SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
A ceremony welcoming the newest members of the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps for the U. S. Army and U.S. Air Force was held on September 5, 2014 at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.
During the ceremony, 25 Non-Commissioned Officers from the Army Forces Battalion and the Medical Element took part in the time honored tradition symbolizing their change from being a follower to being a leader for current and future service members. This was the first time a joint induction ceremony was conducted by Joint Task Force-Bravo.
The Joint Task Force-Bravo NCOs continued a 200-year tradition which traces back to Fredrick the Great, the Prussian king known for his innovative military drills and tactics, who would commemorate the passing of a soldier from enlisted to non-commissioned officer with a four part series of ceremonial watches.
"You are charged with being leaders and no longer followers. You are all NCOs. We (NCOs) lead by example, enforce standards, and answer the call to duty," said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson Callahan, Joint Task Force-Bravo Command Sgt. Maj., who as the guest speaker for the ceremony, offered his congratulations, welcomed them to the NCO Corps, and let them know what being a NCO entailed.
The ceremony began with a brief history of the induction ceremony and the NCO Corps. U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Franklin Davila, ARFOR HSC 1st Sgt, lit the three candles which signify the different ideals a NCO encompasses. The lighting of the first candle is red and represents hardiness and valor; the second candle is white and represents purity and innocence, and the third candle is blue and represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
Following the candle lighting, all NCOs in attendance recited the Creed of the Non-Commissioned Officer together.
Each new sergeant was sponsored by a senior NCO who accompanied them under the wooden arch, emblazoned with all seven of the U.S. Army and Air Force NCO ranks, where Command Sgt. Maj. Callahan received and presented them with the NCO Creed and Charge certificate, and officially inducted into the time-honored corps.
"Being a NCO means a greater responsibility in your appearance, in the way that you represent yourself, in the missions and jobs you do, and a greater responsibility in the way you behave and communicate with your subordinates, peers, and superiors," said U.S. Army Sgt. John Belanga, a licensed practical nurse at MEDEL and a participant in the ceremony. "Taking part in today's ceremony brought more of an importance to the responsibility of being a NCO, a leader of soldiers. I felt proud to be a part of the NCO Corps and the ceremony made me feel a part of a team of standards and discipline."
The induction was concluded with U.S. Command Sgt. Maj. Eliodoro Perez, Army Forces Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. affirming the newly inducted NCOs and reaffirming those already inducted in unison.