BAGHDAD - Seventeen Soldiers from 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, were inducted into the noncommissioned officer corps at the Contingency Operations Site Hammer chapel March 24.

Before this ceremony, the last one the BSB conducted was during the previous deployment and represents a major milestone for the Soldiers, said Master Sgt. Darren Nixon, the BSB operations noncommissioned officer in charge and organizer of the induction ceremony.

"It's a step the Soldiers take into the non-commissioned ranks," Nixon said. "It's the break from where they are a follower to a leader."

The inductees who participated in the ceremony were Sgt. Jason Atkins, Sgt. Brandon Babin, Sgt. Farrah Burley, Sgt. Jesse Craig, Sgt. Sylvia Dangervil, Sgt. Robert Deisbeck, Sgt. Jonathan Diaz, Sgt. Damesha Graham-Hood, Sgt. Charity Hyde, Sgt. Steven Kuchta, Sgt. Glenn McClinton, Sgt. Waylon Miller, Sgt. Stephen Pacheco, Sgt. Longuta Phelps, Sgt. Alexis Rosado, Sgt. Lakeith Thomas and Sgt. Bud Todd.

"It's a rite of passage. This ceremony will make me feel more like a professional NCO and feel a part of the NCO corps," said Pacheco, from Company B, who spent two years as a corporal before making his promotion to sergeant. "I think being a corporal first was good training and will help me now."

When asked if anything was going to change in his daily life after this ceremony Pacheco said, "Nothing will change. I will continue to work hard and accomplish whatever is in my path."

Guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Montour, the 2nd BCT command sergeant major, encouraged the new members to give Soldiers under their care the very best leadership.

"Our Soldiers are looking to you for leadership and they deserve nothing but the best we have to offer. Being an NCO is a change in mindset; it's you, the NCO that makes things happen," said Montour. "It is your job to train and lead Soldiers as well as accomplish the mission. The true mark of leadership is not what they do when you are around, but what they do when you are not around."

First sergeants from within the battalion sat in the front row during the ceremony to provide the rite of passage to members as they crossed the threshold from Soldier to NCO. As each NCO's name was announced, the NCO crossed a wooden pillar and was met by Montour and BSB Command Sgt. Maj. Pamela Connally on the opposite side to welcome them into the NCO corps. Each inductee was also handed a framed copy of the NCO creed, signed by Lt. Col. Murphy, the BSB commander, and Connally.

"The NCOs affirmed their commitment to the professionalism of our corps today," said Connally, "and will carry on the tradition of being the backbone of the Army."