SEMBACH, Germany -- Soldiers from Public Health Command Europe, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe, as well as inductees from the German Bundeswehr, crossed the threshold from Soldiers to noncommissioned officers during an NCO Induction Ceremony Nov. 8 at the Sembach Theater.

PHCE and USAMMCE invited the Bundeswehr to participate in the NCO induction as part of their longstanding partnership at joint events to earn sports or shooting badges.

Fourteen Soldiers from the U.S. Army and five Bundeswehr inductees accepted their new duties and responsibilities with honor as each one walked through the NCO arch to officially become a member of the NCO Corps.

Noncommissioned officers are widely viewed as the backbone of the Army, and are charged with exemplifying professionalism, taking care of Soldiers, and supporting unit officers to accomplish the mission.

Command Sgt. Maj. D. "Brett" Waterhouse, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz command sergeant major and guest speaker at the NCO induction, highlighted the significance of becoming an NCO and moving from follower to leader.

"They (NCOs) pledge to bear the standards, uphold core values and commit to being professionals who maintain a keen focus on the accomplishments of the mission and the welfare of their Soldiers, no matter the circumstances."

The entire ceremony, from the NCO Charge to the recitation of the NCO Creed, emphasized the importance of this critical step in the Soldiers' careers. Part of the ceremony included the display of period uniforms from 1775 to present, as a tribute to the history and role of the U.S. Army Soldier.

"The command cares about its Soldiers by keeping Army traditions like the NCO induction alive," said newly inducted Sgt. Young Kwon, the noncommissioned officer in charge of PHCE's Health Physics Division. "The noncommissioned officer corps inherits time honored values and tradition down to the Soldiers of the new generations.

"NCOs' lead by example and strive to achieve missions to the standard, or sometimes even go above and beyond the standard. This is one of my aims as a noncommissioned officer as well. By setting an extraordinary example and going above what's expected, Soldiers under me and other NCOs can learn from us, but we also learn from our Soldiers."

The history of the U.S. Army noncommissioned officer dates back to 1775 with the birth of the Continental Army. Like the Army itself, the NCO Corps did not copy the fundamental roles of just the British Army; instead it blended traditions of the British, French and Prussian armies to create its own unique institution.

"As an NCO you become a mentor for junior Soldiers and take part in helping them to become a better Soldier and future leader. This experience is very valuable and humbling at the same time," said Sgt. Maj. Kevin Buie, PHCE sergeant major.

"The path to great leadership is a process, and the induction ceremony signifies the first step," Buie said. "Every new noncommissioned Soldier shall enjoy this special moment, but each day the aim for each Soldier should be to continue to learn and grow because as a leader, learning and growing should never stop."

U.S. Army NCOs inducted during the ceremony were:
• Staff Sgt. Paulina Enriquez, Public Health Activity Rheinland-Pfalz
• Staff Sgt. Joshua Marrero, Dental Health Command Europe
• Sgt. Dennis Aguilar, PHA R-P
• Sgt. Osvaldo Aviles Lopez, PHA R-P
• Sgt. Claudine Beckford, PHA R-P
• Sgt. Kyle Buchanan, USAMMCE
• Sgt. Michael Deck, PHA R-P
• Sgt. Benjamin Gutierrez, USAMMCE
• Sgt. Chelsea Hannemann, PHA R-P
• Sgt. Trevor Kratzel, PHCE
• Sgt. Young Kwon, PHCE
• Sgt. Isaac Lucero, PHA R-P
• Sgt. Oscar Valadez Jr., USAMMCE
• Sgt. Victor Villanueva, USAMMCE

German Bundeswehr inductees were:
• Master Sgt. Juergen Laske
• Sgt. 1st Class Jan Koenig
• Staff Sgt. Diego Garcia
• Staff Sgt. Kenton Krujezi
• Staff Sgt. Pascal Naskowski