissioned Officer at Fort Bliss, Texas. The nondescript building has preserved and displayed the grand history of the U.S. Army NCO Corps since the museum opened in 1981, and it has recently been transformed into something greater. Now reflagged as the NCO Heritage and Education Center, it has been revitalized and will be used as an extension of the classroom for students attending the Sergeants Major Course, as well as the other courses executed at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

“As the Museum of the Noncommissioned Officer, the facility did a great job of chronicling the NCO story, but the facility needed some improvements and the displays needed updating,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd Pritchard, deputy commandant of USASMA and the lead for the changes taking place at the Heritage and Education Center. “So we knocked down some walls, rebuilt some displays and changed the name to reflect its new mission – that of heritage and education.”

As a drill sergeant in the early 1990s, Pritchard helped construct new walls within the museum. He remembers when they were proud to have nearly 100 artifacts. Now, the center boasts more than 2,500 artifacts, with about a third of them on display at any time, highlighting NCOs’ role as small-unit leaders. The exhibits complement the history curriculums within the Sergeants Major Course, the Battle Staff Course and the Warrior Leaders Course, Pritchard said, and the center is equipped with an open classroom space to host lectures as well as promotion and induction ceremonies.

“We talk about customs, honoring our traditions. It’s important for all of our students to understand those who served before us: their legacies, their battles, what they have done. We must continue to honor them,” Pritchard said. “It opens up students’ eyes to the way they will have to adapt to the future. It broadens their perspective and their understanding of what this education is all about and what it is to be a student here at the Sergeants Major Academy.”

Lessons steeped in history

The walls separating displays along one side of the NCO Heritage and Education Center were rebuilt on a 45-degree angle to open the space and help show the changes over time.
The walls separating displays along one side of the NCO Heritage and Education Center were rebuilt on a 45-degree angle to open the space and help show the changes over time.

Courses at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy are designed to develop agile, versatile and broadly-skilled NCOs, and lessons on the history of the NCO Corps have always been an integral part of the curriculum.

“One of the semesters that all of the Sergeants Major Academy students go through is the Department of Training and Doctrine,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, USASMA’s commandant. “About half of that curriculum is about NCO history and the effects of our NCO Corps on the military as a whole and different wars and campaigns … and also about how it’s evolved over time to where it is now known as the premier NCO Corps of any army in the world.”

History classes can be taught anywhere, Defreese said, but it is difficult to tie lessons together and convey the big picture. The NCO Heritage and Education Center is an ideal location for lectures, he said, because the exhibits bring the lessons to life in chronological order – from the establishment of the Continental Army in 1775 to the present.

“Really seeing the history of our NCO Corps from what it was in 1775 to what it is now, it is clear that our NCO Corps has had to continue to professionalize over the last 240 years,” he said. “The world has always been an increasingly complex world and continues to be that way, and [this center provides] a visual and tangible way to demonstrate how the NCO Corps has had to adapt over the years and why it is important, as we move forward, to continue to be adaptable like that.”

A refreshing change

The musty, old smell associated with museums and ancient artifacts has been replaced with the smell of clean, new carpet and fresh coats of paint. Visitors are greeted with vibrant colors and an elegant display of the NCO Creed.

An open classroom area will be used for lectures as well as NCO promotion and induction ceremonies, NCO professional development and other educational activities. To schedule a ceremony or event, contact the center at 915-744-8646.
An open classroom area will be used for lectures as well as NCO promotion and induction ceremonies, NCO professional development and other educational activities. To schedule a ceremony or event, contact the center at 915-744-8646.

“When [Pritchard] came in here, the first thing he said was, ‘When I walk through this door, I want things to pop. BAM! I want people to get excited, refreshed, when they walk in the door,’” recalled Sgt. 1st Class Skeet Styer, curator at the NCO Heritage and Education Center.

When the doors closed Dec. 22 to begin the construction, approximately 45 students and spouses from the Family Readiness Group joined the effort. Styer and Staff Sgt. Brandon Burkhart – the history NCO assigned to the center – were the only ones to handle artifacts, but the bulk of the work was done by volunteers.

Walls were taken down to turn no-longer-needed office space into the open classroom area, which will seat more than 50 people. A podium stands in the corner and two video monitors hang on the bright yellow and black wall to enable lectures and presentations. The students have even built an archway for use during promotion ceremonies. New NCOs can walk through it as a symbolic “rite of passage,” Styer said.

