News: Deployed soldiers join Non-commissioned Officer Corps
Story by Spc. Andrew Ingram
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq – Twenty-five soldiers assigned to Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, joined the ranks of the Non-commissioned Officer Corps during a ceremony at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, July 27.
During the ceremony, the new NCOs, each promoted to the rank of sergeant during the battalion’s deployment to northern Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn, crossed the “line of authority” representing their readiness to train and lead soldiers, and officially entered their name into the induction book.
“Today, almost a decade after our nation was attacked, marks the occasion of your transition from simply being a great American soldier serving your nation to being a inducted into the Corps of Non-commissioned Officers and becoming a leader of great American soldiers,” said keynote speaker, Sgt. Maj. John Turkal, senior enlisted leader for information operations, 4th Infantry Division and U.S. Division – North.
Turkal encouraged the inductees to lead by example, exceed the standard and exude excellence as they transition from being a junior soldier to a mentor of others.
“Nurture the idea that minimum standards, while acceptable for the newly initiated into the profession of arms, are to be surpassed whenever possible,” he told the new NCOs. “Reward those who set themselves apart as above the standard. As non-commissioned officers, you must attain the highest standard possible, and you must demand these high standards of your subordinates.”
Turkal’s words set the bar for the new NCOs, said newly-promoted Sgt. Jose Cruz, a combat medic assigned to Headquarters Support Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Inf. Div.
“His words were inspiring,” said Cruz, who calls Colorado Springs, Colo., home. “He hit the nail on the head in regard to what an NCO should be - and what an NCO should do.”
Cruz said he was honored and ready to join the ranks of Army leaders who make up the “backbone of the Army.”
“Yesterday, during my promotion, was probably one of the best moments in my life,” Cruz said at the ceremony. “You go from being just one of the Joes one minute to being a leader the next. Now I got to share that with all of my peers who received that responsibility at the same time.”
Sgt. Winney James, a human resources specialist from 101st Human Resources Casualty Team, attached to DSTB, called the ceremony a life-changing experience that marked the transition from junior soldier to leader and role model for others.
“I am proud to be a part of such an outstanding corps,” said the Castries, St. Lucia, native. “As an NCO, I will strive to set the standard, maintain it, and then enforce it for my soldiers.”
NCOs enforcing those high standards set the U.S. Army apart from every other military in the world, said Turkal.
“To our newest non-commissioned officers, I extend my congratulations for earning your place in our coveted corps,” Turkal said. “You have my utmost respect, as well as my gratitude for accepting the incredible responsibility of leading America’s greatest as we seek to prosecute those who attempt to destroy our way of life and wish to bring harm to those we are charged to defend.”