Noncommissioned officer's creed
In the United States, the Noncommissioned Officer's Creed, shortened to NCO creed, is a tool used to educate and remind enlisted leaders of their responsibilities and authority, and serves as a Code of conduct. Each branch has their own version, and many have been altered over the years.
Army Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer
In 1973, the United States Army was in turmoil as a result of the Vietnam War drawing to an end. One of the conceived solutions was the "Modern Volunteer Army", which included the Noncommissioned Officer Candidate Course. Many Sergeants were trained only to perform one specific job, for example, squad leaders in infantry units, and were no longer uniformly regarded as the well-rounded professionals of previous generations. The overhaul of the NCO Corps involved rewriting Field Manual 22–100: Leadership.
One of the organizations dedicated to rebuilding the NCO Corps was the NCO Subcommittee of the Command and Leadership Committee in the Leadership Department at the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning. Besides training Soldiers at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy, these NCOs also developed instructional material to be used throughout the Army. During a brainstorming session, SFC Earle Brigham and Jimmie Jakes Sr. were credited with writing on a sheet of paper the three letters "N C O", and the committee began building a creed, a "yardstick by which to measure themselves." When it was ultimately approved, The Creed of the Noncommssioned Officer was printed on the inside cover of the special texts issued to students, beginning in 1974. Though The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer was submitted higher for approval and distribution Army-wide, it was not formalized by an official army publication until 11 years later.
The Army dedicated 2009 as the "Year of the NCO".
No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of Soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army.” I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers, and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service, and my country; regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watch-word. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind: The accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer, I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All Soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my Soldiers, and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my Soldiers, and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!
The initial letters of each paragraph are, in order, N C O.
'Tactically' and 'Technically' Discrepancy
For almost the first 20-years many Army Creeds of the Noncommissioned Officer in publication had the second sentence in the second paragraph as I will strive to remain tactically and technically proficient. However in 2001 the Army had a team of Contractors who created FM 7-22.7, The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide who apparently transposed the sentence to I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. To compound the problem the NCO Journal printed a story in the May 2010 edition which correctly identified that a Field Manual has precedence over other forms of publication (e.g., DA Pamphlet), so it must be right. No historical research appeared to have been conducted, and it is unknown if any of the sources cited in the original research by Elder and Sanchez were consulted.
The NCO creed was recently revised in February 2006 under Navy and Marine Corps Directive 1500.58, Marine Corps Mentoring Program Guidebook. The current version is as follows:
I am the backbone of the United States Marine Corps, I am a Marine Noncommissioned Officer. I serve as part of the vital link between my commander (and all officers) and enlisted Marines. I will never forget who I am or what I represent. I will challenge myself to the limit and be ever attentive to duty. I am now, more than ever, committed to excellence in all that I do, so that I can set the proper example for other Marines. I will demand of myself all the energy, knowledge and skills I possess, so that I can instill confidence in those I teach. I will constantly strive to perfect my own skills and to become a good leader. Above all I will be truthful in all I say or do. My integrity shall be impeccable as my appearance. I will be honest with myself, with those under my charge and with my superiors. I pledge to do my best to incorporate all the leadership traits into my character. For such is the heritage I have received from that long, illustrious line of professionals who have worn the bloodstripe so proudly before me. I must give the very best I have for my Marines, my Corps and my Country for though today I instruct and supervise in peace, tomorrow, I may lead in war.
The unofficial NCO creed was an excerpt from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001 Marion F. Sturkey. That version, which is still frequently used, read:
I am an NCO dedicated to training new Marines and influencing the old. I am forever conscious of each Marine under my charge, and by example will inspire them to the highest standards possible. I will strive to be patient, understanding, just, and firm. I will commend the deserving and encourage the wayward. I will never forget that I am responsible to my Commanding Officer for the morale, discipline, and efficiency of my Men. Their performance will reflect an image of me.
I am a Staff Noncommissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps. As such, I am a member of the most unique group of professional military practitioners in the world. I am bound by duty to God, Country, and my fellow Marines to execute the demands of my position to and beyond what I believe to be the limits of my capabilities.
I realize I am the mainstay of Marine Corps discipline, and I carry myself with military grace, unbowed by the weight of command, unflinching in the execution of lawful orders, and unswerving in my dedication to the most complete success of my assigned mission.
