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Congratulations SNCO inductees

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Several new master sergeants were inducted into the senior NCO officer corps Sept. 11 in a formal ceremony in the Trail's End Club. This was more than a promotion ceremony. It marked a significant career milestone. We place incredible trust in our senior NCOs, and they have responsibilities that extend well beyond their technical expertise. 

According to the little brown book, the general scope for the senior NCO is to provide highly effective leadership. A senior NCO's primary purpose is mission accomplishment. They must lead and manage teams, while maintaining the highest level of readiness to ensure mission success. 

You don't see anything in that description about being a super technician, but the first line clearly states leadership as the first and foremost responsibility. Mission accomplishment is a broad term but a clear goal. Our senior NCOs now hold many positions previously served by officers and are critical to the success of every facet of our Air Force mission. 

The three days leading to the ceremony, the new senior NCOs attended a senior NCO professional enhancement seminar. This is a mandatory event that orients the selectees to their new senior leadership role and sets them up for success. 

While talking with the group, I shared with them that when I was an airman, it was obvious who the senior NCOs in our unit were. We knew it before we even saw those big old stripes. They were in control, in charge, and they made us want to be like them. The way they carried themselves and the way they mentored us, back before mentoring was even a word, spoke volumes of their value. They recognized the fact they were senior leaders in our organizations, and they wore stripes just like us! 

At the induction ceremony, each master sergeant- select received a certificate commemorating the occasion. The words on the certificate also bore the commitment they make as soon as they sew on their stripe: 

In the United States Air Force, a master sergeant joins an elite group. The term sergeant is an ancient, honorable one that denotes a person possessing special skills, trust and integrity. You are now a master sergeant, which means you have mastered the techniques and abilities required of noncommissioned officers. As you progress to senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant, your title will change but not the designation as a senior noncommissioned officer. You are afforded privileges not awarded to others, and you have freely accepted responsibility beyond the call of normal duty. You have, by your actions and performance, earned the respect of your seniors and juniors. As a master sergeant, your entire way of life will change. More will be expected of you; more will be demanded of you -- not because you are a master sergeant, but because you are now a senior NCO. You have not merely been promoted one pay grade, you have joined an exclusive group -- a group dedicated to taking care of those who follow in their footsteps. As a member of this group, you have a responsibility to your fellow senior NCOs even as they have a responsibility to you. 

This is a big deal for each individual, but it's a bigger deal for the Air Force because of the trust and responsibility we place with each of them and the leadership we demand of them. Congratulations to our new senior noncommissioned officers! 

Look out world!