Fourth Marine to graduate from AFSNCO Academy



by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs


6/22/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy has enrolled its first Marine student since 2004. First Sgt. Joseph Caputo will be the fourth Marine to graduate from the premier enlisted educational institution of the Air Force.

"This is a great opportunity," Caputo said. "Attending a sister service academy gives you a really good perspective on how the other services work, their takes on leadership, manpower management."

Caputo decided to attend the academy after receiving the notice for an opening for the school through the Marine Corps. Prior to coming to Gunter Annex, Caputo served as a drill instructor and was in Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), which is responsible for the transportation of the president of the United States.

Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Candler, the commandant of the SNCOA, was glad to see the return of Marines to the school and was complimentary of the unique insight Caputo brings.

"His presence provides the other US armed forces and coalition partner senior NCOs insight into the diversity of thought and action by a separate service," Candler said. "Knowing and accepting what another service values and the capability they project expands the influence of senior enlisted leadership to lead units and warriors from all services and nations to meet strategic objectives."

Professional Military Education develops the most important resource the United States armed forces has: its people. Caputo stressed the importance for today's service men and women to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by every service.

"You can find yourself, down the road, dealing with something that was covered during your PME. Military education is constantly made to be relevant. To be able to be exposed to the latest and greatest information is absolutely vital to being successful as a leader," Caputo said. "I don't care if you're leading Airmen, Marines or workers at Home Depot, you need to take part in education programs and get relevant information."

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy echoed the critical importance of joint partnerships through education.

"We are creating an environment that reflects today's real world. Many of our senior enlisted leaders work closely with coalition and Joint partners," Roy said. "These partnerships are becoming more and more important, so it's increasingly valuable to train and educate our forces together."

The SNCOA has three Marines scheduled for its next class, with the continued goal of enrolling at least one per class.