News: National Guard Patriot Academy forges ahead with new Commandant
Story by Capt. Kyle Key
BUTLERVILLE, Ind. - Lt. Col. Wm. Kenny Freeman from Seaford, Del., assumed command of the National Guard Patriot Academy high school following a change of command ceremony June 6.
“Our mission is to take care of soldiers,” said Freeman. “Give them the best training available and prepare them for the future."
Since its 2009 accreditation as the nation’s first high school for members of the U.S. armed forces, the Patriot Academy has graduated more than 200 soldiers. The program was designed to offer applicants without high school diplomas between the ages of 17-21 an opportunity to finish school and serve in the Army National Guard. But the focus on their education process doesn’t end at a high school diploma. At the Academy, students have an opportunity to earn college credits, prepare for the ACT and receive assistance in applying to colleges.
“The Patriot Academy truly is a tactical unit with strategic implications,” Freeman said. “With each graduate we produce, lives are positively changed--directly and indirectly. And communities across America are stronger because of the leaders we are developing here. The ripple effect goes far beyond our ranks in the National Guard. You can’t put a price tag on that.”
The program has helped soldiers earn more than 3,500 college credits and has contributed more than 4,000 hours of community service to organizations in Jennings County, Ind. Students also conduct military training to hone their skills and improve their physical fitness through rigorous daily training. Their goal is to produce well rounded soldiers, citizens and leaders.
The National Guard Patriot Academy falls under the National Guard
Bureau, Education, Incentives and Employment Division in Arlington, Va. It is one of two secondary diploma granting education programs, including the National Guard GED Plus program, for new recruits in the military. Division Chief Lt. Col. Richard Baldwin said from managing incentives, education benefits and employment initiatives, he has one of the most important missions in the National Guard.
“With all of the responsibilities that we have as a division, we have a great ability to affect the soldiers’ lives and change their lives for the better,” Baldwin said. “The Patriot Academy is a prime example of our ability to do that.”
Prior to joining the Patriot Academy, Freeman served as the chief of the Combat Refresher Team for the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Freeman’s mobile team taught the Army’s military decision making process helping develop leadership, expertise in brigade and battalion operations, command and control, decision making and improve staff work. He said his experience teaching MDMP will enable his personnel to be best trained planning staff while producing the best soldiers in the Army.
“It’s time to implement what I taught at CGSC,” Freeman said, smiling at his staff.
Freeman replaced Maj. Charles Nesloney, acting commandant, who will be reassigned to the Army Recruiting Information Support System at Ft. Knox, Ky. Nesloney served as the deputy commandant from the fall of 2009 until the reassignment of the Patriot Academy’s first commandant, Col. Perry W. Sarver, Jr. in March, 2011.
In 1987, Freeman received his commission through Salisbury State University Army ROTC in Salisbury, Md. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Science from Salisbury State University and a Master of Science in Military Arts and Science from the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He is the proud father of two daughters, Bryianna and Corey Freeman, son of William Kenny Freeman, Sr., stepson of Phyllis Freeman of Seaford, Del., and brother of Karen Freeman of Kansas City, Kan.