FORT JACKSON, S.C. (July 10, 2013) -- Six of the U.S. Army's best drill sergeants will vie for the title of 2013 Army Drill Sergeant of the Year, July 15-17, at Fort Jackson.

Contenders will endure physical and mental challenges during the 30-hour event, which tests their knowledge of Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills and their ability to teach these tasks to new Soldiers. Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills are the fundamental combat skills that all Soldiers must perform in order to fight and win on the battlefield.

The selection process concludes with each drill sergeant appearing before a board of command sergeants major to evaluate their knowledge of leadership and drill sergeant training tasks. One challenging aspect of the selection process is that the drill sergeants are purposely unaware of the tasks they will be required to perform.

The Drill Sergeant School, Initial Military Training Center of Excellence, will host an awards ceremony to announce the winners at 5 p.m., July 17, at the Fort Jackson NCO Club, 5700 Lee Road, Fort Jackson.

The active Army Drill Sergeant of the Year receives the Stephen Ailes Award, initiated in 1969, and named for the Secretary of the Army, from 1964 to 1965, who was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Army Reserve winner receives the Ralph Haines Jr. Award, named for the commander of the Continental Army Command (forerunner of TRADOC), from 1970 to 1972.

Drill sergeants are the cornerstone of Army readiness, entrusted with the task of preparing new Soldiers to fight and win our nation's wars. The skill of producing quality Soldiers demands that only the Army's best and brightest can serve as drill sergeants.

The drill sergeants' biographies and photos are available at the following link: