Skillful drills: Drill sergeants compete for DSOY title
April 28, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Nineteen of Fort Jackson's top drill sergeants went head-to-head this week in a grueling competition to determine the installation's Drill Sergeant of the Year.
The winner, who will be announced Saturday, will go on to represent Fort Jackson in the TRADOC DSOY competition this summer.
"I want to win DSOY, but more so, I want to see where I stand among my peers," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Roach, Company A, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception). "I expect to come out of this with more experience and knowledge."
Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Hernandez, current post DSOY, said he designed this year's competition to focus on teaching Soldiers-in-training rather than the drill sergeant completing tasks themselves.
"There is a big difference between teaching the task and doing the task," Hernandez said. "My mission is to find the drill sergeant who is teaching by doctrine and covers every task that drill sergeants are teaching in Basic Combat Training."
The five-day competition began with an Army Physical Fitness Test and a foot march out to Range 3 for group and zero fire. The competitors then marched to Range 20 to qualify with their weapons. The second day was devoted to navigating an urban orientation course with testing stations at each stop.
"You had to get your mind cranking with all of the physical aspects," said Staff Sgt. David Schible, Company D, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. "The toughest part was the road marches and going into the shooting. You had to do it in a timely manner. Being worn out and then putting your mind to work after being exhausted is a challenge."
Competitors were awakened at 2:30 a.m. on the third day to conduct land navigation, followed by a written exam and an orientation course.
"I am giving it my all," said Sgt. Angel Smith, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. "I know what my weaknesses are, and I know what my strengths are. So I am just playing on my strengths. The most challenging so far has been the little tests they give us. They are so simple, yet when you are tired you struggle. The marches have also been tough, especially with a bus following us around that we couldn't get on."
The fourth day began with another orientation course at the 165th Infantry Brigade Forward Operating Base and concluded with the Fit to Win course. The competition will conclude Friday with a board of command sergeants major.
All in all, Hernandez said, the competitors marched between 35 and 40 miles dressed in full battle gear.
"It is a gut check, both physically and mentally," he said. "Everyone was very motivated the first day or two, but by the third day you begin to see which drill sergeant really wants it."
A ceremony to recognize Fort Jackson's DSOY and runner-up is scheduled 1 p.m. June 10 in front of Post Headquarters.
The winner of the competition will serve as a liaison between drill sergeants and the installation's command group. DSOY will also advise post commanders and command sergeants major on all areas pertaining to drill sergeants and Basic Combat Training Soldiers. DSOY also communicates with TRADOC on BCT policy issues that affect Fort Jackson and serves as a mentor to the more than 800 drill sergeants on the installations.
This year's DSOY will also go on to compete in the TRADOC DSOY competition June 11 at Fort Jackson. If a Fort Jackson drill sergeant wins the TRADOC event, he or she will have a permanent change of station to TRADOC Headquarters, and the runner-up will serve as the Fort Jackson DSOY.