Victory Starts Here

image

Red phase basic trainees in E. Co. 3/60th, 193rd Brigade Army Training Center navigate the rope bridge at the Victory Tower obstacle at Fort Jackson, S.C.  Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ Public Affairs

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — “This wall is the reason you are here,” instructs a Fort Jackson cadre member from the Special Troops Battalion for the 40-foot Victory Tower, as he orients 184 newly-arrived basic trainees from Echo Company 3/60th, 193rd Brigade Army Training Center, to a rappel wall on one side of the obstacle.

Some Soldiers appear stricken with fear, as others seem excited and determined as they all observe demonstrators rappelling off the wall from 40-feet above.

On day five of red phase, the first mission for the new recruits is to conquer the tower. “This is the first bit of fun these trainees get to have,” said 1st Sgt. Brett McCall, the Army Reserve Echo Company Mission First Sergeant from Delta Company, 1/518th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) in Greenville.

“It’s a confidence builder,” he said. “Trainees realize that the drill sergeants have their best interest in mind and are there to help them. If a Soldier is afraid, there’ll be a drill sergeant right beside them to talk to him or her and walk them down the wall. It’s a graduation requirement.”

Army Reserve Drill Sergeants, Staff Sgt. Richard Parker from A. Co. 1/518th Inf. Reg., 2Bde, 98th Training Division (IET), and Sgt. Timothy Bingham from A. Co. 3/518th Inf. Reg., 2Bde, 98th Training Division (IET), stand at the top of the tower motivating basic trainees up and down the rope bridges on the Victory Tower obstacle at Fort Jackson, S.C. Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ, Public Affairs

Piercing through a multitude of voices and thundering footsteps, drill sergeant commands echo throughout the wooden tower. Everything from “four points of contact” to “let’s GO” and a variety of other witty sayings, are geared to motivate and push the trainees through the obstacles despite their fear and inclination to second-guess themselves.

Army Reserve Drill Sergeants such as Staff Sgt. Howard Smith from Echo Company, 1/518th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), in Spartanburg, assist Army Training Centers every year during Echo Company Missions. Smith, a prior active duty drill sergeant, recently joined the Army Reserve.

Red phase basic trainees in E. Co. 3/60th, 193rd Brigade Army Training Center navigate the rope ladder at the Victory Tower obstacle at Fort Jackson, S.C. Photo by Maj. Satomi Mack-Martin, 201st Press Camp HQ, Public Affairs

“Get up that ladder as fast as humanly possible. Faster is better, look forward,” exclaims Smith as he motivates Soldiers up and down the rope bridges.

Army Reserve Drill Sergeants come to Army Training Centers with the mission of assisting the active component in conducting basic training.

“What drill sergeants tend to forget, is that they are also here to maintain their drill sergeant proficiency,” said Capt. Michael Scott Rode, the Army Reserve commander for the Echo Company Mission from Delta Company, 1/518th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) in Greenville.

Partnership opportunities during battle assembly weekends, such as assisting external units with basic rifle marksmanship and army physical fitness tests, help drill sergeants prepare for Echo Company Missions.

As summarized by McCall, the more opportunities Army Reserve Drill Sergeants have to go down to ATC sites and spend time in front of troops, the better they will become. “That’s intimidating when you step up in front of 240 troops, but the more you can do it on a regular basis, it’s a comfort zone.  The more you do it, the better you are,” he said.

As drivers anxiously wait to enter through the post gates, gate guards routinely quote the motto “Victory Starts Here,” but the physical manifestation of that takes place when new recruits enter Fort Jackson as civilians and are transformed into Soldiers, with Victory Tower being their first endeavor.

“At the core of anything, whether you build a house or a building, you have to build a foundation,” said McCall. “This is where you build the foundation. An Army can’t be victorious if it doesn’t have the discipline to start with. This is where it starts,” he proudly states.

Search

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.