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Noncommissioned Officers

Noncommissioned officers are enlisted personnel holding a rank—such as corporal or sergeant— giving them leadership over other enlisted personnel. This entry discusses the history, roles, and responsibilities of the noncommissioned officer (NCO).

Ancient Times

The roots of the NCO can be traced to the legions of ancient Rome. The commander of the legion realized that administrative requirements combined with the drill necessary in the field for a then-modern army was consuming an inordinate amount of his available time. The Roman legion was an efficient fighting force for numerous centuries, defeating enemies who were often larger in stature and far more numerous than themselves. The Roman writer Vegetius wrote that few men were born with valor in their hearts and that only by training and the instilling of ...

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