Staff Sergeant Keith Bach
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Current Position: S-3 assistant NCO, combatives NCOIC
Current Unit: HHC, 1st HBCT
Component: Active Duty
Location: Fort Stewart

FORT STEWART, GA - Noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the Army, they train Soldiers, get the mission finished and support the Soldiers they mentor.

Staff Sgt. Keith Bach, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, the assistant operations NCO for 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, is one such NCO.

A 2nd Ranger Battalion veteran, and a previous combatives school teacher, Bach is the perfect picture of an NCO that follows the entire NCO Creed.

"The NCO is the trainer of all Soldiers," Bach said, "He directs Soldiers as well. Officers plan the training week, but the NCO makes sure the training is conducted, to mentor them into our positions as we move on."

Bach's day-to-day life entails many aspects that keep him busy.

"Right now I assist the S-3 NCO to make sure we are ready to conduct the missions we've planned and coordination that needs to be made," Bach said.

As an NCO, one of Bach's responsibilities is to mentor his Soldiers, a juggling act that can clash with his other jobs.

"We have seven new privates that just came to brigade and it's kind of hard for them," he said, "Because it takes them out of their element. But to mentor them in what they're doing, we have to take time aside to make sure they get trained on their job and not just what they're doing right now. They also have to be trained on their infantry skills, battle drills and many other things."

As combatives NCO for the entire brigade, Bach holds combatives in high regard as a confidence builder for Soldiers.

"Combatives builds confidence in a Soldier," he said, "It's one of the only ways to build confidence. Colonel Cloutier (Col. Roger Cloutier, 1st BCT commander) said it best when he said, 'you have to be confident in the person to your left and right, confident in your weapon and confident in yourself' and that's what combatives does."

He also believes in keeping himself at the highest level of physical fitness.

"Physical fitness is really important to being an NCO," Bach said, "I think a lot of people are going to see that if we deploy to Afghanistan because everyone is used to driving places and we'll be walking 8800 feet with water and gear. It will be a lot different than Iraq when it comes to vehicle use."

Bach also has sound advice for potential NCOs and current NCOs.

Bach's biggest pet peeve for is watching NCOs bark orders but don't mentor their Soldiers.

"They expect by barking orders that they will teach their Soldiers. A true leader is going to train their Soldiers to lead when they're gone. Make sure you're doing the right thing and that you're Soldiers are doing the right thing."

For most employees, when the day ends they go home and rest for the night. But an NCO is on-call at all times to help his Soldiers. Whether it is a flat tire on Highway 144 or a ride home from an over-enjoyed night in Savannah, NCOs take care of those below them with unbridled energy and compassion for both the individual Soldier and the Army way.