By MIKE A. GLASCH, Leader staffApril 24, 2009
A drill sergeant from Company A, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment has been named Fort Jackson's Drill Sergeant of the Year.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Cavezza beat out 19 other competitors to grab the title during a four-day competition last week.
"It's a great individual achievement, but I don't look at it as me being the absolutely best drill sergeant," Cavezza said. "There are plenty of great drill sergeants on Fort Jackson. I was just fortunate to be able to compete and be at my best over those four days."
The competition began with an Army Physical Fitness Test and wrapped up with a formal board. In between, competitors were tested physically and mentally with more than two dozen tasks taken from Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills and the Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks.
"We really ramped it up a lot in terms of what they are going through," said last year's DSoY Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Wheele. "We made several additions to the competition, to include a night land navigation course, the clinch drill and more hands on with weapons. It's more physically and mentally demanding on them than it has been in previous years."
The non-stop tempo and stress built into the event was something Cavezza said was the hardest part of the competition.
"It was definitely a tough four days. It got more extreme by the fourth day," he said.
"You really didn't have time to take a rest. If you weren't physically engaged in something, you were studying the module that you had to pitch next, or getting ready for the next day's training events. It was fun, but it was tough as well."
Cavezza will serve as a liaison between drill sergeants and the installation's command group. He will also serve at the Drill Sergeant School, along with runner-up Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Lopez, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, to serve as mentors for those drill sergeants in training and help plan how to set up the school.
Cavezza will compete for the TRADOC DSoY title in June.