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This article is organised as follows:

  • Part 01: Introduction to the US Army Drill Sergeant.
  • Part 02: History of the US Army Drill Sergeant.
  • Part 03: Training Hierarchy.
  • Part 04: Recruitment, Selection and Training of a Drill Sergeant.
  • Part 05: Drill Sergeant Tour of Duty.
  • Part 06: Facts, Figures and Honours.
  • Part 07: Miscellaneous.


1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the United States (US) Army’s Drill Sergeant.

“The U.S. Army drill sergeant is one of the most mimicked Soldiers amongst civilians. The prominent character is not only the first impression of new army recruits, but they also have the responsibility of turning those same recruits into warriors and defenders of America’s freedom.” (Odom, 2017).

Although the lineage of drill sergeants can be traced back to the revolutionary war (aka or the American War of Independence), the official start date for drill sergeants is 1964, celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2014.

For many, the image of a US Army drill sergeant is a shouting, in your face instructor who has only recently started mentoring recruits rather than menacing them. However, back in 2001 it was reported that “These days drill sergeants spend more time mentoring than menacing.” (Thompson, 2001). Since 2001, there has been a constant reference to the softening of drill sergeants (Thompson, 2001; Jonsson, 2007; CBS News, 2012).

Regardless of your viewpoint, it can be said that 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.

Prior to 2007, the drill sergeant delivered training across the initial entry training spectrum. From 2007, drill sergeants delivered basic combat training and advanced individual training platoon sergeants facilitated advanced individual training. Reports suggest that drill sergeants will once again be covering the whole initial training spectrum from 2019-2020 (Myers, 2017).

Despite being viewed as a career-enhancing move, only a small number are volunteers for a tour as a drill sergeant with the majority being what is known as involuntarily selected or ‘DA selected’ by the department of the army.

Drill sergeants are trained at the US Army’s Drill Sergeant Academy, which is designed to place candidates in the instructor’s seat, allowing them to learn by teaching, in both classroom and hands-on environments. Candidates learn how to instruct physical fitness, drill and ceremony, combatives and weapons marksmanship basics, and are also taught how to operate a weapons range. Candidates also spend several days in a field environment, teaching and applying all sections of Warrior tasks and battle drills – including land navigation, buddy movement drills, roaming guard and live-fire movements.

This article is divided into seven parts for easier reading. Part One is the introduction which outlines what a drill sergeant is and what they do. It also describes the difference between drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants. Part One also outlines initial entry training and some pertinent terminology. Part Two describes the history of the drill sergeant, as well as the distinctive hat. Part Three highlights some of the organisations in the training hierarchy. Part Four looks at the selection and training process, as well as describing the distinctive hat and identification badge. Part Five describes the tour of duty of a drill sergeant, including available positions and a handbook providing advice and guidance to potential, new and veteran drill sergeants alike. Part Six provides some interesting facts and figures, as well as honours bestowed on the drill sergeant community. Finally, Part Seven provides some useful books and links, as well as references.

1.1     What is a Drill Sergeant?

“It’s the drill sergeant’s job to deliver quality Soldiers.” (Foreman, 2004, p.6).

Drill sergeant is the term used by the US Army for the military training instructors who deliver training to military recruits during initial entry training – also known as Phase 1 training, basic training, initial training and ‘boot camp’.

However, drill sergeants also provide training for a number of other groups, as outlined in Section 5.1.

1.2     What Does a Drill Sergeant Do?

A drill sergeant provides training, coaching, counselling and mentoring to individuals as part of their transformation from volunteer civilian to combat-ready soldier.

Drill sergeants are military instructors who deliver training to military recruits as part of their initial entry training, which is outlined below.

A drill sergeant is responsible for training military recruits in the areas of physical fitness, basic rifle marksmanship, drill and ceremony, and all general subjects of basic combat training. They are also responsible for indoctrinating military recruits in the fundamentals of military life, army core values, esprit de corps, leadership, military bearing, and military customs and courtesies.

1.3     What is the Difference between a Drill Sergeant and AIT Platoon Sergeant?

“The roles of Drill Sergeants and AIT Platoon Sergeants are comparable even though they train Soldiers during different phases of initial entry training. Drill sergeants transform new recruits into Soldiers

AIT Platoon Sergeants, Squad Leaders and MOS Instructors train Soldiers to become proficient at their Army job/MOS and prepare them for their transition to their first assignment.” (TRADOC, 2017, p.59).

1.4     Initial Entry Training

Initial recruit training within the US Army is known by the term Initial Entry Training (IET) which encompasses two phases of training:

  • Phase 1: Basic Combat Training (BCT): converts civilians into partly trained military personnel. Training programmes follow a common military syllabus (CMS) to ensure consistency across the board. This phase is ubiquitously known as ‘boot camp’.
  • Phase 2: Advanced Individual Training (AIT): also known as special-to-arms and professional training which provides military personnel with the skills, knowledge and qualifications required for their specific job/role.
  • Combined Phase 1 & 2: One Station Unit Training (OSUT): for a number of jobs/roles, phase 1 and 2 training has been streamlined into a combined training programme known as OSUT. This means the recruit will complete all of their IET at one location, rather than move on after BCT.

BCT is conducted at four locations within the US, whilst AIT is conducted at 26 locations.

A fuller description of IET can be found here.

1.5     Terminology

  • Initial Military Training (IMT): Term that encompasses all initial Army training including enlisted, warrant officer, and officer.
  • Initial Entry Training (IET): Training presented to new enlistees with no prior military service. It includes BCT, AIT and OSUT.
  • Basic Combat Training (BCT): Training in basic military subjects and fundamentals of basic combat skills, to all newly enlisted Active/Reserve personnel without prior service.
  • Advanced Individual Training (AIT): Training given to enlisted personnel, after completion of BCT, to qualify for the award of a MOS.
  • Military Occupational Specialty (MOS): An IET Soldier is considered MOS qualified upon successful completion of all BCT and AIT/OSUT requirements).
  • One-Station Unit Training (OSUT): IET conducted at one location, in one unit, under the same cadre, with a Program of Instruction tailored to a specific MOS.
  • Deputy Commanding General – Initial Military Training (DCG-IMT): establishes policies for the conduct of IMT; manages and assesses the IMT programme.
  • Individual Training Record (ITR): Records the training/standards achieved by the Soldier.
  • Mandatory Release Date (MRD): A predetermined release date that is part of the Reserve Component enlistment contract; established at the home station to allow students and seasonal employees to enter and complete BCT during IET.
  • Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills (WTBD): Skills taught in BCT and the BCT portion of OSUT to train Soldiers how to survive in combat.

1.6     Drill Sergeant Creed

I am a Drill Sergeant

I will assist each individual in their efforts to become a highly motivated, well disciplined, physically and mentally fit soldier, capable of defeating any enemy on today’s modern battlefield.

I will instil pride in all I train, pride in self, in the Army, and in country.

I will insist that each Soldier meets and maintains the Army’s standards of military bearing and courtesy, consistent with the highest traditions of the US Army.

I will lead by example, never requiring a soldier to attempt any task I would not do myself.

But first, last, and always, I am an American soldier, sworn to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

I am a Drill Sergeant.


2.0     Introduction

This part of the article provides a fairly comprehensive history of the drill sergeant, as well as the history of the male and female versions of the drill sergeant’s hat.

2.1     History of the Drill Sergeant

“Before there was a Drill Sergeant School, NCOs who were assigned to ATC [army training centre] units and were the instructors merely based on that assignment had no criteria to follow except that they hold leadership ranks.” (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009).

In October 1958, General Bruce C. Clarke, Commander of US Army Europe (USAREUR) Seventh Army NCO Academy, “developed the Army Training Academy (ATA) at Fort Jackson to strengthen the academies and better train the non-commissioned officer as instructors.” (Foreman, 2004, p.2). It was to provide a course to “concentrate on training men to train other men to become well trained and disciplined soldiers.” (Foreman, 2004, p.2). However, the experiment was short-lived and closed on 03 March 1959 (Foreman, 2004).

In late 1962, Secretary of the Army Elvis J. Stahr Jr. directed Under Secretary of the Army Stephen Ailes to conduct a survey of recruit training in the US Army. This survey was conducted over a long period of time, and included experienced personnel from a variety of backgrounds.

To insure his report would be valid, Secretary Ailes conducted a comprehensive survey by comparing the training techniques of the US Marines, US Army, US Navy, and US Air Force.

The final report, as submitted to the Department of the Army, contained five principle findings, with appropriate recommendations and suggestions for eliminating the problems encountered. The comparisons of the training centres of the three Services with those of the army demonstrated the attitude of the NCO’s within the army training centres as very poor. The principle findings of the report included:

  1. The long working hours.
  2. The difficulty of the demanding nature of the work.
  3. Lack of free time for family concerns.
  4. Calibre of NCO’s being assigned to the army training centres was far below the standards required by the other Services.
  5. The negative attitude of the trainer, which had a demoralising effect on the trainee and resulted in a mental block between the recruit, and the trainer, and thus caused a negative impact on the qualified trainer and the quality of training presented.

