"Noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the United States Army. The contributions of our NCOs are worthy of recognition. That's why the Army declared 2009 the "Year of the Noncommissioned Officer."

You don't have to go far to see the heroes we have working right here at USAG-Yongsan. One such NCO is featured this week as a "Faces of Strength" in the Morning Calm newspaper and Garrison web site. He is 20-year-old Sgt. Jamin Bassette, from the United Nations Command Honor Guard right here on Yongsan.

Sergeant Bassette has been in the Army for just over three years. He has earned four Army Commendation Medals and eight Army Achievement Medals. He was also recently inducted into the Army's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Read more about Sgt. Bassette and learn about the leadership traits of successful NCOs.

I also encourage you to take a moment and visit the Army's web site honoring NCOs. There, you'll find out how NCOs have been celebrated for "decorated service in military events ranging from Valley Forge to Gettysburg, to charges on Omaha Beach and battles along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."

At the 2008 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren announced that 2009 would be the "Year Of The Noncommissioned Officer."

At the front of every Army mission in the United States or overseas, you'll find a noncommissioned officer," he said. "They know their mission, they know their equipment, but most importantly, they know their Soldiers."

Our NCO Corps is second to none. They lead by example and accomplish tough missions. It is fitting for us as a community to honor our NCOs for all their hard work and dedication to duty.

At Yongsan, we will honor our NCO Corps with a special 5K fun run Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Collier Field House. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., and the run will begin at 9:30 a.m. The Seoul USO has graciously agreed to sponsor the event. There will be special T-shirts with the Year of the NCO logo for people who finish the run. Please come out and join the fun. We expect to have quite a crowd.

The NCO Corps is a national treasure. Join me in honoring our Soldiers who have stepped up to the plate and decided to lead. Hooah!