Iroquois Drill Sergeant of the year

06/07/2013  |  Story by Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
The Griffon

Drill Sergeant Ryan McCafrey, runner-up, and winner Drill Sergeant Ivan Torres, pose after winning the 98th Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition held at Fort Jackson, S.C., Feb 21-24. From left to right: Command Sgt. Major Kyle Russell, Col. Loretta Thomas and Command Sgt. Major Grady Blue. Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Fifteen drill sergeants, representing each brigade, went head-to-head Feb. 21-24 at Fort Jackson, S.C. to determine the division top drill sergeant.

Following a weeklong series of physically and mentally challenging tests, 4th Brigade’s Staff Sgt. Ivan Torres earned the title of 98th Training Division Drill Sergeant of Year (DSOY).

The days were long and grueling and the drill sergeants were required to perform the same tasks as the trainees they lead, evaluating their endurance, stamina, and character. Competitors took a written exam, wrote an essay, stood before a review board and were tested on marksmanship on various weapon systems, physical fitness, battle drills, warrior tasks and land navigation.

Torres, a drill sergeant with the 2/417th, Waterbury, Conn., said it was self-motivation and drive that encouraged him to compete in the competition. He expressed the competition was tough but fun.

“I did well for most of the events and there were a few I wasn’t sure how I did but you just have to do your best in each event not knowing how well you did. I thought the competition was pretty even so coming out as the overall winner was totally unexpected.”

Drill Sergeant Ivan Torres accompanied by his Command Sgt. Major, 98th Training Division, Command Sgt. Major Grady Blue hurry towards the finish line of the 10K Ruck March during the 98th Training Division (IET) Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs.

Soldiers complete the essay portion of the 98th Best Warrior and Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition held Feb 21-24 at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs.

Exhausted and overwhelmed, Torres distinguished himself from his peers as the competition reached its peak during the final days. Nevertheless, while Torres held his own in the competition, he had a message regarding the importance of being a drill sergeant for the other competitors.

“Drill Sergeants are the first leaders that recruits encounter in Basic Combat Training. Drill Sergeants are the ones responsible in guiding recruits down the right path to become well trained, physically fit Soldiers. Drill sergeants have to BE standards for those Soldiers to follow and emulate. Drill sergeants have to KNOW all the tasks they are going to teach the Soldiers to standard and they have to be able to DO whatever is necessary to lead and train Soldiers.”

Torres added that with every challenge he puts forth his utmost effort regardless of how simple the task. Torres reflected on the words ingrained in him by his father.

“It doesn’t matter what you want to be. If you choose to be a janitor then be the best janitor there is. No matter what you want to be, be the best at it — do your best.”

From the day Torres joined the Army he knew he wanted to excel in everything that was tasked of him to do. Even in basic training, future Soldiers looked to him for guidance and leadership.

“Soldiers came up to me when they needed help for their APFT. I would go out and run in the company area with them. I’d always be there for them.”

Torres concluded as a drill sergeant, “I’ve never felt so motivated and prepared to lead Soldiers, especially when I’m training civilians to become Soldiers that will potentially go to combat and use all the skills that I taught that Soldier.”

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. Approximately 2,000 drill sergeants train 160,000 new Soldiers each year.

Comments & Ratings

Skip Navigation Links.