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THE STORY OF THE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER

CORPS

SITY OF MICWICE,

APR 02.1990

POSTED
STATES CAT

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The Story of the
Noncommissioned Officer Corps

The Backbone of the Army

Arnold G. Fisch, Jr.
Robert K. Wright, Jr.

General Editors

Center of Military History

United States Army
Washington, D.C., 1989

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U.S. Army Center of Military History
Brig. Gen. William A. Stofft, Chief of Military History
Chief Historian (acting)

Morris J. MacGregor
Chief, Histories Division (acting)

Albert E. Cowdrey Editor in Chief

John W. Elsberg

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

The Story of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps / Arnold G. Fisch, Jr.,
Robert K. Wright, Jr., general editors.
p.cm.-(CMH pub. ; 70–38)
Includes bibliographical references.
1. United States. Army-Non-commissioned officers-History.
I. Fisch, Arnold G.II. Wright, Robert K., 1946-.III. Series.
UB408.5.8761989
355.3'384dc20

89-600266

CIP

CMH Pub 70-38
First Printing

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office

Washington, D.C. 20402

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As a tribute to the role of noncommissioned officers in our Army, the Secretary of the Army declared 1989 to be “The Year of the NCO.” The goal is simply to make an outstanding NCO corps even better. In working toward this goal we are emphasizing NCOs' traditional roles, especially in training, and their development as leaders. This volume is a significant contribution to that effort because it honors the dedicated service and achievements of countless thousands of noncommissioned officers over the past two hundred years.

The U.S. Army NCO corps can trace its beginnings to the American colonial experience and to the origins of the new Republic. From their early roles as file closers, quartermaster sergeants, and musicians, noncommissioned officers have evolved into leaders of our soldiers, as their first-line trainers, as standard bearers in our units, and as leaders who instill discipline in the force.

The functions and status of NCOs were not always so clearly recognized in America. Beginning with the American Revolution, the noncommissioned officer corps gradually emerged as a separate group within the ranks. During successive wars, advances in technology and changes in tactics broadened NCO tasks and responsibilities.

Today's noncommissioned officers are professional volunteer soldiers with clearly recognized duties and responsibilities. They hold positions of trust and command the respect of officers and enlisted men and women alike. Clearly, this status reflects their critical role in ensuring that our Army is fully prepared to meet all contingencies. This book is the story of how, beginning in 1775, NCOs came to be recognized as the “backbone of our Army."

JULIUS W. GATES
Sergeant Major of the Army

CARL E. VUONO
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff

Washington, D.C.

13 June 1989

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