• Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Whitebull, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, kneeling, demonstrates how to apply a tourniqute as an evaluater grades him.

    Mettle test: Drill sergeants compete for title

    Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Whitebull, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, kneeling, demonstrates how to apply a tourniqute as an evaluater grades him.

  • Staff Sgt. Antonio Irving, Fitness Training Unit, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), low crawls through the mud Tuesday in the obstacle portion.

    Mettle test: Drill sergeants compete for title

    Staff Sgt. Antonio Irving, Fitness Training Unit, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), low crawls through the mud Tuesday in the obstacle portion.

  • Sgt. 1st Class George Simmons, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, applies camouflage to his face Monday during the Drill Sergeant of the Year competition. Competitors were timed on how fast they could camouflage themselves and judged on how effective their efforts were.

    Mettle test: Drill sergeants compete for title

    Sgt. 1st Class George Simmons, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, applies camouflage to his face Monday during the Drill Sergeant of the Year competition. Competitors were timed on how fast they could camouflage themselves and judged on how...

Twenty of Fort Jackson's drill sergeants are battling to be named the Drill Sergeant of the Year.

The four-day competition began Monday with an Army Physical Fitness Test and wraps up today with a formal board. In between, competitors were tested physically and mentally with more than two dozen tasks.

"We really ramped it up a lot in terms of what they are going through," said the current DSoY Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Wheele. "We've made several additions to the competition to include a night land navigation course, the clinch drill and more hands on with weapons. It's more physically and mentally demanding on them than it has been in previous years."

The increased tempo and stress built into the event was something not lost on the competitors.

"The toughest part is the scheduling. You really don't have time to take a rest," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Cavezza, Company A, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. "If you're not physically engaged in something, you're studying the module that you have to pitch next, or you're getting ready for the next days' training events."

Staff Sgt. Latia Ellis, Company B, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, shared that sentiment Tuesday only halfway through the competition.

"Today has been very challenging because there have been a lot of physical challenges, especially for the legs," she said. "After land nav, a road march, the obstacle course, I would say today has been a challenge."

The winner of the competition will be announced Friday and will serve as a liaison between drill sergeants and the installation's command group. The winner of this year's competition will also represent Fort Jackson during the TRADOC DSoY competition. In the event, the Fort Jackson drill sergeant wins the TRADOC event, he will have a permanent change of station to Fort Monroe, Va., and the runner-up will serve as the Fort Jackson DSoY.

Michael.A.Glasch@us.army.mil

Page last updated Fri April 24th, 2009 at 12:54