News: Senior NCOs educate, mentor troops to improve ASVAB
Story by Spc. Andrew Ingram
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq – Eager to seek better opportunities and self-improvement, soldiers stationed at Contingency Operating Site Warrior preparatory classes to improve their performance on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
U.S. Division-North soldiers volunteering as instructors focused on raising the scores of students trying to qualify for officer candidate school, warrant officer training or reclassification into a different enlisted career field.
“This class is all about helping soldiers succeed,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tanisha Diggs, a career counselor assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division. “A lot of these soldiers will do really well in their new career paths; we just want to help them get there.”
Diggs, from Fort Hood, Texas, said she volunteered to teach the course after she realized many of the soldiers need to improve their ASVAB scores to reach their military career goals.
“My goal is to provide them with the opportunity to improve themselves,” Diggs said. “It makes me feel good to bring them options.”
More important than simply studying the material covered on the exam, Diggs said one of the best things soldiers can do to improve their scores is learn more efficient test taking techniques.
“We are not just teaching them the right answers because we don’t know what questions are on the test,” she said. “They are learning what types of questions they will have to answer and strategies to figure out the right answer quickly.”
Although most of the students already have a grasp on the material, taking the class allows the soldiers to develop their knowledge and skills, said Sgt. 1st Class Kells Gillespie, network manager, HHC, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st AATF, 1st Inf. Div.
“We aren’t here to teach anything new,” said Gillespie, who calls Boone’s Mill, Va., home. “Everything on the test they probably learned in high school; Sgt. 1st Class Diggs and I are just here to reiterate what they have learned in the past.”
Gillespie said he volunteered as an instructor so more soldiers from throughout COS Warrior could take part in the class.
“These guys need some help, so we volunteered,” he said. “I’m a non-commissioned officer and that is what we do—we help soldiers.”
The students appreciate the dedication Diggs and Gillespie display during the class, said Spc. John Wistrom, combat engineer, Company C, Brigade Support Battalion, 1st AATF.
“It isn’t like this is their job,” said Wistrom, who hails from Sartell, Minn. “I’ve really got a lot of respect for what they are doing.”
The instructor’s volunteer hours of their personal outside of assigned duties teaching classes and grading papers, he added.
Wistrom said he wants to improve his ASVAB score to reclassify as an interrogator.
“I’ve done my time outside the wire, and I love being a combat engineer, but I want to plan for the future,” Wistrom explained. “I’m really interested in going into law enforcement when I get out of the military, and I think being an interrogator would be a good place for me to get training.”
The next preparatory class is slated to begin, April 18. COS Warrior soldiers interested in attending the class should notify their chain of command.