The report cited that inadequate staffing in the training centres was a causative factor in points 1 to 3.

Between April and June 1963, Pilot Trainer Courses were conducted at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for selected officers and NCO’s to participate in testing the revised concept of recruit training.

Immediately following, in July and August 1963, this new training concept was tested with a training battalion at Fort Jackson and a training company at Fort Gordon, Georgia, in which the “first course took place from May 25, to June 1964.” (Foreman, 2004, p.3). In September 1964, the Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood began training NCO’s as Drill Sergeants on “a five-week pilot course”, graduating “71” (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009; Foreman, 2009).

The success of these tests resulted in the adoption of the new concept, and “…the establishment of a second drill sergeants’ school at Fort Dix, New Jersey…” (Foreman, 2004, p.3). A total of six drill sergeant schools would be established at army training centres (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009) throughout the then Continental Army Command (CONARC).

The role of the drill sergeant was to be viewed as an honour and a special badge was ordered to be created to distinguish them from other NCO’s, with only the best being selected for the programme (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009).

At some point between 1964 and 1966, 10 NCO’s were selected to attend the US Marine Corps’ Drill Instructor’s Course at Parris Island, South Carolina (Foreman, 2004).

CONARC expanded the drill sergeants’ programme “with the establishment of the drill sergeants’ assistants’ course” as an adjunct to the Third NCO Academy (Foreman, 2004, p.3).

“And in 1965 the program was forced to establish a Drill Corporal course and use newly graduated Soldiers to be assistant instructors to help train the large number of new Soldiers needed for the [Vietnam] war effort.” (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009).

Between 1971 and 1975, the number of women in the US Army grew from 13,000 to 39,000 – the highest number since the Second World War (Schudel, 2009). “When the draft ended in 1973, women were eligible for only 9 percent of the military’s jobs and composed only 2.5 percent of the ranks; now 14 percent are women.” (Fox News, 2011). All-females units were abolished and, for the first time, women were allowed to command men. In 1978, the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was abolished and women were integrated into the rest of the army.

“At the time [1971], Army women were concentrated in nursing and clerical roles and were prohibited from applying for hundreds of jobs open to men. With the elimination of the military draft and the creation of the all-volunteer Army in 1973, women could work in practically any military specialty, excluding combat. Many other traditional barriers to women in the military vanished under Gen. Bailey’s leadership.” (Schudel, 2009).


On 30 October 1971, the Headquarters of CONARC received approval from the Chief of Staff of the Army, General William C. Westmoreland, for permission to include women in the Drill Sergeant Programme. In February 1972, six female NCOs of the WAC from Fort McClellan, Alabama, were enrolled in the Drill Sergeant Programme, at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. The first female candidates arrived at the school on 20 February 1972 and, upon graduation on 07 April 1972, were authorised to wear the female drill sergeant hat (Section 2.4).

Of the six women attending the course, two soldiers, Sergeant First Class Sylvia M. Dobson and Staff Sergeant Ladina L. Moore, were honour graduates. Dobson and Moore stayed at the Fort Jackson Drill Sergeant School and became the first two female drill sergeant instructors in the drill sergeant programme.

Until 1977 female drill sergeants only trained other women (Fox News, 2011).

In late 1986, the then commander TRADOC, General Carl E. Vuono, directed that the “drill sergeant schools be moved under the NCO Academies umbrella.” (US Army, 2012).

In July 1988, the command and control (C2) of the drill sergeant school was shifted from the Infantry Training Centre to the NCO Academy at Fort Benning (US Army, 2012). The NCO Academy was officially renamed the Henry Caro NCO Academy on 24 January 1989 (US Army, 2012).

In 1992, the C2 of the Fort Benning drill sergeant school shifted once again, this time to the Infantry Training Brigade (US Army, 2012).

The number of women once again swelled when further military jobs were opened up to them in the 1990s and since basic combat training for both men and women was more widely introduced in 1994 (Thompson, 2001; Fox News, 2011). “…mixed-gender training was suspended in 1982 after a five-year attempt.” (Thompson, 2001).

In October 1997, the US Army made a deliberate decision to limit drill sergeant assignments to personnel in the rank of staff sergeant (E-6) and sergeant first class (E-7), with a few exceptions for certain MOS, women and some ANG and reserve units (Klein et al., 2005). Sergeants (E-5) could no longer be drill sergeants.

On 25 May 1999, the C2 of the drill sergeant school shifted back from the Infantry Training Brigade to the Henry Caro NCO Academy (US Army, 2012).

In late 2003, the headquarters training and doctrine command (HQ TRADOC) commissioned a study looking at sergeants in drill sergeant assignments (Klein et al., 2005), partly motivated by the fact there were not enough qualified candidates to fill basic training posts due to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004, the US Army Research Institute (ARI) investigated to what extent sergeants would be fit to serve as drill sergeants. Based on the results of that research, the then Chief of Staff of the Army issued a memorandum on 28 February 2005 authorising the assignment (or reinstatement) of sergeants as drill sergeants (Miller et al., 2011). Prior to this, drill sergeants had to be in the rank range of staff sergeant (E-6) through sergeant first class (E-7).

As part of the 2005 base realignment and closure commission (BRAC) Act, all drill sergeant schools were consolidated at Fort Jackson, South Carolina (BRAC, 2005, K-9). The Henry Caro NCO Academy, Fort Benning, graduated its last class of drill sergeants on 03 October 2007 and deactivated on 17 October 2007.

“In 2006, drill sergeant positions were authorized within the National Guard, with the intent that drill sergeants would have a positive impact on participants in National Guard programs including the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP).” (ONG, 2011).

Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeants, discussed below, were introduced in 2007.

The drill sergeant school at Fort Leonard Wood was closed in May 2008 (Missouri Net, 2008), thus making Fort Jackson the sole remaining training facility for drill sergeants.

In 2009, Command Sergeant Major Teresa L. King became the first female Commandant of the US Army’s Drill Sergeant School (DSS) (Schafer, 2011; Lunato, 2017); although her tenure was not without controversy (Schafer, 2011; 2012a, 2012 & 2014).

The drill sergeant school became a combined school on 23 February 2011, meaning it now trains both active army and army reserve candidates (Williams, 2013). However, another source states that “the new consolidated Drill Sergeant School was completed in Feb 2011 [and on] February 23, 2011 [the] U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School opened.” (Gateway to the Army, 2015).

The drill sergeant school was renamed the drill sergeant academy (DSA) in 2015 (Mack-Martin, 2015).

2.2     Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant

“AIT platoon sergeants are just as well trained as drill sergeants, [Major General] Frost said, but they may not have the same “sphere of influence” on new soldiers as a noncommissioned officer wearing the distinctive brown drill sergeant headgear.” (Cox, 2017).

Introduced in 2007, the Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant (AIT PSG) was established to replace drill sergeants in AIT “…as a way to recognize a young soldier’s transition from less total control and a little bit more of recognizing the role of the noncommissioned officer…” (Myers, 2017).

“When the Army decided to replace AIT drill sergeants with platoon sergeants in 2007, the rationale was this: Drill sergeants only exist within the confines of the training environment, and replacing them with platoon sergeants would better prepare soldiers for post-training life in the regular Army.” (Lineham, 2017b).

Except for OSUT MOS such as infantry, most soldiers undertake their AIT (also known as Phase 2 employment training) at a different training establishment from where they undertook BCT. When they arrive, AIT PSG are in charge of them until they complete their employment training and are posted to their first operational unit.

“AIT platoon sergeant candidates complete a six-week course before receiving two weeks of Master Resiliency Training, he said.” (Tan, 2016).

As stated by Major General Malcolm Frost, commanding general of the US Army’s Centre for Initial Military Training (USACIMT), the US Army is looking to re-employ AIT PSG as drill sergeants (Cox, 2017). The primary reason for this change is to do with discipline – although, as stated in some comments (Cox, 2017; Lineham, 2017b), discipline should be instilled during basic training not employment training.

“Drill sergeants serve as primary instructors, responsible for teaching and instructing new soldiers every day, he said. AIT platoon sergeants, on the other hand, are primarily responsible for leading and taking care of their soldiers and preparing them for their first unit of assignment.” (Tan, 2016).

As of November 2017, the proposal is awaiting a final decision by the US Army’s Vice Chief of Staff. If approved, AIT PSG serving in their first 12 months would be required to become drill sergeants whilst AIT PSG serving in months 13 to 18 would be given the option to decide for themselves.

“The initial goal for putting drill sergeants back in AIT – drill sergeants already run One Station Unit Training, which is offered for military occupational specialties such as infantry and combines basic training and AIT – was fiscal year 2019. But leaders have pushed the date back a year because of budget issues.” (Myers, 2017).

