"No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of Soldiers," is what Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathon S. Ballard, senior enlisted advisor for the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, cited as his favorite part of the NCO creed. After nearly 30 years serving in the U.S. Army, Ballard held his final NCO induction ceremony for 1-82 FA, 19 December.
"The NCO induction ceremony - I never had one coming up through the ranks," said Ballard. "So when I am able to have those ceremonies, I will, because they're very important."
Ballard has inducted more than 300 Soldiers throughout his career. One of the Soldiers being inducted in this particular ceremony was Sgt. Joe McClendon II, a cannon crewmember with Charlie Battery, 1-82 FA.
Ballard explained McClendon has demonstrated a lot of resilience in his military career.
"While we were in Poland, I faced a little adversity," explained McClendon, who received an Article 15 during his rotation. "It was just more motivation. I had to drive harder and I never let it get me down."
With McClendon's inspiring story, becoming an NCO put an emphasis on how important resilience is and how far it can get you in your military career.
"Now he has that chance to tell that testimony to other Soldiers, that an Article 15 doesn't define you," said Ballard. "That's just a point in your life and you can come back from that."
McClendon's adversity and redemption aided in his ability to become not only an NCO, but an NCO that takes care of Soldiers, just as Ballard has.
"The most important part of the creed to me is, 'I know my Soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own,'" said McClendon.
For McClendon, it was Ballard's excellent leadership that stood out, especially because he always took care of his troops.
"I make sure the heart beat is correct, the Soldiers are motivated and everything is running correctly," said Ballard.
McClendon was one of the final 31 Soldiers Ballard inducted into the NCO Corps. The group wanted to find something fitting to present Ballard for the occasion. They gave him a copy of the NCO creed, which they had all signed.
"For the Soldiers to give me that gift at the end, that was awesome," said Ballard.
As a leader he always gave so much of himself and never expected anything in return, Ballard explained.
"For them to give something back to me - the NCO creed I've given to all the Soldiers and now I have that NCO creed given back to me - that is something that's definitely going on my retirement wall," said Ballard.