AUSTIN, Texas -- The first line of the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer, No one is more professional that I, is a tool used in the U.S. Army to educate and remind enlisted leaders of their responsibilities and authority, and serves as a code of conduct. Self-development, leader development and mentoring are three critical aspects of the Army profession.

In a world of technological development and advancement, soldiers assigned to Army Futures Command are afforded the opportunity to connect with the industry leaders and enhance their military careers through networking opportunities across the city of Austin.

"Everyone we've met in Austin is interested and excited to have AFC here", Staff Sgt. Will Reinier, a noncommissioned officer assigned to Army Futures Command said.

"Getting out into the community and getting an opportunity to explain our mission and our goals in the city has benefitted my career by providing opportunities to interact with all kinds of people - from business and community leaders, even some non-profit organizations, it's helped me learn how to engage and interact with such a wide variety of people and find ways to explain our mission."

Staff Sgt. Reinier, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Communication Directorate, shared how this new duty location is different from his previous assignment.

"Almost every single community near an Army installation is used to the Army being there - towns like Killeen and Fayetteville. They understand the Army pretty well and have had many interactions with Soldiers. That's just not the case here - so many people are "meeting the Army" for the first time ever", Reinier said.

"As a junior noncommissioned officer, not a lot of commanders would give you the ability to plan and coordinate a large scale community relations engagement such as our Thank You Austin event. Luckily, I had a great team of people around me that really made the event work, but having the opportunity to see all that goes into an event - from planning and coordination to promotion to travel and execution - was really an incredible experience. Being that initial ambassador for the Army has been such an exciting experience for me because I have an opportunity to really share what the Army is about and why we're in Austin."

In the United States Army, professional development is key in helping soldiers reach their goals, become more efficient, and better leaders.

After completing a special duty assignment with the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Sgt. 1st Class Tawayna Washington, a St. Louis, Missouri native and noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Human Capital Directorate, learned that being assigned to Army Futures Command would enhance her military and professional career.

"I arrived at AFC in October of 2018. Between November 2018 and February 2019, Command Sgt. Maj. Crosby sat down with all the noncommissioned officers, looked over our enlisted records and gave us a little insight on what steps to take to advance our careers," she said.

Army Futures Command (AFC) is the U.S. Army's newest command focused on modernization efforts across the Army, providing new and innovative technologies to assist soldiers in the execution of their duties. Washington believes that being assigned to AFC, she is able to gain the knowledge, skills and professional development needed for her career.

"I never worked in an S-1 shop and as a 42A that is critical. I was concerned about how my records would compare to those of my peers when it comes to the Master Sergeant or Sergeant Major boards respectively," Washington said.

Professional development is important for soldiers who wish to advance to higher ranks within the military. This training improves the leadership skills of soldiers so they can lead others efficiently. It is part of leadership development, which involves continuous, deliberate, progressive and sequential molding of soldiers into confident and skilled leaders who can take decisive actions.

"After meeting with Command Sgt. Maj. Crosby, I reached out to other soldiers under my wing and asked them about their professional goals and career aspirations", Washington said. "It's good to have that mentor who can help guide you and assist you in the progression of your career."