FORT LEE, Va. (May 30, 2018) -- Twenty-eight Soldiers crossed the threshold into the esteemed ranks of enlisted leadership during the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade Noncommissioned Officer Induction Ceremony May 30 at the Lee Theater.

NCO induction events provide an ideal venue for military organizations to celebrate those new to ranks of the NCO Corps and impress upon them a sense of pride, duty and responsibility. The inductees at the Dragon Brigade ceremony included many newly promoted sergeants as well as a few who had pinned their stripes a while ago.

Hosted by Command Sgt. Maj. Lisa Haney, 23rd QM Bde. CSM, the event included a historical presentation and recitation of the NCO Creed and Charge. Attendees included Col. Greg Townsend, brigade commander; CSM Sean Rice, Quartermaster Corps Regimental CSM; and CSM Jerome M. Smalls, Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy commandant.

Sgt. Maj. Edward A. Bell from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, was the guest speaker. The former 23rd QM Bde. CSM and drill sergeant urged the honorees to hold trust as an essential leadership attribute. He cited Baron Von Steuben's efforts to instill discipline and standards during the Revolutionary War as an example, and noted how it built confidence and inspired the rank and file.

"Trust is still the foundation, and (still about) us noncommissioned officers -- the good stewards of our profession. (We) are the gatekeepers of standards, the gatekeepers of discipline and the gatekeepers of setting good examples," Bell said. " … As you receive the noncommissioned officers' rites of passage, you must reaffirm your duty to your leadership; reaffirm you duty to your Soldiers; reaffirm your fundamental obligation in building that trust and leading with compassion, empathy, enthusiasm, pride and being on the team -- the Army team."

Further, Bell said trust is less about individual achievement and more about fulfilling one's duties and responsibilities around the framework of the commander's intent.

"It's about doing what you say," he elaborated. "Your video must match your audio. Trust is about caring and investing in others; it's about having pride in your unit; it's about having pride in your mission."

There were moments of Bell's talk when the 31-year Soldier was decidedly candid while offering leadership advice to the NCOs on various subjects. In one instance, he warned of a growing trend to disregard custom and convention.

"We are in a time when we give way too many excuses, and we complain about leadership in front of others," he said. "We lack precision in protocol and lack precision in consistent military courtesy. These fundamental principles and discipline … are the rock foundations of trust."

Bell ended his speech by encouraging troops to extend themselves beyond expectations.

"As you're being inducted into the NCO Corps, go to new heights of excellence," he said. "Go to new heights in investing, coaching, teaching and mentoring; and go to new heights to ensure military discipline, bearing and standards are the watchwords in all you do -- with every task, every event and every mission."

Sgt. Christian Delfin, Tango Company, 266th QM Bn., was one of the inductees. He did not have the benefit of a ceremony when he was promoted two years ago, and he sized up this event as one full of substance and meaning.

"It is one of the reminders that I am truly an NCO," said the 24-year-old culinary specialist. "It's a reminder that this is what I signed up for -- to lead, train and guide Soldiers."

Delfin also said the ceremony served to further inform him of his place in the Army.

"The Army has definitely given me so much opportunity, especially for my family and for myself, and made it possible for me to be the person I am today," he said.

All of the ceremony participants received induction certificates and were heartedly congratulated by senior leaders and NCO peers as the event came to a close.