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NEWS | Jan. 13, 2023

JTF MED 374 enlisted complete NCO induction ceremony

By Capt. Brandon Janson 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support)

Members of Joint Task Force (JTF) MED 374 hosted a non-commissioned officer (NCO) induction ceremony last month recognizing 24 Soldiers achieving the enlisted rank of the sergeant. The significance of acquiring the rank is a symbolic representation of transitioning from an entry level soldier into leaders—and earning the title NCO.

“The U.S. Army noncommissioned officer dates back to the Continental Army in 1775,” read Staff Sgt. Kevin Krull, the ceremony narrator. “The NCO Corps began to develop standardized duties and responsibilities with the creation of the ‘Blue Book’, written by General Friedrich von Steuben. The NCO quickly evolved into the “backbone” of the Army it is today. We commemorate this rite of passage as a celebration of the newly promoted, joining the ranks of a professional noncommissioned officer corps and emphasize and build on the pride we all share as members of such an elite corp. We also serve to honor the memory of those men and women of the NCO Corps who have served with pride and distinction,” he said.

Senior enlisted then lit red, white, blue candles to represent each of the letters of the NCO acronym. The red candle represents the past, and blood shed of every soldier in every recorded conflict since the Revolutionary War. The white candle represents the present, the purity of family, comradery, and espirit de corps within the ranks. The blue candle represents the future and loyalty to the country, continued morale, courage and refusal to compromise integrity.

“The ceremony was a good reminder of the importance of tomorrow’s Army,” said Staff Sgt, Jason Byers, EMT NCO, who lit the blue candle for the ceremony. “Not everyone gets the opportunity to be inducted or even witness this ceremony. Looking out at the participants at the ceremony, most of them are younger and are brand new NCOs. Soon it will be up them to continue on as the blue candle represents, they are the future of the Army and the NCO Corps. It was an honor to be up there and reflect back on the changes through the years and to look out at the new leadership who will carry on and lead through the changes to come,” said Byers.

First Sergeants from three different units attended the event and offered words of encouragement to the inductees.

“From this place, you will carry out the responsibilities of your position,” said 1st Sgt. Brian Powers, A Battery 1-111th Field Artillery Brigade.

“Never forget where you came from or that you must lead by example and always take care of your Soldiers,” said Powers.

The event was also attended to by a number of Military VIPs in the area to include Col. Robert Gregg, Commander JTF MED 374, Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Hopkins, Senior Enlisted Advisor JTF MED 374 and the Command Sgt. Maj. of Operation Inherent Resolve Eric Bohannon. Bohannon served as the ceremony’s featured speaker who has served a combined 14 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan including prestigious assignments with 3rd Ranger Battalion, the 75th Ranger Battalion, and the 82nd Airborne Division. Bohannon spoke to inductees about his personal experience coming through the ranks and his appreciation for medical personnel as his background was in the infantry.

Following Bohannon’s message, the NCO inductees, with their right hand raised and standing in a four-column military formation, recited the NCO Charge, led by Command Sgt. Maj. Hopkins.

The NCO Charge is a scripted pact, reviewing the roles and responsibilities expected of every NCO leader.

“Inductees, do you swear and affirm to uphold and secure the value and the responsibilities of the non-commissioned officer corps?” asked Hopkins which the group unanimously responded, “Yes, Sergeant Major!”

Inductees were then invited to “cross the line” after being vouched for by their units first sergeants and passing through a constructed arch. On the other side of the line, the newly inducted NCOs were then personally congratulated by Bohannon and Hopkins and presented with scrolled copies of the NCO Creed.

“It was an honor to take part in this military tradition,” said Sgt. Gabriella Siniscalchi who participated in the ceremony. “My favorite part was hearing them call my name and walking under the arch. To me, this meant that I was now part of the backbone of the Army and ready for the next step in my military career. I was proud to step through the threshold, knowing that I am now relied on to care for Soldiers.”

Next, four junior enlisted, Soldiers E-4 and below, read scripted requests to the newly inducted NCOs.

“Train me, Sergeant that one day I too can be called Sergeant,” read Spc. Yatasha Johnson. “Trainer of Soldiers, Backbone of the Army. Train me to accept those responsibilities that are yours. Train me to train my Soldiers to be the greatest defenders of freedom in the world. Sergeant, train me to be a Sergeant. I shall leave this Army knowing, with my last step and my last breath, that my fate was always safest in your hands. Sergeant, train me, that I too can earn the title Sergeant.”

“This was truly a significant part of the ceremony,” said Staff Sgt. Christie Mercer, one the event’s participants and planners for the ceremony. “I have been an NCO for a long time, but I have never been in a formal induction ceremony. I was proud to be a part of this time-honored tradition. Hearing the specialists express their needs was meaningful to me. It is important to have expectations for your job and part of that is taking care of your Soldiers and completing the mission.

Siniscalchi, the youngest and newly promoted Sergeant in the Task Force agreed, Without them [junior enlisted], we would have no purpose. We need to teach them and know what they need. Proving this statement gives us purpose of why we joined the Army and influencing others. I think this is an important reminder of my roles and responsibilities.”

The ceremony concluded with the Soldiers reading the NCO Creed together, singing the Army song and then celebrating with cake and refreshments.