FORT PICKETT, Va. –
Eight Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group joined the ranks of the noncommissioned officer corps during an induction ceremony Nov. 10, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. As part of the ceremony, four Soldiers presented “A Soldier’s Request,” and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Coleman, the 529th CSSB command sergeant major, led them in the affirming the NCO Creed. The 529th is preparing for an upcoming federal mobilization to the Middle East.
Coleman offered his insights on leadership to the new NCOs.
“Leadership is about change,” he said. “Accepting a promotion at any rank means you must change.Those below wish to see you stay the same, but those above you require you to change. You have the hardest leadership role in the Army, and you have the greatest impact at your level.”
He stressed that leadership is about developing yourself to best develop others, and he recommended finding a mentor, taking advantage of available training opportunities and learning the art of “Be, Know, Do.”
“Leadership is about making mistakes and failing,” he said. “Know that you are going to make mistakes.” He shared a quote from Albert Einstein that said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has not tried anything new,” as well as a quote from Winston Churchill that said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Coleman said that he felt that leading is about serving others.
“This is really important to me,” he said. “if serving others is below you, then leadership is beyond you.
Finally, he stressed the importance of humility in leadership, and also explained how the new NCO’s are part of the Army’s succession plan.
“NCOs before you laid a foundational path for you to walk on,” he said. “Each NCO in this room carries a rucksack of bricks, and all of us have the responsibility to take those bricks and add to the path for those behind us. You are to become architects and engineers. Inspiration must be a tool carried with you daily. Good leaders motivate, great leaders inspire others reach beyond their potential, for instance you ask them to reach for the stars and they bring you back the moon.”
Early in the ceremony, four Soldiers presented “A Soldier’s Request” to the new NCOs:
Treat me with respect, Sergeant.
For no heart in all the world is more loyal than the heart of an
Do not beat my spirit with your words, Sergeant.
For though I will do what you demand, your guidance, patience,
And understanding will more quickly teach me to
“Be, Know, and Do.”
Speak with me often, Sergeant. For the praise and counseling you
give is expected.
I am an American Soldier, expecting to be trained. Discipline must be
a part of my life.
Train me for the elements, Sergeant.
For I must learn to fight and win in the cold, the wet, and the desert.
Those who would be enemies will use these elements.
I must be prepared.
I ask no greater glory, Sergeant, than to defend our country and our way of life,
against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Allow me that privilege, Sergeant…..train me.
Provide me the necessities of food and drink, Sergeant.
Train me to be self sufficient, that I may lead the way, and stand ready, willing and able
to protect you, with my life if necessary, should your life be in danger.
Train me, Sergeant, that one day I too can be called Sergeant,
Trainer of soldiers,
Backbone of the Army. Train me to accept those responsibilities that are yours.
Train me to train my soldiers to be the greatest defenders of freedom in the world.
Sergeant, train me to be a Sergeant.
I shall leave this Army knowing, with my last step and my last breath, that my fate was always safest in your hands
Sergeant, train me
That I too can earn the title “Sergeant”.
Coleman lead the new NCOs in reciting the NCO Creed:
No one is more professional than I. I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers. As a noncommissioned officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army”. I am proud of the Corps of noncommissioned officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a noncommissioned officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All Soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my Soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my Soldiers and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, noncommissioned officers, leaders!
In the final part of the ceremony, the new NCOs walked through a saber arch and were greeted by fellow NCOs from the battalion.
View more photos on Flickr:
529th CSSB welcomes new noncommissioned officers