By Aniesa HolmesJuly 10, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 10, 2013) -- With a continuous need for leadership, U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeant recruiters are seeking men and women with a strong desire to guide and mentor future Soldiers.
Recruiters from the 98th Training Division at Fort Benning said finding those drill sergeants requires a weekly effort. Part of their efforts include visiting the Army Career and Alumni Program to speak with Soldiers about the option of transitioning to Reserve status in the Army, which could lead to future drill sergeant positions.
"Our strength is a little over 1,300 … we're constantly recruiting because some drill sergeants get promoted and they leave drill sergeant duties and go to other units," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Accardi, a Reserve recruiter with the 98th Training Division. "Promotion is the biggest reason … they want to get promoted to senior rank and often have to take a position with another unit that may not be a drill sergeant unit.
"Drill sergeants are the top 10 percent of the Army and the (Army Regulation) 614-200 guideline basically outlines what the Army looks for in a Soldier to become a drill sergeant candidate. … like being mentally and physically fit, no speech impediments and able to pass a PT test."
Accardi said Reservists are expected to follow the same guidelines for training as their active-duty counterparts, except drill sergeant positions are completely voluntary.
"We are still recruiting female drill sergeants heavily because we do need them," he said.
Staff Sgt. Maria Duncan, of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 485th Regiment, a Reserve unit, said becoming a drill sergeant was one of the best decisions of her career. Originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Duncan previously served on active duty for five years as a track mechanic at Fort Hood, Texas. She entered Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, S.C., in June 2012 and later served as a drill sergeant with the 1st Engineer Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., before transferring to Fort Benning.
"After I moved here … the first unit I found just happened to be a drill sergeant unit and I knew right then that's where I needed to be," Duncan said. "As a Reservist, I feel and believe I have more to offer and the best way I can do that is by being a drill sergeant. I'm definitely in the right place."
Duncan said that following the drill sergeant's creed to lead by example and maintain the Army standards is a duty that must be upheld by any leader -- male or female.
"There's no room for complaints … you're a drill sergeant and (the trainees) are always watching -- you've always got to be on top of your game," she said. "The job does require a strong body and strong mind. I think training is very important, and to train these Soldiers when it comes to weapons, land navigation, being in the field, you have to have the knowledge of how to do that."