By Spc. Ekta Shrestha
Special to the Hood Herald
CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - The 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, also known as the Leopard Battalion, hosted a noncommissioned officer induction ceremony at the Zone 6 movie theater April 20.
The ceremony is a commemoration of newly promoted service members joining the ranks of a professional Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
This significant event highlights and builds on the pride noncommissioned officers all share as members of such an elite group. The ceremony also pays tribute to the memory of those men and women of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps who have served with pride and distinction.
Twenty-three newly promoted noncommissioned officers, including soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 230th Sustainment Brigade, 217th Transportation Company, 778th Transportation Company and Headquarters and
Headquarters Detachment, 718th Transportation Battalion, were inducted into the corps.
Each soldier was nominated by a senior noncommissioned officer to be inducted into the corps. The new noncommissioned officers were called on stage one at a time and presented with a "Charge to the newly promoted noncommissioned officer," which officially states their duties as a noncommissioned officer, and 'The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide."
"The NCO induction is a rite of passage," said Sgt. Gilberto Geronimo, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 553rd's command group. "It welcomes new fellow NCOs into the corps so that they can build and develop a solid bond, support team development and be a legacy for future NCOs."
The guest speaker for the event, Command Sgt. Maj. Finis A. Dodson of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, congratulated the inductees on their hard work, perseverance and dedication to become a noncommissioned officer.
Dodson shared his personal knowledge on what it is to be a noncommissioned officer.
"Being an NCO and a leader requires a deeper sense of ownership and accountability," Dodson said.
"It means setting an example and leading from the front in all areas. It means continuously striving for personal and professional growth."
"It was a very moving experience," said Cpl. John Valdez, an inductee recently promoted to the rank of corporal. "It makes me proud to be a part of a great tradition and to be a member of the NCO Corps."
Valdez has served in the U.S. Army since November 2007 and is a motor transport operator for the battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Matt Melvin.