Sgt. 1st Class Yao Fiendi Benie came to the 597th Transportation Brigade in July and served as a training noncommissioned officer with its S-3 operations section.

However, in January, Benie went to the seven-week Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Academy course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was certified as the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 597th's SHARP section.

"My job is to assist the commander through the SHARP program," Benie said. "Sexual harassment/sexual assault is a big thing in the Army. We're trying to promote our readiness and sexual harassment/sexual assault affect our readiness."

A native of the Ivory Coast, West Africa, Benie entered in the military in May 1998 and completed basic combat training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he completed advanced individual training as a field artillery cannon crew member. He did field artillery until 2005 when he switched his military occupational specialty and became a transportation management coordinator.

"I really like my MOS so I changed my major to transportation and logistics management," Benie said. "Before that, I earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice (Texas A&M University in 2011) and a master's degree in transportation and logistics management (American Military University in 2015). Now I'm working on my doctorate (degree) through Grand Canyon University in organizational strategy."

Benie has deployed three times, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2002-2004), Operation Enduring Freedom (2009-2010), and International Forces Afghanistan (2011-2012).

Benie has been married to his wife, Adjoua Madeleine Benie, also a native of the Ivory Coast, since July 2011. They have two daughters, Leoncia, 22, and Delicia, 10, and two sons, Jerome, 8, and David, 1.

Learn a little more about Benie through the questions and answers below.

Q: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be a university professor. That was my aim when I was going to school. Back home, my major was philosophy so I was trying to be a philosophy professor.

Q: What inspired you to join the Army?
A: When I came here (to the United States), I became interested because I saw that the Army was doing a very good thing, not just for the United States, but for the whole world. I really appreciate what they do and I decided to join so I could help and preserve the freedom of humanity, not just for America, but the whole world. I studied a little bit about U.S. history and geography when I was back home and I saw how they would help when anything would happen anywhere in the world. That's the main reason I joined.


Q. What's most important to you right now?
A: Right now, my main focus is my family, my kids. I'm trying to make sure everybody gets a good education. My family is my Number 1 priority. Anything I'm doing, it's because of my family.

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not at work?
A: I have a very boring life. All I do is family, education, church, and work. That's it.

Q: Any kind of music or particular song that moves you or that you like?
A: Gospel.

Q: What's something people might not know about you?
A: I would say I'm a very introverted person - quiet and shy. Anything I do, I have to think about it to make sure I get it right.

Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: I'm a very respectful person. Without respect, for me, all the other (Army) values don't make sense. I'm the kind of person that in my work environment, before I even sit at my desk, I want to greet everybody to make sure they are okay and to let them know I am present.