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Keesler's 403rd Wing holds NCO induction ceremony

Keesler Air Force Base's 403rd Wing hosted a non-commissioned officers induction ceremony over the weekend. The ceremony was a first for the wing in several years.

Below is Keesler's release on the ceremony:

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss  -- The 403rd Wing held an induction ceremony for senior non-commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers here Aug. 2 at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility auditorium.

Eight staff sergeants and five master sergeants were inducted into their new ranks during the ceremony.

"As a first sergeant, our number one priority is to take care of the Airmen, and this ceremony was held to recognize them and their accomplishments," said Senior Master Sgt. Joey York, 41st Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant.

"Becoming a non-commissioned officer in this Air Force is a big deal," said Col. Frank L. Amodeo, 403rd Wing commander. "It is about leading Airmen, and becoming a non-commissioned officer is a big responsibility. You have to be the ones to take care of our Airmen."

Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Barnby, 403rd Wing Command Chief, said that the ceremony upholds a time-honored tradition.

There are three main components to an induction ceremony: posting of the colors; the charge and oath; and the candle-lighting ceremony.

The Ocean Springs Army Junior ROTC honor guard members, Talynn Kimble and Madison Ross, who is the daughter of Master Sgt. James Sieloff, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, presented the colors for the ceremony.

Both NCOs and Senior NCOs were issued their charges and the oath, which is a rite of passage for military. 

According to the NCO charge, which was read during the induction ceremony, NCOs are the front-line supervisors. They and are entrusted with presenting an image of competence, integrity, and pride. NCOs are required to place the Airmen's need above their own, be fair and impartial, communicate and lead by example.

For Senior NCOs, the induction ceremony is an important milestone in an Airman's career. Read during the induction ceremony, the Senior NCOs creed stated that master sergeants transition from being a technical expert to leaders and mentors. These Senior NCOs must promote the highest standards of conduct, appearance and performance. 

"This ceremony shows that what we do matters and 'charges' the NCOs and Senior NCOs with upholding the Air Force standards," Barnby said. "And I want to make sure the tradition continues." 

As part of this tradition, a candle-lighting ceremony was conducted. Each candle represented one of the nine enlisted ranks of the Air Force. Wing members of each rank were called upon to light their respective candles.

"The candle lighting ceremony brings, not just changes between Airman to NCO and Senior NCO, but it brings all the ranks together as an enlisted corps," said Master Sgt. Sherrill Beecher, 403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron first sergeant. "This ceremony is bringing back the esprit de corps for the wing."

"It is awesome that not only do we get to promote, but that the wing is highlighting the responsibilities of the Senior NCOs and the NCOs in front of the wing, so that people are held to those higher standards," said Master Sgt. Deanna Negrotto, 403rd Wing Staff and Force Support Squadron unit training manager. "I think it's a time-honored tradition that needs to continue."

Beecher said that the 403rd Wing plans to do just that, by holding an induction ceremony twice a year.  The next one is February 2015.