• Ceremony inducts new NCO Corps members

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Twenty-one soldiers were inducted into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps in a ceremony Oct. 26 at the Post Theater.
    The inductees from the Special Troops Battalion and Medical Department Activity were led by Sgt. 1st Class Chrisandra Hersch, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, STB, in the oath of the NCO before signing the charge of the NCO. Then they were officially inducted and welcomed by Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Jon Williams, STB Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Campbell and Master Sgt. Kristine Quinn, MEDDAC.
    “I consider this ceremony a privilege and one of the most important traditions that we do as an Army to reinforce the cornerstone of the leadership in our profession,” said Williams, who served as the guest speaker. “The point of today’s ceremony is to pause, to make a point and to recognize the special and unique moment and acknowledge the very tangible and important transition you have made from private to specialist to noncommissioned officer.”
    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 an 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, explained ceremony narrator, Sgt. 1st Class Lindsay Tramel, military research analyst, Army University.
    “Today, we commemorate this rite of passage as a celebration of the newly promoted and current NCOs joining the ranks of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps and emphasize and build on the pride we all share as members of such an elite corps,” Tramel said. “We all serve to honor the memory of those men and women of the NCO Corps who have served with pride and distinction.”
    To begin his speech, Williams recalled a story about one of his own leaders.
    In 1993, while he was a 19-year-old private, Williams received his third Article 15 and his leaders were in the commander’s office discussing what to do, including the possibility of chaptering Williams out of the Army. However, Williams’ master sergeant stepped in and asked for the opportunity to help Williams change.
    After the meeting, Williams served 45 20-hour days and at the end, his master sergeant approached him saying, “You know I’ll give my life for you and any soldier, but I will also take your life if you disrespect our Army, our honors and our country.”
    “He then puts his hand out, shook my hand and he says, ‘Don’t fail me. Don’t fail our Army. Do not fail our country,’” Williams said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Twenty-six years later I am still trying not to fail (him), our Army, our country.”
    Williams said NCOs have two basic responsibilities — accomplishing the mission and the welfare of their soldiers.
    “Basic is an adjective describing what it takes to meet a standard as a leader,” Williams said. “Noncommissioned officers, we are expected to be outstanding. All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership.
    “‘All’ is any soldier you lead,” he said. “‘All’ are those soldiers in your sphere of influence regardless of nationality, race, creed, gender or color. Sergeants, all means all.”
    Williams said the first step to providing outstanding leadership is to know the soldiers the NCOs are leading.
    “I’m not talking about simply knowing their name, rank or where they live,” he said. “What I’m talking about is deeper. It is showing that you value your soldiers, which requires dialogue and time.”
    Williams said all of this comes out of the NCO Creed.
    “As the newest members of the backbone of the Army, you represent the future and the strength of our nation. It will be up to you to determine what each part of the NCO Creed means to you and how you will manifest it in your daily and professional lives,” Williams said. “You are preservers of our Army, discipline, order and, ultimately, our culture as a service. Give yourself to that purpose and you will not fail.
    “As you leave today, I charge you to be the noncommissioned officer who exudes professionalism, who exudes competence,” he said, “and that noncommissioned officer who makes a positive difference in the life of a soldier.”
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