FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (March 19, 2009) - The Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth celebrated current and past noncommissioned officers at the NCO and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club induction ceremony March 17 at the Lewis and Clark Center's Eisenhower Auditorium. The event marked the post's official kick off for the Year of the NCO.

Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commander of CAC and Fort Leavenworth, hosted the event, and the guest speaker was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston.

"Today is a very special day for our noncommissioned officers," Caldwell said. "The service of our noncommissioned officers is what makes our Army so effective."

In the first part of the event, 13 new sergeants and seven new corporals were officially inducted into the NCO Corps by their unit first sergeants. Each of the Soldiers crossed a bridge on the stage, symbolically marking their transition to NCOs.

Sgt. Maj. Steven Raines, the narrator for the event, described the induction ceremony as a rite of passage that dates back to the earliest days of military service.

"Today, we commemorate this rite of passage as a celebration of the newly promoted joining the ranks of a professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps," he said, "and emphasize and build on the pride we all share as members of such an elite corps."

Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow, CAC and Fort Leavenworth command sergeant major, led a charge issued to the new NCOs by members of Fort Leavenworth's Sergeants Major Association. The sergeants major called on the new NCOs to uphold the standards and traditions of the NCO Corps, and to always set the example.

Reinforcing the link between past and present NCOs, eight NCOs donned uniforms from the Revolutionary War, Mexican American War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War and present day. They also recited some of the duties and accomplishments of NCOs throughout each of the corresponding periods in the Army's history.

In the second part of the event, three NCOs were inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. The club was founded in 1986 at Fort Hood, Texas, and named for World War II hero Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated Soldier in American history.

Fort Leavenworth is part of Training and Doctrine Command's chapter of SAMC. TRADOC Regulation 600-14 describes the club as an elite organization of noncommissioned officers who have demonstrated performance and inherent leadership qualities and abilities characterized by those of Sgt. Audie Murphy.

The two NCOs inducted into SAMC were Staff Sgt. Brenda Reed-Miller of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 705th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, and Sgt. Melinda Griffin of the Medical Activity.

A third NCO, Sgt. Maj. Ronny Raemsch of the German army, was inducted as an honorary member of SAMC. Raemsch serves as a liaison for the German army to CAC and supervises German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency training and testing at Fort Leavenworth.

Master Sgt. Joseph Rosario of HHC, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, has been a SAMC member since 2001. He said SAMC works to motivate and develop NCOs, and to promote important NCO qualities, such as selfless service.

"It's not just a club," Rosario said of SAMC. "It's about how to be a better NCO."

Preston congratulated the new NCOs and SAMC inductees, but reminded them of the increased responsibility they each now bear.

"My charge to you is to continue to uphold those traditions, those two basic responsibilities of the noncommissioned officer that stem from the NCO Creed: To accomplish the mission and the welfare of Soldiers," he said.

Preston said the care and welfare of Soldiers is one of the most important missions an NCO has, but one that in the past has not always been clearly defined.

"The best thing you can do for your Soldiers is to train them and enforce the standards," he said.
This year was declared as the Year of the NCO by Preston and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. The last Year of the NCO was 1989, just after the NCO Creed was formalized.