Landstuhl inducts 40 into NCO corps

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

“For me, it was great,” said Sgt. Jeneen Saucedo. “And what made it great was that Command Sergeant Major Layton made us feel special. I know that sounds mushy, but his speech motivated us.”
Sergeant Saucedo and 39 other Soldiers were inducted into the NCO corps Jan. 22 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Heaton Auditorium.
Rich in tradition, the ceremony had Soldiers walk under two swords, thus signifying the passage from Soldier to NCO.
“This is a tradition that has gone on since the Army of Frederick the Great,” said First Sgt. Michael Mullaney, ceremony coordinator. “It has been going on hundreds and hundreds of years. There has always been some kind of rite of passage to reach the full status of becoming an NCO.”
Becoming a standard bearer means more responsibility. In addition to the pay increase, Soldiers now have to be more mindful.
“It increases dramatically,” he said. “Now they can’t claim, ‘I’m a private. I didn’t know.’ You now have to know everything.
“Once they cross under those sabres, their lives change. They accept the responsibility for all actions good or bad of the Soldiers under their supervision,” said First Sergeant Mullaney. “They need to cherish that. They are the standard bearers of the military.”
Not only did the ceremony make an impression on the newly inducted NCOs, it made a big impression on Command Sgt. Maj. Craig Layton, LRMC command sergeant major.
“During the ceremony, I focused on an NCO from the past and present and thought about the first sergeant I had when I was a young soldier,” said Command Sergeant Major Layton. “I thought about how proud he would have been of me today. His legacy passed on to me, and my legacy will be passed on to these soldiers. The history just keeps getting passed on and doesn’t miss a beat.”
The ceremony was open only to NCOs and a handful of officers, all deputy commanders. Not even family members were allowed, said First Sergeant Mullaney.
“It made me feel like this was for me and no one else,” said Sergeant Saucedo. “I felt so proud to be an NCO. I’m sure that everyone left feeling differently than when they arrived.”
Soldiers who felt especially privileged were the reservists who participated. Those Soldiers usually do not have induction ceremonies, simply because of their normal duty schedule.
“My unit has never had a ceremony like this, so for me it was a first,” said Sgt. Walter Barnes, a LRMC x-ray technician. “I think it was something that would definitely boost morale, especially the morale of the junior enlisted. Just being a part of something like that would help entice specialists to go before the board to become an NCO.”
Due to the influx of patients, this induction ceremony was the first one held at LRMC in a year. However, the enlisted command would like to see it held once per quarter, said First Sergeant Mullaney.