MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
The Gunter Noncommissioned Officer Academy on Maxwell-Gunter Annex reopened Oct. 1, 2020, after nearly a decade, to meet the Air Force’s increased demand for effective development of NCOs.
Gunter NCOA suspended operations in 2013, when Air Education and Training Command introduced a blended learning approach, transferring the responsibility of NCO training for the region to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to reduce the cost of executing and sustaining enlisted professional military education.
However, in February 2019, after Hurricane Michael caused major damage to the Paul W. Airey NCOA facilities on Tyndall, the academy, along with its students and faculty, was temporarily relocated to Gunter Annex. As the Airey NCOA prepares to return to Tyndall, Gunter NCOA is now resuming operations to continue the uninterrupted education of NCOs.
“The agility and flexibility we gain from the standup of this school provides all NCOAs with current and relevant course content,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lauren Brock, chief, EPME. “With the addition of our newest academy, EPME increases its capability to provide deliberate development of our NCOs at the right time in their careers.”
Gunter NCOA’s close proximity to the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education makes the academy an ideal host site for new EPME initiatives and allows instructional system designers to test curriculum in real time before they are implemented throughout all Air Force NCO academies.
“This is a big deal for enlisted PME. The reactivation of the Gunter NCOA not only expands our ability to educate and develop enlisted leaders across the Air Force, but it enhances the Barnes Center’s agility by serving as a test bed for curriculum development,” said Col. Kathryn Brown, Barnes Center commander.
Gunter NCOA will host its first class starting Oct. 5 via the Virtual In-Residence-Remote platform, which was developed by Air University to safely and effectively resume EPME amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“VIR-R replicates the in-residence experience as much as feasibly possible with students participating in and interacting with instructors and fellow students remotely from their home stations, and upon completion, they earn in-residence credit for NCOA,” said Chief Master Sgt. Rosita Goodrum, Gunter NCOA commandant.