GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - The 16th Sustainment Brigade held a Noncommissioned Officer Induction Ceremony recently at the Grafenwoehr Performing Arts Center,
honoring 19 Soldiers who joined the NCO ranks.

Although the theater, which was covered in camouflage netting and decorated in the traditional military style, was filled with NCOs and Soldiers, silence filled the air as the song, "American Soldier," rang out and pictures of American Soldiers flashed on a screen at the front of theatre.

Rear Detachment Command Sgt. Maj. Vincent Noble said, "This is an opportunity to reflect on the present and future of the NCO Corps and the accomplishments it has and will make in our Army."

Soldiers reflected on the tradition, history and honor associated with entering
into the NCO Corps.

Staff Sgt. Wesley Boles told the audience about the "Boots of the NCO," recounting that no matter where, or when, or what the mission, an Army NCO was there wearing boots.

The duty and role of the NCO was stressed by guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Nash Jr., who said, "Soldiers do not work for you, you work for them."

To emphasize the three parts of the NCO Creed, 1st Sgt. Frank Graham, 1st Sgt. Isaac Blake and 1st Sgt. Richard Henry participated in the "Lighting of Candles" before the new leaders were formally inducted into the NCO Corps.

"This ceremony is a time honored tradition that symbolizes the passing of an enlisted Soldier into the ranks of the Noncommissioned Officer," Nobles said.

New inductees included: Sgt. Alex Auston Sr., Sgt. Hermel Bailey, Sgt. Fe Esperanza Cruz, Sgt. Rafael Gallardo, Sgt. Bryan Gnirk, Sgt. Jason Hancock, Sgt. Maria Hoose, Cpl. Richard Hunter, Sgt. Alecia Hutchison, Sgt. Ezekiel Kibet, Sgt. Thomas Marcum, Sgt. James Mark, Cpl. Benjamin Meadows, Sgt. Andres Melendez, Sgt. Darrien Miller, Sgt. Richard Morgan, Sgt. Jasmin Roberson, Sgt. Sheritta Turner and Sgt. Jacob Zetino.

The tradition of honoring new NCOs has received special emphasis this year after U.S. Army Secretary Pete Geren declared 2009 as "The Year of the NCO."

"This is exciting because over a 22-year career, having 18 years as an NCO and reflecting on the past, present and future of our NCO Corps and its accomplishments and the expectations that the Army and our Nation has for this NCO Corps, to have the significance of [NCO Corps] brought to light is important," Noble said.

For more on "The Year of the NCO," or to see other related events, visit