Story and Photo by
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
FORD ISLAND — One by one, they each took those fateful steps that ended with the shaking of hands, trading in their beret for a service cap and being formally recognized as a noncommissioned officers.
Twelve newly promoted sergeants were formally inducted into the ranks of the NCO Corps during the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command’s NCO induction ceremony, at the Ford Island Aviation Museum, here, March 6.
Since the earliest days of the Army, the NCO has been recognized as the one who instills discipline and order within a unit. Baron Friedrich von Steuben, the Army’s first “drill-master,” listed in his “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States” that “each sergeant and corporal will be answerable for the squad committed to their care.
“He must pay particular attention to their conduct in every respect and that they keep themselves and their arms always clean,” he penned. “In dealing with recruits, they must exercise all their patience, and while on the march, the NCO must preserve order and regularity.”
Inductees were accompanied by their supervisors and sponsors who spoke on their behalf and introduced them before being formally recognized.
“As you approach the point of your transition, your sponsor, an NCO senior to you, assumed their position of leadership, which is the position on your right,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Wheeler, NCO in charge, 8th TSC Public Affairs, and ceremony narrator. “This implied that there is forever present the guidance, wisdom and mentorship of those who have walked this way before you.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Karl Schmidt, senior enlisted leader, Installation Management Command–Pacific, and 27-year member of the NCO Corps, addressed the group. He talked about what it meant to be a good leader and that, sometimes, the mission will contradict itself.
“Good leadership, like everything else, requires work,” Schmitt said. “Conduct yourself professionally at all times. People are watching and you are a role model whether you want to be or not.
“I will tell you now that your two basic responsibilities will collide: accomplishment of your mission and the welfare of your Soldiers. One will never take priority over the other, but you must decide on that order.”
Schmitt went on to say that being an NCO has been a great and wonderful journey, filled with hardships and blessings alike, and one that he would make again if given the choice.
“I can honestly say that being an NCO has been filled with many challenges, and much frustration, but it has also provided me with a great satisfaction of doing a job that is without equal,” Schmitt added.
“Being a leader is more than a position or title that you hold. Being a leader is an honor that you earn, not from taking a test or graduating a school or even being promoted. Being a leader is a mind set you must develop, not only in yourself, but in your subordinates, as well,” Schmitt explained.
Each inductee received a copy of the NCO handbook and a certificate during the ceremony.