Story and photo by Regan Mertz
On May 16, 11 Soldiers from the 14th Military Police Brigade were inducted into the Noncommissioned Officer Corps during a ceremony at the Engineer Museum.
According to event organizers, the induction ceremony serves as a celebration in which the newly promoted Soldiers merge into the ranks of a professional noncommissioned officer corps.
The ceremony emphasizes and establishes a shared pride among the members of the elite corps, serves as an opportunity for NCOs to initiate and develop a bond, supports team development and acts as a legacy for NCO induction ceremonies in the future.
“These ceremonies, customs and traditions are our responsibility,” said guest speaker Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management Command. “The customs and traditions will fade away if we don’t continue them.”
During the ceremony, Rhoades spoke directly to the inductees as he memorialized the men and women of the NCO Corps who served with pride and distinction.
“You’re responsible to train, to teach, to coach, to insure that each and every one of your Soldiers can stand alone on that battlefield and that they’re going to come home to their loved ones,” Rhoades said. “And if they don’t, their loved ones are going to know that you trained them to be the very best, and they gave their life because it meant something to them.”
The units participating in the ceremony were the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion, 701st, 795th and 787th Military Police battalions.
Inductees included Sgt. Rhett Vierwinden of the 701st MP Bn., Sgts. Andrew Pico, Latrilla McCoy and Austin Huber of the 787th MP Bn., Sgts. Qwanisha Ajanaku and Teuvo Bodtcher of the 43rd AG Bn. and Sgts. Brooke Everhart, Austin Woods, Erik Crosson, Kallie Berenstein and Kevin Adams of the 795th MP Bn.
To welcome the new inductees into the ranks of the NCO Corps, selected sergeants lit red, white and blue candles signifying the colors of the American flag. The red candle represents valor and hardiness, the white candle, purity and innocence and the blue candle, vigilance, perseverance and justice.
“We’re here for this nation. Those colors are the colors of this nation,” Rhoades said. “Defend them, treat them with respect with everything that you do, remember that you represent this nation.”
The Line of Authority was laid on the ground so inductees could step over it while also crossing under the Arch of the NCO Corps. Passing through the arch acts as an acknowledgement of being newly inducted into the corps.
Inductees were also presented with the Charge of the NCO. The signing of the charge symbolizes the commitment to uphold the tradition of the corps as well as signify the acceptance of the duties and responsibilities of the NCO.
The noncommissioned officer is considered the backbone of the Army because of how they establish order and discipline among a unit, Rhoades said.
“This is your moment, and it is meaningful to our nation,” Rhoades said as he looked at the newly inducted NCO Corps members.