KADENA, OKINAWA, JAPAN
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – In medieval times a squire served a knight with the upmost humility and faithful service. In return a knight trained the squire in hopes that one day he would become a knight. Once accepted, the squire would take part in a ceremony, the crowning of a knight, which symbolized his rite of passage.
In a similar but modern fashion approximately 90 soldiers, airmen and sailors participated in a ceremony for their rite of passage marching through glistening silver swords during a noncommissioned officer induction ceremony Jan. 24 at Kadena Air Base Marine Corps Hangar, 3.
The ceremony served as a celebration for new or recently promoted noncommissioned officers joining the corps while emphasizing the pride noncommissioned officers share as the backbone of the military.
Command Sgt. Maj. Shelton Williamson, command sergeant major, 10th Regional Support Group, hosted the ceremony.
“The importance of the NCO induction ceremony is to expose our young soldiers to the traditions of transitioning from a soldier to a leader and additionally to render honor to NCOs of the past who have paved the way for NCOs of the present,” said Williamson.
The event began as Williamson shouted, “Close the door and do not let anyone in or out.”
The command was followed by a loud and thunderous slamming of the hangar door signifying the start of the ceremony.
Next, the audience was introduced to history of the noncommissioned officer followed by a presentation that involved junior ranking soldiers sounding off with their requests to all noncommissioned officers in attendance. Their requests were simple and straight to the point requesting to be trained properly, taken care of and to not be mistreated but more importantly to be trained to become sergeants themselves.
Command Sgt. Maj. Nathan J. Hunt III, command sergeant major, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, served as the guest speaker for the event and talked about the importance of being noncommissioned officers who can lead their soldiers, sailors or airmen.
“Be committed not only to yourselves but to your unit and more importantly your troops and the military,” said Hunt
Hunt’s message was not only intend for the 10th RSG soldiers.
The ceremony was unique in that the 10th RSG included their counterparts from the Air Force on Okinawa and noncommissioned officers from the Japanese Ground and Maritime Self Defense Forces. The ceremony helped foster the bilateral relationship between the American and Japanese military forces.
Command Master Chief Satoshi Obata, master chief, Air Wing Five,
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, said he believes the ceremony enhanced and strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Japanese troops.
“This is our first time here and we’re honored to be here. This helps strengthen our relationships with the United States Army on Okinawa,” said Obata.
At the end of the ceremony all of the participants had a chance to talk and share information. In true form the ceremony afforded everyone the opportunity to network and develop new professional relationships.
Soldiers who participated in the ceremony were given an noncommissioned officer professional development session from Hunt and a briefing from Army’s Human Resources Command updating soldiers on the many changes to the force and how it will impact the Army.
Williamson added the command is looking forward to the next quarterly ceremony where the Marines were invited to participate.
“This ceremony regardless of service helps to preserve the tradition of distinctive service of NCOs, and stimulates esprit de corps,” said Williamson.
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This work, Ceremony in Japan celebrates the tradition of soldiers, by SFC Howard Reed, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.