Unlike drill sergeants, AIT PSG do not gain perks like the distinctive hat (Section 2.3), badge (Section 4.7) or special pay (Section 4.8). The main stumbling block is the expense of the special pay for drill sergeants.

“A typical drill sergeant is in charge of about 20 soldiers, while the typical student load for an AIT platoon sergeant is 40, he said.” (Tan, 2016).

2.3     The Male Drill Sergeant Hat

A veteran of numerous campaigns in the field, steeped in traditions, and in active service in various styles since 1850, the Campaign Hat is considered the most appropriate symbol for a drill sergeant.

The Campaign Hat can trace its lineage back to the straw or felt slough ‘Hardee Hat’ of the 1850’s through the centre crease designs of the 1880’s to the present day modified (flat brim versus upturned brim) ‘Montana Peak’ which was adopted for wear by the US Army in 1911.

Use of the Campaign Hat was discontinued in 1942 but was re-introduced in 1964, becoming a symbol of the drill sergeant and a way of distinguishing them from those whom they were charged with transforming into soldiers.

The olive drab headgear worn by male drill sergeants today has a flat brim, Montana Peak and bears a gold disc with “the coat of arms of the United States on its front” (DA Pamphlet 670-1, 2015, p.145-146). Infantry Soldiers wear an infantry blue disc under the seal (DA Pamphlet 670-1, 2015, p.225).

The Campaign Hat is a universal, iconic symbol of authority, and drill sergeants wear the Campaign Hat as a testament of their demonstrated professionalism, commitment to the mission, and proven leadership. The Campaign Hat further symbolises the lineage of the past, present and future of the US Army.

Per AR 670-1, the drill sergeant hat is an organisational issue item. DA Pamphlet 670-1 (2015, p.131-132) provides details on when and how the drill sergeant hat is worn for both men and women.

“Those in CMF 18 [i.e. Special Forces] who are filling a drill sergeant position will continue to wear the drill sergeant hat while assigned to a valid drill sergeant position and actively training Soldiers.” (DA Pamphlet 670-1, 2015, p.6).

2.4     The Female Drill Sergeant Hat

The female version of the drill sergeant hat was designed by brigadier general Mildred C. Bailey, commander of the Women’s Army Corps from 1971 to 1975 and the third woman to attain the rank of general (Schudel, 2009).

The female version of the drill sergeant hat was developed in 1972 and was modelled on the Australian bush hat. The original version was beige in colour, but was replaced by a dark green version in January 1983, although the style remained unchanged. Between 1984 and 1985 there was a proposal put forward for female drill sergeants to wear the male drill sergeant hat, although it was reported that female drill sergeants in TRADOC posts opposed this idea.

In June 1985, the then Chief of the Army Staff, General John A Wickham Jr., stated that female drill sergeants would continue to wear the female drill sergeant hat.

The difference in the male and female drill sergeant hats has been a topic for contentious debate over the years.

For both men and women the drill sergeant hat is authorised for wear only during the period of the DS assignment (DA Pamphlet 670-1).

Regardless of your viewpoint on the two versions of this legendary headwear, be it the campaign hat or the bush hat, they both have two traits in common – they both command discipline and demand excellence.


3.0     Introduction

This part of the article highlights some of the organisations involved in the selection, training and/or posts for drill sergeants.

3.1     US Army Human Resources Command

Management of the DS Programme is via the Commanding General (CG) Human Resources Command (HRC). The CG HRC has centralised control over the selection, assignment, classification, and release of all Active Army (AA) soldiers assigned to the DS Programme.

The HRC point of contact for personnel matters concerning all Active Duty (AD) soldiers in the DS Programme is the DS Assignment Team (AHRC-EPD-D, Detailed Assignment Branch (Readiness Division)) (AHRC–EPA–I, Infantry Branch (Combat Arms Division) prior to 2009). This includes requests to enter, requests for deletion and/or deferment from the DS Programme, requests for third year DS extensions, and soldier appeals to DS Programme removal actions.

3.2     US Army Training and Doctrine Command

The US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is training organisation for the US Army.
TRADOC has four primary functions:

  1. Recruit and train Soldiers, and support unit training;
  2. Develop adaptive leaders – both Soldier and Civilian;
  3. Guide the Army through doctrine; and
  4. Shape the Army by building and integrating formations, capabilities, and materiel.

TRADOC is led by a General (OF-9) is located at Fort Eustis, Virginia. In 2010, Fort Eustis was combined with nearby Langley Air Force Base to form Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

TRADOC executes its mission through six major subordinate centres and commands:

  • Army Capabilities Integration Centre (Fort Eustis);
  • Combined Arms Centre (Fort Leavenworth);
  • Centre for Initial Military Training (Fort Eustis);
  • Combined Arms Support Command (Fort Lee);
  • US Army Recruiting Command (Fort Knox); and
  • US Army Cadet Command (Fort Knox).

3.3     US Army Centre for Initial Military Training

The US Army Centre for Initial Military Training (CIMT) is the Core Function Lead for TRADOC for all initial entry training (IET).

CIMT is led by a Major General (OF-7) and is located at Fort Eustis, Virginia. The US Army’s Drill Sergeant Academy is part of CIMT.

3.4     Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson is located in 52,000 acres of land just west of the city of Columbia, South Carolina, and is the US Army’s main basic training establishment, or production centre as they term it. It is led by a Major General (OF-7).

Approximately 50% of the men and 60% of the women joining the army each year pass through Fort Jackson, with around 36,000 basic training and 8,000 advanced individual training soldiers receiving training every year. Fort Jackson employs approximately 3,500 soldiers and 3,500 civilians across a variety of organisations.

Fort Jackson is home to the Drill Sergeant Proponency Office and the Drill Sergeant Academy, which trains all active and reserve instructors.

3.5     US Army Drill Sergeant Academy

The US Army Drill Sergeant Academy (DSA) is commanded by a Command Sergeant Major, and “is unusual as there are few command assignments for enlisted leaders across the Army.” (Timmons, 2017). The Commandant is assisted by the Deputy Commandant, a Sergeant Major.

The DSA is an accredited Institute of Excellence that trains qualified NCOs in the instruction of warrior tasks and battle drills, drill and ceremonies, physical readiness training, and other IET tasks to BCT and AIT soldiers. At any given time, approximately 500 students train at the DSA as either a drill sergeant candidate or an AIT PSG candidate. The DSA trains more than 2,200 NCOs each year.

“In 2009, Command Sergeant Major Teresa L. King became the first female commandant of The Drill Sergeant Academy.” (Lunato, 2017, p.8).

The DSA became a combined school on 23 February 2011, meaning it now trains both active army and army reserve candidates (Williams, 2013).

The DSA received its current name in 2015 (Mack-Martin, 2015) for two reasons:

  1. As part of the Army Learning Model 2015 (Section 4.4);
  2. “…due to the fact that there are four schools taught within the institution…”, the:
    1. Drill Sergeant Academy.
      1. 9-week Drill Sergeant Candidate course.
      2. 54-day Drill Sergeant Leader certification process.
    2. 2-week Drill Sergeant Recertification Course for Drill Sergeant Returnees (DSR).
    3. 6-week Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant Course.
    4. Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant Recertification Course.

The academy is organised as follows (needs verification):

  • Commandant Team.
  • Alpha Company:
    • 1st Platoon.
    • 2nd Platoon.
    • 3rd Platoon.
    • 4th Platoon.
  • Bravo Company:
    • 1st Platoon (Assassins).
    • 2nd Platoon.
    • 3rd Platoon (Knights).
    • 4th Platoon (Black Sheep).


4.0     Introduction

This part of the article outlines the US Army’s Drill Sergeant Programme (DS Programme) which describes the selection and training process for drill sergeants.

“Drill sergeants are the primary representatives of the Army during the formative weeks of an enlistee’s training; therefore, only the most professionally qualified Soldiers will be assigned to DS duty.” (AR 614-200, 2009, p.80).

4.1     Eligibility Criteria

Typically, potential drill sergeants are “gleaned from the top 10 percent of staff sergeants and sergeants first class in the Army.” (Wilkinson, 2015).

