FORT MONROE, Va. -- The Army's top six drill sergeants from across the nation will gather at Fort Jackson, S.C. Jun. 13-17 to compete for the title of 2011 U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year (DSOY).

This will the first time the event will be held at Fort Jackson.

Four active and two U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants will compete. Winners from the active component and the reserve component will be selected as top drill sergeant for 2011.

The four-day DSOY competition begins on Monday, Jun. 13th. During the week, candidates will also be tested on their knowledge of Soldier tasks and how they teach those tasks to new trainees, and Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills that all Soldiers must master. They will be graded on the newly proposed Army Physical Readiness Test and Army Combat Readiness Test that will test each candidate's level of physical fitness.

The selection process concludes with each candidate appearing before a board of command sergeants major to answer questions on leadership and training.

The Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, headquartered at Fort Monroe, Va. will host an awards ceremony to announce the winners at 9 a.m., Jun. 17, at Fort Jackson’s Solomon Center.

The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Drill sergeants are top-quality, professional noncommissioned officers (NCOs) from virtually all branches of the Army. Their role is to turn citizens into Soldiers. During every recruit's initial entry training period, these NCOs set the tone for their entire military career. Currently there are approximately 2,300 Army drill sergeants in the active component and 3,000 in the reserve component.

Each year, TRADOC trains over 500,000 Soldiers. Drill sergeants play a critical role in the success of this training and have a direct impact on the readiness of the entire U.S. Army.

The active Army Drill Sergeant of the Year receives the Stephen Ailes Award, initiated in 1969 and named for the Secretary of the Army from 1964-1965 who was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Army Reserve winner receives the Ralph Haines Jr. Award, named for the commander of the Continental Army Command (forerunner of TRADOC) from 1970-72.

Presently, drill sergeants are located at four TRADOC installations: Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. and Fort Jackson, S.C. Reserve component drill sergeants represent training divisions located across the United States.

Updated information on the competition will be available at: NOTE: FOR POST ACCESS CONTACT FORT JACKSON PAO AT 803-851-7650.