What is a Noncommissioned Officer? It depends on who you ask. One way to define an NCO (NCO means Noncommissioned Officer) is that they’re officers who earn their position by rising through the ranks and achieving their positions in the military through service as opposed to receiving their rank from a military academy or other forms of education.
The NCO corps is often called the backbone of the Armed Forces, and for good reason. An NCO is someone who brings dedication and experience to the table in ways that cannot be replicated. Across many different branches of the Armed Forces, you can find them bringing technical know-how that’s essential to the success of key operations. There are many ways Noncommissioned Officers help, and without NCOs serving our country, we would be at a disadvantage on the battlefield.
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How Noncommissioned Officers Help Troops
As with anything in life, experience matters. There’s a reason that teen drivers are more expensive to insure and more likely to get into an accident. There are several reasons, but the main reason is inexperience. You are going to be a better driver when you’re in your thirties than in your teens because you have much more experience handling a vehicle. The same rings true in the Armed Forces.
NCOs have seen and done it before. They are experts in their respective fields and know how to do things effectively. Reading a book can teach you many things, but getting your hands dirty and learning the hard way will impart the wisdom that only experience can bring. It’s wisdom that NCOs are capable of passing down, and they can help fellow troops learn from and improve themselves with this wisdom.
Many militaries around the world lack the troops that are able to apply and teach real-life experiences, gifting the American military a notable advantage. This applies during both war and peace and provides a built-in education system that passes on essential skills and knowledge that can only come from working in the field.
“A Noncommissioned Officer’s job is not easy and we expect a lot from those who are selected to lead, train, and care for the best soldiers in the world… The reward for being a Noncommissioned Officer is the honor and privilege to lead and train America’s finest men and women during peace and war,” –SMA Julius W. Gates.
In addition to NCOs passing on knowledge, another advantage comes from the longevity of their service. NCOs can serve for up to 15 years, which is two years longer than Sergeants with their stripes. More time means more experience and more opportunities to teach important skills to other troops.
Time and knowledge forge the wisdom that makes everything else possible. When America does have to defend itself, the troops entering combat are far better equipped than many of our enemies. Throughout recent history, we have seen many examples of fighting forces stuck having to defend against an overwhelming American force that has more resources, more troops, and better tactics. What’s at the heart of these accomplishments is the work that NCOs do each and every day to make sure that operations are running efficiently.
Having NCOs With Experience Matters
Even when other militaries fulfill roles similar to the NCO, they often do so while missing the key elements that make ours so vital. If you put someone into a position of leadership without the experience and adversity to rightfully hold such a role, you’re only going to hurt yourself. More than a title, America’s Noncommissioned Officers are able to not only talk about what needs to be done, but also lead by example. Combining this hard work and experience with the ability to teach others demonstrates exactly why our NCOs help keep American military branches at the top of the world.
The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer
The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer is an outline by the U.S. Army that showcases the traits and responsibilities expected of an NCO. It’s a great reminder for Noncommissioned Officers of their duty and the honor that comes with such service. For non-NCOs, it is also a reminder of the kind of people we are relying on to keep us safe and help make sure missions across the globe are a rousing success. It is a creed of selflessness, teamwork, and determination. You can read the NCO Creed Army Values and even download a poster to keep.
America is a better place thanks to the role provided by the Noncommissioned Officer.
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