Every training day, cadets are met by a group of selected men. These men ensure that the cadets are ready the moment the cadet officers come. This group of highly skilled individuals are the cadet non-commissioned officers.
The CNCOs or sergeants as the cadets know them are the middle-men of the Corps of Cadets. They stand in between the cadet officers and the cadets. The CNCO directly handles the cadets, sees their field training, supervises the administrative details and all other matters handed down by the COs.
TO become a CNCO, a cadet undergoes rigorous training, known as the Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer’s Training Course. At the start of every semester, volunteers undergo on intensive indoctrination administered by those who have already passed the course. This is done so that the candidates may reach the high and strict standards of the Corps of Cadet Non-Commissioned Officers. Sadly, many trainees drop out of the course before it is ever completed. But just as well; for the Corps only accepts the best men there are. And come their CNOTC graduation, these candidates (who have already become Cadet Corporals) are raised to the rank of Cadet Sergeant.
But being a CNCO is not just about strictness and hard work. Off duty, the CNCOs are known to be the most fun-filled group in the Corps of Cadet. They have established a reputation of being the wackiest off duty yet the most serious when on-duty. Since they are in direct contact with the cadets, they have been known to mingle with them during regular days in the University. The CoCNCO have also proved to unite the sergeants of the various battalions, despite the competition.
The Corps of Cadet Non Commissioned Officers first came into being during the Academic Year 1996 – 1997. However, the Cadet Non-Commissioned Officers were around for a long time before that for they were attached to their respective battalions back then. The formal training, the Cadet Non Commissioned Officer’s Training Course (CNOTC), was first offered in the early ‘90’s and continued until Batch ’97.
The CNCO Batch 97 was responsible for the institutionalization of the Corps of Cadet Non-Commissioned Officers. With the help of 1Lt Antonio H Eco, Jr. who was then the DMST’s administrative officer, they organized what is now known as the corps. They introduced their own Turnover ceremony for the Corps Sergeant Major and the “Welcome” rituals for the CNCO Candidates. They were also the first batch to personally train their lower class. And with the help of 1Lt Eco, they initiated a request for an office for the CNCOs.
Then Batch 98 came along. They were the ones who receive the office that their upper batch requested. Capt Eco was still with them to help their cause. This was the batch that reinstated the ‘night operations’ as a regular activity of the CNCOs. They also formalized the Corps of Cadet Non-Commissioned Officers, raising its standards for its men.
Batch 99 was the first batch of CNCOs to have a formal graduation from the CNCOTC. They were also the first to give the CNCOs a distinction in their uniforms. This was the marine cap which replaced the regular bull cap used while in T-fatigue uniform and also during the BIVOUAC. Batch 99 was also the batch that first helped in the ushering details during Lantern Parade ’98.
And so it was, with the achievements each batch has contributed, the Corps of Cadets Non-Commissioned Officers have proved to be an important unit in the Corps of Cadets. With the griffin as an insignia, they continue to strive for excellence and perfection among their ranks.
The griffin is a mythical creature found in both literature and heraldry. In literature, the griffin is described to have the body of a lion with the head, wings, and talons of an eagle. Sometimes, it is being depicted to have pointed ears and a serpent or a scorpion tail in place of that of the lion’s tail. This description gave the griffin the properties of a Guardian; the ears implied attention; wings – speed of execution; lion’s body – courage and audacity; hooked bill – perseverance and tenacity. The combination of an eagle and lion, the noblest animals of their kind, seems to indicate that one must combine intelligence and strength.
Because of the ideals associated to it the griffin is often used in the Coat-of-Armes of much nobility in Europe.
The Corps of Cadet Non-Commissioned Officers chose the griffin as their insignia to express their spirit of unity, bravery, skill and determination. The griffin symbolizes unity because even if the griffin is composed if different animal body parts, it is still the same ferocious myth – and so are the NCOs. Even if the NCOs are of different battalions, they are still the elite group of determined men always there to help the corps. While bravery, skill and determination have always been an NCO’s distinction of traits and are always exemplified every training day. Every Sunday morning, they face the cadets and exert their driving force to have the best training day ever. The griffin’s striking appearance can resemble triumph against all odds. Truly, if there is something to represent the NCO’s, the griffin will roar and soar high to be the shining symbol.