FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – For Spc. Aaron Stevens, he is on the short list of Soldiers whose parents have received a phone call from Gen. James McConville, the Chief of Staff of the Army.
Coming from a military family in Florida, Stevens joined the Army Reserve in June 2019 while he was finishing high school.
“I joined because it’s in my blood and I never considered anything else in my life other than the military,” he said. “I was thinking I would go Navy and follow in my dad’s footsteps, but the Army just stuck out to me. It sounds cheesy but I was drawn to the whole ‘Army Strong.’ Nobody in my immediate family had been Army, so that was part of the decision as well. Doing something a little different.”
Stevens spent two years in the reserves but soon felt he had more to offer and transferred to active duty as a “31E,” a corrections specialist.
“I wanted to be military police but 31B wasn’t an option when I went active,” said Stevens. “31E was the closest thing but I’m happy with my decision.”
He is currently assigned to Alpha Company of the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, having arrived at Fort Leavenworth near the end of 2021.
“My day-to-day job is keeping control of the inmates at the jail,” he said. “I escort inmates to appointments, like medical, basically I’m making sure they go where they have to go.”
Stevens has been motivated to exceed at his job since arriving at Fort Leavenworth. He asked his platoon sergeant to compete at the Soldier of the Month board shortly after arriving.
“My platoon sergeant said I wasn’t ready since I had just gotten here,” said Stevens. “He told me to get integrated and know my job first, then come back. That’s what I did.”
Stevens came back and competed in April 2022 and won.
“My leadership said that I did well, so I was being sent to the Soldier of the Quarter board,” said Stevens. “I scored well on that, so I moved up to the brigade Soldier of the Year. I was the only one from JRCF, everyone else was from the United States Disciplinary Barracks. It was a little scary since I didn’t know anyone. I couldn’t prepare with anyone else.”
Stevens kept winning and eventually competed for the Fort Leavenworth Soldier of the Year.
“That was a long and unexpected process,” he said. “We had to do a range, a formal board, land navigation, basic level Soldier skills and a physical fitness test.”
As he had done before, he won.
Having been in the Army for just a couple of years, Stevens found himself as part of a team competing for “Best Squad” at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command level. It earned him a trip to Washington D.C. to attend the annual AUSA conference, and encounters with both the sergeant major of the Army and Gen. McConville.
“CSA had heard I won Fort Leavenworth, so he was asking about the process, everything I had been doing,” said Stevens. “He said he was impressed with me and he asked if I had ever seen him before in person. I said ‘no but I saw a video one time where you called someone’s mom.’ He goes, ‘oh that’s funny, pull your phone out and call your mom.’ He talked to my mom and said he was blown away by how she had raised me and that I was very mature for my age. My mom was a mess. She was crying at the whole thing. It was a cool experience.”
Stevens’ long-term goal is to be in the FBI.
“Defending the homeland is my dream,” he said. “Counterterrorism in the FBI feels like what my calling is. I would dress as special forces as a kid. I’ve always said I wanted to do this.”