The non-commissioned officer (NCO) was organized in 1775 at the same time with the United States Army and also the time when Continental Army has come to light. The NCO of the United States is different from what the British have. They created one who looks the same as the American Army with some traces of the combined traditions of the French, British, as well as of the Prussian armies.
When the American made some changes on its political system later, as they disregard the aristocracy and social attitudes together with the growing concerns westward, they molded a truly unique American noncommissioned officer with no European counterparts and influence (Arms). NCO during the Post-World War II During the post-World War II period, education of the soldiers was promoted and two programs were established, the Career Guidance Plan and the professional schools for NCOs. Such projects are put into action as an answer to the decrease in technical rating of the NCO.
To be able to determine the level of knowledge, standards were set for the screening of new officers. One factor that is considered to have influence in the educational requirement of NCOs is the continuous technological development which in effect necessitates specialized training on their part. Through this era, establishment of schools for NCOs took its course and academic standards were set such as the AR 350-90. The movement towards academic improvement continues and reached a point wherein more that 180,000 soldiers studying in the US (Fisher).
Aside from attending formal education, other educational programs were initiated. One of these projects was the Army Education Program that started in 1952. This program aimed to give academic points to soldiers especially those who want to earn their diploma. The US realized the necessity of educational as much as combat training for soldiers due to the overseas missions conducted in 1950 involving the South and North Korea. To be able to do their commitments to different countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, educated and well-trained soldiers can do the job (Arms).
During the post World War II era, the NCOs performed notably in Korea. This resulted to the addition of the E-8 and E-9 grades to the NCO ranks in 1958 that was aimed to strengthen chain of commands and organization of tasks. Another reason is to be able to maintain NCOs with excellent performance. With the two more ranks, the NCO can hold the following ranks: corporal, sergeant, staff sergeant, sergeant first class, master sergeant and sergeant major (Fisher; Arms). During the modern era, the training and education of the non commissioned officers continued.
In 1967, the program was called Noncommissioned Officer Candidate Course (NCOCC) which is aimed to take the place of officers that will retire victims and veterans of the Vietnam War. The course was dubbed as an “instant” course to become NCO because it gave young novice chance to me officers. The course is a two-part training wherein they are first trained by officers in the US with the MOS or Military Occupational Specialty that is similar to what they are taking. Then, the last half is spent in Vietnam or Korea wherein they are faced with the real combat situation as officers already with ranks.
Being a newly developed idea at that time, this type of training received criticisms. Contradictions mainly came from the superior NCOs who acquired their ranks through years of hardships. They view the program as being unjust to experienced officers whom they perceive are more deserving of the positions given to the young new officers. Majority of the men considered the program unfair particularly to the soldiers in the battlefield. They think that they are deprived of the chance for promotion to higher ranks. They are not fully aware on the effect of the program with regards to promotion of men, that it has influence on the process.
Those soldiers in the battlefield of Vietnam and in the other military posts around the world who performed best with excellent leadership continuously advanced in ranks. Another reason is that the US Army realized that the war in Vietnam required young new officers because the encounters are dispersed in localized area which needs strategies that can be covered by the young officers and NCOs (Russell). The system of education continues to evolve and additional programs were developed. Primary Leadership Development Course is another program that aims to supplement the basis academics and trainings that officers undergo.
The program stresses the task and mission of NCOs and the techniques on leadership and training for other officers. The MILPO Message Number 86-85 emphasized the importance of the NCO educational system and that the new leadership course becomes a requirement to be able to get to higher ranks. This is unprecedented, since no NCOES course was required before to be assigned to higher positions. NCOES incorporates the courses that are required to be taken by the NCOs, which was developed by the US Army Sergeants Major Academy in Texas.
Along with these courses, there are three other courses that are not included in the NCOES that are required for the training of NCOs, the First Sergeant Course, the Operations and Intelligence Course and the Personnel and Logistics Course (USASMA AHR 86; Arms). The importance of education for NCOs can also be observed in the establishment of the Sergeants Major Academy building in 1987 that is worth 17. 5 million dollars with 125,000 square foot area to accommodate the development of courses. The NCOs today is the product of educational system that had evolved through history.
They are proud descendants of von Steuben who appointed them as man of duty in 1778 (Arms). Conclusion The Noncommissioned Officers can be considered as core of the Army. They hold essential roles for the whole group. They are responsible for training and inculcating values to the future soldiers, thus they have the influence over the trainees. They develop their potentials both in academics and in combat hands-on trainings. With such roles they are in close interaction with the soldiers, thus, they usually synthesize the loyalty among the group.
The NCOs have the knowledge of the performance of the group, thus, being chosen as one of them is a unique duty of service to the land (“Duties, Responsibilities and Authority of the NCO…”). In the present world of chaos and disorder, the skill and dedication of the NCOs are being tested. To be able to accomplish every mission, intellectual and physical capabilities of the soldiers must be well trained. NCOs must be prepared to face every task at hand and to be able to do this they must train the young soldiers for both combat encounters as well as the academics.
The mind will enable them to plan intellectually and strategically react to the situation they are faced with. Upon critical planning of possible action, physically well trained officers can carry out the task (Kennedy). The role of the Noncommissioned officers has evolved through era of war and is still bound to evolve through the fight for terrorism in the present era. Being NCO had become a challenging task that requires dedication. It can also be a gratifying duty once success of the trained officers is attained. The NCOs serve as an essential strategy of the armed forces in their fight to reach specified common goals.
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