The current eligibility criteria (as per AR 614-200 – Enlisted Assignments & Utilisation Management (dated 26 February 2009)) include:

  • General Criteria:
    • May be volunteers or involuntarily selected (known as Department of Army selected or DA selected).
    • Soldiers may be considered from any career field for selection and assignment to the DS Programme, from:
      • Active Army (AA).
      • US Army Reserve, Active Guard Reserve (USAR-AGR)
      • US Army Reserve, Troop Programme Unit (USAR-TPU).
      • Army National Guard (ARNG) soldiers; either:
        • ARNG: Army Soldiers under the control of individual States and Territories.
        • Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS): ARNG soldiers who are mobilised and come under control of Federal authorities.
      • Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) soldiers.
  • Physical Criteria:
    • Be physically fit (maximum profile guide is 111221), meet body composition requirements in AR 600-9, and be able to pass the army physical fitness test (APFT; no substitution of events) upon arrival at DS School.
  • Medical Criteria:
    • Have no record of emotional instability as determined by screening of health records and clinical evaluation by competent mental health officer.
      • Candidates initially receiving a negative behavioural health evaluation, that is subsequently reversed by a competent, licensed, doctoral-level mental health provider, may be re-nominated for DS duty).
    • Have no speech impediment.
  • Age Criteria:
    • Be 40 years old or less. However, volunteers may be 41 years old or older provided they have the appropriate medical clearance (see AR 40–501) at the time of request. Medical clearance should state that soldier is medically cleared for DS duty. Up from “36 years old” in 2005 (Klein, et al., 2005, p.10).
  • Education Criteria:
    • Be a high school graduate or possess the GED equivalent.
    • Be a graduate of the Basic Non-commissioned Officers Course (BNCOC).
      • USAR soldiers may have this criterion waived but they must be a Warrior Leader Course (WLC) graduate (Primary Leadership Development Course graduate prior to 2007).
    • Have a minimum general technical (GT) score of 100. This criterion may be waived by the commander of HRC to not less than 90 (95 prior to 2007) on a case-by-case basis.
      • Can be waived by the Commanding General Fort Jackson on a case-by-case basis for sergeant (E-5) through sergeant first class (E-7) candidates. Prior to 2009, the minimum GT score of 100 could not be waived for sergeant (E-5) candidates.
      • Requests for waiver will be for soldiers who have a successful record of service in leadership positions and have completed college degree requirements or are continuing to further their education at the collegiate academic level.
  • Leadership & Military Standards Criteria:
    • Have qualified with M16A2 or M-4 carbine rifle within last six months (just M16A2 prior to 2007).
    • Display good military bearing.
    • Have demonstrated leadership ability during previous tours of duty and have demonstrated capability to perform in positions of increasing responsibility as Senior NCO in the Army, as reflected on the NCOERs.
    • Have had no court-martial convictions.
    • Have no record of disciplinary action, to include letters of reprimand, or time lost under 10 USC 972 during current enlistment or in last 5 years, whichever is longer.
    • Complete background screening using the Background Screening Assignment Eligibility Questionnaire (DA Form 7424) indicating whether they have been arrested, apprehended or investigated for any Type I (disqualified permanently) or Type II (disqualified for five years) Report of Unfavourable Information within the previous 12 months. The completed forms are forwarded to HRC who will assess and determine action based on information provided. Background screening is not the same as security clearance.
  • Bonus Criteria:
    • AA soldiers may not have received enlistment bonus (EB) or selective reenlistment bonus (SRB) for current service obligation if Primary MOS (PMOS) is not among those authorised for DS positions.
  • Rank and Service Criteria:
    • Be sergeant (E-5) through sergeant first class (E-7).
      • Criterion was staff sergeant (E-6) through sergeant first class (E-7) prior to 2007.
      • This criterion is not applicable to USAR/ARNGUS soldiers.
      • Sergeant candidates must be a WLC graduate.
      • USAR soldiers may have the rank of corporal (E-4); however, to attend AA DS School the candidate must be a prior–service training candidate appointed as an acting sergeant (E-5).
      • This criterion is not applicable to DS school first sergeant (E-8) positions.
      • IET 1SG positions are typically be filled by soldiers who have previously served successful tours as DS.
    • Have a minimum of four years total active Federal service (four years continuous prior to 2007).
      • Sergeant candidates must also have a minimum of one year time-in-grade and have two years’ service remaining after the completion of DS duty.
      • Prior to 2009, a USAR soldier’s time-in-service requirement could be reduced to three years.
  • Evaluation Criteria:
    • Have a commander’s evaluation by a lieutenant colonel or higher.
    • For DA selected candidates, a Commander’s Evaluation Form and DA Form 3822-R will be forwarded to the commander which must be completed and returned within 14 calendar days to HRC DS Assignment Team.
    • DS volunteers must request and return a completed copy of the Commander’s Evaluation Form and DA Form 3822-R with their application.
    • The evaluation should include (but not limited to): demonstrated leadership ability and potential; physical fitness; character/integrity; the soldier’s ability to perform in stressful situations; and any incidents of abuse.

4.2     Drill Sergeant Preparation Programme

There is no formalised army-wide drill sergeant preparation programme (DSPP). A number of units have developed a DSPP geared towards mentoring and preparing candidates for the drill sergeant course (Mack-Martin, 2015).

4.3     Training Curriculum

Within the US system of military training, the curriculum or training programme is known as a programme of instruction (POI).

In 2005, there were three drill sergeant schools, with each school conducting two classes simultaneously, with ten classes each fiscal year (Klein et al., 2005). Each class had a maximum of 65 candidates (Klein et al., 2005), although the DSA will have approximately 90-100 per class.

“Drill sergeants are chosen from the top 10 percent of soldiers in the Army. Drill sergeant leaders represent the top 1 percent of drill sergeants.” (Wilkinson, 2014).

NCOs who attend Drill Sergeant School are known as Drill Sergeant Candidates (DS Candidates) and their training is strenuous, challenging and very demanding. The training curriculum mimics BCT, week for week, because candidates must be experts in all facets of BCT to begin training recruits. Training is delivered by Chief Instructors and Drill Sergeant Leaders (Section 5.1).

The approach to training candidates has, like all military training, evolved over time. Previously, candidates would essentially redo basic training (Mack-Martin, 2015) and be sent off to a cadre “to learn how to teach on their own.” (Wilkinson, 2014). However, candidates now “lead their fellow candidates in drill and training exercises, all of which is overseen by the drill sergeant leaders. Candidates also are embedded with basic training companies, to see first-hand how training is conducted with actual recruits.” (Wilkinson, 2014).

Active army candidates will complete the drill sergeant course in one continuous period of training of 9-weeks (or 65 days). Army reserve candidates can complete the course in one continuous period or in three separate phases of 22-days (US Army, 2014).

The drill sergeant course is delivered in three 3-week phases (linked to the three phases of IET), which must be completed in order. For non-active army candidates, all phases must be completed in 18 months.

“The Course has a nine hour academic training day in addition to physical training (PT), five days a week for nine weeks. It includes small group instruction, inspections, after action reviews (AARs), and performance counseling.” (Klein et al., 2005, p.12).

The following outlines the topics covered during the POI on the drill sergeant course (Klein et al., 2005, p.J-1-J-2):

  • Human Relations covers Army policies and regulations on equal opportunity, extremist organisations, homosexuality, ethics, Trainee abuse, suicide risk identification, rape prevention, religious accommodations, improper relationships and prevention of sexual harassment.
  • Leadership covers leading positively and building a cohesive team, recognising success, healthy competition, and proper development of trainee leaders and peer instructors. It covers the “INSIST/ASSIST” training philosophy, emphasising ASSIST and understanding how leader attitudes affect trainees. It covers mass punishment, over competitiveness and identifying and managing personal and trainee stress is included.
  • Counselling covers learning about counselling, initial interviews, positive performance counselling, special counselling of substandard soldiers, and counselling of soldiers with personal problems. It also covers referral agencies and referrals for mental health counselling.
  • Physical Fitness Training provides instruction in teaching, leading, and assessment of soldiers in standardised physical training. It also teaches how to develop fitness-training programmes, conduct confidence and conditioning obstacle courses, and prepare for/administer the APFT.
  • Weapons Training focuses on preliminary rifle instruction, concurrent and reinforcement training, including identifying problem shooters and corrective techniques. It covers component parts, maintenance, loading and unloading, function checks, and correcting malfunctions on the in-service personal and support weapons. It includes sighting and aiming, shot grouping and zeroing exercises, providing demonstrations, feedback, and coaching.
  • Drill and Ceremonies (D&C) covers correct commands, stationary drill positions and hand salutes, facing movements at the halt, steps in marching, manual of arms, squad drill and platoon drill. It covers talk-through, by-the-numbers, step-by-step methods of instructions, and on-the-spot corrections.
  • Methods of Instruction (MOI) shows how to prepare, present, manage and conduct training using appropriate MOI, training aids and devices. It covers After Action Reviews (AAR) and reinforcement and opportunity training.
  • Hand Grenades includes conduct of hand grenade training, to include teaching, identifying and correcting safety violations; demonstrating throwing techniques; and enforcing standard operating procedures (SOP’s).
  • Combatives includes bayonet, pugil stick, and unarmed combat training. It covers appropriate commands, proper procedures, identifying and correcting safety hazards, and using combatives to enhance teamwork and the development of confidence and aggressive spirit.
  • Tactical Training focuses on tactical training, to include tactical foot march, fighting positions and perimeter security, individual and buddy/fire team movement techniques, lane safety, night infiltration, and movement under direct fire, use of MILES equipment, assembly area operations, and supervising and training trainees during a 72-hour field training exercise.
  • Inspections show correct procedures for conducting in-ranks, barracks, and personal hygiene inspections and the appropriate use of corrective or disciplinary actions and follow-up inspections.

