The Competition

The Drill Sergeant of the Year competition is one of the most physically demanding and mentally tough challenges any Soldier can face in a United States Army competition. For five days, these competitors must perform and master all associated tasks and drills from Basic Combat Training. To win and be named the Drill Sergeant of the Year, they must not only be experts in training Soldiers, but also be the best of the best and rise above the competition.

Six of the Army's best training NCOs from across the nation will be traveling to Fort Jackson to compete for the title of 2011 U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year from June 11 to June 17. The competitors include four active-duty and two U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants. One winner will be selected from each service component.

As the week continues, the candidates also will be tested on their knowledge of various soldiering tasks and how they teach those skills and techniques to new trainees. The final step in the selection process is an appearance before a board of senior command sergeants major to answer questions on leadership and training.

The final event of the week is the awards ceremony, which is scheduled for June 17 and 9 a.m. at the Soloman Center at Fort Jackson, S.C. None of the candidates will know who the winner is until the announcement is made at that event. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The winning active Army Drill Sergeant of the Year receives the Stephen Ailes Award initiated in 1969. Ailes was Secretary of the Army from 1964-65 and was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Army Reserve winner receives the Ralph Haines Jr. Award. Haines was commander of the Continental Army Command (the forerunner of TRADOC) from 1970-72.

The annual DSOY competition has been hosted by Headquarters, U.S. Army TRADOC for many years. Command officials describe drill sergeants as "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 an entire military career.