Story and photos by Sgt. Marcus Fichtl
2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT — “No one is more professional than I, I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers,” 19 noncommissioned officers recited in unison during an NCO induction ceremony at the theater on Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Jan. 23.
The ceremony was held by the 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to represent the Soldiers’ transition from followers to leaders.
“The journey from a junior enlisted Soldier to a junior NCO is complex,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Lehtonen, senior enlisted leader, 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div. “You must transition from one who was cared for to one who cares for others, and from one who was taught to the one who teaches, prepares and supervises the task. You will do the job you are trained to do, which is to lead Soldiers.”
The 19 new NCOs walked under an arch as their supervising sergeant declared to the audience who they were and why they deserved to join the NCO Corps.
Sgt. Tristan Meredith, information technology specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 204th BSB, the most junior of the NCOs being inducted with only a month as a sergeant, led his fellow inductees during their transition.
“We’re all NCOs, regardless of how long we’ve had our ranks pinned on,” said Meredith. “You have to have perspective; you have to realize you are in charge of people; you have to work as a team. What you and those you lead do reflects upon you as a leader.”
Of the seven Army Values, Meredith said respect drove him to become an NCO.
“Respect goes a long way. If it’s not given, if it’s not there, it’s going be hard to work together,” said Meredith. “When I was in Korea, I had a first sergeant who respected us, she still laid down the law when she had to, but how she treated us is why I wanted to strive for bigger things in the Army.”
Lehtonen ended his speech: “You have just begun a test, this test will never end, you will always be somebody’s sergeant, even after you hang up the boots for good.”