1st Air Cav inducts new NCO's in a time honored ceremony
December 14, 2011
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan -- The lights went out at the USO tent, and instantly the room seemed engulfed by a vast blanket of solemnness. Those who were in attendance for the day's ceremony sat silently in the dark. Suddenly, a spotlight shined down on a table that was sparsely decorated with the 1st Cavalry division's patch and three candles.
As the narrator began to describe the history of the noncommissioned officer, a soldier wearing a uniform from the Vietnam-era lit the first candle as a newly promoted sergeant stood up in the dark and recited the first paragraph of the "Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer".
This happened two more times. Each time that a Soldier in a different uniform from the past lit another candle, a newly promoted NCO stood up in the dark and sounded off with another paragraph of the NCO Creed.
This was one scene played out during the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division's NCO induction ceremony held Dec. 10 at the USO where 44 recently promoted sergeants were formally inducted into the corps of the noncommissioned officers.
Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, the senior enlisted leader for the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan, was the guest speaker for the event.
Hill, who has more than 30 years of experience as a NCO, took the opportunity to talk to the newly promoted sergeants about the responsibility that was garnered by their newly acquired level of authority.
"This power is given to you by your subordinates…you need to use the power these Soldiers have given to you," said Hill. "It was easy to get…but it's as hard as hell to keep,"
Hill explained to the inductees that they have three primary responsibilities. He said that they would be successful as leaders if they adhered to each one of them.
Leaders need to gain their Soldier's trust, show their Soldiers that they are committed, and let their Soldiers know that they [the leaders] personally care about their Soldiers' well being, said Hill.
One of the inductees, Sgt. Jeffrey Van Camp, a native of Greenville, S.C., and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew chief for Company C, Task Force Lobos, 1st ACB, said the event reemphasized to him how important NCOs are to the brigade and to the Army.
"There was a lot of emphasis on what it means to be a NCO," said Van Camp. "It was really good for everyone in attendance to hear, whether you were one of the new sergeants being inducted, or one of the junior enlisted watching," he added.
Through out the Army's history, the NCO corps has had a long and time honored tradition of providing essential guidance, training and leadership to junior enlisted Soldiers in order to always ensure mission success, said Command Sgt. Maj. Glen Vela, a native of Dallas, and the senior enlisted leader for the 1st ACB.
"The NCO Induction Ceremony shows everyone that the inductees just joined something that is bigger than them," said Vela.
Vela said that the transition from a junior soldier to a NCO is arguably the most difficult transition between ranks in the Army.
" It's a big step…it's a lot for them to live up to, and this ceremony gives light to the fact that they are taking on this challenge and carrying the torch for all past NCO's," said Vela.