Chosen Soldiers from several Fort Belvoir units stepped through a sword tunnel and a chevron wall, marking their induction as Army non-commissioned officers, in a ceremony Nov. 20.
Master Sgt. Tyler Bell, operations sergeant major for 1st Information Operation Command (Land), coordinated the induction ceremony and said it’s a great tradition to highlight Soldiers’ accomplishments.
“It wasn’t easy for these Soldiers who are inducted today,” he said. “To reach this point, the Army considers Soldiers’ potential, first; along with physical training, weapons qualifications, awards, education and leadership capabilities.
“As non-commissioned officers, they have more of a voice and power in the Army,” Bell said. “Every organization they work for will end up being a leadership factory for them.”
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Andre Machado, the ceremony guest speaker, told the new NCOs, “When you cross through those chevrons, you should know the country and the Army … entrusts you.”
Referring to the often-used phrase, ‘Bottom Line, Up Front,’ Machado said the NCO Creed’s first line, ‘No one is more professional than I,’ is the heart of the whole creed. Soldiers will listen to you, often before they listen to others,” he told the new NCOs.
His advice to them was to “Lead from the heart and have fun. Your job is the best in the Army,” Machado said. “Connections with Soldiers are nothing like what you’ve ever had before.”
Sgt. Christy Charity, an intelligence sergeant from 1st IO Command, one of the seven inducted, said the event is the extra step for recognition among her peers.
“I’m excited to continually take on new leadership roles,” she added.
Sgt. William Espana, with INSCOM, described his nearly five years in the Army as an amazing roller coaster ride. “It’s great to have leadership that trusts us, sees our potential, allows us to build from our failures and expound on our successes,” he added.
Machado asked the inductees to think back on the sway that their own NCOs had.
“When I first joined the army I remember looking at the sergeant in amazement and awe,” Machado said. “You can probably relate - how did they know everything? It seemed that they were everywhere and they always had the answer. They barely met me but they always placed my needs above their own, and I trusted them. I trusted them with my life.
So now, that will be you. You will have Soldiers looking at you with the same amazement – don’t fail them,” he said.
In addition to the ceremonial chevron walk-through, the ceremony included a history of the NCO, and of the symbolism of parts of the induction ceremony, including lighting three candles.
Lighting a red candle remembers fallen comrades and signifies our right to be free from tyranny. A white candle represents the purity and innocence of America’s sons and daughters who left their families to answer our nation’s call. Lighting the blue candle represents valor and victory.
Congratulations to Fort Belvoir’s newest non-commissioned officers:
Sgt. Kaitlyn Hilligoss, Fort Belvoir Garrison
Sgt. Scott Baker, 1st IO Command, 2nd Battalion
Sgt. Christy Charity, 1st IO Command, HHD
Sgt. Simon Hernandez, 1st IO Command, 1st Battalion
Sgt. Austin Dudley, INSCOM
Sgt. William Espana, INSCOM
Sgt. Daniel White, INSCOM