The drill sergeant. A backbone of the US Army. Gotta respect these soldiers, each and every one. The Military Times gives us an update as the competition begins:
FORT JACKSON, S.C. – Think your Monday was tough? Try being a competitor in the Drill Sergeant of the Year competition.
Six competitors started the day at 0330 by running a couple of miles. Next, they hammered out some combatives, conducted drill with a gaggle of new recruits, were thrown dozens of curve balls such as range malfunctions, rucked 60 pounds of gear across 10 miles of scorching hot pavement … and then broke for lunch.
“It took a lot of heart; a lot of mind over matter,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Facio, Fort Leonard Wood’s Drill Sergeant of the Year. “I’m feeling like I need what will be my ninth liter of water today, but I’m feeling good. My body is loose and my muscles are good. My feet are going to have aches and pains, but in a competition like this you have to just forget about it. It will be over in a couple of days.”
The afternoon had other fun surprises in store,to include being drilled by boards and ordered to write insightful essays. But topping the list was the challenge of coaching trainees frozen by fear atop a rappel tower – an event that took many by surprise.
“When I looked up and saw the tower, I thought we were going to be rappelling,” Facio said. “So when I got up there and saw the situation, I just had to shoot from experience.”
TRADOC then led the competitors to a FOB deep in the sweltering, mosquito infested woodlands. There, the competitors conducted drill and ceremony movements, open ranks inspections … and just to keep them on their toes, the drill sergeants had to hold combat and service uniform inspections in the field.”
You can read the full story and get updates throughout the week here.