What’s wrong with the Change of Responsibility Ceremony?

Change of Responsibility Ceremony Noncommissioned officers are expected to teach military customs, courtesies, and traditions, yet what do you do when customs and traditions either are non-standardized or are still emerging? I mean how can something be a tradition to share and hand down when it is only just now becoming mainstream? Today the Change of Responsibility Ceremony is one of... Read More

Ontology of NCO as the Backbone of the Army

Ontology of NCO Soldier’s, Marines, and now captured in the Armed Forces NCO/PO Book, hear told the story of the noncommissioned officer as “the Backbone of the Army,” but where does the phrase come from? It is easy to think how the Backbone holds up the body and understand the correlation, but few realize the phrase was first coined in 1896... Read More

Interview with a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Member

This is one in our series of interviews with noncommissioned officers from the field, as well as those in key or strategic positions who are influencing the Army and the Noncommissioned Officer Corps. This current interview is with Master Sergeant Erica Lehmkuhl who has served over 19-years at nearly every enlisted level within a Signal Company and deployments to Bosnia and... Read More

Book Review-The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed Forces

Backbone of the Armed Forces Book Review I read the book The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed Forces on my iPad during a recent flight and it kept me company for the entire 2 hours. It may seem daunting once you see the 180ish pages, but don’t let that spook you off. Only 92 pages are new... Read More

The Case for an Enlisted Leadership University

Has the time come to retitle a revered institution with a name that more accurately reflects the breath and scope of what is going on at the Sergeants Major Academy? The US Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) was established by General Order 98 in July 1972 and began educating selected noncommissioned officers in January 1973. According to their first Command Sergeant Major... Read More

Freelance blog writers wanted

Freelance Blog Writers Wanted The NCO Guide blog ( is looking for active, guard, USAR, and veteran noncommissioned officers (CPL-CSM) and their family members who are interested in creating content that is of interest to the military community. We have set a goal to post up to 5 blog posts per week and we will make payment for every post... Read More

How to be promoted to Sergeant without even Trying

Promoted To Sergeant Without Trying Imagine my surprise when I read that even without going before a promotion board and without the recommendation of a commander or a board of senior noncommissioned officers that a soldier can be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. No wonder that some think the noncommissioned officer corps is not professional,  the bean counters strike... Read More

Tolerating the shift in where Soldiers listen

Where Soldiers Listen Like all new roll-outs it is about getting your branding right, and this blog is no different. Though we have been around for a couple of years due to the new direction I am taking in my communication efforts, my project here requires a make-over. That, and the podcast effort is going to be somewhat revolutionary, but... Read More

You are a Command Sergeant Major, together we are Command Sergeants Major

Together we are Command Sergeants Major I got a frantic text from a former soldier who is working for the Army and her boss, an Army Veteran, directed that she was to brief a senior sergeant major and he was demanding that she address him as “command sergeants major.” She was contacting me to make sure she wasn’t crazy and... Read More

Retirees to lose AKO. Did you use it, will you miss it, or do you care?

Retirees to lose AKO In the last edition of Army Echoes, it was announced that the Secretary of the Army directed a significant change to Army Knowledge Online (AKO), as HQDA moves toward “the information foundation of Army 2020.” The article explained that among the key components of this transformation will be that military retirees, family members and Army civilian... Read More

It’s Noncommissioned Officer (not Non-commissioned)

It’s Noncommissioned Officer In many written forms by private to general. I often see the word written in the British fashion with a hyphen, which is not the US spelling for a noncommissioned officer. I see mass produced documents, posters, memoranda and plaques with that simple error. Heck, even Linkedin is trying to correct me, but they don’t obvious read... Read More

Are Noncommissioned Officers Professional?

This is in response to the Joint Forces Quarterly article Who Is a Member of the Military Profession? by COL Matthew Moten Are Noncommissioned Officers Professional? In “Who Is a Member of the Military Profession?” (JFQ 62, 3d Quarter 2011), Colonel Matthew Moten, USA, brings up some valuable points in his discussion of the professionalization of career enlisted Servicemembers, but it would be useful... Read More