In 1777 on the hills of Valley Forge during The Revolutionary War, the Colonial Army Troops lead by General George Washington were struggling. The Colonial Army troops faced many disadvantages such as diseases, sickness, malnutrition, exposure and wounded soldiers and crowded living quarters that lacked established standards. In fact, around 16,000 soldiers died from starvation or illness. In addition lack of consistent training of young and inexperienced soldiers led to confusion. The combination of all this issues led to a severe decrease in unit readiness and morale at its lowest levels.
The percentage of members unfit for duty due to injuries increased to 25 per cent. The different methods of training from one unit to another in addition to the poor training and drill methods, the soldiers were trained on led to instances where soldiers were wounded by friendly fire due to the lack of proper training and knowledge on how to fight at battle. For The Continental Army Troops to survive, evolve and succeed in battle there must be a significant change in how to prevent and eradicate this issues in order to accomplish the mission and lead The Continental Army Troops to victory in The Revolutionary War.
In 1778 Friedrich Von Steuben, a Prussian military officer better known as Baron Von Steuben arrives at General Washington’s Colonial Army Troops encampment at Valley Forge. General Von Steuben observed and identified many flaws on how General Washington’s Colonial Army Troops were operating and commences training soldiers in close-order drills, instilling discipline in the demoralized Continental Army Troops. General Von Steuben drill techniques were more advanced than those of other European armies.
Methods of modern boot camp were employed among The Continental Army Troops at Valley Forge with superior efficacy. General Von Steuben also employed an efficient method of firing and reloading weapons leading The Continental Army Troops to be proficient at his technique. General Von Steuben insisted on reorganization and established standards for basic hygiene so as to prevent illness among the troops. General Von Steuben propagated his own standard method of drill by creating the “Blue Book”, being implemented to every unit for successfully accomplishing the mission with no confusion. General Von Steuben’s confidence, knowledge, and expertise made it easy for the soldiers to follow his lead in battle increasing The Continental Army Troops morale and leading them to victory.
In 1778 now Inspector General Von Steuben assigned and standardized the duties and responsibilities of Non Commissioned Officers. In the “Blue Book” Inspector General Von Steuben specified day to day responsibilities for each rank of the Corp of Non Commissioned Officers. A strong and efficient Corp of Non Commissioned Officers helped sustain the Continental Army Troops during hard times to victory. This regulation established the foundation of The Corp of Non Commissioned Officers from The Revolutionary War to present.
Non Commissioned Officers are critical to the success of the Army’s mission. Non Commissioned Officers possess the knowledge, expertise, critical thinking skills, character and leader competencies and attributes to successfully train, mentor, counsel and develop soldiers that would be the future leaders in the United States Army. While Commissioned Officers handle higher duties, the Non Commissioned Officers provide proper training and ensure the welfare of their subordinates keeping high morale and readiness among their organization.