The History of the NCO Creed
The Creed has been around for many years in different forms and fashions. Sergeants can recall reading the Creed on the day they were first inducted into the NCO Corps. Most of us have a copy hanging on our wall in our office, our work place, or at our home. Some have special versions etched into metal on a wooden plaque, or printed in fine calligraphy. But take a quick glance at any Creed and you will notice the absence of the author's name at the bottom. Many question where the creed originated.
By 1973, the Army (and the noncommissioned officer corps) was in turmoil. Of all the post-Vietnam developments in American military police, the most influential in shaping the Army was the coming of the Modern Volunteer Army. With the inception of the Noncommissioned Officer Candidate Course, many young sergeants were not the skilled trainers of the past and were only trained to perform a specific job, squad leaders in Vietnam. The Noncommissioned Officer system was under development, and the army was rewriting its Field Manual 22-100. Leadership, to set a road map for leaders to follow.
Of those working on the challenges at hand, one of the only NCO pure instructional departments at the U.S. Army Infantry School (USAIS) at Fort Benning, Georgia, GA was the NCO Subcommittee, of the Command and Leadership Committee, Leadership Department. Besides training soldiers at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy, these NCOs also developed instructional material and worked as part of the team developing model leadership programs of instruction.
During one brainstorming session, SFC Earle Brigham recalls writing three letters on a plain white sheet of paper... NCO From those three letters they began to build the Creed. The idea behind developing a creed was to give noncommissioned officers a "yardstick by which to measure themselves."
When it was ultimately approved, the Creed was printed on the inside cover of the special texts issued to students attending the noncommissioned officer courses at Fort Benning, beginning in 1974. Though the Creed was submitted higher for approval and distribution Army-wide, it was not formalized by an official army publication until 11 years later.
Though rewritten many different ways, the Creed still today begins its paragraphs with those three letters,... NCO. It continues to guide and reinforce the values of the new generation of noncommissioned officers.