Updated with video by Kevin S. Abel, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs, Sept. 4
by John Reese
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
In a morning ceremony on Panzer Kaserne, 38 Soldiers from three companies of the 709th Military Police Battalion “Warriors,” 18th MP Brigade, and one company from the 716th MP Bn., 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade “Peacekeepers,” raised their right hands, passed through an arch of noncommissioned officer rank insignias and signed the Charge of the Newly Promoted Noncommissioned Officer as they were inducted into the Army NCO Corps, Aug. 30.
The newest NCOs of the 709th MP Bn. are from the 92nd, 554th and 529 MP companies; the 551st “Hooligans” MPs are currently augmented from 716th MP Bn. from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Staff Sgt. Ian Bromley, 554th MP Co., was one of the NCOs who organized the ceremony held in the Panzer Fitness Center.
“It’s a formal rite of passage for newly promoted sergeants. When you make the rank of sergeant you’re supposed to go through the ceremony. It’s a formal process when you sign the charge of the NCO,” Bromley explained. “The command sergeant major usually gives some words of encouragement and wisdom.
Before the ceremony, the 38 MPs performed PT and received NCO professional development from the 709th’s senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Joshua M. Kreitzer.
“This ceremony represents a rite of passage as they pass from being a junior Soldier to a noncommissioned officer,” Kreitzer said.
The 38, Kreitser added, were all exceptional Soldiers.
“High speed,” he said.
Kreitzer led the induction ceremony, interacting with the four NCOs sponsoring the inductees and with a few junior enlisted in the audience making the “Soldier’s Request,” a series of expectations from them for their new NCOs before they passed through the arch.
Sgt. Donovan Coleman, 92nd MP Co., was first to pass through the arch and sign the charge.
“The importance of the ceremony today, for me, was a rite of passage–that we were once junior enlisted and now we’re joining amongst the ranks of the other noncommissioned officers in the Army,” Coleman said.
Fellow new NCO Sgt. Brittani Thompson, 92nd MP Co. Thompson, was 14th in line to pass through the arch. Her decorations earned before becoming an NCO included the coveted Bundeswehr Schützenschnur in Silber, the silver-level marksmanship award authorized for wear only by enlisted U.S. Army and Air Force personnel.
“The importance of this ceremony is to highlight all of our hard work to become NCOs,” Thompson explained.
Sgt. 1st Class DeSouza Wesley T. De Souza provided an inspirational keynote speech about the rigors and rewards of being a leader for the new NCOs that had senior NCOs in the audience nodding and audibly approving.
“The United States Army NCO Corps is the best in the world,” said Lt. Col. John W. Copeland, commander, 709th MP Bn. “These Warriors are the backbone of the U.S. Army and will train the next generation. I’m very proud of them and grateful for their leadership.”
Once all 38 NCOs had signed the charge, they and the Soldiers in attendance recited the NCO creed and sang the Army song to conclude the induction.
Thompson and Coleman offered their guidance to the junior enlisted who will follow in their footsteps.
“Just learn how to be better than you were,” Thompson said.
“Everyone is going to hate the beginning,” Coleman said. “You have to embrace (the difficult beginning) and then push on to stay in, because it does get better later on. If you can keep your head up and just do what you have to do, then you can make it as an NCO and continue in the Army.”