The Drill Sergeant of the Year competition is one of the most physically demanding and mentally tough challenges any Soldier can face in a U.S. Army competition. For five days, these competitors must perform and master all associated tasks and drills from Basic Combat Training. To win, and be named the Drill Sergeant of the Year, they must not only be experts in training Soldiers, but also be the best of the best and rise above the competition.
Six of the Army's best training non-commissioned officers from across the nation will be traveling to Fort Jackson, S.C., July 15-17, to compete for the title of the 2013 U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year. The competitors include four active-duty and two U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants. One winner will be selected from each service component.
The final event of the week is the awards ceremony, which is scheduled for 5 p.m., July 17, at the Fort Jackson NCO Club, 5700 Lee Road, Fort Jackson, S.C. None of the candidates will know who the winner is until the announcement is made at that event. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
The winning active Army Drill Sergeant of the Year receives the Stephen Ailes Award, which was initiated in 1969. Ailes was Secretary of the Army, from 1964 to 1965, and was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Army Reserve winner receives the Ralph Haines Jr. Award. Haines was commander of the Continental Army Command, which was the forerunner of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, from 1970 to 1972.
The annual Drill Sergeant of the Year competition has been hosted by Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command for many years. Command officials describe drill sergeants as "top-quality, professional non-commissioned officers from virtually all branches of the Army." Their role is to turn citizens into Soldiers. During every recruit's initial entry training period, these non-commissioned officers set the tone for an entire military career.