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Deployed Troops Enter NCO Corps with Rite Of Passage

By Sgt. Tanjie Patterson
3rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

July 16, 2013

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U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tanjie Patterson, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Public Affairs

The 3rd Sustainment Brigade partnered with the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to host a noncommissioned officer induction ceremony July 16 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

An NCO induction ceremony is a way to welcome newly promoted sergeants into the time-honored Corps known as the ‘backbone of the Army,' and it also showcases the pride that NCOs embody.

"The step from Soldier to NCO is a big one," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Copeland, senior enlisted advisor for the 311th ESC. "It is probably the biggest step that any of these NCOs will make. It is important to impart to them the rich traditions and heritage of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps as well as the pride and expectations that come with the promotion; it's not about the pay, but it's about being a leader now."

Twenty-four "Providers" were welcomed into the Corps, including NCOs assigned to the Montana National Guard's 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 63rd Ordnance Company, Virginia National Guard's 1710th Transportation Ceremony, 135th Quartermaster Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Sustainment Brigade.

The ceremony began as Staff Sgt. Jackie Green, HHC, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, narrated Ruth Apperson Rous' poem, ‘I Am the Flag,' while the national colors were posted. Third Sustainment Brigade Senior Enlisted Advisor Command Sgt. Maj. Forbes Daniels said that the patriotic introduction helped make this particular induction ceremony unlike any other.

"We didn't follow the normal script," said Daniels. "I wanted to make it interesting, and I wanted it to have a credible impact, all while preserving tradition."

Junior enlisted Soldiers also took part in the ceremony as privates through specialists proclaimed their willingness to learn from and follow their sergeants by reciting ‘A Soldier's Request.'

Daniels then led the NCOs through their rites of passage. With their right hands raised and in a resounding voice, the sergeants delivered the ‘Charge of the NCO' and confirmed their new leadership status.

"I thought the ceremony was awesome," said newly promoted Sgt. Cody Ramon, an ammunition specialist with HHC, 3rd Sustainment Brigade and Lewisville, Texas, native. "It's a great opportunity that all NCOs should get to experience. I feel that this ceremony will be one of the highlights in my career as a noncommissioned officer."

Sgt. Patrick Agwu, transportation management coordinator who also recently earned his stripes, said he appreciated sharing in the experience with his peers.

"I feel like you're not officially part of the Corps until you have been part of an induction ceremony," said Agwu, with HHC, 3rd Sustainment Brigade and native of Wichita, Kan., "and, I think that all NCOs should be privileged to have this opportunity."

Copeland said that the newly inducted NCOs are a great example of the future NCO Corps.

"They all obviously meet the Army standards and have demonstrated the motivation to carry the Corps forward."