Four of Fort Jackson's top drill sergeants went head-to-head this week to determine the installation's 2007 Drill Sergeant of the Year.
Events in the competition consisted of an Army Physical Fitness Test, hands-on performance tasks, rifle qualification, land navigation, situational training exercise lanes and appearing before a board of senior noncommissioned officers.
The winner and runner up will be announced at 10:30 a.m., Friday in the Post Conference Room.
Drill sergeants competing for the honor are Staff Sgt. Richard Westmoreland, Company B, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment; Staff Sgt. Alanna Payne, Co. F, 3rd Bn., 60th Inf. Reg.; Sgt. 1st Class Dameon Simmons, Co. C, 369th Adjutant General Battalion; and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Howard, Drill Sergeant School.
"If I am selected as the Fort Jackson Drill Sergeant of the Year I think I would have a tremendous impact in strengthening the drill sergeants through additional training and classes," Payne said. "I would also like to see drill sergeants have more one-on-one time with leadership."
The winner will go on to compete in June at Fort Monroe, Va., during the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Drill Sergeant of the Year competition. In the event the Fort Jackson competitor is chosen as the TRADOC DSoY, the winner will have a permanent change of station to Fort Monroe, Va., and the runner-up will serve as the Fort Jackson DSoY.
Participants in the Fort Jackson competition consisted of one representative from each training brigade and separate IET training units assigned or attached to the United States Army Training Center and Fort Jackson.
Fort Jackson's DSoY will serve as a liaison between drill sergeants and the installation command group. The drill sergeant will also advise local commanders and command sergeants major on all areas pertaining to drill sergeants and Basic Combat Training Soldiers. The DSoY also communicates daily with TRADOC on BCT policy issues that affect Fort Jackson and serves as a mentor to the more than 800 drill sergeants on the installation.
"I really enjoy being a drill sergeant because I take these total strangers and get them to work together and mold them," Westmoreland said. "By the time they graduate, they are a spitting image of me."