Sgt. Ulises Huang, center right, walks under a wooden arch adorned with all the enlisted ranks and a pair of raised sabers to be officially inducted into the NCO corps during a ceremony at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Ulises Huang, center right, walks under a wooden arch adorned with all the enlisted ranks and a pair of raised sabers to be officially inducted into the NCO corps during a ceremony at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fourteen noncommissioned officers assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion render a salute during their induction ceremony into the NCO corps at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fourteen noncommissioned officers assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion render a salute during their induction ceremony into the NCO corps at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAGAMI GENERAL DEPOT, Japan – Fourteen noncommissioned officers assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion were officially inducted into the NCO corps during a ceremony here Friday.

Wearing camouflage face paint, the inductees, along with enlisted leaders from the battalion, conducted a 6-mile ruck march around the installation before the ceremony.

One of the inductees, Sgt. Tashauna Walls, a culinary specialist, said the march was something to take pride in. The strenuous event also exemplified the challenges that she and others had to overcome in order to be promoted to sergeant.

“We earned it. We actually had to hurt to get to this point,” Walls said of the privilege to participate in the ceremony. “And that kind of compares to how we got our rank. We had to work for it.”

Walls, 25, of Youngstown, Ohio, who has been a sergeant for almost two years, said she was grateful that the unit held this type of ceremony.

“It’s a good experience for us noncommissioned officers,” she said. “Not every NCO gets to experience this and not every unit does this, so this is a very special moment for us.”

In the ceremony, each inductee walked under a wooden arch adorned with all the enlisted ranks, followed by a pair of raised sabers that symbolized the Soldiers’ rite of passage into the corps. They then recited an oath and the NCO Creed, and sang the Army song.

Sgt. 1st Class Melissa Smith lights candles on a noncommissioned officer display at the start of an induction ceremony at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022. Fourteen NCOs assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion participated in the ceremony.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Melissa Smith lights candles on a noncommissioned officer display at the start of an induction ceremony at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022. Fourteen NCOs assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion participated in the ceremony. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Command Sgt. Maj. Paul J. Denson, senior enlisted leader for the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, speaks during an NCO induction ceremony at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. Paul J. Denson, senior enlisted leader for the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, speaks during an NCO induction ceremony at Sagami General Depot, Japan, June 10, 2022. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

Command Sgt. Maj. Paul J. Denson, the battalion’s senior enlisted leader, reminded the inductees to lead with excellence and to develop, mentor and grow their Soldiers.

“NCOs are to be lethal, agile and adaptive Soldiers that can fight and win on any battlefield,” he said. “It is expected for NCOs to be approachable, accessible and available to America’s sons and daughters.”

The presence of every NCO should be value-added, Denson said, adding they must also be at the point of friction to help guide and lead Soldiers, so they can ready when the nation calls.

“This can only happen with disciplined Soldiers who we treat with dignity and respect,” Denson said. “We must build trust with the Soldiers that we are leading.”

He went on to tell the inductees to think about the legacy they would like to pass on to their Soldiers, and asked them to be caring, fair and not afraid to make an on-the-spot correction.

“Our Soldiers deserve the very best leadership and it is expected that you provide the very best to them,” Denson said. “Our nation demands this.”

Staff Sgt. Marino Cabral, an automated logistics specialist and one of the inductees, agreed and said that NCOs should stay humble and be selfless when guiding younger Soldiers.

“We give them that motivation to be better than us,” said Cabral, 25, of Brooklyn, New York. “Because it’s not always about how good you are; it’s about how you are going to make sure that those Soldiers be better than you.”

Known as the backbone of the Army, the NCO corps, which dates back to 1775 with the birth of the Continental Army, continues to keep today’s force going strong, Walls said.

“Without us, the structure is not a structure,” she said. “It’s going to fall apart.”

The best thing about playing a role in the NCO corps, she said, is the opportunity to serve as a positive example for her Soldiers to follow.

“You can’t tell a Soldier what to do right if you’re not doing the right thing,” she said. “So just having them look up to me means everything to me.”

Related links:

U.S. Army Garrison Japan news

USAG Japan official website