Virginia Guard’s newest NCO honored in NCO Induction Ceremony

Sgt. Austin Beaty of the Fort Pickett-based 34th Civil Support Team becomes one of the Virginia Guard’s newest noncommissioned officers as he is promoted to the rank of sergeant and gains admittance into the NCO Corps during an NCO Induction Ceremony held at Fort Pickett Oct. 10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – Noncommissioned officers of the Fort Pickett-based 34th Civil Support Team gathered along with Virginia Army Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb and Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Kiser, from 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to welcome Sgt. Austin L. Beaty into the NCO Corps in an NCO Induction Ceremony held Oct. 10 at Fort Pickett.

At the start of the ceremony, 34th CST 1st Sgt. Brodie Kirkland provided a history of the NCO Corps, beginning with the American Revolution when Baron Friedrich von Steuben, America’s first inspector general, called NCOs “the backbone of the Army.” Kirkland went on to detail the importance NCOs have played throughout America’s history, including during the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and during the Civil War, when platoon sergeants and first sergeants were issued straight swords “to literally poke at the ranks” to keep them aligned. Civil War era NCOS were also assigned to carry the flag standards and regimental colors of their units, a vital, but often deadly mission. Kirkland also explained the roles and responsibilities of NCOs during WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War.

“Since 1775, the noncommissioned officer has distinguished himself through leadership, professionalism, commitment, courage & dedication,” explained Kirkland. “The NCO Corps is the reason behind our success on the battlefield today and the battlefield’s of the past.”

Following the recitation of the NCO Corps history, three ceremonial candles were lit during a reading of the NCO Creed to represent the blood, sweat and tears shed by NCOs in every American conflict, the purity of spirit and integrity of the NCO Corps, and the strength of the NCO.

Finally, Spc. Beaty was called forward, along with his grandfather, retired 1st Sgt. Daniel A. Toms, formerly of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Holcomb removed Beaty’s specialist rank, signifying his departure from the ranks of junior enlisted Soldiers, and Toms placed sergeant rank on Beaty’s uniform, signifying his ascent into the NCO Corps.

“This is a big step in the NCO progression, and the first step as an NCO,” said Kirkland. “It means they can’t act like a child anymore, it means they have to stand up and act like a professional Soldier, like the professional leader and NCO that he is.”

“This feels pretty good,” said Beaty. “I definitely have to be much more professional than I was as a young man, as an E-3 and E-4.”

Following Beaty’s promotion, all NCOs in attendance raised their right hand and reaffirmed their vows of devotion to the NCO Corps, led by Holcomb, as Beaty recited them for the first time. All NCOs in attendance, including Beaty, received a copy of the NCO Creed signed by Holcomb.

“The NCO Corps is basically the structure that runs the Big Green Mean Machine,” said Kirkland. “This is the backbone of the Army, and it’s that way for a reason.”

To view photos of the event, visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157631745299060/