News: Junior enlisted soldiers rising as leaders
Story by Staff Sgt. Ruth Harvie
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Two years ago, when he was 20 years old, Trevor Montierth signed an eight-year contract with the Army Reserve to be a 91B, a wheeled vehicle mechanic, with the 96th Sustainment Brigade, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, based out of Salt Lake City. Today, the now 22 year-old has advanced to the rank of specialist as a mechanic, studies history at Utah Valley University, and plans on becoming a cadet in Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) this fall. He, along with several hundred other Army Reservists from the 96th SB, are mobilized in force for their annual two-week training, Warrior Exercise (WAREX), at Fort McCoy, Wis..
Montierth joined the military to increase his knowledge in a technical field and develop his professional potential. He is part of a growing group of soldiers who are enlisting in the Army Reserve's 96th SB to become future senior leaders and train in innovative areas such as mechanics, engineering, logistics, and information technology, among others.
"I just know I want to help soldiers, lead, and be the best soldier," said Montierth, who plans on serving active duty once commissioned with the ROTC. His father served 20 years in the Navy and he has a sister who is currently serving as a communications professional in the Army National Guard. He credits his military family as his inspiration for taking the Armed Forces oath.
"In the Army they push you to better yourself so you're not so apprehensive and not afraid to talk to people and take a leadership role," he said.
Promotion to sergeant for junior enlisted soldiers can often be accelerated from taking advantage of additional training opportunities, higher education, and excelling in physical fitness. And most soldiers, like Montierth, strive to become proficient in their trained skill and advance to the next leadership level.
"I have a lot of specialists who ask me what I need to do to get promoted," said one of the 96th SB's non-commissioned officers, Staff Sgt. Zachary Rogerson, a wheeled vehicle mechanic in HHC. To become an NCO, you've got to live the Army's standards, he said. "If you see something that needs to be done, get it done and take charge," said Rogerson.
Another Army Reserve soldier at WAREX, James Books, an assigned signal support systems specialist with the 96th SB, HCC, just finished serving three years of active duty and said he has had a positive experience with his new reserve unit. Books worked as a line medic at the Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., hospital.
"I learned how to put other soldiers needs above my own and help soldiers," he said. His military experience and leadership training in the medical field helped him get a civilian position with the Veteran's Affairs hospital in Denver, where he now works. As a reservist he expects guidance, direction, and information from his command to progress in his newly assigned position. He hopes to increase his responsibilities with the unit so that in the future he can progress, and his soldiers can progress.
"I see a lot of junior soldiers developing into great future leaders," he said.
The 96th SB takes pride in living "Deadeye Ready." During WAREX the unit in-processed more than 2,000 soldiers and made sure troops had a place to call home for two weeks. The SB qualified on their M4 rifles, learned how to properly react during a Humvee roll over, and navigated through a challenging outdoor confidence course.
One of the soldiers who participated, spent an entire day briefing units as they arrived. Sgt. Consolas Perrelouis Jr., a human resources specialist with the 912th Human Resources Company, based out of Miami, encouraged and motivated troops to be excited about their annual training. During one of Perrelouis' in-processing briefs, soldiers responded to his questions louder than thunder, much in fact due to his positive nature and interaction with them.
"No matter what - raining, training, battle [training] assembly, or getting deployed, as leaders if we have a positive attitude, soldiers will feed off of that energy," he said.
"We try to take away negative expectations," said Perrelouis about the soldiers when they first step on the ground. "We want [soldiers] to come in open minded."
The 96th SB believes young, enlisted soldiers are leaders.
"They motivate us so we want to work, we want to help them out," said Montierth about his NCO command.
Montierth said that one of his sergeants told him that once he gets Soldiers under him, his whole mindset will change - he will think differently, act differently.
"I'm excited to go through those changes and develop as a leader," he said.
"I can't wait."