Johnson: 'Always try to improve'
August 20, 2009
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Johnson
U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School
Specialty / Job title
Drill Sergeant Leader, Instructor, Combat Assault Rifle Training/14J, Air Defense Artillery
Years in service
Married, one child
Fishing, volunteer work
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Johnson said he has met some memorable people in his 11 years in the Army, but none of them as memorable as his first squad leader.
"His name was Mitchell T. Hasty," Johnson said. "And he was a beast of an NCO."
Johnson arrived at his first duty station, Fort Riley, Kan., as a young Soldier who knew almost nothing about the Army.
But he said the noncommissioned officers there, particularly Sgt. Hasty, made a huge impression on him, one that has lasted throughout his military career.
"He was the consummate professional," Johnson said. "He was hard but fair. Everything I know about being an NCO today, I owe to him."
Johnson went on to become a seasoned NCO himself after his first stop at Fort Riley, serving at Camp Hovey in Korea, Fort Bliss, Texas and Baghdad in 2003 just after the initial invasion.
But he said he will always remember his first squad leader more than anything.
"That just shows that you never know the impact you might have on someone's life as an NCO," Johnson said.
Johnson said he plans on having a long career in the Army and his ultimate goal is to earn the rank of command sergeant major.
"At that level, you still have some involvement with the Soldiers," he said. "I don't want to ever leave the Soldiers. They make this fun. They're what this is really all about."
Johnson said the best advice for junior enlisted Soldiers is to always try to improve.
"Never settle for where you're currently at," he said. "Always try to improve the standard. Always work to improve the organization."
Johnson said Soldiers will always benefit from working hard and doing their best.
"I believe in letting your deeds speak for you," he said.