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Russellville native completes Army Drill Sergeant Academy

Military service members hold a special place in the hearts of many, and it means even more when a service member is a hometown boy.

Staff Sgt. Mason Tyler Newton, is from Russellville, graduating from Russellville High School in 2013. He recently graduated from an institution granting him even greater distinction: the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

According to Lt. Col. Pedro Camacho, director of Air and Missile Defense Operations for the U.S. Army Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, Newton said he was inspired to join the Army by his grandfather Bruce Newton, who served 20 years in the Army, as well as his great-grandfather, Gordan. He wanted to follow in their footsteps by joining the Army, serving the nation, taking care of soldiers and families and accomplishing things as they once did.

Newton serves in the Army as a 14G, Air Defense Battle Management System manager. Currently with USARCENT, he monitors and reports on the Air Defense coverage and Theater Missile Warning across the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

With his graduation from drill sergeant school, Newton was awarded the distinct Drill Sergeant Hat, Badge and Skill Identifier to move on to train future Army soldiers. He will be proceeding to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to be a drill sergeant at basic combat training.

“As a basic combat training drill sergeant, he will be responsible to teach, train and mentor our future soldiers to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Camacho said.

Newton credited his grandparents, Rose and Bruce Newton, for their role in raising him into who he is today.

“They instilled family values and great work ethic, as well as guided him to make good decisions to get on the successful path he is on today,” Camacho said.

Newton said he encourages everyone to consider becoming a service member. 

For interested citizens, he recommends making sure they are prepared for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery assessment, doing research

into the jobs offered and knowing what scores are needed to be able to achieve

that position. 

For service members, he encourages all to be informed and take advantage of all the services and programs offered, including schools, certifications or courses to better prepare for the future.

Newton’s goal while serving in the Army is to leave a lasting impression on the Army and to be a leader people can count on even after they have separated from the service. His long-term goal in life is to serve 20-plus years in the Army and to build a home in Alabama and settle down with family after his service to the nation.

Newton is the son of Kesha Graham and Chris Newton, and his other grandparents at Wanda and Ted McAlister. He is married to Meagan

Newton – a veteran too, having served five years in the Army before the birth of the couple’s son, Levi. The family also has an Australian cattle dog named Tide.  Levi was born in 2018 while his father was deployed to Afghanistan, but Newton was able to watch the birth via FaceTime – an experience he counts as his most memorable from his time in the service.