Fort Stewart, Ga. - The 385th Military Police Battalion held a noncommissioned officer induction ceremony for 29 Soldiers who recently promoted to the rank of sergeant or corporal on Fort Stewart, Georgia, April 5, 2023.
The Army’s noncommissioned officer is known as the backbone of the Army; they are leaders who train and watch over junior Soldiers. The induction ceremony is a time-honored tradition that marks the transition of Soldiers joining the Corps of the NCO.
"Our NCOs are the backbone of the Army because we are where the rubber meets the road," said Command Sgt. Maj. David Astorga, senior enlisted advisor for 385th MP Bn. "Those team leaders and those squad leaders are really the ones that are, day in and day out, in the lives of our junior enlisted Soldiers."
During the ceremony, three candles were lit representing values that NCOs uphold. A red candle symbolized courage and strength, a white one for purity and commitment, and a blue candle for valor and pride.
As each inductee’s name was called, Astroga and the guest speaker, Sgt. Maj. Jeremy White, congratulated them before they passed through an archway.
After the inductees all passed through the arch they stood at attention and raised their right hands while repeating the Charge of the Noncommissioned Officer. Soldiers in the audience recited A Soldier's Request. With each request the NCOs promised to lead, train and respect their Soldiers.
“It takes late nights and early mornings– time away from my children and getting down to the nitty gritty,” said Sgt. Alexandra Zastrow, assigned to the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Bn. “For all junior enlisted, keep grinding, keep doing what you're doing and you will get there one day.”
These new NCOs will encounter increasing levels of responsibility and will be charged with training and mentoring junior Soldiers throughout their careers.
“Our country relies on NCOs to take care of their sons and daughters,” Astorga said. “Continue to do what's gotten you to where you are now, be who you are and who you've always been, continue to grow, but don't promote yourself out of your character.”