03/04/2019 | By Capt. Andrew J. Woltman Commander, Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 323rd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET)
After the morning’s physical fitness, the trainees were in line for another meal at the dining facility that they had grown so accustomed. The misting rain and sharp, cold winds kept their heads down and shoulders up, a vain and futile attempt at protecting their ears from the bitterness of a slowly brewing South Carolina winter.
The drill sergeants in charge, Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Michael Morris, a Pensacola, Florida resident and Army Reserve drill sergeant with Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 323rd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) and his active duty counterpart, Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Brian West, a Westboro, North Carolina reside with Charlie Company, 2-13th looked around and noticed the sudden loss of morale in the trainees.
At this moment, Morris decided to motivate his weary recruits and help them forget about the cold. A familiar command was shouted out, “Half-right, FACE!”
Both the active and Reserve drill sergeants would join in, embracing the cold and exercise together with their troops. A chuckle or two could even be heard between the instructor and trainees as they counted out a time-honored Army exercise, “The push up!” Morris shouted.
Mere feet away, and unbeknownst to the drill sergeants, a shadowy figure kept watch nearby, behind the tinted window of a government vehicle.
A Soldier approached and gave Morris a surprise request as he pointed his finger at the vehicle in the distance. “The Post Command Sergeant Major would like a word, drill sergeants.”
Drill Sergeant Morris’ eyes widened, as he looked over at his battle buddy, Drill Sergeant West, who then responded, “Well, let’s see what the Old Man wants.”
As they approached the vehicle, Command Sgt. Maj. Jerimiah Gan, the Fort Jackson Command Sergeant Major who hails from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, exited from the passenger side.
“You boys seem pretty motivated this morning,” said the Post Command Sergeant Major. Drill Sergeants Morris and West, standing at parade rest replied, “Yes Sergeant Major!”
Gan held his hand out to each of them in turn and expounded on his previous remark, “Reminds me of when I was a drill sergeant, always doing PT with the trainees, to inspire and set the example...Great job and keep it up!”
With that, Gan returned to his vehicle and drove away, leaving each Drill Sergeant holding a Command Coin, a rare event on Fort Jackson and an astounding feat for a Reserve Soldier on the trail with Echo Mission.
The two drill sergeants returned to the trainees with a new sense of pride in their work and a slight warm grin on their faces, despite the weather’s best efforts.
“Alright, back to it!” shouted the drill sergeants.
“40 rounds drill sergeant!” replied the trainees.
Drill Sergeants from 2nd Battalion 13th Infantry, 193rd Brigade, have a reputation for excellence at Fort Jackson. Earlier this year, Drill Sergeant Brian Teneyck of Charlotte, North Carolina, received the first Command Coin from Gan and Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle, the Commanding General of Fort Jackson. And now, Drill Sergeant Morris has carried on this tradition of excellence and represented 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) well.