News: Thirty-three Soldiers of 'Black Lions' battalion inducted into NCO Corps
Story by Spc. Shantelle Campbell
BALAD, Iraq – Thirty-three Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan., were inducted into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps, May 17, during the battalion's NCO Induction Ceremony at Joint Base Balad.
New NCOs from each company in the battalion were formally inducted into an elite corps of non-commissioned officers who have proudly and continually served as the "backbone" of the Army.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Lewis, the 'Black Lions' top non-commissioned officer was the guest speaker of the ceremony and gave the inductees words of encouragement and emphasized the importance of becoming an NCO.
"They are at the forefront of what those [younger] Soldiers expect and there is no hiding of what they do," said Milford, Kan., native about his new NCOs. "They have to understand that they have to lead from the front and lead by example every day – there are no short-cuts, and there is professionalism – always."
During the ceremony, each Soldier was recognized and introduced by their respective first sergeants. Then, the moment came when 33 'Black Lions' crossed over the threshold and officially became a part of the Corps of NCOs.
"Today was a special day for me," said Lewis. "Most of these Soldiers who were inducted into the NCO Corps reported to this unit as a private … They showed up when we started to form this brigade. They were some of the first Soldiers who were in this battalion when we reactivated in January of 2006, and they deployed with us in the surge. They are a part of this team. It's like watching my own children grow up and take that next step."
"It's a proud moment for me and this organization," he concluded.
Sgt. Woodrow Wilson of Fayetteville, N.C., a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-28 Inf., said being inducted into the NCO Corps gave young leaders a moment to truly be recognized for their achievements and said being inducted while in Iraq made the moment even more special.
"Now, my name will go down in history as being a part of the 1-28 Infantry, 'Black Lions,'" said Wilson. "Anyone can get inducted in the States, but being able to do that here, in theater, during the middle of a combat zone – it's a great thing."