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NCO Journal June 2015 Articles

The official magazine of noncommissioned officer professional development

Army Takes Title at Warrior Games

NCO Journal Staff Report

The Army ruled almost every category on its way to grabbing the Chairman’s Cup for the second straight year at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games held at this historic Marine Corps base. “That very first event, cycling, is what really brought this team together,” said Sgt. 1st Class Keoki Smythe, the noncommissioned officer in charge at the Alexandria-based Warrior Transition Command.

Article published on: June 30, 2015


Menaced By Russia and Islamic State, NCOs in Europe Find Way to Win

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

The Army Operating Concept is “Win in a Complex World.” The Soldiers of U.S. Army Europe know better than anyone that we can’t do that alone. USAREUR is down to about 28,000 troops from a Cold War peak of 218,000, but the threats across the Atlantic have only magnified since the latest major U.S. cuts to the region in 2012. Vladimir Putin’s Russia skirmishes with Ukranian forces after occupying the nation’s Crimea region and aggressively menaces the United States’ allies — NATO and otherwise.

Article published on: June 30, 2015


U.S. NCOs Partner, Build Relationships in Europe through Training

By Clifford Kyle Jones - NCO Journal

“Without strong NCOs, there is no Strong Europe,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told an international gathering of senior enlisted leaders from throughout Europe. The U.S. Army Europe commander wasn’t just talking about noncommissioned officers from the United States. The U.S. Army needs strong allies in the region, and strong allies have strong NCO corps.

Article published on: June 30, 2015


Army Puts New NCOER on Hold Till 2016

By Martha C. Koester - NCO Journal

The debut of the new noncommissioned officer evaluation report, or NCOER, expected as a cure for rating inflation, has been pushed to the new year. During an Army birthday town hall meeting with Soldiers on June 4, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said the new NCOER, which was originally slated for release in October, would instead be pushed to 2016. The additional time will allow for a fine-tuning of the process and procedures for tracking rater profiles to ensure Soldiers have a fair chance at promotions and prevent rating inflation.

Article published on: June 24, 2015


Skillful NCOs Play an Integral Role at Natick Labs

By Martha C. Koester - NCO Journal

If a Soldier wears it, eats it or sleeps under it, chances are a noncommissioned officer helped contribute toward its development at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass. As the scientists, engineers and equipment designers focus on the science behind the Soldier, a small force of NCOs are charged with sustaining Natick’s mission – maximizing the warrior’s survivability and combat effectiveness. It’s easy for Soldiers first assigned to the small installation to experience culture shock after coming from posts with larger Soldier populations.

Article published on: June 23, 2015


Former NCO Sammy Vasquez Jr. Earns Gritty Boxing Win

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

It was evident from Sammy Vasquez Jr.’s introduction Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas that there is a special driving force behind him. Vasquez was introduced for his welterweight boxing bout against Wale Omotoso by ring announcer Michael C. Williams, who prefaced the fighter’s name with the nickname, “Sergeant.”

Article published on: June 21, 2015


Former NCO Continues Combat Tour in the Ring

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

When budding boxing star Sammy Vasquez Jr. steps in the ring Sunday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, it will be the first time one of the former Army sergeant’s fights will be showcased on national television. The 10-round welterweight bout, which will air live on CBS, will pit Vasquez (18-0, 13 knockouts) against Nigerian knockout artist Wale Omotoso (25-1, 21 KOs).

Article published on: June 18, 2015


Athletes on Army Team Remain Confident As They Prepare For Warrior Games

By Meghan Portillo - NCO Journal

Wounded warrior athletes on the Army team are more confident than ever that they will take home the Chairman’s Cup again this year at the conclusion of the Department of Defense Warrior Games, which will take place from June 19-28 at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Va. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Smith, who this year will compete in the games for the second time, said there is no doubt in his mind that the Army will leave the games again with the cup, which is awarded to the service branch with the highest medal total.

Article published on: June 16, 2015


This Month in NCO History: June 14, 1944 — The Ghost Army Begins Its Scare Campaign

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

Sgt. Victor Dowd was riding his bicycle late June 13, 1944, to his camp in the British countryside when he was surprised by a light on in his tent. Dowd was in an area near Stratford-upon-Avon where he was camped as part of the 603rd Camouflage Engineers. Once inside his tent, he was informed he would be part of a 15-man platoon from the 603rd leaving the following morning for Omaha Beach in France to carry out a mission of such an uncharted magnitude that it was kept secret for nearly 40 years after the war.

Article published on: June 11, 2015


‘Screw-Up’ NCO Highlights History of Midwest’s Storied 35th Infantry Division

By Jonathan (Jay) Koester - NCO Journal

The history of every Army division is filled with stories of sacrifice and heroism. These stories are filled with top-notch noncommissioned officers who led their Soldiers through missions with seemingly impossible odds, but great leadership made them possible. The history of the 35th Infantry Division, a National Guard division headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is no different.

Article published on: June 9, 2015


SMA At Solarium 2015: Cyberbullying Is ‘Out Of Control’

By Martha C. Koester - NCO Journal

Of all the topics raised for discussion during the Noncommissioned Officer Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the one that drew the most spirited reaction was the one not on the itinerary. Many of the assembled NCOs were taken by surprise when cyberbullying was added as a discussion point at the Solarium, but after Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, a frequent Internet target, told senior leaders that online decorum is out of control in the Army, they all agreed to do something about it.

Article published on: June 4, 2015


President Obama Rightfully Gives the Valor of 2 NCOs Its Due 97 Years Later

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

Sgt. Henry Johnson and Sgt. William Shemin joined the Army at a time when not all Soldiers were treated equally. Johnson, an African-American, and Shemin, a Jewish-American, were part of an Army that relegated ethnic and religious minorities to smaller roles within the force during World War I. That didn’t stop either man from stepping up in a big way when the lives of fellow Soldiers were at risk. Their individual acts of valor on separate battlefields saved the lives of their comrades. Their heroism occurred despite suffering serious wounds amid arduous conditions.

Article published on: June 2, 2015


2 NCOs to Be Awarded Medal of Honor for Actions during World War I

By Pablo Villa - NCO Journal

Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Wilson will retire next year after 39 years of service to the New York Army National Guard. His career has produced such notable moments as being part of rescue operations in response to various natural disasters, being part of aid missions after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City, deploying to Iraq for a year in 2004 and, just last year, being named the command sergeant major of the New York National Guard. But, he says, his accomplishments throughout those nearly four decades pale in comparison to what Sgt. Henry Johnson did one day in 1918.

Article published on: June 1, 2015