Robins bids farewell to NCO Academy

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78 ABW/PA
The Robins NCO Academy's long history came to a close May 20, with the graduation of its last class, Class 08-4, and inactivation of the school.

The historical event unfolded at the Robins Heritage Club. Col. Thomas Klincar, commander of the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., presided over the inactivation ceremony.

Colonel Klincar said the NCOA's closure lined up with the Air Force's plan for its NCO academies.

"We've already closed the academy at Barksdale (La.)," he said. "We've closed the academy at McGuire (N.J.), and tonight, we're closing the academy at Robins. Next week, we will be closing the academy at Goodfellow in Texas."

He said in 2009, he anticipates closing the academy at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and the academy at Keesler AFB, Miss., was just added to the list.

The NCOA's final festivities included a closing ceremony for the school's final class and the final retreat at the school's drill pad, among other activities observed throughout the day.

Former commandants and staff members joined current staff members to mark the occasion, one that Chief Master Sgt. Roy Lapioli, the school's most recent commandant, said came with mixed emotion.

"We're done," he said. "It's bittersweet. I'm humbled, sad. I'm proud of what we've done and who we are, and I'm excited about the future."

Chief Master Sgt. Carol Dockery, Robins's Command Chief Master Sergeant, said the RNCOA has done a great job of investing in future NCO leaders.

"Robins NCOA has been a vital continuum of professional development, preparing enlisted Airmen for positions of greater responsibility since the Air Force Logistics Command transferred the school house to Robins in the early 1970s," she said.

Chief Dockery said the RNCOA staff's leadership is reflected in the academy's graduates.

"Over the years, instructors on staff have successfully produced proud professionals skilled in critical thinking and servant leadership," she said. "While the academy inactivation is a significant loss to Team Robins, the rich tradition of developing enlisted leaders lives on in the thousands of warfighting Airmen who have entered to learn and departed to lead."