FORT EUSTIS, Va. — After three years, and training over 3,000 Army Advanced Individual Training Soldiers, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Chavira, a drill sergeant with Company H, 1st Battalion, 222d Aviation Regiment, doffs his campaign hat for the last time on May 26, 2022.
Serving with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment for nearly eight years, Chavira submitted his United States Army Drill Sergeant School packet to earn the prestigious “Brown Round” along with the drill sergeant badge.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Chavira. “These last three years are by far some of the most crucial to my career and my molding into a noncommissioned officer.”
Chavira’s stint as a drill sergeant began early 2019, approximately nine months before COVID-19, which had such a drastic impact on the way initial entry trainees and cadre interacted. He spent the first two years honing Soldiers with Company C, 1-222d Aviation Regiment before moving to Company H, which houses prior enlisted Soldiers attending Advanced Individual Training to reclassify from their prior military occupational specialty.
Initial entry trainees and prior enlisted Soldiers retraining in the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence interact with drill sergeants daily. Not only does it insure each Soldier meets training requirements, but it also gives trainees an opportunity to see how to carry themselves.
Stewardship is an active responsibility for all Soldiers and Army Civilians, from the top down. Noncommissioned officers are expected to maintain the formation.
“You get so much more out of the Soldiers when you treat them like human beings,” said Chavira. “Your Soldiers have to trust you.”
Finding the balance as an authoritative figure, mentor and provider has made the journey worth it for the senior drill sergeant.
“Being a drill sergeant has been one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve held in my life, not only in the military career.” Chavira said. “I’ve been blessed to be a senior drill sergeant for two different companies.”
After three years of serving under the 1-222d Aviation Regiment, Chavira is on to his next duty assignment that will take him to Honduras with 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment working with the CH-47 Chinook helicopter.