By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)January 12, 2017
Soldiers-in-training look toward graduation with high anxiety as it marks the end of their nine weeks of Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood.
Unknown to the Families and newest Soldiers, drill sergeants have been looking forward to graduation day just as much as they have. Instead of taking leave, drill sergeants start the preparations to repeat the same nine-week cycle.
"We all love the cycle resets as drill sergeants," said Staff Sgt. Eric Sincore, senior drill sergeant for Company D, 31st Engineer Battalion.
Right after graduation, most training companies get the chance to spend a long weekend before getting back into the grind of being a drill sergeant, Sincore said.
"The best thing for the drill sergeants during this time is to relax," he said. "They need to take some time for themselves."
The average time between cycles is 10 to 14 days, said Sgt. 1st Class Andre Evans, Co. D drill sergeant. The time off allows drill sergeants to decompress following the high-intensity requirements of the training schedule.
"Throughout the training cycle, drill sergeants are at a high level of standard," Evans said. "The majority of the training cycle, we go 100 percent. We need the time to relax and recharge our batteries."
1st Lt. David Covington, the executive officer for Co. D, agreed.
"The drill sergeants work at a high intensity where there can be a lot of emotions involved," he said. "It's good to take a step back from what they have been doing, the effort they put into the last cycle and clear their minds and get ready for the next cycle."
The days during the break are not spent running personal errands or taking long lunches.
The time is spent taking care of mandatory training and conducting medical and dental checks, Sincore said.
"We try to clear everything else out so we can focus," he added. "Once cycle starts, that's your life for the next three weeks. It's good to have nothing else to bother you."
Outside of preparing themselves physically and mentally, drill sergeants also have to prepare the barracks for the next group of civilians training to become Soldiers.
Equipment is inventoried, cleaned and prepared, and the barracks are cleaned and put back in order for the next occupants.
"We have to get it cleaned because this is the first impression on the expected standard for these Soldiers," Evans said.