By Pfc. Chalon Hutson
Every Soldier in the Army remembers their basic training experience. Most of all, one of the highlights of that experience which they remember is their drill sergeants. With a commanding stature, loud booming voice and flat brimmed hat that make even the toughest Soldiers tremble; drill sergeants have been there to turn civilian’s into Soldiers.
None represents drill sergeants better than the reservists from the 485th Regiment, 98th Division Training Unit, who assisted in the 2011 Secretary of the Army, Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year Award competition which took place at Fort Benning, GA between Sept. 19 through 23.
Their mission was to assist in all ways which a drill sergeant could, whether it be conducting warrior task or a physical fitness test.
“We are our own entity; our own special branch,” said Drill Sergeant Alexander Mosley about the independence of the Drill Sergeant Corps.
The drill sergeant hat is often considered the most important piece of the uniform, creating an intimidating image that no Soldier will forget.
“The campaign hat is the signature piece of a drill sergeant’s [uniform]. Throughout anyone’s Army career, they will always remember the drill sergeant,” Mosley said. “You know if you see the hat; you are going to hear the loud thunder’s roar coming right behind you.”
Becoming a drill sergeant is a challenge all on its own. Candidates go through rigorous training, which some consider more difficult than initial basic training itself.
“Some of the training we go through; you have to keep in mind that you are going to be training basic training Soldiers. So it is like going through basic training all over again,” he said.
Drill Sergeant Ralph Allen, an 18 year Army veteran, spoke on what he learned while becoming a drill sergeant and what he hopes to impose upon Soldiers he trains.
“I learned to withstand different situations, how to manage life, in general and how to take care of Soldiers,” Allen said. “Don’t take life for granted. Try to be all they can be.”
“You have to get them in the mindset of ‘Now I am in the Army,’” Mosley described about his experience will basic trainees. “So, you have to break down the civilian and rebuild them back up into the Soldier.”
Overall, these drill instructors help keep the Army values instilled upon Soldiers now and in the future. Only the best can have the honor to wear the drill sergeant hat, in order to maintain the strong Army we have today.
“You have to be physically fit… You have to have good leadership qualities. You have to live all the Army values and you have to be one to go up and beyond the call of duty,” Mosley said.