News: 'Strike First' Battalion inducts 28 sergeants to the NCO Corps
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Members of the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment recognized and celebrated the promotion of 28 Soldiers to Sergeant during a noncommissioned officer induction ceremony held here July 26.
“We grew to realize the world does not revolve around us but should be a better place because of us,” stated Capt. Tim Baranoski, chaplain. “As we gather here today to celebrate the induction of these NCOs, we pray that we will remember those lessons and add strength to the backbone of the Army.”
These words, spoken during his invocation at the ceremony, served as a reminder to the noncommissioned officers the gravity of what their roles are now as a leader of Soldiers.
Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Sanchez, senior enlisted adviser to the commander, explained the significance of the induction ceremony for noncommissioned officers.
“The induction ceremony is a necessary part of our rich history and tradition as an Army. It symbolizes the epitome of trust between our Soldiers and NCOs. It is a time-honored tradition that goes back to the days of the Revolutionary War and the roles that NCOs played. Officers put their trust in the NCO Corps because it has a reputation of success and standards. NCOs are charged with upholding the traditions and standards of the Army as well as establishing that they know their craft as Leaders. NCOs are the keepers of good order and discipline. They serve as advisers to their officers and most importantly, the safety, training, and welfare of their Soldiers and their families. It is the first rank where the Army demands a bit more from them. Simply put, they are NCOs, they have been chosen to be a leader; they must be a good one. Good leadership throughout the Army is the glue that holds units together. They need to look at their position as a NCOs and compare it to the analogy of climbing a flagpole; remembering that the higher they get on that flagpole, the more of their rear shows; simply meaning that everyone has their eyes on them and their actions. They must keep that in mind as they progress up the ranks. They must be proud of who they are as a leader and always strive to be the best. However, be the best for their Soldiers, not for themselves,” he stated.
The ceremony began with three candles being lit in memory of fallen comrades. The candle lighting was followed by a speech by the event’s guest speaker, Brig. Gen. Donald Fryc, commanding general, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. As a son of a former first sergeant in the Vietnam War and a former noncommissioned officer himself, Brig. Gen. Fryc called the opportunity to speak at such an event a career highlight.
After his remarks, Command Sgt. Maj. Sanchez called out the name of each sergeant getting inducted and asked, “Who recommends this noncommissioned officer for induction to the corps of the noncommissioned officer?”
At that moment, the inductee’s sponsor made his or her recommendation while seated in the audience. Once called, the Sergeant crossed the line of authority under the archway and was permitted to pass through the swords being held by Sgt. Frank Rodriguez, shop foreman, and Staff Sgt. Aimee Probst, retention noncommissioned officer in charge. The crossing of the line of authority is described as one of the most significant events of the ceremony.
First Sgt. Felicia Hamilton explained, “It lets the NCOs know that one they cross the line of authority, they accept the charge of the NCO and the responsibilities that come with it.”
On the other side of the line of authority, stood Brig. Gen. Fryc and Command Sgt. Maj. Sanchez welcoming each inductee into the noncommissioned officer corps with a handshake, and a copy of the charge of the noncommissioned officer and the creed of the noncommissioned officer.
Sgt. Cruz Garza, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, who had pinned sergeant earlier this year, described that “it was another feeling being inducted into the corps with a ceremony. Once I got pinned, it was a more realistic feeling knowing I worked hard to make it. With the ceremony, I felt it was more of all the other NCOs welcoming us newly promoted NCOs into the ‘club’.”
After the last sergeant crossed the archway, Command Sgt. Maj. Sanchez delivered the noncommissioned officer charge to the noncommissioned officer, and “Soldiers Request” was recited by Pfc. Afrika Ketchmore, Spc. Ronald Myers, and Spc. John Brockliss. Written by Sgt. Maj. Frank M. McMahon, the passage described what a Soldier expected from their noncommissioned officer – to be trained, led and treated with respect.
Once the inductees returned to their seats, all the noncommissioned officers in the room were brought back to their feet as Sgt. Garza led them in a unified recitation of the creed of the noncommissioned officer. Despite being written over forty years ago, it was apparent that the words of the creed continued to resonate in the heart of every noncommissioned officer, both old and new, as they departed the chapel.