FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Sergeant 1st Class David Morrison takes his job as a senior small group leader at the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Noncommissioned Officer Academy very seriously.

He said that he feels the most important job of NCOs is to take care of their Soldiers. He gets a new group of Soldiers to take care of, lead and mentor 15 times a year as up to 300 individuals rotate in and out each cycle of the Warrior Leader Course taught at the academy.

"It's my job and the job of every NCO, to take care of Soldiers. That is something that can't be stressed enough," said Morrison, who is originally from Albany, Ore. "If we can't take care of them and train them to do the right thing, then we fail as leaders."

As an infantryman who has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, Morrison brings his leadership experience to the classroom. Many of his students said his approach is effective.

"He is very wise," said Sgt. Jonathan Gomez, 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Missile Defense Regiment. "He has a lot of good ideas and uses his military occupational specialty and experience to help us learn. It helps us realize how important it is to know and understand each other's MOSs and
leadership styles."

Another student said that while he is serious about his job, he also makes learning fun.

"He's hilarious and I've learned a lot from him," said Sgt. Yolanda N. Banks, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "He always gives helpful hints to make it a little easier for us and shares his knowledge."

Sgt. 1st Class Jared Matthews, the chief of operations at the academy, said Morrison epitomizes the NCO Corps.

"He is a consummate professional," said Matthews. "He always puts the mission first and sacrifices his personal time to mentor the students and Soldiers. Most importantly, he sets the example for others to follow."

Morrison said that helping Soldiers makes the extra effort he puts in worthwhile.

"I enjoy being around Soldiers each day," he said. "I always get rewarded when an individual I taught approaches me later and thanks me for the guidance I gave them. It's great to see them take what I taught them and use it to become successful in their careers."

He said his grandparents helped mentor him to become the leader he is today.

"My grandparents taught me not to judge people and how important it is to recognize everyone has different opinions. They told me to be accepting of others and not to put people down," said Morrison.

His success as a leader, mentor and senior small group leader showed on graduation day for Warrior Leader Course Class 01-10. Of the 168 students who entered the course, all 168 graduated on Oct. 15.

"Every Soldier has the ability to be a leader," said Morrison. "They just need mentoring and guidance from their senior leaders, showing them what to do. Every Soldier needs a different approach. A good leader recognizes that and makes it happen."

(Editor's note: This is part three in a four part series about Fort Bragg's Noncommissioned Officer Academy with a focus on the academy's mission, the Warrior Leader Course and the changes to the Advanced Leader.)