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News | Feb. 9, 2011

CF sergeant graduates from U.S. NCO academy

By Lesley Craig Canadian Forces Public Affairs

OTTAWA –For the most part, what Canadian Forces Sgt. Tim Parrell learned at the Forrest L. Vosler NCO Academy was what he would have learned at Saint-Jean in an Intermediate Leadership Qualification course—with the exception of the U.S. Air Force song and Airman’s Creed.

“Yeah, I’d say most of the Airman’s Creed but lines like ‘I’m an American airman,’ I didn’t say those ones,” he said with a laugh. Parrell is stationed in Colorado Springs, working with the North American Aerospace Defense Command Inspector General’s team. It’s his team’s job to visit the NORAD units in Canada and the U.S. and evaluate their procedures, making sure they’re up to handling anything that gets thrown at them.

In November, Parrell headed back to school at Vosler for his professional military education. He’s the first international student to graduate from Vosler and one of the first Canadians to complete a course like this in the U.S.

Parrell’s graduation marks a significant bilateral agreement through which Canadian and U.S. military personnel can receive equivalency for their professional military education. “It’s something we’ve been working on for the last few years,” said Parrell.

In June of last year, Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Simer graduated from the Advanced Leadership Qualification course at Saint-Jean. “Since then, we’ve been working both ways, having Canadians attending American professional development courses and vice versa,” explained Parrell.

The course at Vosler was a little more elaborate than the ILQ he would have taken at Saint-Jean, said Parrell. “We studied everything to do with leadership, how to be a combat leader and unit manager, and military professional. You know, what’s expected of senior NCOs so we went over everything from human behaviour to discipline issues, counselling techniques, leadership management. It was quite in-depth and very good.”

Parrell said he found the course useful on a number of different levels. What he learned about being a leader will stand him in good stead as he progresses in his career, but the contacts he has made during the course are just as important. “There were 126 people on the course and they were from all over the country and all different trades,” he said. “Everybody had a different outlook on how to tackle certain situations.”

Through the contacts he made, the certification he earned and the things he learned about the U.S. Air Force, Parrell said he benefitted from his time at Vosler, and that he’s proud to say that his class also benefitted from his presence.

“I think for most of them, the biggest impact they got out of it was the relationship we have between the two countries,” said Parrell. “There are a lot of things we’ve been doing together, and that we continue to do, that they weren’t aware of, so I was able to tell them about that.”

Parrell will leaveColorado Springs this summer and go to Canadian Forces Base Borden, where he’ll work as an instructor for the Primary Leadership Qualification courses. He said he believes his experiences at Vosler have prepared him well for his new job.