Drill sergeant leaders weigh in on competition, basic training changes
June 21, 2010
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (June 16, 2010) -- The Drill Sergeant of the Year competition has brought the Army's top drill sergeants together to contend for the active and Reserve title for decades, but this year marked the first time they would be evaluated by drill sergeant leaders.
Five drill sergeant leaders, selected by Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King, the commandant of the Drill Sergeant School, came to the Army-level competition to grade the eight competing drill sergeants on Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.
"The [competitors] are doing a good job," said Sgt. 1st Class Darlene Sanders. "It's mentally tough, as well as physically. You can tell that the competition is doing what it's meant to do."
"There really are eight winners," said Sgt. 1st Class Racheen Douglas. "They're exhausted and nobody quit."
Drill sergeant leaders teach drill sergeants how to instruct new recruits at the Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, S.C. There are currently 73 drill sergeant leaders in the Army. To become a drill sergeant leader, a noncommissioned officer must complete one year as a drill sergeant at a basic training unit, meet prerequisites, receive recommendation, and interview with the commandant of the Drill Sergeant School.
"If you're a top-notch drill sergeant, you should consider it. We need those expert drill sergeant leaders to get those NCOs ready to go and put out the best product," said Sgt. 1st Class John McHaney.
A part of instructing drill sergeants, drill sergeant leaders also have a unique look at the new changes to the basic combat training program of instruction, which has undergone a complete overhaul affecting combatives, basic rifle marksmanship, culture training and physical training, to name a few. These changes were made under the supervision of Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training.
However, the changes coupled with good leadership work to mold and teach a Soldier how to be effective in combat.
"We're actually going back to the basics," said Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Lopez. "We're putting out a better, more well-rounded drill sergeant. It's the same standard across the board."
"It's really exciting that the Army sees how training has been done and compare it to the mission at hand," added Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Johnson. "I love the changes."