“Our instructors made us go through basic training all over again, but this time, we went into the classroom afterward and discussed what we should and shouldn’t do as drill sergeants.” (Kendall, 2017).

The following is an example of the POI in practice:

  • Week 00: In-Processing, Victory Tower, initial APFT, and physical readiness test (PRT) introduction.
  • Week 01: PRT instruction, Set 1 and 2 methods of instruction (MOI), Fit to Win, land navigation, TR 350-6 Training, confidence/obstacle course, and individual tactics training (ITT).
  • Week 02: PRT evaluations, drill and ceremony, learning TRADOC Regulation 350-6, inspections and embedding with a basic training unit.
  • Week 03: PRT evaluations, TR 350-6 exam/test, set 3 of MOI (evaluations), ITT, and rifle marksmanship (RM) instruction.
  • Week 04: Student-led APFT, PRT evaluations, RM training, set 4 MOI, barrier shoot, and ITT.
  • Week 05: PRT evaluations, Campaign Hat Draw, Barrier Shoot, set 5 MOI, CBRN Training, mask confidence exercise, and ITT.
  • Week 06: PRT evaluations, first aid training, set 6 of MOI evaluations, set 7 MOI demonstration, PRT (STC) instruction, and ITT.
  • Week 07: Final APFT (or Week 08), US weapons, weapons testing, field training exercise (FTX)/ Buddy Team Live Fire Exercise (or Week 08), 12 km foot march (carrying weight) and the Rights of Passage.
  • Week 08:
    • Comprehensive Soldier/Family Fitness.
    • Final APFT;
    • Pugil Bout instruction;
    • Final block of CSF2 training and
    • MACP 40 Hour Basic Combatives Certification: Combatives training and techniques which develop the candidate’s ability to become familiar with the basic fundamentals of hand to hand combat and how to instruct to BCT soldiers.
  • Week 09: Commandant’s PT, out-processing and graduation rehearsal and graduation.

In 2005, during the nine-weeks of training candidates had to (Klein et al., 2005):

  • Undertake seven written examinations.
  • Undertake eight oral modules.
  • Undertake six performance evaluations.
  • Pass all performance examinations.
  • Pass the APFT with 210 points (with a minimum of 70 points in each event).
  • Hold at least one leadership position within the class time.
  • Lead at least two PT sessions.
  • Complete the hand grenade qualification course, plus the throwing of two live grenades.
  • Undertake conditioning and confidence obstacle courses.

The candidates had to pass with scores of 70% or greater, with a maximum of two re-tests.

“Drill sergeant candidates also receive stress-management and personal relationship classes to help them in their future roles as mentors.” (Army News Service, 2016).

4.4     Army Learning Model 2015

In September 2011, TRADOC introduced an initiative to transform IET leaders and soldiers, in order “To enhance initial entry training (IET) and Drill Sergeant training strategies and to identify issues impacting the transformation of civilian volunteers into operationally capable Soldiers.” (Cobb, 2011). The initiative aimed to enhance IET effectiveness, operational relevance, drill sergeant training, and rifle marksmanship training, as well as factors affecting AIT PSG performance (Cobb, 2011).

This work laid the foundations for implementing TRADOC’s new learning model.

“One of the most important concepts of the new Army Learning Model (ALM) was to change the focus in the classroom from instructor to student. This change put learners in charge of their own performance and their participation in class. Some think this is new when, in fact, it is not. Student-centric instruction has always been a dominant methodology in the Army.” (Ferguson, 2014, p.57).

First introduced by Michael Haith, of TRADOC, during a 2012 conference at Joint Base Langley-Eustis (Ferguson, 2014), the Army Learning Model (ALM) has been integrated into the training curriculum of drill sergeants.

“…drill sergeant candidates are put more in charge of their own training. Previously drill sergeant leaders took on the role of drill sergeants and the candidates took on the role of privates, Roderiques said.” (Vergun, 2015).

Within the new curriculum, candidates are now given more responsibilities for planning, coordination, resourcing and execution their own training. The role of drill sergeant leaders (the trainers of drill sergeants) now emphasises facilitating and mentoring.

4.5     Master Resilience Trainer

As per AR 350-1 (2014, p.188), 25% of drill sergeants and 100% of AIT PSG are to be qualified as a master resilience trainer (MRT).

Drill sergeants who are MRT trained will lead institutional resilience training.

4.6     Drill Sergeant Charter

Presently, the Drill Sergeant Academy will only issue the Drill Sergeant Charter to drill sergeant candidates upon qualified entry into the drill sergeant course. It is to be carried on their person throughout the entire course.

The Drill Sergeant Charter is revealed after the final student-led foot march and signed by the candidate and the DSA Commandant.

The drill sergeant candidate then has the opportunity to seek out the mentor who provided the inspiration to get them to or through the path to becoming and serving as a drill sergeant. In most cases, the drill sergeant candidate presents their mentor the Drill Sergeant Charter to sign after the drill sergeant badging ceremony which takes place the evening before graduation.

4.7     Graduation

Successful candidates will participate in a graduation ceremony in which immediate friends and family can be invited.

Potential honours that candidates and Drill Sergeant Leaders may be awarded include:

  • Commandants List.
  • Distinguished Honour Graduate:
    • Awarded to the drill sergeant candidate with the highest grade point average in the class.
    • It also includes several other requirements, such as: pass all academic and testable material with a first-time passing score; earn a minimum of 90% on the written exam; score a minimum of 90 points in each APFT category; display impeccable leadership abilities; and receive no infractions.
  • Leadership Awardee.
  • Iron Drill Sergeant:
    • Awarded to the drill sergeant candidates with the highest scores on the APFT.
    • Separate award for Iron Male and Iron Female respectively.
  • Drill Sergeant Leader of the Cycle.

Upon successful graduation of DS School, candidates will:

  • Be awarded the skill qualification identifier (SQI) ‘X’ and ‘8’ (Section 4.8).
  • Be awarded the DS Identification badge (Section 4.9).
  • Be eligible for special duty assignment pay (SDAP) (Section 4.10).
  • Incur a 24-month obligation for DS duty (Section 5.1).

DS school graduates in the rank of corporal, assigned to USAR units, will be considered drill corporals until attaining the rank of sergeant. Corporals are not authorised to wear DS-distinguishing accessories (i.e. hat or badge) or to perform as DS until promoted to the rank of sergeant. The ‘drill corporal’ will follow the Drill Corporal Programme as outlined in TR 350-16.

4.8     Drill Sergeant Skill Qualification Identifier

Candidates who successfully complete the DS course will be awarded, as outlined in AR 614-200, the MOS skill qualification identifier (SQI):

  • ‘X’ denoting qualified drill sergeant; and
  • ‘8’ denoting instructor, since 2009.

4.9     Drill Sergeant Identification Badge

Prior to 1958, the badge was a regimental crest with a maroon background. On 15 January 1958, it was adopted as the training centre’s crest and the background was changed to green. It was authorised for wear by drill sergeants assigned to training commands in 1964. At this time, the insignia was authorised for wear in metal and embroidered form. The embroidered version was manufactured in full colour (yellow, green and black) and subdued.

In 1969, policy was changed and it was mandatory to wear subdued insignia on field clothing. At this time, the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, embroidered, was no longer authorised for wear in full colour.

Each element of the badge has a specific meaning:

  • It consists of 13 stars representing the original colonies.
  • The torch, burning brightly in the centre, symbolises liberty.
  • The snake is derived from the original, “Don’t Tread on Me” serpent, a symbol of American independence during the 18th century.
  • Together with the torch and breastplate, it indicated readiness to defend.
  • The breastplate is a symbol of strength.
  • The green background is a vestment worn under the breastplate and called a Jupon, which represents the new Army.
  • The snake grasps, with his tail and teeth, a scroll inscribed, “This We’ll Defend.”

The inscription summarises the meaning of all the symbols on the badge, depicting the determination, devotion, and constant readiness of the American soldier.

As per AR 600-8-22, upon successful completion of DS School, candidates will be awarded the DS Identification badge.

DA Pamphlet 670-1 (2015, p.270-272) provides details on when and how the drill sergeant identification badge is worn, for both men and women.

“Officers who were awarded the drill sergeant badge as a permanent award while in an enlisted status are authorized to wear the badge.” (DA Pamphlet, 2015, p.272).

4.10     Drill Sergeant Special Duty Assignment Pay

Soldiers who have an SQI ‘X’ and occupy a designated special duty assignment pay (SDAP) position as drill sergeant are authorised SD-5 (as per AR 614-200). Upon graduation from Drill Sergeant School, soldiers will receive the SD-5 rate effective the date assigned to an authorised drill sergeant position. SDAP was raised for, amongst others, drill sergeants in January 2017 (Sisk, 2016).

