Year of the NCO

  • Published
  • By Army Lt. Col. Bichson Bush
  • 344th Military Intelligence Battallion commander
The senior Army leadership designated 2009 as the Year of the NCO to honor the sacrifices and celebrate the contributions of the NCO Corps, past, and present.

The Army's vision of an NCO is that of an innovative, competent professional enlisted leader grounded in heritage, values, and a tradition that embodies the Warrior Ethos; who champions continuous learning; and is capable of leading, training, and motivating diverse teams. An adaptive leader who is proficient in joint and combined expeditionary warfare and continuous, simultaneous full spectrum operations; is culturally astute and resilient to uncertain and ambiguous environments.

The following is the purpose of the Year of the NCO:
· Enhance our NCOs' education, fitness, leadership development, and pride in service through the implementation of programs and policies that support the sustainment and growth of our NCO Corps.
· Recognize the leadership, professionalism, commitment, courage, and dedication of the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps.
· Better inform and educate Congress, government institutions, and the American people of the roles, responsibilities, quality service of our NCO Corps, and that our NCO Corps is a National Treasure.

The history of the American NCO began in 1775 with the birth of the U.S. Army. Initially, the NCO Corps adopted a blend of tradition from the French, British, and Prussian armies prosecuting the Revolutionary War. Over the years and throughout numerous stability and support operations, conflicts, and wars, NCOs have emerged as today's small-unit leaders, trainers, and guardians of standards.

In units at all levels, the senior NCO is expected to be the battle buddy and right hand of the senior officer.

An officer's first introduction to this relationship is often while serving as a Platoon Leader or a Primary Staff Officer (S1 (Personnel), S2 (Intelligence), or S4 (Logistics)) where the senior NCO is the Platoon Sergeant or the section NCO In Charge, respectively.

For command positions at every level, the senior officer is the Commander and the senior NCO is the First Sergeant at the company level or Command Sergeant Major at battalion and higher levels.

The relationship between the senior officer and senior NCO of a unit or section is a special one and implies a bond of trust that must not be broken. The bond of trust extends to the degree of each trusting the other with his or her life. Noncomissioned officers have proven to be the "Backbone of the Army" and to be those that "Run the Units," maintaining and enforcing the standards, and translating the Commander's intent, guidance, and orders into actions.

U.S. Army NCOs are empowered and trusted like no other army in the world. Based on the critical roles NCOs serve in our own Army, many of the world's armies are looking at our Army's NCO Corps as a model for their own.