The hurdles on the obstacle course require the contestants to hurdle them while holding their hands behind their heads, here from the left: SSG Shan Willis and SSG Christopher Cardina from Team 3 work at completing the obstacle.

FORT MONROE, Va. (Army News Service, June 22, 2007) - The top 17 drill sergeants from throughout U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command competed this week at Fort Eustis, Va., to earn the honor of being named the 2007 Drill Sergeant of the Year.

In an early morning ceremony today at the Continental Park at Fort Monroe, Va., two drill sergeants were named the best. Sgt. 1st Class Delfin Romani from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., was named active-duty Drill Sergeant of the Year. Drill Sergeant of the Year for the Reserve component is Staff Sgt. Steve Malubay from the 104th Division, Renton, Wash.

"I was real surprised," Sgt. 1st Class Romani said about being selected. "Those 13 guys I competed against - they are all pretty professional and if any of them were selected to win, I would be happy to shake their hand."

After serving as a basic combat training drill sergeant, he said it was difficult to be under the observation of other professional drill sergeants.

"It's a whole different perspective when you put yourself in that position. It makes you humble; it makes you realize your shortcomings," he said. "I know I have a lot to do when I go back to Fort Leonard Wood to keep myself sharp so I can represent the drill sergeants well around the Army."

Staff Sgt. Steve Malubay said that, as a Reservist, it was difficult to find the time to train for the competition.

"For most Reservists, they're maintaining two jobs: to maintain the skills they are required for the Army, as well as their civilian job and taking care of their family," he said.

Staff Sgt. Malubay is also a branch manager of a bank. "As a Reservist, you really have to put in that extra time to make sure you are doing the correct training and to make sure you're ready for competition," he said.

Competitors were judged based on their results in such challenges as a physical fitness test, land navigation, day and night rifle qualifications and a written essay.

On being named the top two drill sergeants, these two will now assume the yearlong duty of representing TRADOC and providing their expertise in training issues.

It was difficult to choose the two top drill sergeants as all of the competitors are the top of their profession, said Command Sgt. Maj. John Sparks, TRADOC command sergeant major.

"It's a terribly difficult decision; the points are incredibly close," he said. "All of these young men and women could be the Drill Sergeant of the Year for the United States Army.

"I see this competition as a celebration of the Army drill sergeant. It makes the whole Army stop and focus on how critically important he is to what we do," Command Sgt. Maj. Sparks said.

"I think that most people in the United States Army understand that in the last couple of years, we've really changed basic combat training 100 percent. It's not the basic training that I can remember 30 years ago," Command Sgt. Maj. Sparks said about the challenging role drills sergeants serve in preparing Soldiers for war.

He pointed to such changes as weapons immersion, where Soldiers maintain a weapon through the length of their basic combat training and the instruction of the Warrior Tasks and Battle Skills, what all Soldiers need to know to be successful on today's battlefield. The drill sergeant is also the person responsible for shaping a Soldier's discipline through the instruction of the Army Values and the Warrior Ethos, he said.

"It's an incredibly demanding position. We have made it even more demanding. It's instrumental in the global war on terrorism. They are incredible men and women and we owe them our thanks," Command Sgt. Maj. Sparks said.

Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 15:09