MANNHEIM, Germany (Feb. 23, 2009) - The U.S. Military Community in Mannheim held a ceremony to celebrate the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer and to honor accomplishments and bravery of NCOs in the Mannheim Community and 5th Signal Command (Theater).

"By now everyone has heard the Chief of Staff of the Army has announced this is the Year of the NCO with the intent of enhancing the education and training of the NCO," said Sgt. Maj. David Tolver, 5th SC (T) command sergeant major, who joined Brig. Gen. Jeffrey G. Smith, Jr., 5th SC (T) commanding general, to kick off the celebration.

Tolver spoke about the history and importance of the NCO Corps and formally recognized six NCOs for their service.

Sgt. 1st Class Delores Rivera, 52nd Signal Battalion, received the 2008 Latina Distinguished Service Award sponsored by Latina Style Magazine. Rivera was the U.S. Army representative in Washington, D.C. for a Hispanic Heritage Month event led by former President and Commander in Chief George W. Bush.

Sgt. 1st Class Keith Cade, 509th Signal Battalion, is a recipient of the Soldier's Medal. Cade received the medal for his actions on Nov. 25, 2005, rescuing a woman and her child from a burning truck.

Staff Sgt. Gabriel Burkman, Staff Sgt. Beau Martindale, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wagner, Sgt. Nathan Williams, 720th EOD, all received Purple Hearts for actions while deployed to Afghanistan. Burkman received a second Purple Heart when he sustained injuries after the vehicle he was riding was struck by a vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device.

"Today we spotlight a few NCOs who have exemplified the true meaning of our Corps' values and personified honor, duty, and selfless service," said Tolver. Tolver also read a statement from retired Sergeant Major of the Army William O. Wooldridge, the first Sergeant Major of the Army stating: "To me being an NCO meant being proud of my Soldiers and my units. Knowing that I and my units were strong in the skills and qualities needed to achieve success, both physically and mentally."

Throughout 2009, named The Year of the NCO by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, the U.S. Army will continue to recognize and highlight the accomplishments and contributions of the NCO Corps.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16