CINCU, Romania - “No one is more professional than I. I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers…My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind- accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers.”
These are the words that can be found in the Creed of the Noncomissioned Officer (NCO). It’s a code of conduct every NCO must learn and memorize before being promoted to the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Army. It’s a tool used to remind enlisted leaders of their responsibilities to their senior NCOs and to their lower enlisted.
Staff sergeant Ryan Beaulieu is a horizontal construction engineer with the 861st Engineer Company. He joined the Rhode Island Army National Guard on March 4, 2004 and has grown through the ranks to become an integral member of the unit and serves as a squad leader for second squad, first platoon.
“We’re working on supporting the construction site of an ECP (entry control point),” said Beaulieu. “My squad is working on building a fence around a drainage ditch so that cars don’t crash during heavy rain or snow.”
As a squad leader, his job is to plan for an entire construction project, figure out what tools and equipment are needed to complete the mission and continually think two or three steps ahead. Additionally, as an NCO, his job is to lead other Soldiers and teach them to become leaders themselves.
Beaulieu said that one of his memorable experiences as a Soldier in the Rhode Island National Guard was having the opportunity to mentor Sgt. Derek Dragon, currently the squad leader for third squad, first platoon.
“I took him under my wing and taught him everything I know,” said Beaulieu. “Often, I’m busy with other tasks and so he’ll come up with different ideas on his own so I can do my job and focus on the bigger picture.”
Dragon said that Beaulieu taught him how to conduct himself as an engineer and as an NCO.
“He taught me that there’s a time for goofing around and there’s a time for being serious,” said Dragon. “Through his actions, he taught me how to listen, how to engage with different personalities and find the best course for corrective actions.”
Dragon credits Beaulieu for teaching him how to teach people.
“When you’re in that leadership role, you’ve gotta be connected to your guys,” said Dragon. “They’re the heartbeat of the unit so you’ve gotta think about how you’re teaching, when you’re teaching and why.”
Beaulieu said that he enjoys being an engineer and with 15 years of service under his belt, he plans on completing 20 years of service with the 861st EN Co.
“Everybody gets along together, we have a great group of guys and girls,” said Beaulieu. “I’m doing my 20.”