FORT CARSON, Colo. – The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command continued a turn back to tradition as it welcomed its newest noncommissioned officers during an induction ceremony at the McMahon Auditorium, Fort Carson, Dec. 1, 2023.
The induction, hosted by 1st Space Battalion on behalf of 1st Space Brigade and the command’s second such ceremony since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, saw 24 inductees – five corporals, 18 sergeants and one staff sergeant – assume their new responsibility for mission achievement and Soldier well-being as they passed through the NCO arch and crossed sabers on stage.
Command Sgt. Maj. John Foley, USASMDC command sergeant major, said the celebration’s time-honored traditions reflect the history and professionalism of America’s NCO Corps, which dates to the country’s inception.
“We’ve got to get back to some type of normalcy, so doing something like this really means a lot,” Foley said. “It talks about traditions and customs of the Army and the things that we hold very, very true and near and dear in our heart.”
During the ceremony, senior NCOs lit three candles – red for past NCO blood shed for freedom; white for present purity; and blue for future loyalty.
Foley stressed to the inductees that their rite of passage into the NCO Corps comes with the responsibility to enforce and intertwine Army standards and discipline, pursue expertise in their craft, uphold physical fitness, and have mentors but be willing to learn from subordinates.
Foley encouraged the new NCOs to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable,” pushing themselves and others toward self-development and, above all, to be responsible for the personal welfare of every single Soldier with whom they were now entrusted.
“‘People First’ is making them do the things they don’t want to do … and (telling them that) not only are they going to do it, but you’re going to help them get there by ensuring they’re trained, ensuring they’re ready, ensuring they’ll fight and win against any adversary, anywhere in the world, any time,” Foley said.
The inductees were also the command’s first NCO group to participate in a “Day of the NCO” ahead of the ceremony. Friday included nearly a full day’s worth of events centered around “shoot, move, communicate,” Foley said.
He jokingly said he found himself mired in an early-morning game of “combat dodgeball,” the “move” portion of the day designed to bolster camaraderie and fitness, before the inductees moved on to breakfast with Col. Mark Cobos, 1st Space Brigade commander. The Soldiers conducted the “communicate” aspect during a motor pool exercise, then fulfilled the “shoot” aspect during a convoy simulator challenge after lunch with Command Sgt. Maj. Maurice Tucker, 1st Space Brigade command sergeant major.
The ceremony concluded with Foley presenting the junior NCOs with certificates and issuing them the Charge of the NCO.
“I look forward to serving with you all and seeing you all rise to the top, as this is the most prestigious NCO Corps in our Army,” Foley said.
Additional photos can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/armysmdc/albums/72177720313192699/.