Rising Through the Ranks
The mission of the U.S. Army Ordnance School is to train and educate soldiers, civilians and members of other armed services in military functions and capabilities, and to impart academic and technical skills, in an effort to build and preserve Army readiness. Upholding a proud Ordnance tradition that dates back to the American Revolution, the Fort Lee, Virginia institution develops highly-motivated students to provide tactical skills and operational support to the U.S. Army in times of both war and peace.
Today, U.S. Army Ordnance School averages 6,000 to 7,000 students each year, with enrollment driven by the demand of the U.S. Army recruitment process. Its training departments include Armament & Electronics Maintenance, Munitions & Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Ordnance Electronics Maintenance, Tactical Support Equipment, Track Metalworking & Recovery and Wheel Maintenance. The school also features a valuable program devoted to training within an industry. This program places service members in elite industrial companies to learn critical, hands-on industrial skills and practices that simply cannot be taught in any military or civilian programs.
“Our school offers more than just a military education,” says Mr. Jose N. Osorio, Training Specialist at U.S. Army Ordnance School. “We offer technical skills training with accredited education courses, along with training with industry positions and continuing education programs to provide more advanced training.”
The Challenge of Reporting for Duty
When the need for reaccreditation by COE arises every six years, the U.S. Army Ordnance School employs the same degree of military skill and tactical planning that has given the U.S. Army an advantage in the field. The school prepares for a COE visit with military precision, enlisting all of its faculty and staff to carefully evaluate its processes and standards, as well as collect the needed documentation.
“With accreditation, it is always a nerve-racking experience.” Mr. Osorio explained. “A lot goes into the planning, getting different documents together and meeting those 10 primary COE standards.”
Yet, the U.S. Army Ordnance School offers more than your ordinary education. The school follows an entirely different protocol than traditional academic institutions. After all, its students are also highly-disciplined military soldiers. This results in practices and standards at the school that are often stricter than those at other academic institutions. While this serves as one of the school’s greatest strengths, it can also be an obstacle during reaccreditation.
“Our biggest challenge has been getting COE familiar with the military,” explains Mr. Osorio. “We’ve had to educate COE personnel about military systems and standards because our methodology and systems are completely different than those at other institutions.”
Commanding Academic Respect
When the team reports to the school for an on-site visit, they hit the ground running to evaluate programs, review documentation, tour the facilities and speak with staff. Their goal is to ensure than an institution and its programs meet strict educational standards for quality and integrity in technical education. For more than 35 years, U.S. Army Ordnance School has passed this inspection with flying colors, maintaining the honor and respect of COE accreditation. In return, COE has commanded the respect of the school.
“I am most impressed with the level of professionalism in the COE program,” says Mr. Osorio. “Their leaders not only come in to inspect an institution but provide insight and advice on best practices to help a school meet high standards of educational quality. This ensures that we are serving our students, the community and the U.S. Army.”