Both my professional and personal demeanor shall be such that I may take pride if my juniors emulate me, and knowing perfection to lie beyond the grasp of any mortal hand, I shall yet strive to attain perfection that I may ever be aware of my needs and capabilities to improve myself. I shall be fair in my personal relations, just in the enforcement of discipline, true to myself and my fellow Marines, and equitable in my dealing with every man.
I am a Petty Officer in the United States Navy, the strongest Navy in the world. I have the distinct privilege of being a leader of the finest Sailors anywhere. As such, I owe my Sailors leadership that they can depend on, trust, and follow. I will neither fear nor shun responsibility and I am always responsible for my actions. I am always fair and impartial when dealing with my Sailors; remembering not to accept full credit for a "A Job Well Done" without proper recognition of my Sailors first. I am loyal to my subordinates, peers, and those officers appointed over me. I cannot favor either; my integrity must be beyond reproach. I will fully support all Navy Regulations and Articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I have the duty to correct and report all violations of these regulations that govern my Navy. I instill Esprit de Corps throughout the Petty Officer grades in the Navy; bearing allegiance to each other. I owe all of the above not to just myself, but to the United States, to my Navy, and to the Sailors who work for me.
The US Air Force has utilized several different creeds (the NCO Creed, the SNCO Creed, the Chief's creed, the First Sergeant's Creed, the Security Forces Creed, etc.). However, as of April 2007 all the creeds used in the Air Force were replaced by The Airman's Creed.
Air Force NCO creed
No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer: a leader of people. I am proud of the Noncommissioned Office corps and will, at all times, conduct myself so as to bring credit upon it. I will not use my grade or position to attain profit or safety.
Competence is my watchword. I will strive to remain tactically and technically proficient. I will always be aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities and display professionalism at all times. I will strive to know my people and use their skills to the maximum degree possible. I will always place their needs above my own and will communicate with my supervisor and my people and never leave them uninformed
I will exert every effort and risk any ridicule to successfully accomplish my assigned duties. I will not look at a person and see any race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin, for I will only see the person; nor will I ever show prejudice or bias. I will lead by example and will resort to disciplinary action only when necessary.
I will carry out the orders of my superiors to the best of ability and will always obey the decisions of my superiors. I will give all officers my maximum support to ensure mission accomplishments. I will earn their respect, obey their orders, and establish a high degree of integrity with them. I will exercise initiative in the absence of orders and will make decisive and accurate decisions. I will never compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget that I am a Professional, a Leader, but above all a Noncommissioned Officer.
I am a Senior Noncommissioned Officer in the United States Air Force. I hold allegiance to my country, devotion to duty, and personal integrity above all. I wear my rank of authority with dignity, I promote the highest standards of conduct, appearance, and performance by setting the example. I seek no favors because of my rank. I am devoted to the concept of service rather than personal gain. I uphold the traditions of senior noncommissioned officers who precede me. I manage resources under my control with astute efficiency, and lead the way with the highest level of competence. I always strive to merit the respect of my fellow senior noncommissioned officers and of all with whom I come in contact.
- Code of the U.S. Fighting Force
- U.S. Soldier's Creed
- Rifleman's Creed
- Sailor's Creed
- Airman's Creed
- Creed of the United States Coast Guardsman
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- "U.S. Army NCO Creed". NCOHistory.com. SGM Dan Elder and SGM Felix Sanchez. Retrieved 3 May 1998.
- NCO creed at army.mil
- "The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide". Field Manual 7–22.7. Headquarters, Department of the Army. December 2002.
- "NAVMC 1500.28, Appx 106, pg 83". Marines.mil. USMC. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- "Heritage Press International". www.usmcpress.com. Heritage Press International. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- "NCO Creed". USMC Heritage Press Foundation. Heritage Press International. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- NCO Creed on sacramentomarines.com
- "Staff NCO Creed". USMC Heritage Press Foundation. Heritage Press International. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- Hagee, Michael W. (13 February 2006). "NAVMC DIR 1500.58 Marine Corps Mentoring Program Guidebook". United States Marine Corps. pp. 83–84. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- General T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force (2007). "CSAF presents Airman's Creed". SeymourJohnson.af.mil. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
- SNCO creed (Air Force)
- Various US military creeds
- Sturkey, Marion F. (2001). Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines. Heritage Press International. ISBN 0-9650814-1-9.
- Marine NCO and SNCO creeds