SCHINNEN, Netherlands - USAG Schinnen and the AFNORTH Battalion at JFC Brunssum inducted 22 soldiers into the ranks of non-commissioned officers during a ceremony held May 18 at JFC's Alliance Theatre. Guest speaker, Sgt. 1st Class Aaron L. Beckman, the U.S. Army's 2009 Soldier of the Year, welcomed the inductees into the NCO ranks and urged them to be "adaptive leaders."

"If you see a problem, fix it," Beckman said. "Your whole career from this point on will be built around taking care of soldiers," he told the inductees, "and your job is to make sure they are better than you. If not, then we're failing as leaders."

During his 14-year Army career, Beckman has deployed numerous times to Kosovo, Kuwait and Iraq. He is currently assigned to the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

After the formal induction, the newly commissioned NCO's received the Charge of the Noncommissioned Officer and recited the NCO Creed. The tradition of commemorating a promotion into the NCO ranks dates to the time of Fredrick the Great when soldiers in his army were required to stand several watches. On the last watch, a special presentation marked their promotion.

"It's like a rite-of-passage," said USAG Schinnen's Command Sgt. Maj. Mary L. Brown. "You are no longer just a soldier; you are now a sergeant, and you are responsible for someone other than yourself. You are now a trainer, a leader," Brown said.

"The soldiers who crossed this stage today are the future platoon sergeants, first sergeants and sergeants major, who will train, teach, coach, mentor and lead our soldiers," said AFNORTH Battalion's Command Sgt. Maj. Joanne M. Cox.

Inducted into the ranks of non-commissioned officers from USAG Schinnen were: Sgt. Wayne Karbowski, Sgt. Craig Kosobucki, Sgt. Andrew Nolan, Sgt. Gerald Westley and Sgt. Anna Neuser; from A Company, AFNORTH Battalion: Sgt. Christopher Bay, Sgt. Travis Berry, Sgt. Derek Cobbs, Sgt. David Dietz, Sgt. Nathan Fiene, Sgt. Con Kim, Sgt. Jeramie Kramer, Sgt. Richard Norris and Sgt. Sasha Sween; from B Company, AFNORTH Battalion: Sgt. Christopher Davis, Sgt. Aaron Markwalder and Sgt. Jonathan Wolf; and from Headquarters & Headquarters Company, AFNORTH Battalion: Sgt. Shenise Belfield, Sgt. Brandy Jackson, Sgt. Scott Jones, Sgt. Covoscier Jones and Sgt. Stephen Yarberry.