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DIA Holds Its First Army NCO Induction Ceremony

By Navy Lt. Jeff Prunera, DIA

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Aug. 1, 2014 — Ten Army soldiers assigned to DIA were inducted into the reputable title of noncommissioned officer at DIA’s first Army NCO induction ceremony held at DIA Headquarters July 29.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III led the NCO charge and was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

“Our profession, in line with the expectations of the American people, demands that you live a character-driven life,” said Chandler while addressing the inductees. “Service is about putting your soldiers ahead of your needs.”

The induction of nine Army sergeants and one staff sergeant marks the first NCO induction to occur at DIA. Although Army personnel have continuously worked at DIA in its nearly 53-year history, an official Army element command at DIA Headquarters wasn’t formally established until 2013. NCO inductions and similar ceremonies were previously conducted at other units outside of DIA at the battalion level or higher.

The shift to NCO marks an important transition in an enlisted service member’s career where a significant increase in leadership responsibility is bestowed. NCO consideration is given to those who have demonstrated a strong moral character in their careers with an aptitude to lead professionally.

“We are a standards-based Army; we are a standards-based military,” said DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. “Don’t ever allow yourself to get into any kind of habit where you say that this is the way we do it here. For the noncommissioned officer, you are the standard bearer.”

The ceremony included a Lighting of the Spirits event, where three candles are lit representing values that NCOs uphold. A red candle symbolizes courage and strength, white for purity and commitment, and blue for valor and pride. A fourth, purple candle was lit to represent the joint nature of current operations and recognize the contributions of fellow NCOs and petty officers across the other services.

The ceremony culminated with a reciting of the NCO creed, which stresses the values of leadership, integrity, professionalism and mission accomplishment. NCOs continue a heritage of these qualities that can be directly traced back to the army of Frederick the Great.

“The creed means more than just words,” said Chandler. “It’s a commitment … not only to the soldiers that you lead, but to the Army and ultimately to the nation. It’s part of what makes you a professional.”