There are six SDAP pay bands, ranging from SD-1 (lowest) to SD-6 (highest) (Vergun, 2013).


5.0     Introduction

This part of the article looks at the tour of duty for a drill sergeant, the handbook developed to aid potential and new drill sergeants, annual certification, the drill sergeant of the year competition, and the drill sergeant assignment preference programme.

5.1     Drill Sergeant Tour of Duty

“Being a drill sergeant may be the most challenging and rewarding assignment a noncommissioned officer will ever experience during his military career.” (CALL, 2009, p.1).

Graduates of the DS School may be assigned to one of 20 army, 3 air force and 4 naval installations (in accordance with approved department of defence and department of the army directives) during their tour of duty, instructing:

  • Receptees in reception stations.
  • Soldiers undergoing BCT, OSUT and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
  • DS candidates at DS schools.
  • Soldiers undergoing English as a second language training at the Defence Language Institute English Language Centre (DLIELC), Lackland Air Force Base, Texas or the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Language Centre, Puerto Rico.
  • Soldiers undergoing physical readiness training at authorised fitness training units.
  • Task Force Marshall (TFM): Formed in 2004 by the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training), it took on the responsibility to provide a task force for the US Army Reserve (Hargett, 2017). It consists of a battalion-sized element of drill sergeants and civilian counterparts who deliver a 12-day (3-week) basic skills refresher course to mobilised Individual Ready Reserve soldiers. In December 2005, TFM started providing the same training to US Navy individual augmentees.
  • One of three multi-state training divisions within the 108th Training Command (IET) with units located across the US: 95th Training Division (IET); 98th Training Division (IET); and 104th Training Division (LT).

Army reserve personnel can “serve as advisors, instructors, and evaluators in 44 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.” (US Army, 2014).

Soldiers may undertake one or more of the following roles within the DS community (Miller et al., 2011; TR 350-16):

  • Drill Sergeant.
  • Senior Drill Sergeant: As well as normal drill sergeant duties, are also responsible for the accountability, professional development, supervision, and evaluation of drill sergeants.
  • Drill Sergeant Leader (DSL): The trainers of DS.
  • Chief Instructor/Senior Drill Sergeant Leader (SDSL) (First Sergeant/Master Sergeant): The trainers of DS.
  • Commandant/Deputy Commandant (Sergeant Major): within the DSA.

Soldiers will incur a 24-month obligation for DS duty, and candidates must take appropriate action to meet the length of service requirement prior to attending DS School (refer to AR 140-111, AR 601-280 and NGR (AR) 600-200 for further information).

Drill sergeants at Fort Jackson “get preference for slots at the installation’s four child care centers and eight child development homes because of their schedules…” (Fox News, 2011).

AA DS will be stabilised for 24 months with an option to extend, on a one–time basis, for an additional 6 to 12 months. The stabilised tour will begin the month the soldier reports to the DS position and will terminate the last calendar day of the same month, two years later. Normally, the DS tour will not exceed 36 months.

In accordance with TR 350-16 (the Drill Sergeant Programme, Change 1, Appendix F), mental health evaluations will be conducted during wellness week for all mid-tour and third-year DS.

Reassignment after a tour of duty is subject to the Drill Sergeant Assignment Preference Programme (Section 5.5).

Generally, AA soldiers will normally serve only one tour as a DS. However, prior DS who have completed successful tours as a DS must serve not less than 36 months in a valid career progression TOE assignment before re-entering the DS Programme. These prior DS must complete a TRADOC-approved DS refresher training course before being assigned to DS duties (Section 3.5).

5.2     Drill Sergeant Handbook

“This handbook is designed to help you through one of the most difficult and challenging missions of your Army career—teaching and molding our future Soldiers to train, fight, and win in the Global War on Terrorism.” (CALL, 2009, p.i).

Published in 2009, the Drill Sergeant Handbook provides advice and guidance to potential, candidate and qualified drill sergeants on how to be a better leader and handle the pressures of the position.

Within its four chapters, it outlines the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitude required of a US Army drill sergeant.

Potential and candidate drill sergeants can get further information by visiting the MilSuite Site established in November 2017 (see Useful Links) for information on future courses, welcome letters, Drill Sergeant & AITPSG handbooks, packing list, etc.!

5.3     Drill Sergeant Annual Certification

As per TR 350-16, all drill sergeants must certify each year to prove they are still subject matter experts in all the warrior tasks and battle drills.

However, prior to 2016, the process by which drill sergeants certified varied “across the Army’s training centers, and even from one battalion to another.” (Portillo, 2016). In February 2016, Fort Sill moved the certification process from the battalion-level to the brigade-level, reducing staffing issues and standardising assessment (Portillo, 2016).

This certification is offered once a month, after a four-day refresher course in which drill sergeants train on the 30 tasks outlined in the Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks (SMCT 21-1). On certification day, drill sergeants are tested on 15 of the 30 tasks, but do not know beforehand which those will be. Drill sergeants have three chances to pass (Portillo, 2016):

  • First fail: Receive counselling and recertify the next month.
  • Second fail: Receive counselling and removed from the drill sergeant programme for one month. Individuals cannot train recruit soldiers for 30 days, undertaking recertification training during this time.
  • Third fail: Recommended for removal from the drill sergeant programme.

The Centre for Initial Military Training is making moves to standardise the programme of instruction for the certification process for all BCT locations.

5.4     Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition

First established in 1969 (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009), the Drill Sergeant of the Year (DSOY) Competition is one of the most physically and mentally demanding challenges that a soldier can face in a US Army competition.

The DSOY competition has “evolved from a standard evaluation and PT course in the early 2000s, to a survivor skills and endurance course.” (Lacdan, 2017).

The annual Drill Sergeant and AIT Platoon Sergeant of the Year competition is hosted by the US Army’s Centre for Initial Military Training at Fort Jackson.

During the four-day competition, usually held in September each year, competitors must perform and master all associated tasks and drills from basic combat training (Wilkinson, 2015).

Examples of the tasks and drills include (Wilkinson, 2015; Lacdan, 2017):

  • 0300 starts with 2000 finishes.
  • Calisthenics followed by a brisk five-mile run.
  • Fifteen stations with competitors being graded on: recital of long sections of the army training manual; inspecting a recruit’s uniform; and teaching a combat squad how to clear the enemy from a room.
  • First aid exercise.
  • Obstacle course which includes crawling through culverts, climbing cargo netting, negotiating monkey bars, battering through blocking dummies and crawling through the dirt for 30 yards before scaling a timber wall.
  • Ten- or twelve-mile rucksack march carrying 50 lb.

Active duty drill sergeants have been competing since 1969 and reserve personnel since 1972 (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009).

The AIT PSG programme was established in 2007 but it was not until 2009 that a separate, annual AIT Platoon Sergeant of the Year (AITPSOY) competition was initiated (Wilkinson, 2015). Since 2014, the DSOY and AITPSOY competitions have been held concurrently.

Prior to 2017, one winner each from the competing active duty drill sergeants, reserve drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants would be announced. Since 2017, one DSOY was selected from the active and reserve components, rather than two winners respectively (Wilkinson, 2015).

Also prior to 2017, the winning active army DSOY received the Stephen Ailes Award, which was initiated in 1969, and the reserve DSOY received the Ralph Haines Jr. Award. Ailes was Secretary of the Army from 1964 to 1965, and was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard, Missouri, and Haines was commander of the Continental Army Command, the forerunner of TRADOC.

DSOY winners will now receive the Stephen Ailes-Ralph Haines Jr. Award. The AITPSOY continues to receive the Finnis D. McCleary Award. The competitor who scores the highest on the APFT is awarded the First Sergeant Tobias Meister Award.

The active army DSOY may be assigned to HQ TRADOC at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

There are also local-level competitions, for example the Infantry Training Brigade Drill Sergeant of the Year (US Army, n.d.). There are (or was) also “…installation Drill Sergeant of the Year…” competitions (CALL, 2009, p.1).

5.5     Drill Sergeant Assignment Preference Programme

The Drill Sergeant Assignment Preference Programme (DSAPP) means individuals can submit three assignment preferences, in any combination of CONUS (Continental US) or overseas locations, for consideration for their next duty assignment.

Preferences must be submitted no less than 18 months prior to projected duty release date and individuals must successfully complete their tour of duty as DS.

Preferences must be updated through the web application known as the assignment satisfaction key (ASK), using the Assignment Volunteer – part of the Total Army Personnel Database (TAPDB). If no volunteer selections have been posted to ASK, assignment managers will consider assignment preferences. If no preferences have been posted, soldiers will be assigned according to the needs of the Army.

Individuals will need access to an Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account to gain access to assignment preference information.

5.6     Promotion to Master Sergeant

AA DS who are selected for promotion to the rank of master sergeant (E-8) will continue to serve in authorised DS positions until the last day of the month prior to promotion.

