FORT STEWART -- Exemplifying outstanding qualities as a noncommissione officer, Corporal Corey B. Burke, 1st Brigade Combat Team, is an ideal illustration of the intent behind making 2009 the Year of the NCO.

The Secretary of the Army Pete Geren has designated 2009 as the Year of the NCO, a year designed to enhance readiness, recognize the leadership of the NCO Corps and inform the American public of the accomplishments that NCOs achieve on a regular basis.
With that in mind, our spotlight on distinguished NCOs begins with Burke, a dismount team leader with 1BCT.

Burke was promoted in November then in January attended the Warrior Leader Course, earning the Leadership Award.

You could describe Burke as a soft spoken man. Ask him what his hobbies are, and he'll mechanically reply "Working out and football."

Inquire what he wants to accomplish in the next couple years, and he rattles off skill tabs as if he's just naming anything he can think of: "Sapper, sniper, Ranger, airborne, air assault, Audie Murphy..." But ask him about being a noncommissioned officer or leading Soldiers, and you force Burke to reflect.

"It's about doing the little things right and taking them seriously," Burke said. "Any mistake could cost you or your Soldiers down range."

That, in short, is the essence of Cpl. Corey Burke, the focus and drive over which he obsesses -- leading Soldiers with a never-ending fixation on details.

"A proper and thorough (preventative maintenance, checks and services), that's a huge deal to me," he said.

It's not as if he's a taskmaster though. Burke doesn't respond with a zeal for putting down Soldiers, but rather mentoring, guiding and developing young Soldiers to become exceptional NCOs.

"When I leave, I want my Soldiers to do their job better than I do," he said. "The Soldiers I deployed with still call me to see what I'm up to. That means a lot to me. I tried to give them a reason to strap up their boots every day."
His sense of selflessness lends itself to his desire to continue to serve for years to come.

"A lot of these guys coming in are nervous or scared. To me, that's a call for a leader to help," Burke said. "I'm not getting out until everyone gets home."
For the Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, that's a good thing.