• The 864th Engineer Battalion officially welcomed 28 of its sergeants " some of the Army's freshest noncommissioned officers " to the ranks of the Army's NCO Corps Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The battalion's leadership presented each inductee a copy of the NCO Creed, an illustrious pledge by which all Army NCOs are expected to live.

    NCO Creed

    The 864th Engineer Battalion officially welcomed 28 of its sergeants " some of the Army's freshest noncommissioned officers " to the ranks of the Army's NCO Corps Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash...

  • Twenty-eight sergeants from the 864th Engineer Battalion " some of the Army's newest noncommissioned officers " wait eagerly to be called up on stage and walk under a wooden archway that symbolized their entrance into the Army's NCO Corps Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

    Patiently waiting

    Twenty-eight sergeants from the 864th Engineer Battalion " some of the Army's newest noncommissioned officers " wait eagerly to be called up on stage and walk under a wooden archway that symbolized their entrance into the Army's NCO Corps Nov. 18...

  • Sgt. Jeffery Jones, an 864th Engineer Battalion sergeant, waits eagerly to be called up on stage as his supervisor (background) gives those in attendance a brief bio of Jones Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

    Standing tall

    Sgt. Jeffery Jones, an 864th Engineer Battalion sergeant, waits eagerly to be called up on stage as his supervisor (background) gives those in attendance a brief bio of Jones Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater on...

  • Sgt. Kenneth Francis, an 864th Engineer Battalion sergeant, walks under an archway of crossed sabers and onto the stage at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion.

    Under the archway

    Sgt. Kenneth Francis, an 864th Engineer Battalion sergeant, walks under an archway of crossed sabers and onto the stage at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion.

  • One of the 864th Engineer Battalion's newest sergeants walks under an archway of crossed sabers and onto the stage at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion.

    Crossing the line

    One of the 864th Engineer Battalion's newest sergeants walks under an archway of crossed sabers and onto the stage at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion.

  • Twenty-eight sergeants from the 864th Engineer Battalion " some of the Army's newest noncommissioned officers " recite the Oath of the United States Army Noncommissioned Officer Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

    An oath for NCOs

    Twenty-eight sergeants from the 864th Engineer Battalion " some of the Army's newest noncommissioned officers " recite the Oath of the United States Army Noncommissioned Officer Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Tipton, the senior enlisted leader of the 864th Engineer Battalion, presents copies of the NCO Creed to some of the Army's newest sergeants Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

    Inducted

    Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Tipton, the senior enlisted leader of the 864th Engineer Battalion, presents copies of the NCO Creed to some of the Army's newest sergeants Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the battalion at French Theater on Joint...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Whitehorn, the senior enlisted leader of the 110th Chemical Battalion, shakes the hands of some of the Army's most recently inducted NCO Corps sergeants Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the 864th Engineer Battalion at French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Whitehorn attended as the guest speaker for the ceremony.

    Congratulations, sergeants

    Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Whitehorn, the senior enlisted leader of the 110th Chemical Battalion, shakes the hands of some of the Army's most recently inducted NCO Corps sergeants Nov. 18 during an induction ceremony for the 864th Engineer Battalion at...

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- For some Soldiers the achievement of sergeant rank comes quickly and easily. For Sgt. Nathaniel Floyd Jr., it was more of a journey.

A Soldier in the Army's communications and information management career field, Floyd had the short end of the stick in an organization where points earned toward promotion to sergeant depend on the type of job.

"It was a long road for me and my peers," said Floyd, the communication and information management noncommissioned officer for the 864th Engineer Battalion on Lewis-North. "It takes a lot of heart and dedicated time to actually be a noncommissioned officer, because our points are very high."

A higher standard for promotion points meant more work ahead of Floyd if he ever wanted to be a leader, and the fruits of that work officially paid off Nov. 18 during an NCO Induction Ceremony held for Floyd and 27 other sergeants from the 864th Eng. Bn. at French Theater.

Floyd has already worn the rank for two months, but on that day the stripes meant a little bit more to him.

"It adds a little fuel to the fire," said the Americus, Ga., native. "It gives you that spark. It makes you want to enforce the standards more than what you usually do."

Following a centuries-old means of commemorating the ascent of once-junior Soldiers to their Armies' NCO ranks, the ceremony honors the hard work and dedication inductees put forth to earn their promotions and spotlights their inclusion into the NCO Corps, which, to some, is more or less a brotherhood.

During the climax of the ceremony, inductees cross over a figurative line, portrayed physically by a wooden archway or bridge that symbolizes their entrance into a group of leaders from the ranks of those they lead.

"It's basically a rite of passage," said Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Tipton, the 864th Eng. Bn. senior enlisted leader, who presided over the ceremony. "It's crossing that line from being a Soldier that is led to now what you would call a leader."

"It shows, basically, that they're a little bit different than what they once were," he added.

But Sgt. Jeffery Jones has his own way of putting it.

"It was one thing to be promoted, but this -- I became one of the boys," said Jones, a petroleum supply specialist who earned his promotion to sergeant late last year. "I was actually part of the Corps itself; not just a sergeant."

Jones is like most other inducted NCOs who, at least for a brief time if nothing else, feel distinguished and united -- elite, even.

"Having these ceremonies gives you something to kind of build forward," said Jones, a Nuevo, Calif., native. "like, 'I'm not just going to get promoted; I'm going to have this moment, this time, these few minutes, to be welcomed. Not just promoted, but welcomed.'"

But some, like Sgt. Robert Deskins, believe the storied ceremony is losing its way in the Army. Like a fading tradition falling at the feet of today's generation, Deskins says it's seen less often these days.

"This is one of those ceremonies that's become lost within the ranks," said Deskins, a Kansas City, Mo., native and horizontal construction engineer. "It's one of those time-honored corps things that a lot of people are starting to lose track of."

But Deskins said he felt honored to be a part of a ceremony he says is being lost.

"It's nice having a sergeant major who will actually bring something back and let me feel like a piece of history," he added.

As the new sergeants passed one-by-one under an arch of crossed sabers and then ascended the steps to the auditorium stage for tribute, some wore smiles, some a solemn and disciplined stare. But in both lay an evident sense of pride.

For Floyd and Jones, at least, it was also a time to come full circle -- to reap the benefits of hard work.

"All the points, all the promotion boards, all the deployments -- this was the epitome of my success," Jones said. "We can train all we want, but it's things like this that are the pat on the back -- the 'hey, you finally made it' -- that are important, too."

"We have to keep those traditions alive."

Page last updated Mon November 21st, 2011 at 00:00