AA DS candidates who have already started or graduated from DS school when selected for promotion to master sergeant will continue to comply with DS assignment instructions (AIs) – the candidate will remain a DS until the last day of the month prior to promotion to MSG.


6.0     Facts and Figures

“According to HRC, and based on historical data, from the time an NCO is placed on assignment instructions to the time he or she becomes a DS, there is a presumed 40% attrition rate due to inability to meet the stated criteria. That is, nearly half of those originally named as potential DS candidates are refused. Selection standards are high.” (Klein et al., 2005, p.11).

The number of drill sergeants:

  • In 1996, there were approximately 2,000 drill sergeants (Moniz, 1996).
  • In 2005, there were approximately 2,900 active duty and 3,000 reserve drill sergeants (Mississippi Valley Publishing, 2005).
  • In 2012, there were approximately 2,400 active duty and 3,000 reserve drill sergeants (CBS News, 2012).
  • In 2014, there were approximately 2,900 active duty and 3,000 reserve drill sergeants.
  • In 2015, there were nearly 500 female drill sergeants, “twice as many as in 2007” (Bogan, 2015).
  • In 2016, there were more than 2,100 active duty drill sergeants and 650 AIT PSG (Tan, 2016).

These regular and reserve drill sergeants are employed at a variety of training establishments, including:

  • Regular Army:
    • Fort Benning, Georgia.
    • Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
    • Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
      • Between 1964 and 2008, the drill sergeant school at Fort Leonard Wood “produced more than 40-thousand drill sergeants.” (Missouri Net, 2008).
      • In 2015, “128 of 416 drill sergeants” were female (Bogan, 2015).
    • Fort Jackson, South Carolina:
      • In 2009, there were 740 drill sergeants, with 66% being staff sergeants and 68.2% being DA selected (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009).
      • In 2011, there were 207 women and 523 male drill sergeants, with 74 women and 39 males being single parents (Fox News, 2011).
      • In 2016, approximately 600 drill sergeants trained some 45,000 recruits during their basic combat training, about 50% of the men and 60% of the women who join the US Army (Schafer, 2016).
  • Army Reserve:
    • Three multi-state training divisions across the US.
    • Army reserve personnel can “serve as advisors, instructors, and evaluators in 44 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.” (US Army, 2014).

In 2009, almost 90% of all drill sergeants had been deployed to combat zones (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009), by 2011 this had increased to approximately 96% of all drill sergeants (Fox News, 2011).

In 2009, the average time-in-service for a drill sergeant was 9.7 years (Kappler & Simpkins, 2009).

Published by the office of the Chief of Infantry on 16 February 2016, an information paper analysed the results of the FY15 career management field (CMF) 11 selection to sergeant first class (US Army, 2016). The paper looked at the records of 3,466 Infantry staff sergeants, finding that the Infantry CMF had a selection rate of 16.6% which was lower than the overall army selection rate of 25.1%.

“MOS 11B’s assigned as Drill Sergeants as an entire cohort had a significantly higher selection rate than all others in the generating force. When broken down by location of assignment, those at Ft Benning had a significantly higher rate and those at Ft Sill had a significantly lower selection rate. MOS 11B Drill Sergeants at Forts Jackson and Leonard Wood were similar to other Generating Force Soldiers.” (US Army, 2016, p.4).

Table 1: Generating force by brigade or higher unit
Generating Force CMF Considered Population Selected Population Rate
Fort Benning 11B 163 75 46.0%
11C 62 18 29.0%
Fort Jackson 11B 236 25 10.5%
11C 14 1 7.1%
Fort Leonard Wood 11B 34 4 11.7%
11C 0 0 0.0%
Fort Sill 11B 78 3 3.8%
11C 0 0 0.0%
Source: US Army, 2016, p.5

It is often cited that those with the SQI ‘X’ have much better promotion prospects as a result. However, the 2015 data suggests that this is not always the case. In FY15 the general CMF selection rate for 11B was 11.5% and 11C was 16.6%. For those with the SQI ‘X’ the selection rate for 11B was 10.3% and 11C was 18.0%. Read the information paper to gain a fuller appreciation and also read the biographies of most of the US Army’s sergeant’s major and you will find they are ex-drill sergeants.

Robert Vaughn (1932 to 2016), an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work, was a drill sergeant (Famous Veterans, 2017).

In 2017, TRADOC reported that “the majority of platoon sergeants – between 50% and 70% – get selected for promotion after taking the assignment.” (Lineham, 2017a).

6.1     Recognition Day

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the US Army Drill Sergeant Programme in 2014, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation to establish ‘Army Drill Sergeant Recognition Day’ to be celebrated yearly on 10 September.

6.2     US Gun Ownership & Military Recruits

The US Army draws most of its recruits from the “teens and 20-somethings” demographic, but gun ownership among 18-25 year olds “fell from a 1977 peak of 45 percent to 13 percent in 2014.” (Schafer, 2016).

Consequently, “More than half of raw recruits have never held, let alone fired, a weapon.” (Schafer, 2016). To address this, the US Army developed a refresher course, delivered at Fort Benning, for its drill sergeants which encompassed the fundamentals of marksmanship with a ‘back-to-school’ coaching attitude.

6.3     Exchange Programmes and Training

Exchange programmes and training conducted by drill sergeants includes:

  • In 2011, The US Army and US Air Force initiated a drill sergeant-military training instructor (MTI) exchange (Joseph, 2011). An army staff sergeant became the basic training instructor for an air force basic military training flight at 322nd Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and an air force staff sergeant became the basic training instructor for an army company at Fort Benning in Georgia.
  • The US Army also provides assistance to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). US Army drill sergeants provide refresher training to Liberian drill sergeants as part of Operation Onward Liberty (Bahret, 2013). A number of AFL drill sergeants have also completed their initial drill sergeant training at the DSA (Bahret, 2013).
  • In 2016, the DSA and the New York City Fire Department started a series of “reciprocal visits to observe and trade best practices- and try out each other’s programs firsthand.” (Curry, 2016).
  • Since 2012-2013, the DSA has provided judges for the Kershaw Correctional Institution (KCI). KCI is located in South Carolina and operated by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC, 2014). “Inmates from specific dorms volunteer to participate in drill teams and each team practices for about 2 hours each day. The program teaches important leadership skills to inmates.” (SCDC, 2014).


7.0     Summary

This article provides a fairly comprehensive outline of the US Army’s Drill Sergeant.

It provides information on the history of the drill sergeant, selection and training, as well as tours of duty and some basic statistics.

7.1     Useful Books

  • Chapman, A.W. (2008) Mixed-Gender Basic Training: The U.S. Army Experience, 1973-2004. Fort Monroe, Virginia: TRADOC. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].
  • Carter, D.A. (2015) The U.S. Army Before Vietnam, 1953-1965. Washington, D.C.: Centre of Military History, US Army. Pages 16 and 44. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].
  • Rostker, B. (2006) I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. California: RAND Corporation. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].
  • Caddy, D. (2015) Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant Said: Wit and Wisdom from America’s Finest. New York: Dey Street Books.

