08 January 2012

An Opportunity not to be squandered

Intermediate Level Education, or ILE, is what Army Majors must complete to be eligible for promotion to LTC. Unless you are in one of those 'Special' Branches, like JAG, Chaplain or AMEDD (SB). Every officer must complete this course, whether in 'residence' or 'distance learning'. Some are unable to complete the residence course out of no fault of their own (deployment, health, family,etc). However, being selected for a resident class is a privilege that few receive. Especially as an officer in the Army Reserve.

I am a proud member of the AMEDD Regiment, as a Medical Specialist Corp. Seats for these classes are determined by a Selection Board convened each year at the Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox (AHRC). This board then issues a number of seats to each branch.

Why? They are SB for a reason. The Army does not necessarily pay those branches to command at higher levels of the Army or DoD. We pay them to be Doctors, Lawyers and Chaplains, not necessarily to be staffers. However, some in the SB will do this, and therefore a small, select number of seats are awarded to these branches. Each branch then convenes their boards for those that will be awarded a seat in this class.

Statistics for this year's ILE show that out of 37 AGR MS Officers boarded, only six were selected for Resident ILE this year. We learned that the Belvior Campus of ILE selects the top 50% of the Officers selected for Resident ILE (there are three other campuses that hold the resident course) due to its proximity to the National Capital Region (NCR). I was selected for the Belvoir ILE Course.

In group 30C, there are 16 of us. Every one of us has a Combat Patch. I am the only Reserve Component Officer. Two are West Point graduates. One Physician. One JAG Officer. One Special Forces Officer. Two Captains that will get promoted while they are here (that is an accomplishment as a CPT to be selected for ILE). Five of us are TDY, the others are stationed in the NCR.

It is a diverse group. A group that will challenge me with their depth and breadth of their experiences. A group that will push me to do my best and keep up. This is the first 'merit-based' school I have attended during my career, where the best are selected to come. I sometimes hardly believe that I was selected. I will not squander this opportunity.

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