By Chrystal Smith (USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs)February 10, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany - "From this day forward, you will be changed forever."
That was the message communicated to more than 60 newly inducted U.S. and German sergeants during a community induction ceremony in the Wiesbaden Fitness Center.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bartelle, Allied Command Operations, affirmed the noncommissioned officers as teammates, mentors, coaches and leaders in a keynote address accentuating the contributions of the NCO, and giving the inductees an insightful glimpse into their futures as members of the elite corps.
The induction ceremony underscored the Army's focus on the NCO, and was intended to enhance the esprit de corps of the community's NCOs while acknowledging their accomplishment to lead at a level favorable of the NCO Corps.
"It's a rite of passage ... signifying our transition from being lead to leader," said Sgt. John Garlock, 1st Armored Division Special Troops Battalion.
As the ceremony reminded the Soldiers of their credo, what's requested of them by their juniors and their charge of leadership they were additionally advised by leaders to maintain a consciousness of focus and appropriate leadership positioning.
"True leaders don't focus on their own interests ... they possess vision and ability to adapt to those they lead. True leaders lead from the front, but not so far ahead that they can't reach back and help those of whom they are in charge," said Staff Sgt. Julia Ustunel, master of ceremonies, quoting 102nd Signal Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Robert A. Daniel Jr.
As the ceremony concluded with the charge of the NCO, the new sergeants were already accepting of the responsibility.
"I'm going to continue to push, accomplishing whatever is in my path," said Sgt. Aaron Broussard, 1st Armored Division Special Troops Battalion, who accomplished the rank of sergeant in three years and said his focus for the troops he will lead will be promoting physical fitness. "If you can't pull your battle buddy out of a foxhole, you're no good to anyone."
"I'm going to keep going until I have no more to give," said Garlock, who said he would emphasize the importance of education to his troops. "You can't be promoted unless you know more than the other guy. In order to be the most qualified, you have to make yourself the most qualified."
The occasion was also special in that German Soldiers were also inducted, symbolic of the global military environment.
"We fight in a joint environment; this ceremony represents how we fight," said Daniel.
The inductees represented the 102nd Signal Battalion, Wiesbaden Dental Clinic, Wiesbaden Health Clinic, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, 212th Military Police Company and the 1st Armored Division Special Troops Battalion.