7.2     Useful Documents

  • Department of the Army (DA):
    • DA Pamphlet 611–21: Military Occupational Classification and Structure.
    • DA Pamphlet 670-1: Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.
    • DA Form 7424: Sensitive Duty Assignment Eligibility Questionnaire.
    • The Army Distributed Learning Program Modernization Strategy: Strategic Plan 2012-2015, v1.0 (07 December 2012).
    • STP 21-1-SMCT – Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Warrior Skills Level 1 (August 2015).
  • Army Regulations (AR):
    • AR 27-10: Military Justice.
    • AR 40-501: Standards of Medical Fitness.
    • AR 135-91: Service Obligations, Methods of Fulfilment, Participation Requirements, and Enforcement Procedures.
    • AR 135-178: Enlisted Administrative Separations.
    • AR 135-200: Active Duty for Missions, Projects, and Training for Reserve Component Soldiers.
    • AR 135-210: Order to Active Duty as Individuals for Other than a Presidential Selected Reserve Call–Up, Partial or Full Mobilisation.
    • AR 140-10: Assignments, Attachments, Details, and Transfers.
    • AR 140-111: US Army Reserve Re-enlistment Programme.
    • AR 350-1: Army Training and Leader Development (formerly Army Training and Education).
    • AR 380-67: The Department of the Army Personnel Security Programme.
    • AR 600-8-2: Suspension of Favourable Personnel Actions.
    • AR 600-8-11: Reassignment.
    • AR 600-8-19: Enlisted Promotions and Reductions.
    • AR 600-8-22: Military Awards (25 June 2015).
    • AR 600-9: The Army Body Composition Programme (28 June 2013).
    • AR 600-20: Army Command Policy.
    • AR 600-35: Army Force Stabilisation.
    • AR 600-37: Unfavourable Information (19 December 1986).
    • AR 601-280: Army Retention Programme (04 January 2016).
    • AR 614-5: Stabilisation of Tours.
    • AR 614-30: Overseas Service.
    • AR 614-200: Enlisted Assignments and Utilisation Management (26 February 2009).
    • AR 615-200: A
    • AR 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia (25 May 2017).
    • NGR (AR) 600-200:
  • Field Manuals (FM):
    • FM 7-22: Army Physical Readiness Training (Change 1) (26 October 2012).
  • TRADOC Regulations (TR) and TRADOC Pamphlets (TP):
    • TR 350-6: Enlisted Initial Entry Training Policies and Administration (20 March 2017).
    • TR 350-16: Drill Sergeant Programme (DSP).
    • TR 350-70: Army Learning Policy and Systems (10 July 2017).
    • TP 525-8-2: The Army Learning Concept for 2015.
    • TP 600-4: The Soldier’s Blue Book. The Guide for Initial Entry Training Soldiers (June 2017).
  • Books and Magazines:
  • Research:
    • HQ TRADOC (13 August 2003). Memorandum: Drill Sergeant Study Request. Fort Monroe, Virginia: Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Training.
    • Salter, M., Klein, G. & Graham, S.E. (2004) Reinstating Sergeants as Drill Sergeants Proof-of-principle Study: Interim Report. Fort Benning, Georgia: US Army Research Institute Infantry Forces Research Unit. (unpublished).
    • Keenan, P.A., Strickland, W.J., Waugh, G.W., Hoenisch, A.C. & Schultz, S.R. (2004) Reducing Attrition in Initial Entry Training: Drill Sergeant Interventions. Alexandria, Virginia. Human Resources Research Organisation.
    • Klein, G., Salter, M., Gates, J.W., Sullivan, R., Kinnison, H., Lappin, M. & Graham, S.E. (2005) Sergeants as Drill Sergeants: Returning Sergeants to Drill Sergeant Duty. US Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences. Study Report 2005-04. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 18 November, 2017].
    • Kubisiak, U.C., Horgen, K.E., Connell, P.W., Lentz, E., Xu, X., Borman, W.C., White, L.A. & Young, M.C. (2005) Concurrent Validation of the NLSI for U.S. Army Drill Sergeants. Study Note 2006-01. US Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 18 November, 2017].
    • Wampler, R.L., James, D. R., Leibrecht, B.C. & Beal, S.A. (2007) Assessment of the New Basic Combat Training Program of Instruction. US Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences. Study Report 2007-06.
    • Cobb, M.G., Muraca, S.T., Sluss, D.M., Rutti, R.M. & Ployhart, R.E. (2009) Drill Sergeant Candidate Transformation. US Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences. Research Report 1895. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 18 November, 2017].
    • Miller, M.L., James, D.R. & Cobb, M.G. (2011) The Impact of Accelerated Promotion Rates on Drill Sergeant Performance. US Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences. Research Report 1935. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

7.3     Useful Links

7.4     References

Army News Service (2016) Drill Sergeant School – Training Tomorrow’s Soldiers. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Bahret, B. (2013) Refresher Course Prepares AFL Drill Sergeants for Newest Recruits. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Bogan, J. (2015) More Female Drill Sergeants Help Change Cadence at Fort Leonard Wood. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) (2005) BRAC Commission Report. Appendix K: Department of Defense Proposed 2005 Realignment and Closure List. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 17 November, 2017].

CALL (Centre for Army Lesson Learned) (2009) Drill Sergeant Handbook: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. No.09-12, January 2009. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combined Arms Centre (CAC).

CBS News (2012) Has The Army’s Iconic Bellowing Drill Sergeant Been Consigned to History? Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Cobb, M.G. (2011) Transforming IET Leaders and Soldiers. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

Cox, M. (2017) Army Considers Adding Drill Sergeants to AIT to Bolster Discipline. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Curry, P. (2016) U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy Collaborates with FDNY Training. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Famous Veterans (2016) Remembering Robert Vaughn – Actor and Army Drill Sergeant. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Famous Veterans (2016) Remembering Robert Vaughn – Actor and Army Drill Sergeant. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Ferguson, K.H. (2014) The Army Learning Model: An example of Cognitive Dissonance. Army. November 2014, pp.57-59. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

Foreman, J.O. (2004) The History of The Drill Instructor. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Fox News (2011) Army’s Drill Sergeant Single Moms Face Challenges. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Gateway to the Army (2015) History. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].

Hargett, S.A. (2017) Task Force Marshall Change of Command. The Griffon: Published in the Interest of the 108th Training Command. Volume 41.1, Spring 2017.

Jonsson, P. (2007) New Drill for Army’s Training Officers. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Joseph, M. (2011) Army Drill Sergeant Pushes BMT Flight. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Kappler, S. & Simpkins, J. (2009) The Face of Today’s Drill Sergeant: Demographics Show How Numbers Add Up. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].

Kendall, L. (2017) Thornton Will Assume Drill Sergeant Role in U.S. Army. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Klein, G., Salter, M., Gates, J.W., Sullivan, R., Kinnison, H., Lappin, M. & Graham, S.E. (2005) Sergeants as Drill Sergeants: Returning Sergeants to Drill Sergeant Duty. US Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences. Study Report 2005-04. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 18 November, 2017].

Lacdan, J. (2017) On His Home Turf, Soldier Wins the Grueling Contest to Become 2017 Drill Sergeant of the Year. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Lineham, A. (2017a) TRADOC Says Drill Sergeants May Return To Soldiers’ AIT. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Lineham, A. (2017b) Lazy Millennials Are Not A Reason To Bring Drill Sergeants Back To AIT. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Lunato, M. (2017) Female Drill Sergeants Play Vital Role. The Griffon: Published in the Interest of the 108th Training Command. Volume 41.1, Spring 2017.

Mack-Martin, S. (2015) This We’ll Defend – A Look at the Drill Sergeant Academy. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 16 November, 2017].

Miller, M.L., James, D.R. & Cobb, M.G. (2011) The Impact of Accelerated Promotion Rates on Drill Sergeant Performance. U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences: Research Report 1935. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Missouri Net (2008) Fort Leonard Wood Closes Drill Sergeant School after 44 Years. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Moniz, D. (1996) Female Drill Sergeants in a ‘Man’s Army’. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

MVP (Mississippi Valley Publishing) (2005) Swearingen is National Drill Sergeant of the Year. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Myers, M. (2017) CSM: The Army Wants to put Drill Sergeants back in AIT in 2019. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Odom, J. (2017) Army South Hosts Colombian Sergeants Major Visit to U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

ONG (Ohio National Guard) (2011) Ohio Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion has 3 Soldiers Graduate US Army Drill Sergeant School. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Portillo, M. (2016) Fort Sill’s Move To Certify Drill Sergeant’s at Brigade Level Paves Way for Armywide POI. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

SCDC (South Carolina Department of Corrections) (2014) U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Judges Inmate Drill Team in Kershaw. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Schafer, S.M. (2011) Army Suspends 1st Female Drill Sergeant Leader. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Schafer, S.M. (2012a) Female Drill Sergeant Fights Removal. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Schafer, S.M. (2012b) Female Leader of Army Drill Sergeants Back In Job. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Schafer, S.M. (2014) Retired Female Army Drill Sergeant Commander Sues. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Schafer, S.M. (2016) Army Admits Drill Sergeants are Softening their Approach to Training. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Schudel, M. (2009) Mildred C. Bailey Dies at 90; Third Woman to Become General in U.S. Military. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

Sisk, R. (2016) Army to Boost Special Pay for Recruiters, Drill Sergeants. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Tan, M. (2016) Millenials May Need Drill Sgts Beyond Basic, Army Says. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Thompson, M. (2001) Boot Camp Goes Soft. Available from World Wide Web:,9171,138095,00.html. [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].

Timmons, R. (2017) New Commandant Returns to Birthplace. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 16 November, 2017].

TRADOC (US Army Training and Doctrine Command) (2017) TRADOC Pamphlet 600-4: The Soldier’s Blue Book. The Guide for Initial Entry Training Soldiers. 23 June 2017. Fort Eustis, Virginia: TRADOC.
US Army (2012) History. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

US Army (2014) Careers and Jobs: Drill Sergeants. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

US Army (2016) Information Paper: 2015 CMF 11 Sergeant First Class Selection Board. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

US Army (n.d.) CSM Ronnie E. Blount Jr. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

Vergun, D. (2013) Special Duty Assignment Pay Changes for Some. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 14 November, 2017].

Vergun, D. (2015) Army Learning Model Changes Drill Sergeant Training. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 11 November, 2017].

Wilkinson, J. (2014) The Old Ways are no way for Army Drill Sergeants. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 16 November, 2017].

Wilkinson, J. (2015) Army’s Top Drill Sergeants Compete at Fort Jackson. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 10 November, 2017].

Williams, D. (2013) Training Drill Sergeants. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 16 November, 2017].