• Soldiers inducted into NCO Corps

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Twenty-six soldiers were inducted into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps during a ceremony Nov. 7 at the Post Theater.
    The inductees from the 705th and 40th Military Police Battalions (Detention) were led in the oath of the NCO by Sgt. 1st Class Katherine Tokles, 705th MP Battalion (Detention) before signing the charge of the NCO and officially being inducted and welcomed by 40th MP Battalion (Detention) Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica Knapp, 705th MP Battalion (Detention) Command Sgt. Maj. John Fair, 15th MP Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Cereghino, and retired Sgt. Maj. Michael Baker.
    “Today is a special day. A day of recognition and hard work and dreams realized. We give thanks that you gave these soldiers the integrity and strength to make it through this far,” said 705th MP Battalion Chaplain (Capt.) Clinton Sheets during the invocation. “To all those stepping forward to give their oath today, I ask that you give a sense of pride in their accomplishment and remind them that they did not make it here alone and that there were many who helped along the way.”
    During the ceremony, soldiers represented NCOs over the 200-year history of the NCO Corps in a presentation entitled, “I Am the Sergeant.”
    The role of a NCO was first defined with the formation of the Continental Army in 1775 and from there the role continued to grow. The tradition of a soldier becoming an NCO started with the “Four Watches,” which ended in the joining of the NCO Corps during the final watch.
    “Today, we commemorate this rite of passage as a celebration of the newly promoted joining the ranks of a professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps and emphasize and build on the pride we all share as members of such an elite corps,” said narrator Staff Sgt. Joshua Sherman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 705th.
    Baker served as guest speaker for the event and began by quoting retired Gen. Colin Powell.
    “‘Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence in your help or concluded that you do not care. Either case is failure of leadership,’” Baker quoted.
    “Don’t be that NCO that loses the trust and confidence of your soldiers,” he said. “Be that NCO who earns their respect, trust and confidence through tough realistic training, committed to them and the mission, and by setting the proper example.”
    Baker said that during his time as an NCO, he used the example of his former NCO and did everything he could to help his soldiers by training, challenging and mentoring them. He said he took his personal time to assist soldiers, showed them how to sign-up for Army online training, took them to the Army Education Center and helped them sign-up for college, created extra (physical training) sessions for those who needed it, and helped them study for both promotion and competition boards.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It’s called sacrifice and its needed for the betterment of our soldiers, your duty and the Army,” Baker said. “I took these lessons and utilized them throughout my career attempting to train and mentor our future generation of NCOs.”
    Baker said that though sacrifice is important, it is just as important to maintain balance.
    “We all want to be that perfect leader and accomplish everything we can for our soldiers,” Baker said. “If you’re doing your job well you’ll mold your soldiers to providing the opportunities where they can do a lot for themselves and you’ll be working on the maintenance base. That’ll give you time to yourself and your family providing that much needed balance.”
    Finally, Baker had one last note for the new NCOs.
    “Today, as you cross into the Corps of the nonCommissioned Officer, know it’s not about that pay raise, the stripes on your chest or your arms, or about the additional power you may have. It’s something more important,” Baker said. “It’s about joining a 200-plus year fraternity and becoming a professional that sets the example of leadership, standards and discipline.”
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