FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Moncrief Army Community Hospital noncommissioned officers welcomed 17 new NCOs to its ranks Jan. 24 at the Joe E. Mann Center.

The organization hailed the young NCOs during a Noncommissioned Officer Corps induction ceremony with more than 100 onlookers present, ranging from senior Army officers to civilian employees.

MACH Command Sgt. Maj. Vincent Bond hosted the ceremony, and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Benson was the guest speaker.

Bond officially granted acceptance of each NCO who passed through the wooden arch, which displayed each enlisted rank from corporal to sergeant major of the Army, to the NCO Corps. Fronted by two saber barriers saluting each new NCO, the arch symbolized the gateway from a lower enlisted Soldier to that of sergeant.

"Welcome to the Noncommissioned Officer Corps," Bond said to each as he shook hands with them. Bond also presented them with plaques of the NCO Corps certificate before they exited the stage.

After the presentation, Bond introduced Benson who delivered the keynote speech.

"Congratulations to each of you newly inducted NCOs," Benson said during his speech.

"First of all, you must understand the grade you've attained equals pay," he said, "but the rank you are now wearing equals responsibility.

"The expectations of you from your subordinates, peers and seniors are going to grow tremendously. And you are going to have to perform your duties as an NCO accordingly," Benson said.

Benson also addressed advancement opportunities the new NCOs will encounter during their careers.

"I strongly believe in what I call the 'three Ps' for continued promotion to the next grade or position," Benson said. "Pride is the first. You must have pride in your unit and instill that same sense of pride in your subordinates in order to build their self esteem within the organization."

Benson continued with what he said is an essential aspect of NCO or Soldier progression.

"Passion is another quality that will help you succeed during your time at whatever assignment you find yourself," Benson said. "During your reign at your organization, know that your influence will matter more than you can imagine. Give it a chance. If you have passion, your last unit will always be your best because you made it that way."

The post's most senior NCO summed up his speech with how professionalism, his third "P," is essential to progression and growth.

"And there is professionalism," Benson said. "Self-development is very important. Always keep your options open during your career. Get whatever professional development tools you need to remain relevant. We are reshaping and resizing the Army, and you must be better than rest in order to progress.

"Keep in mind the standards are the minimum required of you," Benson said. "Those of you who are going to be at the top are the ones who are willingly to exceed the standards in all areas."