10th AAMDC recognizes NCO importance at ‘Backbone’ Dinner

by Sgt. Kyle Johnson
10th AAMDC Public Affairs


NCOs have long been referred to as the “backbone” of the U.S. Army, forming the support structure that holds all the separate pieces together.

To honor that legacy and to maintain it for the future, the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command recently honored its own distinguished group of enlisted leaders at a special banquet.  

A Sept. 27 gathering at The Rough restaurant in nearby Mackenbach served as the venue for the event, hosted by Command Sgt. Maj. Darrin L. Jefferies, the top enlisted Soldier for the 10th AAMDC.

The Soldiers were joined by spouses and many others who had come together to build not only unit cohesion, but to better appreciate the integral role NCOs play in unit success and the development of their Soldiers.

The main speaker for the evening was Sgt. Maj. Chad A. McNeish, the operations sergeant major for the 5th Battalion, 7th Artillery Regiment. His speech touched on the importance of the corps of NCOs and also some of the history and symbolism behind the “Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer.”

McNeish said he was pleased with the good crowd at the event, noticing that many of the movers and shakers within the 10th AAMDC were in attendance to acknowledge the NCO impact.

“This is a group of the most powerful noncommissioned officers within this organization, and together we could accomplish anything,” McNeish said afterward.
The banquet was coordinated by Sgt. 1st Class Derek Salley, a fire control NCO for the 10th AAMDC.

“Planning and coordination took about a month to complete. Finding a proper location, gathering RSVPs and coordinating for technical support were our greatest challenges,” Salley said.

A video was shown highlighting photos of accomplishments the 10th AAMDC has logged in recent months, with special emphasis on the role played by the unit’s many NCOs in achieving those successes.

Within the video were interviews of selected senior NCOs being asked, among other things, about the pride a Soldier feels in being an NCO and how that pride is shown.
For Master Sgt. Kelly Stransky, the NCO in charge of personnel and manpower, her answer on the paramount NCO mission was simple and to the point.

“To lead from the front, show that we are a brotherhood and sisterhood, and to set the example,” she said.

Leaders in the unit said the dinner is just an extension of several important Army-wide  initiatives that highlight the importance of strong leadership, how standards are still important, and the role each Soldier must play in helping to maintain a competent and professional Army.

Sgt. Maj. Julio Matta, the sergeant major of logistics for the 10th AAMDC, said the decision to hold the dinner had been brewing over the last couple of months. Regardless of when the go-ahead for the event was given, Matta said the logic behind it is what really matters.  

“We often sit and talk about the things we see that are not exactly the way we want them to be. This was something to put some positive energy into making them the way they ought to be,” Matta said.

Jefferies and other senior leaders expressed hope that the event can become an annual tradition that will continue to build lasting bonds among NCOs and also serve to strengthen the unit.

Matta agreed.

“The NCO Backbone Dinner is about the things that matter the most. It’s about growing stronger as a team and leveraging our experience as leaders from all different backgrounds,” he said. 


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