Symbolic Noncommissioned Officer candles are lit during the 15th Engineer Battalion Noncommissioned Officer Induction Ceremony, Netzaberg, Germany, February 20, 2019. Each candle represents a quality of an NCO: red is valor and hardiness, white is purity and innocent, and blue is vigilance, perseverance and justice. (U.S. Army photo by Pv2 Agustin J. Lopez) (Photo by Pvt. Agustin Lopez)
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany —
The 15th Engineer Battalion celebrated the passage of 48 Soldiers into the role of Noncommissioned Officer during an NCO Induction Ceremony, Netzaberg, Germany, Feb. 20.
The ceremony honors the tradition first established by Fredrick the Great. Soldiers in attendance witnessed the heritage of the Noncommissioned Officer through a demonstration led by NCOs wearing uniforms and boos worn throughout significant campaigns in American history.
“The milestone these young leaders have achieved is significant in their personal lives, but it is also significant for the Army as we continue to retain and promote the best of the best for the future of our profession,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Pearson, the Command Sgt. Maj. of the 18th Military Police Brigade and guest speaker of the ceremony.
Pearson shared valuable knowledge he learned when he became an NCO in the U.S. Army: the qualities of leadership, the importance of teaching soldiers and building trust.
One of the newly inducted NCOs, Sgt. Marisol Salcedo, recalls observing her sergeants when she was a junior Soldier trying to emulate “squared away” NCOs. Now, she has joined the time-honored corps, known as the Backbone of the Army.
Each inductee walked through the NCO Arch, built by the Engineers, represented the start of their journey into leading Soldiers.
“It’s a sense of achievement. At the same time, it’s a sense of that good butterfly nervous that you’ve accomplished what you wanted to do and that you’ve longed for,” Salcedo said.
Meanwhile, some Soldiers envisioned themselves in the boots of the newly inducted.
“This is a very humbling experience,” said Spc. Miles Rolan, one of the Soldiers who recited “A Soldier’s Request” — which describes the desire of the Soldier to be respected and led, and their aspirations to one day be a leader of Soldiers. “I can’t wait for my own NCO induction ceremony. It’d top the cake [to] become an NCO.”
The event coincided with National Engineers Week, celebrated on the week of George Washington’s birthday, who was known as America’s First Engineer, Feb. 22. With this ceremony, the Engineer Corps and the U.S. Army can look forward to her achievements and leadership of these new noncommissioned officers.