Who Are Drill Sergeants?

Drill Sergeants talk about their journey through the Army, why they joined and how it made a difference. Each has different teaching methods to mentor civilians into Soldiers.

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DS SSG Schwendeman I joined the Army directly out of college, I had two-years of college, and I was tired of working dead-end jobs, working towards my degree and I wanted something a little more meaningful as a career, working towards that degree.

DS SSG Semsick I joined the Army originally to pay for college and everything. I was enlisted Reserve and then once 9/11 happened, I decided to go full-time Active duty.

DS SFC Robertson Ever since I was little and I used to see the little commercials about the Army "Be all you can be," that was something that I always wanted to do. So when I graduated high school, I joined the Army.

DS SSG Grabener Shortly after 9/11, a week after 9/11, I decide the Army was something I wanted to do. So I went through basic training and allowed the noncommissioned officers there to basically take a hold of me and change my life.

DS SSG Crutcher The Army has made a difference in my life by pretty much by giving my direction I was one of the, I wouldn’t say I was a bad kid, but I wasn’t a great kid, and it definitely put me back on the right path and subsequently was able to finish my degree and finish college. It really helped me out in the long run.

DS SSG Short The drill sergeant is a prestigious title but I wanted to be more than just a drill sergeant. I wanted to be a coach, a teacher, a mentor, somebody who’s going to take these civilians’ into the process of becoming a Soldier.

DS SSG Semsick The role as drill sergeant is to take that raw material, the civilian, who wants to be part of the Army and mold them into the Soldier they need to be to facilitate the Army mission.

DS SSG Grabener Well we are all noncommissioned officers first, our main goal, our main purpose is to coach, teach, and mentor all those Soldiers.

DS SSG Peffer I feel my most important role as a drill sergeant is probably instilling discipline and make them understand that working as a team is important. Everything we do in the Army is team-based and just making them understand that its something bigger than just themselves is about more them its about their buddy too.

DS SSG Short Some of the most common misconception being that we’re mean, we don’t care, we’re just there to push people through and push a product and that’s not the case at all. We are noncommissioned officers first and drill sergeant second. Our primary focus as a noncommissioned officer is the welfare of the Soldiers. So when we come in, and we take these civilians and turn them into Soldiers we have to keep that in mind.

DS SSG Crutcher For me the biggest thing is to get them for one to stop being an individual and to start working as a team. Because that’s really the basis of how the Army works, if we can’t work together regardless of where we come from, and what our MOS is were going to fail.

DS SFC Robinson Some techniques that I use depend on what the areas where training on, I will take that one-on-one time with certain Soldiers because they just don’t seem to understand and get it. I’m not much of a holler, so I will sit down and explain stuff in an easy, and milder calmer way for them to be able to understand.

DS SSG Schwendeman My technique for training Soldiers, initially I was more of the yelling type drill sergeant and then as you get more experience you realize that shuts out at least half of the Privates won’t pay attention to you anymore. So I take more of the mentoring and coaching aspect of the job more seriously now to get the common goal of just producing well-trained Soldiers.

DS SFC Tello What I tell my Soldiers is; ‘I’d rather talk to you as a human being, because the Army doesn’t want robots. The Army wants Soldiers that live, think and fight as Soldiers.’

DS SSG Short What people can expect is a challenge. A personal challenge for them. They can expect to be taught basic skills, the fundamental base to help them succeed in the Army. Anywhere from Drill and Ceremony to Basic Rifle Marksmanship on to Tactical Movements and Squad Movements, upside of Military History, personal well-being.

DS SFC Tello Health and fitness, that’s the drill sergeant, not only the drill sergeant, as a noncommissioned officer, we lead by example. So we show them what right looks like, and if I can do, they can do it.

DS SSG Grabener Everybody can do it as long as they qualify to come in. The drill sergeants are not there to kick them out or anything like that. We’re there to coach, teach and mentor them so that they do graduate. So that they can go join the ranks with the rest of the Soldiers and complete the mission.

DS SFC Robinson I love what I do. I really love my job. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Its just being out there with the Soldiers and seeing what you get from day-one and the finished product of them becoming an actual Soldier on graduation is… I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.