News: NCOs honor tradition, leadership with induction ceremony
FORT GEORG G. MEADE, Md. - The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade inducted new NCOs into the corps during a ceremony Sept. 12.
In an organization as large as the Army, long-standing traditions can serve to bring soldiers together and make them feel more connected to the history of the service. The tradition of the noncommissioned officer induction ceremony is a rite of passage for soldiers who are newly promoted.
The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade’s NCOs gathered at McGill Training Center Sept. 12 to welcome new sergeants to the NCO Corps by sharing history and offering advice and encouragement as they accept their new roles as leaders.
“This is a significant moment for those of you who were recently promoted,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Thornton, the command sergeant major of 704th MI Bde. “It’s an important step in understanding the roles and responsibilities that you have chosen to accept.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Latter, the Fort Meade garrison command sergeant major, spoke to the soldiers about the meaning of becoming an NCO.
“We are the greatest nation in the world for one reason,” he said. “The noncommissioned officer corps of the United States Army. We train and lead soldiers; it’s not about me, it’s about we. It’s about team.”
Latter explained to the new NCOs that a private learns to be a soldier, a specialist learns about his military occupational specialty (MOS) and when that specialist becomes a sergeant, he is a true professional who has a responsibility to train and lead soldiers.
“We train soldiers not to make them as good as we are; we train them to make them better than us,” he said.
Sgt. Henry Vasquez, a paralegal with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 704th MI Bde., was promoted to sergeant Aug. 1, with his wife and daughters by his side. Vasquez, who is originally from Ecuador, is already an experienced leader after serving 15 years as a mechanic in the Ecuadorian Air Force before he moved his family to the U.S. and eventually enlisted in the Army.
“The induction ceremony was a tradition that I had never seen before,” Vasquez said. “After the doors closed and it was only NCOs in the room, I really felt like I was part of the NCO Corps.”