Light on his feet
Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Vincent Higgins takes on a rope barrier as part of Fort Sill's drill sergeant of the year competition. Higgins was selected to represent the post at the national compeition.

FORT SILL, Okla.--After a week of intense testing, Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Vincent Higgins, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery, won the 2010 Fort Sill Drill Sergeant of the Year competition. He competed against three other drill sergeants from the 434th FA Brigade. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Iozzo, A Battery, 1st-19th FA, finished as runner up.

The 434th FA command made the announcements during a ceremony April 21, at brigade headquarters here.

"It's an honor and a privilege and it means I get to help out fellow drill sergeants and Soldiers with their training," Higgins said.

Higgins said he is ready to assume the duties as the DSOY, who is the senior drill sergeant to the 434th FA brigade commander and command sergeant major.

"I'm looking forward to coming up with new ideas," Higgins said.

Iozzo said he was pleased with his performance.

"I got a view of what my weaknesses as a drill sergeant are, and my strengths, and where I can improve," he said.

The competition was neck-and-neck said 2009 Fort Sill DSOY (Sgt. 1st Class) Arron Barnes, who administered the testing.

"Between the winner and the runner up, I think there was a 30-point difference, which is very close," Barnes said.

During the ceremony, Col. Richard Bowyer, 434th FA commander, presented Higgins the Army Commendation Medal, a plaque and his commander's coin. Iozza and competitors Drill Sergeants (Staff Sgt.) La Toya Clay, 1st-40th FA, and (Staff Sgt.) John Folger, 1st-79th FA, each received an Army Achievement Medal and coin.

"It was a tough competition, they all equipped themselves well, and I'm sure Drill Sergeant Higgins will represent us well at the TRADOC Drill Sergeant of the Year competition," Bowyer said.

Bowyer thanked Clay, Folger and Iozza for participating.

"You know nothing can be gained if nothing is given," Bowyer said. "Thanks for challenging yourselves, setting yourselves apart from others and really striving for the gold ring."
Clay said she gained new friendships during the events held April 5-8.

"This experience has brought us close together," she said, referring to her fellow competitors.
Folger agreed with Clay's comment and added: "I definitely gained a level of a confidence in my ability as a drill sergeant."

Higgins wife, 1st Lt. Celeste Higgins, B Battery, 1st-78th FA executive officer, attended the ceremony and stood by his side during the award presentations.

"I'm so proud of him. He's a performer, an excellent noncommissioned officer, he's a dedicated Soldier," she said. "He earned his title."

Higgins will now prepare for the Training and Doctrine Command DSOY competition June 12-19 at Fort Monroe, Va., against drill sergeants from the four other basic combat training centers: Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Benning, Ga.; and Fort Knox, Ky. The winner will become the Army drill sergeant of the year.

Bowyer closed the ceremony thanking Barnes for his ministrations as 2009's top drill sergeant.
"He (Barnes) didn't always give me the answer that I wanted to hear, and that's the way he should have been <m> he gave me the right answer," Bowyer said. "He represented not only this brigade, but Fort Sill in an outstanding manner over the last year."

Page last updated Fri April 30th, 2010 at 15:19