KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - The non-commissioned officers of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade honored the brigade commander Col. Jack Haley for his support to the NCO Corps during a presentation that was attended by all brigade sites throughout Europe via video-teleconference.

The presentation, which included a plaque and honorary chevrons to wear on his identification tag chain, inducted Haley into the NCO Corps. Command Sgt. Major Ismael Rodriguez commended Haley for being a staunch supporter and advocate of the NCO Corps and praised his leadership, not just during the Year of the NCO, but throughout his tenure as commander. Rodriguez especially emphasized Haley's development of a command climate that yields a positive learning and growth environment.

"Many like to sing the praises of what an NCO is and does, but what is not often addressed is that NCOs do what they do and are successful only if and when they are supported and empowered by the officer," Rodriguez said. "In order to produce great NCOs, you have to be a great officer, one who genuinely and without lip service believes in and supports the NCO Corps."

As Sgt. Michael Beesley presented the honorary chevrons of a command sergeant major to Haley to hang next to his identification tags, Rodriguez teased, "Sgt. Beesley said that as of tomorrow morning, these will be an inspectable item. You, sir, are now an honorary NCO."

Staff Sgt. Brian Debutts, the S-3 readiness NCO at the 3/405th at Leghorn Army Depot, Italy, spoke to the forum via VTC.

"The key to the NCO and officer bond is mutual respect, trust and support. Respect develops through placing a value on each other's abilities and competencies," Debutts said. "Demonstrated abilities and competencies form a trust between the NCO and the officer. From that respect and trust, a bond of mutual support is created.

"I am blessed to be provided with the trust and respect of my commander," he continued. "I know that, without his support, my mission would fail. We are a command team. We emphasize and support the same goals. Together, we form both the backbone and the brains of the organization."

Haley appeared both stunned and humbled by the honor.

"The Year of the NCO is not about me," Haley stated. "It's about the NCOs. I have been stationed in locations where the organization had many more NCOs than we do here at the brigade, and I'm continually impressed by what our small cadre of NCOs manages to accomplish on a daily basis. Officers rely and depend upon their NCOs, and I'm grateful that I have an NCO Corps here that supports me and assists me.

"As for Staff Sgt. Debutts' comments, which I greatly appreciate, I agree wholeheartedly that NCOs are indeed the backbone of any Army organization. That said, however, I have severe doubts that officers are the brains," he concluded with a smile.

The Secretary of the Army designated 2009 as the Year of the NCO in recognition of their commitment to service and willingness to make great sacrifices on behalf of our Nation.