CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar — "Serving as an Army non-commissioned officer is a lifestyle commitment to provide soldiers leadership at all times," said U.S. Army Sgt. Carlos Rodriquez, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, while serving at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, June 11. He is the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment Echo Company supply sergeant, responsible for 1-43 ADA vehicle part distribution and tactical gear issue at the Qatar base.
"I joined the Army because I needed a change in my life," said Rodriquez. "It's not that anything was wrong — I just felt like I needed an extra push. I believe enlisting made me a man." In July 2000, he left home to attend recruit training at Fort Jackson, S.C. He is the first in his immediate family to enlist in the Army. Rodriquez was promoted to the rank of sergeant in June 2006.
"NCOs must demonstrate courage to accomplish every task without hesitation — no matter what," said Rodriquez, while handing cold bottled water to Spc. Brittany Cosom, from Philadelphia, and Pfc. Catlin Barber, from Wilmington, N.C. The three service members were entering a morning scorched by a hot Arabian sun to account for equipment stored in outdoor containers. Air temperatures were already exceeding 115 degrees Fahrenheit at 11 a.m.
"NCOs must remain with their soldiers until the mission is accomplished," said Rodriquez. "We must show them we are ready at all times — even when we truly want to do absolutely nothing. As an NCO, a leader, I must always show my soldiers that I care enough to put their needs above my own."
"If I ever show my soldiers that I am not motivated, or simply don't care, they will believe that's the right thing to do. If I wake up unmotivated, I recite the Army NCO creed to remind myself that I am a teacher, coach and mentor. As an Army sergeant, I must continue to live every single word of our creed."
"Being an NCO isn't easy, but committing yourself to your soldiers is the best feeling ever."