Fort Jackson NCO named DSoY
July 24, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- For a second consecutive year, the Army has selected a Fort Jackson drill sergeant as the active-duty Drill Sergeant of the Year. Sgt. 1st Class David Stover, who was assigned as a drill sergeant leader with the Drill Sergeant School before he won the title, was named in a ceremony July 17 at the NCO Club. Sgt. 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey, representing the 98th Reserve Division was selected as this year's Reserve component Drill Sergeant of the Year.
"This is an amazing feeling. (This is) something that I have been working for for a really long time," Stover said. "The fact that I know now the impact that I will make on the lives of Soldiers and drill sergeants all throughout the Army and the training they will receive -- it's just an incredible and amazing feeling."
The Drill Sergeant of the Year selection process is an annual event that gives the Army's top drill sergeants from each of the four training installations the opportunity to prove their skills in training Soldiers.
Stover said that with a Fort Jackson drill sergeant winning for a second consecutive year, the post solidifies its position as the premier Initial Entry Training installation. The installation trains more than half of the new Soldiers entering the Army and is home to the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School.
"(The installation is) just putting out an amazing product on all levels," Stover said.
Six of the Army's top drill sergeants competed to earn the titles. Four active duty and two Reserve drill sergeants were recognized as the Drill Sergeant of the Year for their respective installation or division. The other competitors were: Staff Sgt. Steven Newman, Fort Benning, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Jonathan James, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Staff Sgt. William Schmidt, Fort Sill, Okla.; and Staff Sgt. Troy Braun, 95th Reserve Division.
"It's an incredible honor to be selected as the Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year for the Army. It was great to come out and compete with everyone and learn from everyone," McCaffrey said.
The three-day selection process took place July 15-17 and tested the drill sergeants' knowledge of combat medical skills, battle drills, U.S. weapons, and drill and ceremony regulations. The process concluded with each drill sergeant appearing in front of a board of command sergeants major who evaluated their knowledge of leadership, Army history, and drill sergeant training manuals. The competitors were also tested on their physical abilities and on how they instruct Basic Combat Training Soldiers.
"It was very tiring physically, but more so mentally -- just the unknowns of the next event, not knowing the grading criteria and so on," Stover said. "But with that I have walked away having gained an incredible depth of knowledge from my fellow competitors as well as the training itself, and it just pushes you to be that much better."
Both winners were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Stover will also receive the Stephen Ailes Award, initiated in 1969 and named for the Secretary of the Army from 1964 to 1965, who was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood. McCaffrey will receive the Ralph Haines Jr. Award, named for the commander of the Continental Army Command (forerunner of TRADOC) from 1970 to 1972. The awards will be presented in a ceremony in Washington at a later date.
Stover and McCaffrey will be assigned to Fort Eustis, Va., where they will serve as advisers to Command Sgt. Major John Calpena, command sergeant major of the Initial Military Training Center of Excellence, to enhance training for all incoming Soldiers as well as drill sergeant training and doctrine.