This is my squad.jpgU.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford ‘Beags’ Beagle Jr., and Post Command Sgt Major Jerimiah Gan, pose with their ‘Squad’ of post headquarters support staff. Beagle and Gan posed for the photo to celebrate the diversity. ‘When I look at my team, I see the most diverse group of individuals and I could not be more proud,’ Beagle said.

Fort Jackson Public Affairs

The Fort Jackson community is joining a growing chorus across the Army where Soldiers, civilians and Family members speak about the diversity in the formations.

The voices come from all corners of post; the offices on the top floor of post headquarters, the trainee and drill sergeants on the front lines of transforming citizens into Soldiers, and the civilians who keep the whole machine rolling.

“When I look at my team, I see the most diverse group of individuals and I could not be more proud,” Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson commander said.

Every member of the Fort Jackson team has a story to tell and different reasons to be part of the team protecting the American people.

“I joined the Army for my Family to make them proud, and to become the first one in our Family to join the military,” said Pvt. Mario Huerta from 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment. “Another reason I joined is to make one of my mother’s dream come true, which is to buy her a Range Rover. (I also joined) to better myself, make money, and to get physically fit and become a role model for my little brother and my kids to look up to.”

Some other reasons echoed across the formations are to be a part of something bigger and to seek self-improvement.

“Joining the Army was a decision I made to better myself and my life,” said Pvt. Alexis Slosser of Company D, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. “I believe when you learn self-discipline is when you become the best version of yourself. I come from a small town where no one does big things.”

“I wanted to be different, so I went to college for a while but was unable to support myself,” Slosser said. “That is when I decided to join the Army. Even though I have been in only a short amount of time, it has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself.”

Sgt. 1st Class Keonte Washington, a drill sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, joined the Army out of “a sense of service.” He said “the Army has since provided me with structure, stability and exposure to new opportunities.

Additionally, my Family has been fortunate enough to be introduced to new experiences such as living abroad.”

There is more to Fort Jackson than drill sergeants yelling intensely instructing trainees there are those like Peggy Penn, an administrative officer with the Directorate of Human Resources. She has been a part of the Fort Jackson community since July 1973. In addition to her official duties, Penn is the music director for her church.

At the end of the day all who join, or work for, the Army are part of a Family made up from the sum of its parts.

Sgt. 1st Class Justin Atkinson, senior drill sergeant leader at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, who hails from Liberty Center, Ohio, said he joined the Army out of pride and Family tradition. The infantryman added, “The Army is a Family of diverse people who are always striving to be a better version of themselves for the betterment of America.”

For Capt. Terrance Crimiel from the 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment who has served 17 years, said he continues serving “for my Family and my brother and sister to my left and right. There is no better feeling than being a part of a team. I am proud to be a part of the greatest team in the world.”