By Cpt. Dion Williams, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.January 15, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GARRY OWEN, Iraq - Twenty three of the U.S. Army's newest Non-Commissioned Officers took part in a traditional ceremony here Jan. 4.
The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division gave the new leaders their rite of passage as they crossed over from enlisted Trooper to NCO during an induction ceremony.
The ceremony is for newly promoted troops joining the NCO Corps, and it also honors the men and women who have served in that group with pride and distinction.
"The NCO induction is a timeless ceremony of the NCO Corps that instills duties, leadership and spirit into the Soldiers that are becoming leaders," said Command Sgt. Maj. George Zamudio, the senior enlisted NCO for the 2nd Bn. 7th Cav. Regt, from Houston, Texas.
Zamudio and the Garry Owen Soldiers observed as Staff Sgt. Kristopher Smith recited the 'NCO Vision' to start the ceremony.
Then Staff Sgts. Dominick Alvarado, Yolanda Riley and Michael Hansen lit red, white and blue candles.
The red candle stands for the valor of an NCO, the white candles represent an NCO's purity, honesty and integrity and the blue candle signifies the vigilance and the field of honor in which an NCO serves.
Each of the inductees was officially welcomed into the NCO Corps by passing under a pair of crossed sabers held by Sgts. 1st Class Jamie Farmer and Billy Wheaton. The inductee's sponsor stood and introduced each new NCO with a detailed biographical and professional summary.
Upon completion of the official portion of the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. William May, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment's senior enlisted leader, was introduced as the ceremony's guest speaker.
He talked about various points of leadership, the importance of counseling and lessons learned throughout his military career. May, who hails from Monument Beach, Mass., emphatically drove his point home referencing his hard-charging style that he has used for the majority of his military career.
"I can recall how I energized one of my old squads by leading with the heels of my boots," he said.
May went on to explain how others were amazed at how well his Soldiers responded to those tactics. May charged each new NCO to read and know Field Manual 7-22.7, the Army's NCO guide. The ceremony introduced and reinforced the importance, significance and prestige that noncommissioned officers hold.