MANHATTAN, Kan. - More than 50 Soldiers crossed the threshold from junior enlisted to noncommissioned officer during an induction ceremony hosted by the 1st Infantry Division at Kansas State University Alumni Center on March 23.
The ceremony, led by U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher L. Mullinax, the command sergeant major of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, highlighted the achievement, responsibilities, and honor of joining the corps of the noncommissioned officer.
"There must be trust which doesn't happen overnight," said Mullinax. "With every decision you make, you must always be sincere. Take the time to explain the 'why' to your Soldiers. Put their needs above your own; be truly selfless."
The ceremony started with first sergeants from across the Division lighting the "NCO" candles. These candles represent the noncommissioned officer corps’ past, present, and future.
Staff Sgt. Jesus Espinosa, an Army internment/resettlement specialist and drill sergeant assigned to C. Co., 701st Military Police Battalion, 14th Military Police Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, participated in the ceremony as the Drill Sergeant on duty. He set the table of the fallen Soldiers and led the NCOs in drill and ceremony from the start of the ceremony and thru The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer.
"Whether it's a small or big task doesn't matter," Espinosa said. "Be the team leader you wish you had and take care of people."
Four Soldiers took the stage to ask “The Soldier's Request” from the newly inducted noncommissioned officers, asking for not just a boss but leaders that will provide guidance, mentorship, leadership, and tools required to complete the Army's mission.
Before the NCOs could walk through the NCO arch, marking their official initiation to the NCO Corps, Mullinax issued the NCO Charge. The newly inducted NCOs then raised their right hands and recited the words denoting their acceptance of the duties and responsibilities of the NCO. Then in unison, they recited the words of The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer.
The NCO Creed not only represents the yardstick by which NCOs can measure themselves, but it is also a continuous reinforcement of the values of the noncommissioned officer corps.
Following the charge and the creed, each NCO walked through an archway beneath crossed sabers denoting their official transition from follower to leader. In doing so, they accepted their position as mentors and role models for those they lead.
“It’s an honor to be a part of something like this; I’ve heard of them before but rarely seen or have known anyone to be involved. It’s really an honor to be selected to participate in something like this,” said Cpl. Karturriegel Eagle, an NCO inductee from 1st Division Sustainment Brigade.
NCOs are responsible for being competent, accomplishing their mission, and ensuring the welfare of their Soldiers. They are technically and tactically proficient and place their Soldiers' needs above their own.
“I never experienced anything like this coming up in the Army,” Espinosa said. “Being here and seeing the amount of attention and importance the Big Red One is giving these new noncommissioned officers are amazing.”