Brandman News

Lessons learned in M.A.O.L. program help military students lead

August 01, 2016 by Gustav Deutsch

Command Sgt. Major Jon Helring oversees the training of noncommissioned officers at the Henry H Lind NCO academy at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. One of the vital lessons taught at the academy is the need for continual self-improvement. It’s no surprise then that leaders like Helring strive for that same improvement, even after 27 years of leadership experience. That is why Helring and several of his peers have turned to Brandman’s Master’s in organizational leadership (or M.A.O.L.) program.

Related story: NCO Academy leaders join forces to master M.A.O.L. degree


Jon Helring: This is Sgt. Major Jon Helring from COB Speicher, Iraq…

Command Sgt. Major Jon Helring, seen here on a deployment in Iraq a few years ago, has held several leadership positions during his 27-year military career. He’s now training the next generation of military leaders at the Henry H. Lind NCO Academy at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Helring: It’s a very big responsibility because not only here at this leadership school do we teach them how to be better soldiers and better leaders but we constantly tell them about self-improvement.

And the leaders hold themselves to that high standard too, Helring and a number of others at the military academy have enrolled at Brandman University’s campus at JBLM to earn their master’s degrees in organizational leadership.

Helring: So for us as leaders to keep learning and keep improving is critically important because we have to stay relevant.

Jonathan Ramey: It’s awesome in the Army and it’s awesome outside the Army. It’s organizational leadership, not Army leadership.

The skills taught at Brandman are put to use by soldiers handling major military responsibilities, Capt. Jonathan Ramey is an intelligence officer who works with apache helicopter crews.

Ramey: We track down the bad guys and tell the boss where they are so that they can send the helicopter to go take them out.

He’s also getting his master’s in organizational leadership in a program taught by staff largely made up of prior military officers.

Ramey: Very experienced, very knowledgeable, and very open to questions.

The leadership skills benefit everyone, from younger soldiers to those nearing retirement.

Chris Maxwell: Was so nervous the first night of class, and they literally made it easy, got me through it.

Master Sgt. Chris Maxwell will graduate in September and plans to use the lessons learned at Brandman in his new life outside the Army.

Maxwell: And Brandman from you know, admissions to the instructors, everyone involved, councilors have been fantastic.

As for Command Sgt. Major Helring, his role at the academy is changing, he’ll soon be on to a new challenge and he says everything he learned at Brandman will help him in his next leadership role.

Helring: My master’s program has helped me just become a better leader we can never stop improving.

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