WASHINGTON, D.C. –
The Army Reserve recently awarded the best of the best in the Inspector General corps, and this year’s winner is Master Sgt. Franklin Mallol from the 88th Readiness Division.
Mallol was one of 43 I.G. Professionals, including enlisted Soldiers, commissioned officers, and Department of the Army civilians. He was nominated by the 88th to compete at the Army Reserve level and advanced to the Department of the Army level competition at the Inspector General’s office in the Pentagon.
Mallol said he was honored just to be nominated.
"It has been a privilege to represent the 88th Readiness Division, USARC Office of the Inspector General,” said Mallol. “I'm grateful for the people that believed in me and nominated me for this event. This was an incredible experience, I learned so much from this competition and all the personnel that attended.”
He said that there wasn’t much he needed to do to prepare for the contest, because he was confident in the skills he’s learned throughout his career.
“It was a combination of things. I applied my knowledge and experience that I have gathered through my time at the Inspector General's office, I reviewed and studied the IG guides; assistance and investigation, inspection, and teach and train, and teamwork,” said Mallol. “Besides using the IG guides, and the school provided materials, my incredibly supportive team prepared a mock board with questions related to our work that included real life scenarios on cases we had worked on, that help me go thru our process on how to provide assistance in preparation for the competition.”
Mallol is a native of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, where much of his family still lives. He says that he initially was looking for benefits that the Army could help him get, but the deciding factor was something more.
“As a young student in Puerto Rico, I had friends that joined the Army for the bonuses, and the college tuitions. As I was evaluating my plans for the future, I considered joining the Army for those same benefits,” said Mallol. “Later, 9/11 occurred and I felt the calling to serve and defend our country. At this point it was my final push to make the decision to enlist.”
Mallol spent most of his career in Puerto Rico as a cargo specialist assigned to the 346th Transportation Battalion. He joined the Active Guard and Reserve program in July of 2012 and has held numerous assignments as an operations NCO, training NCO, Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention leader, Master Fitness trainer, and a company first sergeant. He’s also had several other assignments as an instructor for both new recruits and leadership in cargo management, and now Inspector General.
"I'm working to further develop myself and others in order to become a sergeant major," Mallol said.
Mallol had some advice for new recruits.
“I would tell a young soldier that life in the Army can be incredibly challenging but very fulfilling as well. The Army reacquaints you with yourself, will test you in every stage and bring you face to face with all your insecurities and fears, but surprise you with your own strength, bravery, and willpower to conquer everything you once thought impossible,” he said. “You will have consistent growth and surpass every limit you ever thought you had. Being in the Army is a way of life that you won't regret and all the effort and dedication you give into it will be rewarded. You will find unimaginable pleasure in service for your nation, and you will meet incredible people along the way that will become family.”
He also has some words of encouragement for Soldiers that may be facing adversity in their careers.
“Like any line of work, the Army is not without its hurdles. First, we would have to determine what is causing that soldier to face that decision. Let them know that there are infinite resources to handle whatever it is they are going through, from personal to career orientation,” said Mallol. “That whatever is causing them doubts or concerns about their career can be resolved. The soldier has to be met with empathy and understanding and we have to renew their motivation to continue and reach the goal and complete their years of service. Make that soldier aware that their efforts, hard work, and sacrifices have not been in vain. That we value their service and that the best is yet to come!”
Mallol said he would be honored to compete at the Department of the Army level again, if nominated.