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What Makes A Good Nco Essay

871 words - 3 pages

In the United States Army, there are two categories of rank structure, the enlisted corps and the commissioned corps. The enlisted corps within itself contains leaders, who are referred to as Noncommissioned Officers, or NCOs. These individuals, whose ranks range from Sergeant to Sergeant Major, are responsible implementing the guidance and command policies provided by the Commissioned Officers and commanders in their units. NCOs are also responsible for the welfare and training of junior personnel. The US Army provides regulations and manuals with step by step guidance for the most trivial of tasks, but it fails to spell out specific and concrete information on how to be an NCO. There are publications, such as “The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer” and regulations on leadership, but they lack specificity and objective instruction for how to accomplish the aforementioned responsibilities of an NCO. The knowledge and skills of an NCO are instead acquired through training and experience, the products of which are NCOs of varying quality. A good NCO is one who knows and fulfills the written laws and regulations of Army doctrine, has the character of a good soldier and leader, and is able to strike a balance between written law and doing what is right even if the two seem to contradict one another.
Since the Army puts everything down on paper, from how to perform maintenance on an M4 weapon (“Rifle…”, 2003, para. 1.4) to how to write a letter to your commander (“Preparing…”, 2001, p. 30), a good NCO must know and follow the rules and instructions that apply to him or her on a regular basis. For example, a good NCO must be able to correct a soldier’s uniform to the exact standard. In order to order a soldier to tuck in his or her crucifix, the NCO must be familiar the rule that religious jewelry must be worn discreetly (“Wear…”, 2005, para. 1.7a). Other publications include subjective and idealistic guidance for NCOs to follow. One such document is the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer, which instructs NCOs to “never forget…that [they] are professionals, noncommissioned officers, leaders” (“The Army”, 1988, app. c) and a good NCO is expected to know such a document by heart. An NCO cannot be considered good at what he does if does not know or does not follow the rules.
In addition to knowing, abiding by, and enforcing explicit rules of the Army, a good NCO must also be a good soldier and leader. To be a model soldier, a good NCO must exemplify the seven Army values through words and actions (“The Soldier…”, 2006, p. 9). As a good leader, the NCO must be a...

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