Drill Sergeant of the Year

Monday June 29, 2009

What is it?

Drill sergeants are top-quality, professional noncommissioned officers from virtually all branches of the Army who turn citizens into Soldiers. During every recruit's initial entry training period, these NCOs set the tone for their entire military career. An annual four-day competition for Drill Sergeant of the Year was held last week by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, as it has for many years at its headquarters at Fort Monroe, Va., and the nearby training areas at Fort Eustis. After an Army Physical Fitness Test to test each candidate's level of physical fitness, the candidates were tested on their knowledge of Warrior Skill Tasks and how they teach tasks such as rifle marksmanship and land navigation to new Soldiers. The competition concluded with each drill sergeant answering questions from a board of senior command sergeants major about leadership and training.

Who won?

This year's winners were Staff Sgt. Michael Johnston, active-duty drill sergeant from Fort Benning, Ga., and Staff Sgt. Joshua Marshall, reserve drill sergeant from the 95th Division. 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.

Why is this important to the Army?

Each year, TRADOC trains over 400,000 Soldiers. Drill sergeants play a critical role in the success of this training and have a direct impact on the readiness of the entire Army. Currently there are 2,300 Army drill sergeants in the active component and 3,000 in the reserve component.

What's in the future?

The next NCO competition will be the TRADOC NCO and Soldier of the Year competition and the inaugural Platoon Sergeant of the Year competition during Aug. 31- Sept. 23 at TRADOC headquarters.


2009 Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition microsite

TRADOC Web site

TRADOC on Twitter





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May 25 - July 4: Season of Remembrance

June 2009:

- National Safety Month

June 13 - July 8: 90th Anniversary Transcontinental Motor Convoy trip from D.C. to San Francisco

June 25: Korean War

July 2009:

July 4: Independence Day

2009 Commemorations :

Year of the NCO

Year of the Military Family

100th Anniversary of the Chaplain Assistant


"Well, again, I would say that overall stability in Iraq remains good. What we've had is we've had some extremist elements trying to bring attention to themselves as well as divert attention from the progress being made in Iraq, and so we've seen a couple high- profile attacks aimed at the -- aimed at innocent civilians.

I think what this has done, frankly, is brought the ire of Iraqi citizens against these groups and I think it will harden them in supporting them. And frankly, I believe it will make it much more difficult for them to continue to operate inside of Iraq over the long term."

- Gen. Ray Odierno on Fox News Sunday

Gen. Odierno on 'FNS' (DVIDS)


Year of the Noncommissioned Officer

"This award spawned from my experience as a private in basic training to going to drill sergeant school. All the privates, all the officers and all of the peers I've worked with and trained are all encompassed into the Drill Sergeant of the Year award."

- Staff Sgt. Michael Johnston, 2009 active-duty Drill Sergeant of the Year

2009 Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition

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