JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion hosted a non-commissioned officer induction ceremony July 14 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
More than 30 inductees, from nine different units, passed under the ceremonial swords, symbolizing their crossing into the NCO Corps, the backbone of the U.S. Army.
Command Sgt. Maj. Harold P. Estabrooks, command sergeant major with Task Force 807th Medical Command and a Midwest City, Okla., native, said he challenged the new NCOs to choose to be good leaders.
Among the new inductees, Sgt. Javier Pagan-Nazario, administration non-commissioned officer-in-charge of support operations with the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Ceiba, Puerto Rico, native, said Estabrooks, the guest speaker, inspired him to do well as an NCO.
As the NCOs were recognized during the ceremony, senior leaders with them stood and read a short biography of each Soldier to the rest of the audience.
“It’s a great feeling to become an NCO,” Pagan-Nazario said. “Especially having people who support me, like my [leadership]. It inspires me to go further in my career.”
Pagan was sponsored by Sgt. Maj. Monte Waller, senior enlisted adviser for support operations with the 103rd ESC and a Dodge City, Kan., native. Waller had two Soldiers inducted into the NCO Corps during the ceremony.
“Today makes me feel proud of these guys,” Waller said. “They have gone through a lot. It takes a lot to be an NCO.”
As enlisted leaders, Soldiers follow the NCO Creed, and are expected to live up to and follow the creed each day, he said.
“The backbone of the Army, to me, is the glue to the United States Army,” Waller said. “NCOs do all the work. They are truly professionals in what they do. I encourage all NCOs, especially the senior enlisted, not to forget about our junior Soldiers. They are the ones doing all the work out there. They are the ones in harm’s way.”