NCO: The Backbone of the Army

By Army Spc. Haley E. Haile | JTF GTMO Public Affairs | June 16, 2017

Joint Task Force Guantanamo —

    I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers.

    Thirty-three Joint Task Force Guantanamo Army Troopers were inducted into the Corps of the NCOs during an NCO Induction Ceremony June 9 here at the Guantanamo Bay Community Center.

    “At first you get promoted, you’ve prepared to be an NCO, but now it’s official,” said a 525th Military Police Detention Battalion Trooper and inductee. “It definitely made me feel proud.”

The time-honored ceremony was to publically honor the advancement of the Troopers into the NCO Corps. The events of the affair consisted of the reading of the Rights of Passage, the lighting of the NCO Spirits, the Induction of the Troopers signing their acceptance of the NCO Creed, a presentation of the Soldier’s Requests from junior enlisted amongst the audience and the recitation of the NCO Charge.      

    “Soldiers can relate to NCOs since NCOs advance through the junior enlisted ranks,” said Master Sgt. Chinita Reid, a camp noncommissioned officer in charge. “They expect you to convey information and provide day-to-day guidance to get the job done. To answer the challenges of the operational environment NCOs must train Soldiers to cope, prepare and perform regardless of the situation.”

    The origin of the NCO dates back to the Continental Army and came about through the blended traditions of British, French and Prussian armies into a configuration, which became a staunch and effective American institution. The structure of the NCO Corps within the American Army was officially established by Baron Von Steuben’s “Blue Book”, which instituted the regulations for the order and discipline of the troops.

    “Do you have what it takes?” asked Reid. “Leading is not just conducting PRT sessions. It’s not just accounting for Soldiers. Being a leader is having the responsibility for setting and maintaining high quality standards and discipline. As you prepare to cross the threshold and be formally introduced as a noncommissioned officer there is no turning back. You must remain rigid and sharp, proud with your head held high, always and able to live up to being a part of the backbone of the Army.”

    The inductees ranged in rank from newer NCOs, starting with corporal, and going all the way to a seasoned first sergeant. This wide range in ranks was due to the fact that most National Guard members do not have the opportunity for NCO Induction Ceremonies, so the 525th MP Detention Bn. extended the opportunity to anyone, no matter the rank, who had never had the opportunity.  This range of rank is a great representation of an NCO, always willing to stand beside their Soldiers.

    “I’m honored to be able to stand alongside my junior NCOs in this moment,” said Army 1st Sgt. Steven Alston of the 131st Military Police Company and an inductee in the ceremony. “My advice to them is to not remain stagnant. Don’t have that nine-to-five leadership. Leadership is 24 hours a day. Your people should be able to come to you at any time, any day.”

    “Be that leader who isn’t afraid to take the road less traveled by, because that, that sergeants, will make all the difference,” said Reid.