By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)March 5, 2015
Integration for Company E, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, from the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) is almost the same as every other Fort Leonard Wood initial training company. There is some yelling, never-ending instructions and organized chaos.
The difference Saturday was who was reinforcing the commands among the lines of new Soldiers in training meeting their drill sergeants for the first time. Reserve-component drill sergeants from the 95th Division (Training), 4th Brigade, most from the 3rd Battalion, 339th Regiment based out of Neenah, Wisconsin, conducted the integration.
The 1-48th Inf. Reg. is the only Basic Combat Training regiment on the installation that incorporates Army Reserve component drill sergeants in their cycle. It is a process that has become known as the Echo Company Model.
Echo Co. currently has seven Reserve drill sergeants working alongside the seven active-duty drill sergeants, while Company D has two, and Company C has one. The Reserve-component Soldiers are on a rotation basis and, following their two weeks of annual training, seven new Reserve drill sergeants will take their place.
"Without them, this company doesn't move forward," said Capt. Blas Martinez, commander, Company E. "They help the whole battalion in our mission of producing quality Soldiers."
The goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible between the regularly changing Reserve drill sergeants.
"We train all year to do this," said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Glugla, operations non-commissioned officer, 3rd Bn, 339th Regiment. "We fall in and do exactly what an active-duty drill sergeant would do. We teach classes, run the PRT (Physical Readiness Training) and serve as staff duty."
Staff Sgt. Aldon Lehmann, Reserve drill sergeant, 3rd Bn., 339th Regiment, concurred, saying that there is not enough time at the unit for training for this type of mission. It requires additional training on their own time.
Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy Garcia, Reserve drill sergeant, 3rd Bn., 330th Regiment out of Michigan, said that their requirements as Reserve drill sergeants are not the same as they used to be.
"This is not the old 'weekend warrior' mentality," he said.
Garcia was an active-duty drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Georgia, for two years and is on his first rotation at Fort Leonard Wood. Lehmann is on his fourth rotation to Fort Leonard Wood and is on his fifth overall. The Reserve drill sergeants also rotate through Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Fort Benning.
Martinez is glad that Company E is one of the few units in the Army, and the only one at Fort Leonard Wood that get this opportunity.
"A lot of (training) companies don't experience 12 to 20 drill sergeants while they are here," he said. This is something he said is a positive for the Soldiers in training.
"It gives them a better experience," he said. "Different people bring different points-of-view.
There are a lot more people here helping to mold them into Soldiers."
That opinion is shared by others in the Reserve unit.
"(Having these Reserve drill sergeants here is) important, because we can give a perspective that the active-duty drill sergeants can't when it comes to the Reserve or National Guard," said Capt. William Smith, 2nd Bn., 339th Regiment, who is the commanding officer for this rotation of reserve drill sergeants.
Sgt. 1st Class Justin Deal, senior drill sergeant for Company E, agreed that what they bring to the table is valuable, but added that it can be a difficult adjustment for some.
"The Soldiers get a new set of Reserve drill sergeants every 15 days," he said. "They get to know how one drill sergeant likes it done, then that drill sergeant is gone. Now they have to learn all over again."
While they are only here for two weeks at a time, Lehmann said he wants to do his best to help the mission.
"I just want to leave my mark, in a good way," he said. "I want to show them that we bring something to the table. We are not just here to fill a slot for no reason."