The walls separating a large section of displays were rebuilt on a 45-degree angle to further open the space. The building must remain somewhat dark to protect the artifacts, but the colored walls and structural changes lighten the layout. Plans for more LED lighting that will not damage items on display are in the works, Styer said.

The sergeant major of the Army exhibit includes a portrait of Sgt. Maj. William O. Wooldridge, the first sergeant major of the Army, as well as Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston’s desk, bookcase and locker. The items used by Sgt. Maj. Preston during his seven years as sergeant major of the Army were donated by former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler.
The sergeant major of the Army exhibit includes a portrait of Sgt. Maj. William O. Wooldridge, the first sergeant major of the Army, as well as Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston’s desk, bookcase and locker. The items used by Sgt. Maj. Preston during his seven years as sergeant major of the Army were donated by former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler.

“The students and spouses have been phenomenal,” Styer added. “There is no way this center would be like it is now without their help. And nothing would have gotten done without the entire S-3 shop. They have all the connections. They know who to talk to. It has definitely been a team effort.”

The volunteers’ talents ranged from carpentry to theatrical set design. Astrid Owens, an artist and the spouse of a USASMA staff member, painted murals behind many of the displays, depicting far-away landscapes as well as scenes much closer to home. One sets the stage in the jungles of Vietnam, while another shows El Paso’s own Franklin Mountains, which can be seen from the center’s front door.

The work done on the center is a legacy project for Class 65 of the Sergeants Major Academy, explained Jennifer Wood, USASMA Family Readiness Group co-leader and chair for the center refurbishment committee. Because the students’ academic responsibilities are so demanding, the FRG volunteered to help with the work, and Wood said it has been exciting for them to see the project from start to finish.

“It’s been incredibly exciting to watch it come to life,” she said. “Each new thing that you put in place makes it a tangible experience or puts you inside that day of the NCO. It’s so exciting to see other people come and say, ‘Oh, I get it! I see what it was like now.’ We want you to be able to look [at an exhibit] and put yourself in the place of the NCO.

“For example, World War I – it was really important for us to put in a trench, because when you think of World War I, it’s trench warfare, and the majority of us don’t know that experience and cannot relate to that. So that’s what we wanted to portray. … The important thing is to tell the story of the NCO.”

At the grand reopening ceremony scheduled for May 28, the class president will present the commandant with a plaque to hang on the wall, stating the accomplishments of the students and their spouses.

“We will recognize the students and all of the spouses for what they have done, which has been tremendous,” Pritchard said. “We can’t be more proud or excited about what they have done. I praise the heck out of them every time I see them.”

Hard work paying off

Barracks life in the 1890s is depicted in this display recently redesigned by USASMA students and their spouses. A staple item at the time was the footlocker, which held the Soldier’s materials and military possessions. Card games, dime novels, photos and baseball items could all be found in the room to fill idle hours.
Barracks life in the 1890s is depicted in this display recently redesigned by USASMA students and their spouses. A staple item at the time was the footlocker, which held the Soldier’s materials and military possessions. Card games, dime novels, photos and baseball items could all be found in the room to fill idle hours.

“A lot of people are coming in here going, ‘Wow, this place has really changed.’ They are really excited about it,” Styer said. “So Sgt. Maj. Pritchard’s dream is coming to light. It’s pretty exciting to see where it was to where it is now.”

It is a work in progress, however. To care for the artifacts and to prevent the uniforms from fading, the exhibits will rotate, he said, and improvements to the center will continue.

“Every single day we are doing something to change the place. It just takes time,” he said.

Maintaining a refreshed and updated heritage and education center is important, Pritchard said, because it reflects the Army’s pride in its NCO Corps.

“I have done a lot of stuff here at USASMA,” Pritchard said, “and am getting ready to leave, but I take most pride in leading this project.

“We have revitalized it to be a place people will want to come back to. We should have the best heritage center in the Army because the noncommissioned officer has been out front and leading so many charges for so long. It is critically important that we keep it revitalized and maintained for future generations to come. It’s already been over there 25 years now, and it will hopefully be there 25 years after us.”

strid Owens, an artist and the spouse of a USASMA staffmember, painted murals behind several of the displays. The one above depicts El Paso’s own Franklin Mountains, which can be seen from the center’s front door.
Astrid Owens, an artist and the spouse of a USASMA staffmember, painted murals behind several of the displays. The one above depicts El Paso’s own Franklin Mountains, which can be seen from the center’s front door.

 

Grand Reopening The ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. May 28 at the NCO Heritage and Education Center, 11331 SSG Sims St., at Fort Bliss, Texas.