MOSUL, Iraq - They call themselves members of the “Nowatay Nation.” “Nowatay,” the Troop’s motto, is derived from a Lakota-Sioux war cry that means “It’s a good day to fight, It’s a good day to die!” This offensive mindset has been ingrained in the non-commissioned officers of Crazyhorse Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, since beginning their deployment to Iraq in the fall of 2009.
Over the past year, the Troop has found themselves in all parts of the Ninewa province, in Northern Iraq, conducting missions that range from training multi-national forces to securing vital lines of communications. The key to their success has been in the flexibility and strength of their non-commissioned officers. Empowerment isn’t just a word that is paid lip service in the Troop, it is practiced. This is clearly evident by the non-commissioned officers serving in leadership positions. The troop first sergeant is currently a sergeant first class, the platoon sergeants are staff sergeants, and half of the section sergeants are sergeants—all of whom are serving in positions of greater responsibility than their rank.
“Since arriving to Crazyhorse last spring, I’ve been nothing but impressed by the caliber of noncommissioned officers that this Troop produces,” said Capt. Joe Byerly, of Savannah, Ga, the Troop commander.
The first task for a newly promoted non-commissioned officer in Crazyhorse Troop is to recite the NCO Creed in front of every member of the Troop standing in formation.
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Walker, a Waynesville, N.C., native, sees the recitation of the NCO Creed as, “that noncommissioned officers opportunity to pledge not only to himself, but to the rest of the Troop on how he is going to set the example personally and professionally.”
Not only do the non-commissioned officers carry the responsibility of ensuring that pre-combat inspections are being conducted to standard, but they also understand that their involvement in the planning of the mission is just as important. They spend countless hours studying special activity reports in the Troop’s area of operation, developing multiple and innovative courses of action.
“They’ve seen their recommendations implemented at the Squadron and Brigade level, so they know that their vote counts, and that is what helps stimulate their initiative,” said 2nd Lt. Paul Guzman, of Chicago, Ill., a platoon leader in Crazyhorse Troop.
“I truly believe that the corps of non-commissioned officers within this organization is going to have lasting effects not only within the Squadron, but throughout the Army as they change duty stations and continue to train and develop the next generation of leaders,” said Capt. Byerly.
The “Nowatay” character has truly been embraced, and the non-commissioned officers of Crazyhorse Troop now stand alongside the leaders that have led this proud band of warriors in combat since 1866.