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The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer

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The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer is, to some, just words that must be uttered during ceremonies and the times when a Soldier earns their Sergeant stripes. To others, there is no higher thought and it’s these Soldiers who spend their time while in uniform trying their hardest to uphold everything that is written in those paragraphs. When I entered six some years ago, I had no clue such a creed ever existed. Although it has been rewritten in different ways, the NCO Creed still begins each paragraph with one of three letters: N-C-O. As the “yardstick” in which NCOs measure themselves, it continues to guide and reinforce the values of each new generation of NCOs. As former Sergeant Major of the Army Gene C. McKinney said “The NCO creed… is my rock and should be the foundation on which all NCOs build their two ideals- leadership and professionalism.” This is what the NCO creed means to me. When attending Warrior’s Leader Course, NCO hopefuls are made to say the NCO creed several times throughout the day and most of them can probably remember saying the NCO creed when they were first inducted into the NCO Corps. I remember doing this myself and still have the copy of the creed give to me at WLC in my “love me” book.

When I first took on the roles and responsibilities of being a NCO, I looked at the NCO creed and tried to decide what it meant to me and how I could use it to guide me to being the best professional and leader that I could be. The creed of the noncommissioned officer is a baseline for all NCOs on how to conduct oneself in the leading of Soldiers. It does not outline every single situation you may come into but if you live the NCO creed there is no reason why one could not have a successful military career. To truly “live the NCO creed” you have to an in depth look into the creed and how you can apply every aspect of it to leadership. “No one is more professional than I, I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers.” This has to be said confidently, with authority, and conviction so that no one listening can doubt that you believe in these words but ends up believing them as you do.

The next few sentences in the NCO creed go back to the first. They instill in a Soldier that being a NCO means something, and you should conduct yourself appropriately, with honor and integrity. “As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as the “Backbone of the Army”. I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the Military Service, and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself.” Then finally in the last line it states that as a Noncommissioned Officer we are not to let our rank allow us to feel as though we are owed something, quite the opposite actually. We are to be examples to our soldiers, not someone who sends them into the fight without us. We are to lead them, train them, and do all of this because of our leadership ability and experience in the military.

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