The news about what the Army has done for this year
In October 2008, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren announced that 2009 would be designated as "the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer."
In noting his gratitude and support for noncommissioned officers (NCO), Secretary Geren remarked that NCOs have provided invaluable service and continually proven their dedication and willingness to sacrifice. With our nation at war for seven years in Afghanistan and then Iraq, and the security environment more ambiguous than ever, our military is stretched thin and out of balance. We have a plan to restore balance by 2011 and to set the conditions for the future-- the NCO Corps is the key enabler to attain those objectives. The Year of the NCO is a time to enhance the education, fitness, leadership and pride in service of our NCOs through programs that sustain and grow our NCO Corps, to recognize their leadership, commitment and courage, and to inform key audiences about the responsibilities and quality of service of our NCOs.
I certainly don’t have the credentials of the Secretary of the Army, but I echo his sentiment with regard to the capabilities, contribution and commitment of the NCO Corp. I was privileged to serve with many within the NCO ranks over the span of my career. Starting with SSG Ward – my first Platoon Sergeant in 7th Cavalry in 1982. That guy tolerated me as a newly minted butter bar and taught me the best methods, gave guidance and advise that served me throughout my career.
Many other great NCOs worked (tolerated or endured) with me – more than I could ever thank here…a few names that really stand out – SFC Jan Quinlan, CSM Ron Lamb, MSG Joe Federinic, MSG Ed Mutter, MSG Jack Mutter, CSM Maynard, SFC Chris Coffin (killed in Iraq) because of longer associations or their infinite patience when I was essentially learning a new job. All of these and many others were certainly key enablers to achieving the mission in their organizations. Most were never adequately recognized for their sacrifice and commitment leaving the praise to fall on me for their efforts.
I Think its great that 2009 is the year of the NCO and in my smaller way, I thought I would echo the sentiment to some great NCOs that made the difference in my career.