NCOs reflect on deployment at ceremony
Story and photo by Spc. John Stimac
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-West, Iraq — The 16th Sustainment Brigade recognized more than 150 noncommissioned officers in a ceremony Sept. 19, celebrating the Year of the NCO at the post theater in Q-West, Iraq.
Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Spencer, the senior enlisted adviser with the16th Sustainment Brigade, said the ceremony was designed to highlight the impact deployments have on NCOs and their families.
“In early January 2009, the secretary of the Army and sergeant major of the Army dedicated 2009 as the year of the NCO,” said Spencer. “This year of dedication is for everyone to take a pause and thank the NCO corps and their families for all their contributions and personal sacrifices.”
NCOs have been celebrated for their service from Valley Forge and Gettysburg, to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The ceremony featured a representative from each rank of the NCO Corps, speaking about what being an NCO means to them and how the current deployment has impacted them and their family lives.
Sgt. David P. Miller, a Diamond Springs, Calif., native, with the 16th Sust. Bde.’s personal security team, said being an NCO is about accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of Soldiers.
“It’s about providing Soldiers outstanding leadership, being fair and placing their needs above our own, whether it is personal time or at work,” he said.
Miller said the deployment has brought a level of stress to his family life, especially with a new child.
“You deal with the stress as you go along, but that comes with the territory,” said Miller. “It helps if you and your spouse are really dedicated to the relationship.”
Miller said just achieving the rank does not make one an NCO.
“It is a mindset,” said Miller. “If you’re an NCO you need to succeed not only professionally but in life as well.”
Every NCO in the 16th Sust. Bde. was presented a certificate of appreciation at the ceremony.
Spencer said looking back at his deployment, he could clearly see where the brigade has left a permanent mark in the sand that will serve as a guide to its successors.
“Our NCOs have performed exceptionally well in providing world-class support to the combat forces across the corps,” said Spencer.
While their accomplishments have been many, everyone needs to stay vigilant and finish strong, Spencer said.
“As your brigade CSM, I could not have asked for a more competent and professional group of NCOs,” said Spencer. “I am proud of our accomplishments and ask that you all stay focused so we get home safe and sound to our families.”
Col. Martin B. Pitts, commander of the 16th Sustainment Brigade, presents a certificate of appreciation to Staff Sgt. Victor M. Sotomayor, property book office team chief, 16th Sust. Bde., and a Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, native. The Year of the NCO ceremony was held Sept.19 to recognize the NCOs of the 16th Sust. Bde.