The next wave of Army leaders marched through tradition at a new location last week.

Soldiers at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, graduated from two different noncommissioned officer courses on Nov. 5, officials in Kosovo said.

For the first time, U.S. peacekeepers in Kosovo had 29 Primary Leadership Development Course students and 31 Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course students graduate. All of the graduates came from the 28th Infantry Division out of Pennsylvania.

PLDC is the first step soldiers take toward becoming an NCO, while BNCOC is a more intensive course on military job specialty and how it relates to being a leader.

Previously, deployed troops had to wait until their peacekeeping duties were finished before they could attend courses in Germany or schools stateside. For National Guard and Reserve soldiers, that meant additional time away from their civilian jobs and schools.

Now, with courses maintained during deployments, the government saves nearly $50,000 a course and students save time, U.S. peacekeepers said in a news release.

The release said the National Guard Bureau authorized senior noncommissioned officers from the 166th Regiment out of Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., to set up the new training site on Camp Bondsteel.

Sgts. Maj. Dennis Kramer and Jim Vail of the 166th supervised course instruction and the organization of classes.

Military instructors said more NCO schools would become available to troops deployed to Kosovo in the future, including the Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course.

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