By DJ MontoyaFebruary 13, 2009
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The ranks of 15 newly promoted sergeants, from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's 1st Space Brigade, were ceremoniously dipped into a substance intended to resemble liquid rocket propellant. This ceremonial act, which equates to the traditional "wetting down of the stripes," a part of the induction into the ranks of the time-honored Noncommissioned Officers Corps, was performed during an induction ceremony Feb. 5 at the Base Auditorium here.
According to 1st Sgt. Steven Adams from the 1st Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, this unique liquid is meant to "energize and motivate these new NCOs and keep our Soldiers and the satellites they utilize on target and on station."
The ceremony, made even more pertinent with 2009 being designated by the Secretary of the Army Peter Geren "The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer," began with a brief history of the NCO Corps. Soldiers from the 1st Space Brigade showcased the various NCO ranks beginning with sergeant, then proceeding to staff sergeant, platoon sergeant, and ending with first sergeant. Three brigade NCOs read the Noncommissioned Officer Creed, while three others performed the Lighting of the NCO Spirits on stage.
Those inducted into the NCO Corps during the ceremony were: Sgt. Joshua Anderson, Sgt. Dianalou Boone, Sgt. Matthew Dawkins, and Sgt. Kristi Phifer, all from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Space Brigade; Sgt. Juan Caballero, Sgt. Matthew Caple, Sgt. Christopher Kaufmann, Sgt. Michael Landry, and Sgt. Christian Riley, all from the 53rd Signal Battalion; Sgt. Matthew Olevano, and Sgt. Matthew Vickers, both from HHC, 1st Space Battalion; Sgt. Carmelo Harmon, 4th Space Company, 1st Space Battalion; Sgt. Brandon LaForce, and Sgt. Clayton Ratliff, both from USASMDC/ARSTRAT; and Sgt. Stephen Urbany Jr. from U.S. Northern Command.
The Charge of the Noncommissioned Officer was then given to the inductees by 1st Space Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin B. McGovern, host for the ceremony. Afterward, brigade members came forth to perform "A Soldier's Request" and "The First Sergeants' Request" involving the new inductees. The ceremony ended with Boone, the youngest of the new inductees, performing the "Lighting of the Eternal Flame" on stage.
During his opening remarks, McGovern addressed the assembly by saying, "What a great event. This has already touched my heart. If you are sitting out there and something hasn't been stirred inside you, I think you are in the wrong place."
McGovern stated, "Let's not forget, even though we are celebrating here the passing of 15 Noncommissioned Officers ... into the Noncommissioned Officers Corps we have many Soldiers, many NCOs, many officers, many civilians and contractors who are deployed throughout this world in direct combat as we sit here in a free nation."
Guest speaker for the event, Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph C. Borja, USASMDC/ARSTRAT, imparted some words of wisdom covering more than 29 years of experience to the new inductees.
"When the civilian community comes to me and says 'what makes you so successful being a sergeant major in our Army'' I tell them 'Number One - it is the way you were brought up in the family life. Different family traits, different ethnic backgrounds and most importantly, be yourself!'"
Borja told the inductees, "First and foremost, don't be there to impress anyone. Get the orders from your commander, your first sergeant, from your platoon sergeant and execute them to the best of your ability. And do it right the first time."
Secondly he stated, "Be proactive."
"Be aggressive in what you do. In today's Army you are professionals. You don't have to yell, scream and holler in order to get things done. Take pride in what you do. In this year of the Noncommissioned Officer, Command Sergeant Major McGovern and your officers are going to tell you to get out there and tell the American public what the role of a Noncommissioned Officer is, including our duties and our responsibilities. We are the 'wing-man' of your commanders. You will never let them down.
"And lastly here, take your job seriously. You are professional, you are dedicated, you are motivated, but at the same time I want you to go out and have fun as well. With that I wish you all best in your career. I see future command sergeant majors, first sergeants and platoon sergeants here."