CAMP BEUHRING, Kuwait – “No one is more professional than I, I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of soldiers,” 19 noncommissioned officers from the 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, proclaimed during the 204th BSB’s NCO Induction Ceremony at Camp Buehring’s theater, Jan. 23.
Presided by Command Sgt. Maj, Robert Lehtonen, senior enlisted leader 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., and Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Burney, senior enlisted leader, 204th BSB, 2nd ABCT, the ceremony signified the transition from follower to leader.
“The journey from a junior enlisted soldier to a junior NCO is complex,” said Lehtonen. “You must transition from one who was cared for, to one who cares for others, and from one who was taught, to the one who teaches, prepares and supervises the task. You will do the job you are trained to do, which is to lead soldiers.”
The 19 NCOs walked under an arch with the light shown on them as their sergeant declared to the theater who they are and why they deserved to join the NCO Corps.
Sgt. Tristan Meredith, information technology specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 204th BSB, the most junior of the NCOs being inducted, lead his fellow inductees during their transition.
With just under a month with stripes on his chest, Meredith was undaunted.
“We’re all NCOs regardless of how long we’ve had our ranks pinned on,” said Meredith. “You have to have perspective, you have to realize you are in charge of people, you have to work as a team. What you and those you lead do reflects upon you as a leader.”
Of the seven Army values, respect drove Meredith to become an NCO.
“Respect goes a long way, if it’s not given, if it’s not there, its going be hard to work together,” said Meredith. “When I was in Korea, I had a first sergeant who respected us, she still laid down the law when she had to, but how she treated us, why I wanted to strive for bigger things in the Army.”
Lehtonen ended his speech by having the newly inducted NCOs take out a notepad and a pen, one that they’ll never put back into their pockets.
“You have just begun a test, this test will never end, you will always be somebody’s sergeant even after you hang up the boots for good.