Role models for life


FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Row upon row of crisp campaign hats sit stacked onstage at the post theatre and the Army’s newest drill sergeants sit at the position of attention waiting to be presented with this iconic symbol of authority during the graduation ceremonies on December 6.

The opportunity to wear the drill sergeant hat is earned and not given. The U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, located at Fort Jackson, accepts only the most qualified Non-Commissioned Officers, and this month hosted its largest ever primarily Army Reserve class.

The ceremony took place in the presence of family, friends, and supporters of the Drill Sergeants and remarks where given by Commandant, Command Sgt. Major Michael L. Berr, and guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj Jamie K. Price, CSM 101st Airborne (Air Assault) HHBN. Following the remarks was the long awaited presentation of campaign hats.

Once presented with their brown rounds, the Drill Sergeants proudly recited the Drill Sergeant Creed, and enthusiastically marched around the interior perimeter of the theater prior to gathering outside to greet their guests.

Deservingly, these high-speed Soldiers will go on to instruct and train the future of the Army.

Achieving the title of Drill Sergeant isn’t an easy task. The academy relentlessly drills the core curriculum of Basic Combat Training in order to develop training experts to lead the BCT recruits.

NCOs elected to attend the grueling 9-week course receive preeminent training from Drill Sergeant Instructors. Drill Sergeant candidates spend hours inside and outside of the classroom, receive hands on training in physical training, drill and ceremony, marksmanship fundamentals as well as other subjects.

Drill Sergeants are responsible for the coaching, counseling, and mentoring of Soldiers, and teach new recruits every aspect of Basic Combat Training using talk-through and by-the-numbers instruction methods learned at the academy. 

As a Drill Sergeant Instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Kaid William Lacroix serves as a role model to those who intend to become role models to future leaders in the Army.

“Our biggest challenge for this class was that the Soldiers were young and there was a maturity level there, but by the end of the course it was on point and everyone did what they had to do, ” said Lacroix.

Drill Sergeant candidates must hold the rank of E-5 through E-7, sergeants must have at least one year time in grade, at least four years of active federal service and be a Basic Leader Course graduate.

Often times drill sergeant candidates may be young NCOs, but their dedication and discipline allows for molding them into drill sergeant instructors and is a primary focus of the academy’s mission.

  Designed to be a primarily Reserve class, Class 001-18 included a number of Soldiers from the 108th Training Command (IET) and the cadre was pleased with the work ethic of the Soldiers they trained.

“The Reserve Soldiers are like sponges when putting out information, they take it all in, they want to be here” said Lacroix. 

For most candidates, earning the title of Drill Sergeant is a dream come true, and they are incredibly proud to be a part of the indoctrination of the new recruits aspiring to be in America’s Army. Across the board, candidates and instructors alike expressed this a responsibility and challenge worth taking.  “My favorite part about being drill sergeant leader is that I get to effect change for the Soldiers” said Lacroix.   Only 10 percent of America’s Army have the great responsibility of shaping civilians into the best Soldiers in the world.

“I came into the Army 14 years ago with bad habits, but I was led by example and now I get to do the same with new future leaders,” said Lacroix.  We have diverse amount of knowledge coming from all walks of life in the Army, we get to teach them (the candidates) and they will go on to spread the knowledge to future troops explained Lacroix.   “That’s the biggest benefit,” he added.   A drill sergeant is a symbol of excellence in initial entry training, an expert in all warrior tasks and battle drills, lives the Army values, exemplifies the warrior ethos, and most importantly- is the epitome of the Army as a profession.

To learn more about becoming a drill sergeant with the Army Reserve contact the 108th Training Command (IET), Charlotte, N.C., or visit the Army Reserve Drill Sergeant Recruiting 108th Training Command (IET) page on Facebook at


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