Story by SPC Trenton Fouche on 06/16/2017FORT BRAGG, N.C. A sergeant grimaced in pain as he struggled to carry his rucksack. His shoulder had given out and he fought to keep going. The Warrior Ethos played in his mind like the sound of his boots touching the dirt.
He wouldn't quit.
Working with at-risk youth had taught him to never give up on anyone, including himself. The kids he worked with looked at him as a role model.
Like Super Man, he kept fighting. Every step forward was a demonstration of the leadership, energy, and execution needed to be a capable, combat-ready, and lethal Warrior.
Sgt. Benjamin T. Morris, a training and operations noncommissioned officer assigned to the 4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command, located at Fort. Shafter, Hawaii, competed in the 2017 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition here June 11 - 15. Although he didn't win, as a drill sergeant, he came into the contest with a different perspective than many of the other Warriors. Before the event, Morris mentioned the mission of drill sergeants throughout the Army.
"The drill sergeant corps is about consistently pushing and looking for ways to innovate the Army's training as a whole," said Morris. "I'm expecting to be tested, learn a lot, and demonstrate all of the capabilities that I have."
To many, Morris' experience seemed like it would be an advantage in the competition, considering that drill sergeants have been judging the event.
"We are here to provide the motivation that only drill sergeants can provide," said Sgt. Olivia Trochesset a drill sergeant assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 378th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 95th Division under the 108th Training Command. "We provide a lot of motivation that a lot of people don't understand. Drill sergeants are this way for a reason, it's because we see things in people that they can't see in themselves."
In addition to molding young Soldiers as a drill sergeant, Morris spends much of his time mentoring young adults.
"I work in an at-risk school through the Hawaiian National Guard," said Morris. "We help high school dropouts realize the value of the second chance they have a possibility of earning."
Morris' belief in selfless service could be described as the embodiment of what it means to be a Soldier, demonstrating leadership every step of the way.
"With these kids, a lot of times you're the most respected role model that they'll ever have in their life," Morris said. "You can never let yourself be in the position to where it can be questioned discipline is still taught the same."
Like many of the Warriors at this year's competition, success didn't happen over night. The road to the competition took a tremendous amount of dedication. These Soldiers had to prove to their command that they were capable and combat ready, no matter how tough the challenge.
"Everything correlates to the battlefield and the readiness of the Army," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Tate a drill sergeant assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment, 95th Division. "Leadership, readiness, and physical fitness are big keys for any competitor and their ability to compete, withstand and handle things on the battlefield."
For Morris, taking small steps to get better every day is what creates a Warrior.
"Discipline is taught through the accomplishment of small goals," said Morris "Getting people to set a small goal, reach that small goal, and do it on a daily basis. A good example is PT, being able to get one more rep. If you can do that, you're building your own discipline."