Fresh on the Trail

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Soldiers in Basic Combat Training from Echo Company 3/60th Inf. Reg., 193rd Bde., watch a rappelling demonstration at the Victory Confidence Tower located on Fort Jackson, S.C., Aug., 4, 2015. Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ, Public Affairs

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Rappelling down a 40-foot wall and scaling across a one-rope bridge, Soldiers negotiate their way through the Victory Confidence Tower as two of the Army Reserve’s newest drill sergeants look on. Watching, correcting and instructing the red phase basic combat training Soldiers.

Recent graduates of the Drill Sergeant Academy, Drill Sergeant, Sgt. Augustine Koomson, and Drill Sergeant, Sgt. Timothy Bingham both out of Alpha Company, 3/518th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) in Hickory, North Carolina, are fresh on the trail with their first mission as a drill sergeant in Echo Company 3/60th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Brigade during red phase.

Koomson, originally from Ghana, Africa, moved to the United States over 10 years ago and joined the Army in 2009. “I’ve been in my unit since March of this year. I heard about the drill sergeant program and got interested in it,” Koomson said.

He completed his three modules along with other requirements and was slotted for a drill sergeant school seat.

“The Drill Sergeant Academy prepared me really well, especially for conducting Drill and Ceremony and physical readiness training. My unit also prepared me with learning the modules,” he said.

Koomson also said that putting on the drill sergeant hat was a confidence booster and that he felt like he had enough knowledge to give back to the troops. “I wasn’t nervous, I was actually excited when I got on the trail. This was a dream of mine.”

One tip that Koomson shares with other new drill sergeants that are also fresh on the trail, is to apply all that was taught during the Drill Sergeant Academy, and “to be patient with the trainees because they’re civilians, they don’t know what they’re doing,” he said.

Army Reserve Drill Sergeant, Sgt. Timothy Bingham, 98th Training Division (IET), during an Echo-Mission, instructs basic combat training Soldiers from Echo Company 3/60th Inf. Reg., 193rd Bde., up and down the rope bridges on the Victory Confidence Tower at Fort Jackson, S.C., Aug. 4, 2015. Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ, Public Affairs

Sharing his tips for drill sergeants that are also fresh on the trail, Bingham exclaims, “Have fun! The hours are long but the reward you seek from it is what makes it all better.”

Less than a month and a half after graduating, Bingham jumped at the opportunity to go on an Echo Company Mission.

As for his first few days operating as a drill sergeant, he says his experience was similar from his active duty experiences as a noncommissioned officer. “I love watching Soldiers blossom,” said Bingham. “They don’t have much experience, and they really don’t know anything. You have the opportunity to teach them and guide them in what you know.”

With prior service on active duty and time in the Army Reserve, he still uses the traits he learned as a noncommissioned officer.

“The active duty drill sergeants have been great,” said Bingham. “They help us out with the little things.”

Bingham also states that the Drill Sergeant Candidate Program at his home unit provided mentorship that helped him to get into and graduate from the academy.

Anchored in confidence and the reassurance of knowledge, with Bingham at the height of the tower by the rope bridges, and Koomson at the base of the rappel wall, these two drill sergeants readily employ their newfound knowledge in transforming the Army’s newest recruits into well-skilled Soldiers.

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