To hear PFC Ibrahim Toure tell it, winning the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases “Soldier of the Year” award was fairly simple: all he had to do was tackle a basic land navigation course, complete the Army Combat Fitness Test and then, among other events, endure a 13.5 mile ruck march – all over a two-day period at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
“It was challenging, but I was really prepared for it,” says Toure, who claimed the award in late October. “When I came here, it was one of my goals.”
Indeed, it’s that kind of ambition that is quickly becoming Toure’s hallmark. Professional victories aside, it is perhaps what Toure has already accomplished from a personal perspective that sets him apart from the rest of the team at USAMRIID. Born in the Ivory Coast, in Africa, Toure emigrated to the U.S. in 2016 in search of a different, better life. Now, at just 25 years old, he is – in so many ways – on top of the world.
“Life in Africa is not too easy,” says Toure. “Coming to this country changed my life, so joining the Army [was] a way for me to pay back this country.”
Toure’s journey to USAMRDC began in New York, where he lived originally upon arriving in the U.S. He studied electrical engineering for two semesters at a local college before embarking on a far more personal journey; one that would eventually lead him to his local Army recruiting office.
Says Toure, “I lived with my family before I moved here, and they always told me that everything you do, you have to always try to make a difference. You always have to do your best to set you apart from your peers.”
That level of dedication – not only to personal but professional development – is on full display each day at USAMRIID, where Toure currently works in the Division of Medicine, Training, and Education. He is also currently enrolled in USAMRIID’s Medical Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties course, which is designed to prepare graduates to effectively manage casualties of chemical and biological agent exposure through a series of classroom, laboratory, and field exercises.
“I enjoy everybody here,” says Toure of the team at USAMRIID. “They’re very helpful. Every day is very exciting to come to work.”
For Toure, that excitement clearly translates into a desire for achievement. To even be considered for USAMRIID’s “Soldier of the Year” competition, for example, you first have to win USAMRIID’s “Soldier of the Month” award and then, after that, USAMRIID’s “Soldier of the Quarter” award. To that end – and to no one’s surprise – Toure says his next goal is to win the Army’s overall “Soldier of the Year” award, a competition slated to begin next year.
For Toure, it is that kind of mentality – the constant welcoming of new and diverse challenges – that brought him to this point in the first place. For him, the concepts of hard work and sacrifice always go hand-in-hand.
“Being in this country, I feel like my life has changed,” says Toure. “Now I am able to achieve all of my goals.”