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12/20/2013  |  By Master Sgt. Deborah Williams 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
The Griffon

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Even drill sergeants need training and it is consistently and effectively done at the Drill Sergeant School here. The school is not designed to take seasoned NCOs back to basic training, but to get them back to the basics. Being an instructor responsible for teaching military skills to future Soldiers is what they need to learn at the school. The students have to understand that they will be responsible for teaching the material they’ve learned to other Soldiers – Soldiers who may be heading off to the front lines.

What you don’t know, you better take a bite of humble pie and ask for help, intestinal fortitude to tell the truth.

“We are going to make you masters here. You are not individuals, it’s a team. Congratulations on your selection,” said the school commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. McCoy, during his opening remarks to the new drill sergeant class.

Noncommissioned officers who attend Drill Sergeant School are called Drill Sergeant Candidates. Their training is strenuous. The school’s curriculum duplicates Basic Combat Training (BCT), week for week, because Candidates must be experts in all aspects of BCT to begin training recruits. They receive top-notch training from their Drill Sergeant Instructors because they’ll soon be expected to deliver great training.

“You are skill level two, three, and four. What you don’t know, you better take a bite of humble pie and ask for help, intestinal fortitude to tell the truth,” explains Sgt. Maj. Blaine J. Houston, deputy commandant. “I care about what you are getting ready to do. We will treat you with respect, dignity and show you how to fix your deficiencies. We are professionals, experts, your job is to teach BCT conforming them to our standards. You are going to look sharp, you’re going to represent the NCO Corp, and you’re going to be sharp. I wish you the best of luck at the Drill Sergeant School.”

The candidate’s day begins with physical training, followed by a full day of academic training. Every topic is specifically targeted to the basic training environment. Classes consist of basic rifle marksmanship, drill and ceremony, unarmed combat training and a variety of other basic military skills training. The school’s overall goal is to train each candidate to become the trainer, be able to clearly and concisely relay what he’s learned to Soldiers.

The instruction is hands-on because the instructors here make the candidates pitch the class so they are actually learning and relearning the subject, thereby gaining confidence.

“It is going pretty good, very exciting, even though I was nervous at first, I am feeling more confident,” said Sgt. Brittany Dozier, 1/378th, BCT Bn, 98th Training Division (IET). “I got it!”

The combined United States Army Drill Sergeant School for the Army Reserve and Active Component was officially dedicated here on Feb. 23, 2011. “Partnership is phenomenal; we love the 108th, it’s unique. We cannot pick out reserve from active duty candidates. We are like a Family here,” said McCoy.

The confidence to be a drill sergeant and a mentor to other Solders has always been held in high regard. Many take the position as a stepping stone in their military careers. Others choose the road to Drill Sergeant School to have their own personal effect on tomorrow’s Soldiers.

Some common reasons that Drill Sergeant Candidates do not succeed in the Drill Sergeant School are due to arriving exceeding the allowable body fat standards prescribed in AR 600-9, inability to achieve 60 points in each standard event of the Army Physical Fitness Test and cannot Group and/or Zero and/or Qualify with the M16 rifle.

A spot in Drill Sergeant School is one of the highest honors the U.S. Army can bestow a NCO. Only the most qualified NCOs are chosen to attend Drill Sergeant School, where they are trained to fulfill a role of extreme importance, the role of a Drill Sergeant. Drill Sergeants teach new recruits every aspect of Basic Combat Training, meaning they have a huge responsibility to shape recruits into the best Soldiers in the world.

Basic Qualifications

To qualify as a drill sergeant candidate, applicants must:

  • Currently hold the rank of at least SPC/CPL
  • Minimum of four years time in service
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Minimum GT score of 100 (waiverable to 90)
  • PULHES of 111221 or better
  • Meet Army height and weight standards
  • Pass the standard Army Physical Fitness Test
  • No speech impediment
  • Display good military bearing
  • Demonstrate leadership ability and capability to perform in positions of increased responsibility
  • No court-martial convictions
  • No record of disciplinary action or time lost during current enlistment or within the last three years, whichever is longer

Successful completion of Drill Sergeant Duty greatly enhances opportunities for promotion. Many senior noncommissioned officers are former drill sergeants. To learn more about becoming a drill sergeant contact the 108th Training Command (IET), Charlotte, N.C. @ (866) 215-3647 Ext. 4214/2836 or email: [email protected] or Internet:
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