Duty still calls 19 years later to Fort Dix NCO
February 15, 2009
"No one is more professional than I, I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of Soldiers..." said Master Sgt. Maurice Hall, 72nd Field Artillery Brigade Communications Operations NCOIC, as he led fellow Soldiers in the NCO creed during a promotion ceremony Jan. 21.
Hall called the Soldiers in the brigade headquarters conference room to attention, read the promotion orders for his Soldiers, Sgt. J'mar Scott and Cpl. Eric Easter, with pride gleaming in his eyes. Hall is a Soldiers' Soldier, a 19-year veteran of the regular Army.
Hall hails from Detroit, Mich., and in 1989, he claims, "Duty called." He enlisted in the regular Army as a communications specialist and after completing basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Ga., Hall attended Air Assault School in 1990 and Airborne School in 1992. In 1993, he deployed to the Middle East in support of Desert Storm/Desert Shield where he worked seven months as a switchboard operator, enabling internal communication in the Gulf region. Upon his return to the states in 1994, Hall attended PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course) better know today as the Warrior Leader Course.
In 1996 Hall deployed again, this time to Bosnia where he served 7 months as a communications team leader and received his promotion to sergeant - E5. After a brief return to Fort Hood, Texas, then Sgt. Hall, left for a four month tour in Kuwait as a radio operator. But in 1999, when he was assigned to 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Hall was placed in his first "real leadership position."
"I was a new E6, the brigade communications NCOIC, with battalions who had E7s in the same positions, it was tough, and it was the first time I worked side by side with a reservist - he was my SIGO [Signal Officer] he taught me a lot," said Hall.
In 2000, Hall graduated Drill Sergeant School and was soon assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment back at Fort Jackson, S.C., where he went to Basic Training 12 years prior.
At what Soldiers' sometimes refer to as "Relaxin' Jackson," because sometimes they have to cancel training due to the sweltering summer heat, Hall felt he made the most difference.
"Being a drill sergeant for two years was the highlight of my career - my time to mold young civilians into Soldiers," he said.
Hall doesn't remember the late nights and long hours he put in as a drill sergeant, but instead he recalls the expressions on parents' faces on graduation day and the feeling he had when they thanked him for the change they saw in their sons and daughters after completing Basic Training.
He mentioned one trainees' mother, in particular, who told him, "Before my son came here, he never called anyone Ma'am; and today, my son even paid for my lunch, thank you."
Hall went on to complete two back-to-back tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2005, where he earned the Bronze Star Medal before landing a three-year stateside duty assignment with the training support brigade here at Fort Dix in 2007.
And during the promotion ceremony for his two Soldiers, the drill sergeant in Hall made a brief re-appearance. After congratulating pinning them, Hall dropped Scott and Easter for a medley of four-count push-ups, ending with a slow command of, "Who told you to move'" bringing smiles to everyone's' faces.
Hall personifies the American military.
Being proud of others achievements is a direct reflection of his selflessness and dedication to his work. At his own promotion ceremony back in December 2008, Hall passed on his own words of wisdom to all those in attendance - "Don't become that NCO you all talk about, rather strive to be the kind of leader others want to emulate - it will get you far."
When asked for advice he could share with junior Noncommissioned Officers, Hall replied, "Training and mentoring Soldiers is the fuel that motivates me, caring for troops, both their professional and personal development, is an NCO's job."