Thirteen recently promoted sergeants with the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital were inducted into the Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps in a ceremony held in the Engineer Regimental Room at the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex Friday.

"(The ceremony) provides a transformation for them into the noncommissioned officer corps as opposed to just being promoted from specialist to sergeant," said Command Sgt. Maj. David Williams, GLWACH command sergeant major. "It charges them to be a noncommissioned officer and helps them with the transformation of going from just a Soldier to a noncommissioned officer."

The symbolic induction into the NCO Corps came with a challenge from Command Sgt. Maj. Tyson Goolsby, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major and guest speaker for the ceremony.

"When the ceremony is over today, go back to your formations and make a difference," he said. "Lead from the front at all times. I charge each of you to provide outstanding leadership to every Soldier, not just your Soldiers, every Soldier."

One of the newly inducted sergeants, Sgt. Stephanie Barton, GLWACH Blood Donor Center, said Goolsby's challenge was part of what drives her to be a good Soldier.

"It's very important for me to lead somebody and guide them to where they want to progress in their career," she said. "Now I'm in a role to continue on leading my Soldiers as well as others who come into my ranks and others who come to me for advice."

Goolsby added the noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the Army.

"Noncommissioned officer leadership easily becomes the most important level of leadership in our Army," he said. "Soldiers don't learn values from a tag on a chain or a card in their wallet. They learn values modeled by their leaders."

Williams agreed.

"These Soldiers are going to be the senior noncommissioned officers of the Army in 2025," he said. "If we instill these basic characteristics and show them leadership, we are more or less investing in our future."

Goolsby concluded his remarks with a question to the new sergeants.

"My question to the inductees is this; are you an E-5 or a sergeant? Are you truly wearing the stripes that have been bestowed on you, or are you simply waiting to see your next pay grade on your LES?" Goolsby asked. "Honestly, our Army has enough E-5s, but we need more sergeants."