Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie W. Spencer, USA, Ret.
The Sergeant Major of the Army William G. Bainbridge Medal, the Association of the U.S. Army’s highest NCO award, will be presented to The Noncommissioned Officer Corps at the opening ceremony of AUSA’s 2009 Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 5, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The award is presented for distinguished service by a noncommissioned officer – active, National Guard, Army Reserve, retired – whose contributions to the NCO Corps and local community have been significant.
Bainbridge, the fifth sergeant major of the Army and the award’s first recipient, was a true soldier-warrior who served his country and the Army in and out of uniform for over 65 years.
To honor all NCOs, present and past during this The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston and Sgt. Joel Dulashanti will accept the award on behalf of the NCO Corps.
Dulashanti, while deployed to Afghanistan with the 4th Squadron, 73rd Regiment, Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, sustained three gunshot wounds and spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Now, recovered from his wounds, he elected to remain on active duty.
The Bainbridge Medal recognizes the special role of all noncommissioned officers – their responsibilities, accomplishments, and the vital role they play in the defense of the nation.
Today, NCOs are deployed in over 80 countries with missions ranging from the Global War on Terrorism to humanitarian missions in Kosovo.
In this "The Year of the NCO" it is only fitting that we honor the NCO Corps with this prestigious award.
Sgt. Matthew Roberts, (right) along with fellow members of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, patrols the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar province in August. To honor all NCOs, present and past, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston and Sgt. Joel Dulashanti will accept this year’s Bainbridge Medal on behalf of the NCO Corps.
Preston, in a recent speech assessing the performance of America’s Army NCO Corps, said, "In spite of the stresses of a protracted war, the Noncommissioned Officer Corps remains an innovative, competent professional corps that is grounded in heritage, values, and traditions that embody the warrior ethos."
Adding, "NCOs continue to daily lead by example, train from their experiences, maintain and enforce standards, take care of soldiers, and continue to adapt to an ever changing environment."
The NCO Corps has a well deserved reputation as the "Backbone of the Army."
They are also the heart and soul of America’s Army. Our NCO Corps is and always has been the U.S. Army’s not so secret weapon, the envy of all other armies around the world, friend and foe alike.
To quote Bainbridge, "World War II was won in the prewar classrooms at the Army War College and Command and General Staff College. The conflict in the Persian Gulf (the First Gulf War) was won by the NCO educational system."
This is just as true today as it was almost two decades ago. We are engaged in a small unit leader war(s) that is, for the most part, lead by noncommissioned officers, and they are doing a magnificent job.
To our NCO Corps – past and present – from all of us at AUSA, congratulations. Thank you for your "Selfless Service" to the nation, for what you do for America’s Army. And most of all, thank you for training, leading and for taking care of our great soldiers.