FORT KNOX, Ky. - Two Soldiers sit facing one another onstage under a dramatic spotlight. The one on the left speaks:
"Sergeant, treat me with respect for no heart in the entire world is more loyal than the heart of an American Soldier.
Do not beat my spirit with your words, Sergeant for though I will do what you demand; your guidance, patience,
And understanding will more quickly teach me to 'Be, Know, and Do.'"
The sergeant, 3rd ESC Maintenance Shop Foreman, Sgt. David Andreano, responds, addressing the Soldier's concerns. The 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) NCO induction ceremony is underway.
"It came from my heart, as an NCO," Andreano said. "It wasn't just acting, it was showing how we feel when that Soldier speaks to you ... that you're serious about it, that you care about them, and that you're willing to train them to be that next leader, to replace you when it's time."
"The NCO Induction ceremony is an event rich in heritage. It's a rite of passage, transitioning our young NCOs into the NCO Corps," said 3rd ESC Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward A. Bell. "If you look at Baron Von Steuben and the Blue Book, it's about standards and discipline. From the American Revolution to today, it's the foundation of who we are as NCOs."
Along with three vignettes from the poem, A Soldier's Request, intended to show the gravity of the 10 newly minted NCOs responsibilities. The ceremony, held at Olive Theater, May 21, included Soldiers dressed in period uniforms, representing NCOs who served in every American conflict from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf Wars.
"It's important for Soldiers to see a noncommissioned officer induction ceremony because it gives them a sense that they can strive to be someone who gets inducted into the corps," explained 3rd ESC Property Book Office NCOIC, Staff Sgt. Kevin Lynch, who wore a Vietnam War era uniform for the ceremony. "It also helps them see that their leaders actually went through something. It's not just, 'Hey, here's your promotion. Now you're a sergeant.' You actually have memories that you can take with you. You can say that you were actually inducted into the corps of noncommissioned officers."
"What I want to share with you is the blueprint to success. It's what I used to get to where I am today. We must share what we have. We are responsible for you every day. We've got to make sure that you are successful, because you are the future," said Human Resources Command Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Smith, who addressed the sergeants as the keynote speaker. "We must lead the way. We must show what right looks like."
Smith went on to say, "Leaders in your organization are going to empower you to make decisions. You are going to be the ones to shape and grow the Army and lead the force of tomorrow."
"Command Sergeant Major Smith's speech on the blueprint of leadership is exactly what our young NCOs need," said Bell. "They really need to understand how important they are, and when it comes to development and training and mentorship, I think his message was really on point."
At the ceremony's end, 3d ESC Command Group Driver, Sgt. Richard Cole led the other nine inductees, along with every other NCO present, in reciting the NCO Creed.
"The ceremony means a lot to us," said Cole. "It symbolizes the Army's trust in us as leaders."
"I've seen about 12 induction ceremonies," said Lynch, "and this was the best one, bar none."