Non-commissioned officers honored by the state of Pennsylvania Published Oct. 6, 2009 By Technical Sgt. Stacey Gault 171 ARW/PA October 2009 -- As for most crucial battles, Gettysburg was an opportunity for military leaders and war heroes to emerge and accomplish great feats. Almost 150 years later, a group of Pennsylvania Soldiers and Airmen gathered on the same fields to study the history of those who fought before them. Non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps played a significant role in Gettysburg. To honor past and present NCOs, approximately 100 current members were chosen by their commanders based on leadership and performance to tour the infamous battlefield. A traditional Army guardsman and high school history teacher, Maj. Joseph Pfadt served as one of the several tour guides providing detail at each battle site. He also incorporated information on the NCOs role during the Civil War. "We must reflect on what was done here and how it affects who we are and what we do today," said Pfadt. He continued to explain; if the commanding officer was killed, the NCOs ran the Army and took charge of the soldiers. The event was part of the Army's 2009 Year of the NCO program. Shortly after it's kickoff in February, Governor Ed Rendell also declared 2009 the year of the NCO. It is the second celebration in 20 years. In addition to the tour, each NCO was presented a certificate and coin from the Adjutant General, Major General Jessica L. Wright and Sergeant Major Don Shiner. During the ceremony, Wright recounted her experience and said there was an NCO every step of her military career that made her a better officer. "The NCO is the backbone of the military." She continued to explain how important it was to include the Air Force in this traditionally Army celebration because we are a joint force that "works hand in glove." Maj. Rich Howett also served as a tour guide, who finished the visit by reading Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to the group of Pennsylvania guardsmen. To conclude, he emphasized how important NCOs are to each officer, including him. He offered these words, "It is you the NCOs that I think, give us the best training."