Monday, July 22

First Guardian graduates Army’s Basic Leadership Course > United States Space Force > Article Display

A Guardian became the first member of the U.S. Space Force to graduate the Army’s Basic Leadership Course at Fort Carson.

Sgt. Hunter Meyers, 75th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of unit operations, graduated from the Army’s BLC, March 22. This achievement not only marks an achievement for the Guardian, but further demonstrates the growing collaboration between services and their commitment to grow the next generation of noncommissioned officers.

Hailing from Center Hall, Pennsylvania, Meyers enlisted in the military in 2016 where he became an image analyst for the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, where he honed his skills and eventually deployed to Afghanistan to support counter-ISIS operations in 2020. Following his deployment, he was stationed in RAF Molesworth, United Kingdom, supporting the Ukraine-Russian war for about two years.

“When I signed up for my job in geospatial intelligence, I thought it was for space stuff,” Meyers said. “And afterwards they told me the true nature of the role. I wasn’t expecting that. Not many people liked the job, but I ended up loving the job; it was fun, high paced and very stressful.”

While at RAF Molesworth, Meyers applied to transfer to the Space Force and was soon after assigned to Peterson Space Force Base, as a Guardian. When his supervisor at the time, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Cristina Oliver, Space Delta 7 – ISR unit deployment manager, saw an opportunity for her troop to grow and learn as a brand-new staff sergeant, she offered him the chance to attend the Army’s BLC even though he just finished the Air Force’s Airman Leadership School.

“Sergeant Meyers has always shown an interest in how other branches train, especially the Army,” Oliver said. “I was Army for 14 years and I’m a strong believer that the Army’s noncommissioned officer academy is instrumental to the development and shaping of successful leaders. When the opportunity for one of my NCOs to attend BLC presented itself, I immediately thought of Sgt Meyers and most importantly, he wanted to go. If one of my Soldiers or Guardians ever wants to achieve something, it’s my job to make sure it happens.”

When he reported in on his first day, he mentioned that it felt like he was back at basic training. He had four to five instructors go straight to him to inspect his gear and uniforms — like what the first 72 hours would have been some time ago in the Army for new recruits.

“So, most of the time they knew what to look for but on occasion if they didn’t know something about what I had, I had to look up the regulations on it to prove to them it was an authorized item for a member of the Space Force,” Meyers said.

His day at the course started with initial formation early in the morning where they recited the Army’s NCO creed and sang the Army song before proceeding to breakfast. This was a tradition that the students needed to do after every meal as well before resuming classes.

“After the first week we were told we couldn’t use notes anymore for the creed and the song,” Meyers said. “The NCO creed is three paragraphs long — it took me a while to learn it fully learn it and it wasn’t until just before graduation that I felt comfortable with it.”

He was made the class leader of his group. Normally it would have been someone with the least experience leading that would be selected as the class leader, but since Meyers was a Guardian, he was selected and put to the challenge. Some of his duties involved marching the class to the dining facility and ensuring they received their breaks every hour.

“I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I was told I was their favorite class leader,” Meyers said. “There were four class leaders, and some did get fired, I am just happy that I wasn’t one who was fired.”

Meyers was able to see similarities in the leadership style and subjects that they were taught in BLC and ALS. Both courses taught to listen to people and how to make effective briefings. He mentioned that the course was strict and easy to fail out of. It was expected of them to write their own projects with no use of artificial intelligence or plagiarism. So, remaining attentive, sharp and having integrity was imperative to finishing the course.

“If you received two of the same demerits of any type, you were out of the course,” Meyers said. “If you were late twice to any formation on a given day or failed an assignment and also your second attempt, you were gone.”

Meyers is not unfamiliar with the joint environment having deployed with the Army in his earlier days. To him, attending the BLC course was another opportunity to expand his knowledge as a strategic thinker and coach those around him, embodying the “service” ethos.

“We learned small squad movements and tactics, it was a lot more tactical than what I’m used to thinking of,” Meyers said. “Thinking about the missions I worked in the past and only seeing and thinking about the big picture, I can now appreciate and understand how down and dirty it gets with the guys on the ground.”

After completing 22 academic days and 169 academic hours, Meyers graduated the Army’s BLC as the first Space Force member, setting the expectations for future Guardians who may attend in the future. Meyers mentioned that Guardians should take every opportunity to train with other branches and find out how to work together to be ready for any crisis that may arise. As the Air and Space Forces embrace 2024 as “Year of the NCO”, Meyers exemplifies the traits that the Space Force values for all of its noncommissioned officers.

“I’m extremely proud of Sergeant Meyers for graduating BLC. When we put him in for this, we didn’t realize he would be the first Guardian to attend BLC. It’s always impressive when someone is ‘the first’ and I think it puts extra pressure on you to do better,” Oliver said. “I was excited for him to experience the world that raised me as well. This opportunity allowed him to interact with Soldiers from multiple military occupational specialties, from intelligence to infantry. He was able to learn about their jobs and roles and in return, educate Soldiers on the mission and purpose of the Space Force. I had no doubt that he would excel, he always does.”