CAMP HENRY, Daegu, Korea - Area IV Noncommissioned Officers assigned to the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command held a "Day of the NCO" event, which took place at both Camp Carroll, in Waegwan, and at Camp Walker, in Daegu, March 23.
The day consisted of a morning three-mile group run around Camp Carroll, followed by an NCO induction ceremony that was held at the Camp Carroll Theater. After which the NCOs gathered at the Camp Carroll Community Activities Center for a professional development session. Lastly, the day culminated with a dining-in that was held at the Evergreen Community Club, Camp Walker.
The event was organized and led by NCOs with the Materiel Support Command - Korea. The objectives of the event were to boost morale, instill esprit de corps and to have an honest talk about how to fix on-going indiscipline issues and the way forward for NCOs.
"I thought the NCO induction ceremony was awesome," said Sgt. 1st Class Manuele Ahsiu, operations Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 19th ESC, who's originally from Sapo'e, American Samoa. "The physical readiness training event was very motivational. This type of event builds unit morale and team cohesiveness, it's something that we don't see very often."
The NCO induction ceremony is an event designed to enhance the prestige and esprit de corps of all NCOs. It is a special ceremony formerly marking the passage of a Soldier into the NCO corps. The tradition of passing a Soldier onto an NCO can be traced to the Army of Fredrick the great. Before one could be fully recognized as an NCO, he was required to stand four watches, one every four days.
At the first watch the private appeared and claimed a gift of bread and brandy. The company of NCOs came to the second watch for beer and tobacco. The first sergeant reserved his or her visit for the third watch, when he or she was presented with a glass of wine and a piece of tobacco on a tin plate. On the morning after the fourth watch, the sun would rise on a new NCO.
During the induction ceremony 65 newly promoted NCOs, were inducted into the NCO corps. Family members and co-workers were all invited to take part in the induction ceremony, and many did attend. The theater was completely packed for the event.
The event included Korean Augmentees to the United States Army NCOs or KATUSA NCOs assigned to units within the 19th ESC. A total of 18 KATUSA NCOs were inducted into the NCO corps along with all the U.S. Army NCOs. This type of combined event helps to strengthen the Republic of Korea - U.S. alliance. It also enhances force interoperability and in turn, it helps to maintain a trained and ready force.
"Today is all about our NCOs," said Command Sgt. Maj. Prentiss Hall, the command sergeant major for MSC-K. "An entire day dedicated to us NCOs. This doesn't happen very often. We must take full advantage of this day and use it to teach our junior NCOs about the history and traditions of the Army. We must ensure that they know how to be trusted leaders and that they do coach and mentor their Soldiers, so they too can learn and become leaders of character, those who we need and want."
Following the induction ceremony, all the NCOs assembled at the Camp Carroll CAC for the professional development session. During this portion of the event, NCOs were given a few questions to consider. The theme was, "Be, Know, Do," which represents the past, present and future leaders. The room was organized into groups of junior NCOs led by a few senior NCOs.
"Character, who are we as professional Soldiers? If we don't even know how to define it, how can we change it?" asked Command Sgt. Maj. Sonya Mallory, the 498th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion's command sergeant major, originally from Pagopago, American Samoa. "We expect our junior NCOs to know how to be NCOs, but we don't even take the time to teach them how to be NCOs."
"Let's be serious about leadership," continued Mallory. "Lead by example, be the example. Be the leader that you wanted to become. Senior leaders, you have to be willing to develop. Develop your Soldiers; teach, coach and mentor. You have to be present, let your juniors fail, then right at that very moment, pick them up and teach them, develop them."
The culminating event was the dining-in. A military dining-in is a formal military ceremony for members of a company or other unit, which includes a dinner, a social hour, and other events to foster camaraderie and esprit de corps. It is a formal event for all unit members, male and female; though some specialized mess nights can be officer or enlisted-only. A unit's dining-in consists of only the members of the unit, with the possible exception of the guest(s) of honor.