CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. - 1st Sgt. Craig Chapman, Attleboro, Mass., receives the noncommissioned officer's sword from Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Flynn on Saturday Oct. 1, 2011 to symbolize Chapman's assumption of responsibility as the senior noncommissioned officer of Headquarters Company, 101st Regiment, Regional Training Institute.
The change of responsibility ceremony is a tradition rendering honors to the departing first sergeant and providing official recognition for the incoming first sergeant. The symbol of this transition is the NCO sword. The war department adopted the NCO sword in 1840, and while it is no longer in combat service, it is used to signify the transfer of responsibility from the outgoing to the incoming first sergeant.