Fort Benning's Drill Sergeant of the Year
SSG Philip Richards III is Fort Benning's top drill sergeant. He will compete at the TRADOC-level competition in June. Last year, SSG Michael Johnston, another Fort Benning drill sergeant, earned the title at the Armywide competition.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - Fort Benning's Drill Sergeant of the Year was recognized Friday at a cadre call for the 198th Infantry Brigade.

SSG Philip Richards III, a drill sergeant with D Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, will compete for the TRADOC-level U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year in June at Fort Monroe, Va., and Fort Eustis, Va.

"To be named the Drill Sergeant of the Year is the crowning achievement for drill sergeants," said COL Daniel Kessler, the 198th Infantry Brigade commander.

During the cadre call at the Sand Hill Club, Richards' name was added to a plaque listing previous winners.
A customized wall decal depicting a life-size Richards was also unveiled, which replaces the decal of last year's winner, SSG Michael Johnston, who won the Armywide competition.

Richards said the pressure to bring home the title for the second year in a row is mounting and his competitive streak has him hitting the books, the rifle range and the gym to prepare.

Richards said in preparing for the post competition he routinely studied four to five hours a night.

"My battle buddies sacrificed their time to cover down on my position and my family sacrificed time we had to spend together," said Richards, a married father of three.

Richards said the best part about winning was having something to show for the sacrifices his family and fellow drill sergeants made on his behalf.

The competition included an Army physical fitness test, land navigation, warrior tasks and battle drills - such as urban orienteering, throwing hand grenades and first aid techniques - reciting memorized training modules, a 50-question written test and answering questions from a board of command sergeants major.

Richards graduated from the drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C., and joined the 198th Infantry Brigade 10 months ago. Prior to that, he was a platoon sergeant with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Richards has deployed three times to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Richards and DSoY runner-up SSG Scott Shepro, of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 192nd Infantry Brigade, will compete in the Armywide competition against drill sergeants from active-duty and Reserve commands.

The winner of the Armywide competition will assume a yearlong assignment representing TRADOC and providing expertise on training issues.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16