News: Keeping traditions alive
Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -“Who recommends this Soldier into the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers?” This question echoed throughout the auditorium as 15 Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps, joined the NCO Corps during an induction ceremony on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Feb. 13.
According to Command Sgt. Maj. Woodrow Ishman Jr., the induction ceremony is important in an NCOs career because it gives them a perspective on the importance of the tasks they are about to undertake.
“One thing about a soldier or anyone who serves in our military is that we have this special sense of pride when we put on the uniform,” said Ishman, HHB command sergeant major, I Corps. “We take a special part in doing something because we represent not just the uniform, but everything it stands for.”
Soldiers in attendance displayed the NCO lineage by dressing in uniforms from the Revolutionary War to the present.
“Uniforms of the past help us maintain our lineage and what we do as NCOs,” said Ishman. “When you include the uniforms, you allow more people to be a part of the ceremony.”
For Sgt. Jerry Stanhope, a Billings, Mont. native, joining the NCO Corps raised his own expectations.
“Soldiers look to you as an example,” said Stanhope, a joint nodal operator with C Company, HHB. “They follow the example you set. The NCOs I have been around exhibit traits I want to instill in myself.”
Joining the NCO Corps allows sergeants to carry on the Army tradition. For some like Sgt. Michael Watson, an imagery analyst with B Company, HHB, its roots go deeper.
“My father is a retired master sergeant,” said Watson, a Columbia, Md. native. “It is an honor for me to become an NCO and inducted into the Corps.”
Before being inducted, each newly promoted sergeant passed under two archways: a wooden arch bearing the ranks of the NCOs and then crossed swords held by the soldiers they have sworn to lead and mentor. The sergeants then signed the unit NCO Corps ledger symbolizing the acceptance into the corps joining noncommissioned officers, past and present.
After crossing the threshold into becoming an NCO, the inductees recited the charge of the noncommissioned officer, which signifies they have assumed the duties and responsibilities of maintaining and instilling discipline and order in a unit.
During the ceremony, junior soldiers requested NCO leadership by reciting a “Soldier’s Request” and a brief history of the corps with the sonnet The Boots of the NCO.
“We have to continue these types of ceremonies to maintain our lineage, heritage, and our traditions,” said Ishman, “Not just to be sergeants, but to be something different and be something a part of bigger than themselves.”