FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- Medical Department Activity-Alaska paid homage to what is commonly referred to as "the backbone of the Army" Nov. 21 by hosting an NCO induction ceremony at Bassett Army Community Hospital.

The group of nine inductees, with a combined 41 years of service, walked through a saber arch to mark the ceremonial crossing into the NCO Corps where they were congratulated by the official party consisting of Command Sgt. Maj. Uriah Popp, MEDDAC-AK CSM; Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Rapp, 5-1 CAV, 1st SBCT CSM; and 1st Sgt. Jimmy Moore with MEDDAC-AK.

During his remarks, guest speaker Rapp urged inductees to pay particular attention to their "dash," the years between the dates that will someday grace their grave stone.

"What will your dash represent?" asked Rapp. "A lot of us have filled a good portion of our dash in service to our country, and for that alone you can be very proud."

Rapp encouraged inductees to use their dash to help future NCOs.

"You will have the privilege to change, motivate and inspire your Soldiers every day," said Rapp. "What an awesome way to spend your dash."

Rapp acknowledged that the leading would not always be easy - that there would be nights of lost sleep when one of their Soldiers has a tough personal problem or worrying about taking the right approach in a counseling decision.

He closed his speech with advice for the inductees.

"Live each day to its fullest; make a positive impact on people's lives; lead an honorable life and live without regret," said Rapp. "Most importantly, become the NCO you always wanted to work for. If you do these things, you will not have to worry about how you'll be remembered; your dash will speak for itself."