JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - In a timeless ceremony that illustrates the importance of the Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps through the ages, nine new leaders were welcomed into the 502nd Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion in an NCO induction ceremony Dec. 13 at the Evergreen Chapel on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The ceremony is a celebration of the newly promoted sergeants joining the ranks of the Army's NCO Corps with an emphasis on the pride they share as members of that elite corps. The ceremony also honors the memory of those men and women of the NCO Corps who have served with pride and distinction.
At the start of the ceremony, the inductees were addressed by guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Melendez, the command sergeant major of the 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade. He stressed to them to take their roles as Army leaders seriously and understand that their indoctrination is only the beginning.
"These young men and women are making the hardest transition in the Army," said Melendez. "Going from being one of the troops, to a leader of soldiers ... this is where the hard work begins."
He went on to say that as professional noncommissioned officers he not only expected them to do their job, but to care for their soldiers, and take time to develop future leaders to replace themselves.
"You will provide the leadership required to fulfil our nonnegotiable contract with the American people, to fight and win our nation's wars, and more importantly care for their sons and daughters - your soldiers," Melendez said.
Following his address, the audience joined the inductees in reciting the NCO Creed. Then, as their names were called, the young men and women each walked under a wooden archway signifying their transition from junior enlisted to NCO and then were presented with a certificate by Melendez - the "Charge to the Newly Promoted Noncommissioned Officer."
To end the ceremony, the group proudly sang the America's First Corps and Army songs before moving to the foyer to congratulate the Army's newest inducted noncommissioned officers, leaders, trainers and mentors. The inductees were, in the order inducted, Sgt. Michael Schied, Sgt. Andrew Massey, Sgt. Angela Speegle, Sgt. Kerry Beal, Sgt. Kenyatta Grandberry, Sgt. Avery Brooks, Sgt. Aaron Westrom, Sgt. Ravi Mandahar, and Sgt. Matthew Dobson.