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U.S. Army Element-North Inducts NCOs into Time-Honored Corps


By Bernard S. Little

WRNMMC Command Communications

Passing through a ceremonial arch and a pair of raised swords crossed at the tips to form the likeness of the chevrons that they now don, 21 Soldiers assumed greater responsibility and induction into the Army’s Noncommissioned Officer Corps during a ceremony rich in tradition Jan. 19 at Walter Reed Bethesda.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michelle Jones challenged the inductees to “practice CPR [that of the Basic Leader Course],” in their new roles as leaders of junior service members.
“I need you to be ‘C,’ caring, compassionate and committed. I need you to be ‘P,’ a professional, and ‘R,’ to stay ‘R,’ relevant,” said Jones, CSM for U.S. Army Element-North, host for the ceremony.
“You are the face of the NCO Corps, and everything that you learned you need to give it back to someone,” Jones added. “Continue to teach, coach and mentor,” she said.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Abdel F. Guzman, CSM for USAE-South, agreed. He served as the ceremony’s guest speaker and also issued similar challenges to the new inductees.
“We have to deliver health care, but we also have to take the time to honor and uphold our traditions,” Guzman said. He added officers put “great responsibility” in their NCOs, and that “throughout the ages,” NCOs, known as “the backbone of the Army,” have always met those challenges and missions.
Guzman also stressed to the inductees the importance of their missions at WRB. “You’re here for a reason -- to take care of our great beneficiaries. This is your home game, and the Army also prepares us to do away games [as an expeditionary force]. We should always do away games, but while you’re here [at] this incredible enterprise, what you do is amazing [because] there are so many champions amongst you.
“A winner, [whether] by luck, chance, [or] the grace of God, one day gets it right and wins; champions win consistently. You are champions,” Guzman added.
He encouraged the sergeants to continue to honor their profession by establishing good reputations through individual effort, performance and results. In addition, he stressed that trust, communication and humility are important to building strong and committed teams.
“Commit to the team and focus on assignments, and more importantly, focus on your Soldiers,” Guzman continued. “Value the individuals [on your team], and they will value the team. It’s tough to be tough, and you must be tough, [but] know the difference between being tough and being toxic. Tough builds; [being] toxic will break your reputation, and reputation matters.”
Guzman also praised the WRB induction ceremony, designed to enhance the esprit de corps of all NCOs in the USAE-North.
The tradition of commemorating the passing of a Soldier to a NCO can be traced to the Army of Frederick the Great during the 18th century, and since 1775, the U.S. Army has set NCOs apart from other enlisted Soldiers by distinctive insignia of grade.
Soldiers are recommended for promotion to sergeant by a series of leaders starting with their first line supervisors, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, senior enlisted leader, first sergeant, company commander and Troop Command in USAE-North. Recommendations are based on the Soldier’s skills and abilities, demonstrated potential for greater service, and desire and ability to lead at a level demanded by the NCO Corps.
Potential inductees into the corps must go before a board of senior NCOs and attend BLC. New NCOs are then tasked with not only accomplishing the mission, but also ensuring the well-being of their Soldiers.
Paying tribute to Army tradition during the NCO induction ceremony at WRB, Soldiers recited the Soldiers’ Request and NCO Response, The Boots of the NCO, The Watch, as well as held a moment of silence for their fallen comrades. Company first sergeants then lit three candles -- red, white and blue -- symbolizing an important part of the NCO Corps in military history. The red candle represented valor, blood, sweat and tears of NCOs from the past to the present. The white candle represented purity and innocence, as well as the camaraderie among NCOs. The blue candle represented perseverance, justice and the strength and mettle of the corps and its members’ refusal to compromise on its standards.
Sgt. China Stephens, one of the newly-inducted NCOs, said she felt honored and privileged to join the ranks of the NCO Corps. “Being a junior enlisted you see how hard your NCOs work. You see how much everyone relies upon them. They truly are the backbone of the Army.”
As a new NCO, Stephens said she feels that she “definitely needs to be on top of her game. I’ll have eyes on me looking for guidance, so I feel I will not only have to know the standard but also be the standard and enforce the standard,” furthered the paralegal who works in the Legal Assistance Office at WRB.
Sgt. Kirill Myshin agreed that with induction into the NCO Corps comes increased responsibility. He explained his mentors began preparing him to mentor and supervise his junior Soldiers when he was a specialist. He added the induction ceremony served as a formal recognition of his transition from being a junior Soldier to a NCO, “understanding that, yes, it’s an [increase] in pay and you can now live off post, but more importantly, you are in charge of people’s lives, enforcing policies and subject to punitive punishment if you don’t uphold those policies and regulations. You are forming the junior Soldiers, and you are ultimately creating what the Army will be and how it will be perceived,” he added.
Other inductees at the ceremony included: Sgts. Ella Muravska, Joo Shin, Jamie Williamson, Gerald Hinton, Dylan Thiel, Staff Sgt. Saul Martinez, Sgts. Michelle Baker, Soulvannaly Keel, Rebecca Owusu, Staff Sgt. Isaam Muhammad, Sgts. Winrose Karunde, Kyle Avery, Dayton Workman, Biancacamille Culata, Russell Beeman, Enock Tetteh, Jose Munoz, Brittany Sepulveda and Bekim Shaqiri.