By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber
“When the Army looks at promoting their best personnel, they’re looking for those personnel who were drill sergeants, recruiters, Ranger instructors and personnel that have gone above and beyond to do a position that is more demanding,” said Sgt. Maj. Chris Smith, operations sergeant major, 198th Infantry Brigade.
The Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Symposium is a weeklong summit Aug. 1-5 at Fort Benning.
Attendees include representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. Representatives from U.S. Army Central also attended the symposium.
Smith briefed the attendees about advanced individual training and drill sergeant duty.
To become a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army, a Soldier must undergo a background check before they can attend drill sergeant school, Smith explained.
“The reason we only keep drill sergeants for two years is because it is a very demanding job, not only on the Soldier, but it is very demanding on the family,” said Smith. “You’re basically getting up at 3:30 to 4 a.m. and getting to work, getting all the training events ready, and are more than likely not getting home until 9:30 to 10 p.m., if you’re lucky.”
Smith explained that a benefit of being a drill sergeant is the promotion rates.
A well-rounded NCO is someone who has a variety of skills, someone who actively looks to acquire better skills and is someone the Army wants, Smith explained.
Smith explained that drill sergeants in the U.S. Army have to be able to teach everything from communications to weapons.
Smith also emphasized the importance of NCOs being able to train the Soldiers in their unit.
“As a noncommissioned officer, you are responsible for the individual training of your Soldiers,” he said.
During the briefing, international representatives explained how they choose NCOs in their country, and asked questions about how best to develop their drill sergeants.
“When you’re looking at selecting your instructors or drill sergeants, you’re not just looking for somebody who has experiences in this or that assignment. You are looking for somebody who can train, somebody who is well-spoken, somebody who can stand up in front of people and teach,” said Smith.