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NEWS | Jan. 12, 2023

III Armored Corps Soldier honored as top drill sergeant career counselor

By Staff Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke III Armored Corps

A Soldier with the III Armored Corps National Guard and Reserve Component Career Counselor team earned recognition for his work as the nation’s top Army Reserve Drill Sergeant Career Counselor during a ceremony here, Jan. 9, 2023.

Sgt. 1st Class Louis Bravo received a Meritorious Service Medal and a commemorative trophy from Brig. Gen. Jeff Farris, the deputy commanding general of the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Program), for his work in recruiting the most transitioning active-duty Soldiers into the Army Reserve Drill Sergeant ranks.

“It’s great to be here to recognize a Soldier who has done a magnificent job," Farris said, who flew in to recognize Bravo and visit with the retention team.

A Rome, New York native, Bravo transitioned 24 reserve component drill sergeants, which led him to be named the most prolific drill-sergeant career counselor in the entire Army. He beat out his nearest competitor by 10.

The office he works for serves a unique role in the III Armored Corps, as it gives Soldiers transitioning from the active-duty component a chance to continue serving in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. For certain Soldiers with the interest, they can attend the Drill Sergeant Academy and Basic Leader’s Course after leaving the Army’s active component. That’s where Bravo’s work comes in, as the Army Reserve employs a larger number of drill sergeants than the active component and offers a flexible schedule to accommodate a variety of lifestyles.

“It advances the Soldier’s career, it saves the Army money, and it retains talent,” Bravo said. “Everybody wins in this situation.”

Bravo said his adherence to the Army Values was critical to his success.

“What I offer is honesty,” Bravo said. “I don’t sugar coat it, and I don’t try to sell this program. The benefits speak for themselves. What I offer is an opportunity, and whether a Soldier takes it is up to them.”

The award is part of a broader trend at Ft. Hood that saw a rise in active-duty Soldiers transitioning into the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, making Ft. Hood one of the leading installations in the Department of Defense. The team at Fort Hood transitioned nearly 1,000 active-duty Soldiers to help them continue their service.

Soldiers qualifying for the Drill Sergeant program will receive a seat in Basic Leader's Course as well as accommodation, to the best of the Army Reserve's ability, in placement for duty assignment. The Army Reserve Drill sergeant program is open to all Military Occupational Specialties for Soldiers in the grade E-4 to E-7 within 180 days of their Expiration Term of Service date (ETS). Those interested can visit the III Armored Corps Army Reserve and National Guard Career Counselor Office at building 3201 on post or call or text 760-255-6618.

Other incentives exist for Soldiers who are leaving the active-duty Army and want to join the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. Some of those include MOS reclassification, monetary incentives, and free Tricare Prime healthcare coverage for six months.