Task Force Marshall Holds NCO Induction Ceremony

02/22/2020  |  By Maj. Michelle Lunato 98th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs Officer
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Task Force Marshall leaders welcomed new sergeants into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps during an NCO Induction Ceremony in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

Task Force Marshall leaders welcomed new sergeants into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps during an NCO Induction Ceremony in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019.

An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps, according to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

Though there is a long and rich tradition, the NCO Induction Ceremony is not always a common event, especially in the U.S. Army Reserve. However, that is exactly why Command Sergeant Maj. Joseph Winchester, senior enlisted advisor at Task Force Marshall, wanted to have one for the Soldiers at the McCrady Training Center.

“The reason that I did the NCO Induction Ceremony for our Task Force Marshall NCOs, is that I wanted to show them what right looks like. I’ve been an NCO for many years and I never had an induction ceremony, but I had a sergeant major, who is now retired, ask me to help him with one. And as a result of him mentoring me, when I became a first sergeant, I began doing my own NCO Induction Ceremonies,” explained Winchester.

Sgt. Jarrod Yates, 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), is presented with the Charge to the Newly Promoted NCO during an NCO Induction Ceremony at The McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps. U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Samaria Poepping, 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), walks through an archway during an NCO Induction Ceremony at The McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

The transition from specialist to sergeant should be taken seriously, and taking the time to have an induction ceremony certainly added more substance beyond the promotion ceremony, said Sgt. Jarrod Yates, one of the four inductees from 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division, which is the unit currently running Task Force Marshall near Fort Jackson, South Carolina. (Task Force Marshall’s mission is for U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants to train Navy personnel on combat tactics prior to deploying.)

“We had the senior enlisted leaders all the way down to the newly inducted NCOs, so it was nice to have the torch passed between one and the next,” said Yates.

Sgt. Robert Lewis, 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), stands before the official party during an NCO Induction Ceremony at The McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps. Task Force Marshall leaders welcomed new sergeants into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps during an NCO Induction Ceremony in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps. Standing left to right: Sgt. Stefany Acosta, HHC 751st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, South Carolina National Guard; and then all from 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division: Sgt. Robert Lewis; Sgt. Jarrod Yates; Sgt. Samaria Poepping; and Sgt. Tanisha Wyche.

Army Regulations do not list out detailed requirements or protocols for induction ceremonies. So the style, specifics and flow of the ceremony is entirely up to the unit, according to the AUSA. Or as Winchester put it, “Units are only limited by their own imagination.”

 

Task Force Marshall’s ceremony had a number of standard Army elements: a guest speaker, an official party, and a ceremonial demonstration of the NCO Corps history and meaning. As the AUSA website suggests, an induction ceremony “should also serve to honor the memory of those men and women of the NCO Corps who have served with pride and distinction.”

To accomplish this, Task Force Marshall included a detailed Fallen Soldier Table, complete with formality.

To symbolize the transition of Soldiers entering into the role of noncommissioned officers, each new sergeant walked through an archway to be presented a personalized and framed NCO Creed, as well as the Charge to the Newly Promoted NCO. This mere act of walking through an archway helped the inductees visualize their own transformation, said Sgt. Tanisha Wyche.

Task Force Marshall leaders welcomed new sergeants into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps during an NCO Induction Ceremony in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

“Once you become a sergeant, you are an NCO, but it is that rite of passage—walking across that stage and into a new realm—you are a leader. You are mentored to be a leader, but once you march under those arches—you ARE that leader. So, I think it’s very important.”

Like Yates, Wyche thought the ceremony added more importance to the transition, like it completed the step of becoming an NCO.

“To actually have the ceremony and be called out individually, and be recognized as a noncommissioned officer, it was more personal,” said Wyche smiling over at her family who sat in the audience.

A Task Force Marshall noncommissioned officer conducts the ceremonial presentation of a Fallen Soldier Table during an NCO Induction Ceremony at The McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

The goal of nearly every rite of passage is to move forward into another phase. And the NCO Induction Ceremony is no different. The U.S. Army NCO Guide lists the fifth Sergeant Major of the Army, William G. Bainbridge, as stating, “A pat on the back applied at the proper moment in the circumstances can have a dramatic influence in developing leader.”

And that impact is exactly what Winchester said he wanted for his Soldiers being inducted. “Gen. [George S.] Patton once said, ‘If you dress a person like a Soldier, they will act more like a Soldier.’ And I think that applies in a lot of ways. If you treat these people like NCOs, and expect them to be NCOs, they will rise to the occasion every time.”

Of course, no NCO leads in a vacuum. There are a multitude of layers in any Army unit. So, the ceremony was not just for the inductees themselves, but it was for the entire unit, said Winchester. For any young leader to develop, they must be supported and respected by Soldiers of all ranks, from their subordinates to their commander. They have to be given the chance to lead, said Winchester.

8834 - Sgt. Robert Lewis, 4th Battalion, 323rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), is presented the NCO Creed during an NCO Induction Ceremony at The McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina on November 19, 2019. An NCO Induction Ceremony is a ceremonial tradition that is separate from the promotion itself and serves as a rite of passage for those Soldiers joining the ranks of the professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

“This is a big deal, and I think it’s important for officers to understand the importance we place on wearing those stripes. It is not just another rank or another pay grade.”

 

 

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