By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderMarch 14, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. David E. Stover, a drill sergeant leader with the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School, is Fort Jackson's 2013 Drill Sergeant of the Year.
The winners of this year's competition were announced during a ceremony Friday at Magruder's Club and Pub. Sgt. 1st Class George Tiemeyer, of the 187th Ordnance Battalion, was named Platoon Sergeant of the Year.
"It's been a very strenuous week, mentally more than physically," Stover said. "It's an amazing achievement. It's something I'm extremely proud of. The Drill Sergeant School puts out extremely good drill sergeants, and we all have that good, base knowledge and drive to succeed."
Tiemeyer said the competition demanded the participants to delve into years of experience in order to accomplish the tasks at hand.
"It took me back to those days as a young Soldier," he said. "You had to dig deep to (find) some of that knowledge you don't really use on a daily basis. It takes a lot to learn those warrior tasks and battle drills. It was mentally and physically challenging, and overall I thought it was a great competition."
The competition was a four-day ordeal that tested the Soldiers' physical and mental skills in trials that left little room for error. It began shortly before 4 a.m. March 4 with a four-mile run.
After that, the Soldiers took part in the Fit to Win course, Physical Readiness Training, drill ceremony and combative modules and ended the day at the night infiltration course. The competition ended four days later with an appearance before a board of command sergeants major, who evaluated the drill sergeants' knowledge of leadership and drill sergeant training tasks.
"Those command sergeants major had a combined 120-plus years of experience in the military," said Fort Jackson Command Sgt. Major Kevin Benson.
The board members also had more than 16 combat tours between them.
"The average competitor here has six years in the Army," Benson said. "If you don't think it's a little bit hard to go in front of them, it is. We do it on purpose to prepare them for the next level."
"We were looking for the best drill sergeant to represent the Fort Jackson installation in the Armywide competition ...," said Staff Sgt. David Schible, Company D, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, last year's Drill Sergeant of the Year.
As part of his responsibilities as 2012 DSoY, Schible was involved with staging this year's event.
"It was amazing to watch all of them compete in such a prestigious event," he said. "You could see where people were strong and weak, and how it balances itself out in the end. It was amazing."
The post's best and brightest are not the only ones being challenged in the event, Benson said. As part of the week's events, organizers poll competitors to find ways of improving Soldier training during the other 51 weeks of the year.
"These individuals become spokespersons for the rest of the trainers on this installation," Benson said. "One of the things I asked them to do (was to) write down what they'd like to improve on Fort Jackson. If you think we don't take this seriously, we do."
Stover said he plans to use the DSoY recognition as a chance to encourage positive changes in Army training.
"That's what I'm here in the military for -- to make a difference, and hopefully make a difference in drill sergeants' lives," he said. "And, more importantly, to make a difference in Soldiers' lives. There are things that can always be improved upon and changed."
Stover will go on to compete at the TRADOC DSoY competition, which starts April 29 at Fort Jackson. If he wins the TRADOC event, he will have a permanent change of station to TRADOC headquarters, and the runner-up will serve as the Fort Jackson DSoY.