Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq — The tradition of commemorating the passing of a Soldier to a noncommissioned officer can be traced to the Army of Fredrick the Great. Before one could be recognized on the full status of an NCO, he was required to stand four watches, one every four days. Although different from yesterday’s traditions, the Army today still commemorates the rites of passage for NCOs.
Soldiers from the 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) were inducted into the NCO Corps during an NCO Induction Ceremony Jan. 19 here.
“This is a very emotional experience,” said Sgt. Arays Cruz, the 210th retention NCO and native of Miami, Fla., who was being inducted. “Before I became an NCO I never imagined that I would be standing here today surrounded by my peers.”
As the color guard opened the ceremony senior NCOs provided the inductees with guidance to help them in their new role.
“Take care of your Soldiers,” said Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Mark Joseph, the 15th Sustainment Brigade command sergeant major and native of Lake Charles, La. “Make sure you always uphold the standards, whether it is conducting pre-combat inspections or making Soldiers wear their seatbelts …. Take the hard right instead of the easy wrong.”
After the senior NCOs gave their speeches other NCOs took the responsibility of inducting 21 NCOs into the Corps.
The audience listened as the inductees raised their right hands to swear the oath of the NCO.
“As a NCO I accept the charge to observe and follow the orders and directions given by supervisors, acting according to the laws, articles and rules governing the discipline of the Army,” the inductees said in unison. “In doing, so I will fulfill my greatest obligation as a leader, and thereby confirm my status as a NCO.”
After the inductees swore in they signed and received their charge and the NCO Creed.
“Now that I am an NCO I will point Soldiers in the right direction and always help them out,” Cruz said as her eyes filled with tears. “I will guide them in the right direction.”
Before the inducted NCOs left, a Soldier made a simple request to them.
“Treat me with respect, sergeant, for no heart in all the world is more loyal than the heart of the American Soldier,” said Spc. Timothy Montminy, a 210th BSB driver and native of El Paso, Texas. “Train me, sergeant, that one day too I can be called sergeant.”
After the ceremony ended the inductees talked amongst themselves and received congratulatory hand shakes.