By Douglas DeMaio, USAG Bamberg Public AffairsFebruary 13, 2009
BAMBERG, Germany -- The "Year of the NCO" was announced on Jan. 5 at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Chief of Staff of the Army George W. Casey Jr., and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston revealed a letter that day the three had signed announcing 2009 as a year for recognizing contributions made by NCOs past and present.
The purpose of the campaign is to recognize the NCO Corps' contribution to this establishment and pay tribute to the vital roles they play in almost every aspect of the Army.
Obviously, there is much more purpose to this effort than what is written above.
On the "Year of the NCO" Web site, there are many resources to educate visitors on the American NCO and the reasons for why the Army leadership declared 2009 as the "Year of the NCO".
From the founding of American NCOs in 1775 to modern-day NCOs, the Web site offers unique information on the growth, development and progression of American NCOs throughout their 234 years of existence.
"This Web site has many valuable resources that strengthen the Army's goal of building awareness and public understanding about NCOs," said Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce A. Lee, USAG Bamberg CSM. "This campaign reinforces our leaders' intent by inspiring interest in the NCO Corps. It recognizes the NCO's commitment to service and their willingness to make sacrifices on behalf of our nation and it drives our younger Soldiers to aspire to become a better leader."
The Web site states two focuses for the "Year of the NCO":
Enhance awareness and public understanding of the roles and responsibilities of today's NCO.
Enhance and accelerate the development of NCOs through education, fitness, and leadership development initiatives.
These two focuses are supported by initiatives, events, objectives and resources that serve to educate the people, both military and civilian, on the value of the NCO.
Many resources are being devoted to recognizing the NCO this year. Audio and videos files are available on the Web site that help people understand the necessity of the NCO and his development.
One outreach program the Sergeant Major of the Army started was the Year of the NCO Blog.
He wrote the NCO blog would assist in accomplishing the following objectives:
Enhance: Enhance NCOs' education, fitness, leadership development, and pride in service through implementation of programs and policies that sustain and grow our NCO Corps.
Recognize: Recognize the leadership, professionalism, commitment, courage and dedication of the NCO Corps.
Inform: Inform and educate the American people, Congress, and government institutions of the roles, responsibilities and the quality service of our NCO Corps.
Preston stated he would contribute to the blog on a regular basis throughout the year.
Opening up dialog between Soldiers and the Army's most senior enlisted Soldier should prove to be a tool for opening up discussions on key NCO issues.
The blog has already proven to be useful to those who have contributed to the blog.
Master Sgt. Amanda Glenn, Office of Chief of Public Affairs - Plans Division, posted a comment answering a poster's question and clarifying a widespread rumor.
"Allowing NCOs to put rank on their berets was an idea initially discussed," Glenn posted. "After further research and discussion, however, Army leadership decided against it. Any initiatives resulting from the Year of the NCO will be announced on this Web site as well as other official channels."
The initiatives section on the Web site explains the purpose of the Year of the NCO.
The purpose of the Year of the NCO initiative is to enhance NCO's education, fitness, leadership development and pride in service through the implementation of programs and policies that support the sustainment and growth of the NCO Corps.
The Year of the NCO recognizes the leadership, professionalism, commitment, courage and dedication of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps and will better inform and educate Congress, government institutions, and the American people of the roles, responsibilities, and the quality of service of our NCO Corps. The NCO Corps is a national treasure.
Within this section, details about education, fitness, leadership and pride in service initiatives are posted, which further elaborates on the objects of the campaign.
These initiatives seek to highlight ways to accelerate the development of NCOs, which should fulfill the Army's focus of enhancing professional growth among the ranks.
The Sergeant Major of the Army also approved a monthly focus. There are nine topics for the year. Leadership and pride of service are themes that are repeated twice. The topics are as follows:
January - What is an NCO'
February - What do NCO's do'
March - Focus on physical fitness
April - Diversity
May - Leadership
June - Pride of Service
July - Pride of Service
August - Education
September - Mental Fitness
October - Leadership
November - Pride of Service
December - Wrap up the year/the way ahead for NCOs
"Our strengths as NCOs have always been our ability to adapt, train, and motivate our Soldiers to meet any challenge," Lee said. "We're not a stagnant organization and we always push the envelope. We should use this, the Year of the NCO, as a means to move the NCO Corps to a new level of growth and focus. With everyone's involvement, we will leave a positive legacy for the next generation; let our hard work be the next generation's means for success."