Drill Sergeants Train Rats!

12/05/2011  |  By Cpt. Patrick Olson Bravo Company 3-378th Regiment, 1st Bde., 95th Training Division (IET)
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Sgt. 1st Class Gary Nix, Bravo Company 3-378th Regiment, 1st Bde., 95th Training Division (IET) grades a cadet taking the Army Physical Fitness Test. Photo by Cpt. Patrick Olson, Bravo Company 3-378th Regiment, 1st Bde., 95th Training Division (IET).

ROSWELL, N.M. — Nine drill sergeants from 3-378th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET) from Norman, Okla. traveled to Roswell, N.M. to spend a week helping train New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) cadet Recruits at Training (RATs). 

NMMI is one of five military junior colleges in the United States, and the only state-supported military college located in the western United States.  NMMI includes a college preparatory four-year high school, and a two- year junior college.  Since 1891, NMMI’s mission statement has been “to educate, train, and prepare young men and women to be leaders capable of critical thinking and sound analysis, leaders who possess uncompromising character, and leaders able to meet challenging physical demands.”  This demanding task is accomplished by using an Army based military school structure: with all cadets living in the troop barracks, and all classes, meals, and military and physical training occurring “on post” in a structured environment.

The superintendent of NMMI, U. S. Army National Guard (Ret.),  Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle invited the drill sergeants to help reinvigorate the military school’s Army structured platform.  “These Drill Sergeants have a unique skill set, and can help instill consistency here.  By ensuring the same standards, a more proficient, professional and disciplined Corps of Cadets will raise standards, and ultimately help them perform better in the classroom,”  said Grizzle.

NMMI Cadets were separated into three groups according to their upcoming semester leadership position: Squad Leader, Platoon Leader, and First Sergeant.  Drill Sergeants accompanied each group and helped teach, coach, and mentor the cadet leadership prior to the NMMI cadet freshmen RATs arriving later in the week.   Drill Sergeants helped instruct cadets on a variety of topics, including: how to properly conduct an In-Ranks Inspection, Traits of Leadership class, Drill and Ceremony, Personnel and Property Accountability, Counseling, Leadership Systems, Platoon Drills, and Manual of Arms with M-1903 Rifle, and Saber Drill.


Staff Sgt. Danny Spurlock, Bravo Company 3-378th Regiment, 1st Bde., 95th Training Division (IET) inspects a New Mexico Military Institute cadet’s uniform.

Photo by Cpt. Patrick Olson, Bravo Company 3-378th Regiment, 1st Bde.

Drill Sergeants and NMMI cadets also left the classrooms to work on their physical fitness standards. Cadet leadership worked with Drill Sergeants on how to properly lead a physical training (PT) formation: from executing the extended rectangular PT formation, stretching, and even how to properly grade the APFT to “Army Standards.” 

 “This is a great opportunity for our Drill Sergeants to not only teach, coach, and mentor, but also to practice training instructors, which is what our Drill Sergeants are currently doing in Afghanistan.  By getting them out of the basic training environment, they are sharpening their skills, while also helping provide a valuable tool to the NMMI cadet leadership,” said Lt. Col. Fred Harmon, 3-378th commander.

Although Drill Sergeants helped teach, and coach cadet leadership, they were also able to show cadets how to lead by example.  By being exacting standard bearers, and consistently making “On the Spot Corrections,” Drill Sergeants showed that the responsibility of setting the example is something best demonstrated by consistent actions, and not just words in a classroom.

Drill Sergeant Danny Spurlock summed it up best. “As you can see, NMMI and Drill Sergeants both strive to develop leaders in a structured environment.  Although the uniforms may be a bit different, and the cadets may be a little younger (cadets range in age from 13-23), we are both trying to build leaders.  A sense of responsibility, discipline, courtesy, respect for authority, self-confidence, initiative, time management, and strength of character are all things we try to foster in Basic Combat Training, and it is what NMMI is doing here as well.”

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