By Department of the ArmyDecember 10, 2007
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (CJTF-82, Dec. 8, 2007) - "No one is more professional than I; I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers..."
The words of the NCO Creed were but a small part of a ceremony here today to induct almost 40 Combined Joint Task Force-82's Task Force Gladius Soldiers into the noncommissioned officer corps, but the creed holds the meaning of their induction.
"It made it seem like I was part of something," said Army Sgt. Thomas A. Jepson Jr., the training NCO for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Abn. Div. "It's an honorable thing to be an NCO; it is not just a job."
"[The ceremony] focused on what the noncommissioned officer corps is about," said Army Sgt. Erik Chryst, 26, the entry control points operations NCO and armorer for 82nd Division Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Task Force Gladius.
"It is about leading and taking care of your Soldiers and accomplishing the mission," Chryst said, a native of Cleveland, Ohio.
The ceremony symbolizes the advancement of the Soldiers from the junior ranks into the corps of the noncommissioned officer, said Army 1st Sgt. Joe W. Cianciolo, the TF Gladius Headquarters first sergeant.
One by one, the inductees stepped through an archway decorated with the ranks of the NCO Corps from corporal to command sergeant major of the Army.
"The archway represents stepping away from those junior enlisted peers and into the corps of the noncommissioned officer," Cianciolo, a 14-year veteran of the NCO Corps, said.
Passing through the archway, the new NCOs left a life of adhering to the standard to a life of setting the standard.
"No one is more professional than I," Cianciolo, of Fayetteville, N.C., went on to say. "I am the one setting the example for those to follow, whether it is on duty or off duty."
While setting the example is part of a noncommissioned officers duty, there is more to being a NCO.
"A Soldiers Request," by Army Sgt. Maj. Frank M. McMahon, was recited by three junior-enlisted Soldiers from the task force, each taking a turn to make their symbolic request.
One by one, they made their requests: "Treat me with respect, sergeant," "Speak with me often, sergeant," "I ask no greater glory, sergeant, than to defend our country and our way of life ... allow me that privilege, sergeant," and "train me, sergeant, that one day I too can be called sergeant."
"They were just asking for an NCO to do what they are supposed to, to do their job," Jepson, a native of Boyne, Mich., said. "It sounds like a reasonable request. It reminds us to do the right thing."
The NCO creed was formally recognized in Field Manual 22-600-20 in 1986. It covered what is expected of the noncommissioned officer.
Today, the same creed is used to let NCOs know what is expected of them: the same thing the Soldiers under an NCO expect from them.