The Dusty Trail the Life of a Drill Sergeant
Army Drill Sergeants and Marine Corp Drill Instructors
Soldiers in the Army refer to the time spent as a Drill Sergeant as on the trail. I was a Drill Sergeant for the Soldiers becoming Army firefighters from August 2005-2007. It is a time that is engraved in my heart and soul forever. My time as an Army Drill Sergeant changed me as a Soldier and a person. I was given the awesome responsibility of caring for this nation's sons and daughters. I am forever grateful for that experience.
Most people have never had the opportunity to meet an Army Drill Sergeant or Marine Corp Drill Instructor. Soldiers and Marines can always recall their first encounter with the individual wearing a Smokey the Bear Campaign Hat. They are usually followed by memories of mile long ruck marches, endless push-ups and a cold heartless individual yelling in their face.
I have a very different story.
Photos by Omar Moore
What is a Drill Sergeant
You Think You Know a Drill Instructor
According to Army Regulation 614-200
Drill sergeants are the primary representatives of the Army during the formative weeks of an enlistee's training
According to most Soldiers
A Drill Sergeant is probably the meanest, toughest and most disciplined person they ever met.
I wanted to be an Army Drill Sergeant from the moment I became a Noncommissioned Officer. They are an elite group, the best of the best. A Drill Sergeant is known for setting the Standard. They mold civilians into Soldiers. I volunteered to go to Drill Sergeant School in August of 2005.
Drill Sergeant School was nine weeks long and mirrored a Basic Training Platoon. I was thrilled. I loved it. I was able to experience basic training all over again, only this time, I was good at it. I was one of the best. You are not treated as a seasoned Soldier in Drill Sergeant School, in fact, you are treated a lot worse than the new recruits.
I graduated second in my class. I was given a choice of duty station for my tour as a Drill Sergeant. I decided to be stationed at Good fellow AFB. I wanted to make a difference in my own career field. I wanted to have an impact on young firefighters.
I anticipated the Soldiers that would break curfew, fail Physical Fitness Test, I even expected the occasional underage drinker. I was not prepared for my tour as an Army Drill Sergeant. I encountered a generation of teenagers that had joined the military in a time of war. Many of them came from broken homes and were looking for a place to belong.
I will never forget the day I called a parent to inform them that their child might not make it through the night. The Soldier had attempted suicide. I remember embracing the Soldier whose father had died while he was in training. I experienced many life changing events with these Soldiers. I did not have children of my own at the time. I grew up. I became an adult. I became a Soldier.
A Drill Sergeant Comforts
I was responsible for the Soldier who received a Red Cross message from home.
Fun Facts about Army Drill Sergeants - Did you know?
1. The first Drill Sergeant to train trainees in the Army was in 1964
2. Females were allowed in the Drill Sergeant program in 1972
3. Drill Sergeant Candidates cannot have a speech impediment although this rule is often over looked
4. A Drill Sergeants tour is two years but can be involuntarily extended for an additional year
5. Advanced Individual Training Drill Sergeants were commonly referred to as "Sidewalk Drills" by basic training Drill Sergeants
6. The most common cadence heard in Drill Sergeant School is "Down by the River"
7. Drill Sergeants are now certified in Combatives
8. The US Army Drill Sergeant School now has a Facebook page
A Drill Sergeant Listens
I was responsible for the Soldier that attempted suicide.
Done Drill Sergeant
Because you told me to Drill Sergeant
The Voice of an Army Drill Sergeant
Call Cadence Like an Army Drill Sergeant
Every Soldier remembers the first time they heard a Drill Sergeant call a cadence. It might have been on the stretch of a long dusty ruck march or the last mile of a challenging run. The voice that echoes motivation in the silence is unforgettable.
Drill Sergeants call cadences while marching and running troops. The cadences are intended to keep the Soldiers in step and most importantly to give them motivation to complete the task at hand.
A Drill Sergeant Helps
I was responsible for the Soldier whose children were not being cared for back home.
Drill Sergeant Quotes
Drill Instructor Sayings
A Drill Sergeant will say just about anything to motivate a new recruit. A few of the sayings are brutal and sound especially harsh if you have never dealt with a Drill Sergeant. I assure you the things I said to privates were never personal! I never had any intention of kicking a Soldier in the throat. Did I mention I'm only 4'11"! Drill Sergeant Quotes are often said in the heat of the moment but they are imitated and repeated by Soldiers, Marines and Airmen for years to come. Do you have a funny saying from boot camp? Feel free to leave it in the comment section and I may just add it to this website.
“Today... is Christmas! There will be a magic show at zero-nine-thirty! Chaplain Charlie will tell you about how the free world will conquer Communism with the aid of God and a few Marines!” Gunnery Sergeant Hartman Full Metal Jacket
“God damn it, Gump, you're a Goddamn genius. That's the most outstanding answer I've ever heard. You must have a goddamn I.Q. Of 160. You are goddamn gifted, private Gump.” Drill Sergeant From Forest Gump
"Hey freak show you have about two seconds to square yourself away"
"Don't get kicked in the throat"
"You gotta be freakin kidding me"
"That is just a taste of what I can do to you"
"Don't you doggone move or I'm going to kick you so hard you're going to taste rubber"
"Drop and beat your face"
Funny Drill Sergeant Quotes
- Funny Drill Sergeant Quotes on Facebook Quotes
Join the group of Soldiers, Marines and Airman sharing funny Drill Sergeant stories "Your Drill Sergeant said what"?
- SGT Grit Remembering Marine Specialties
SGT Grit is a blogger and former Marine. Visit his page to remember your favorite boot camp line.
- Drill Sergeant Therapist Commercial
Can you imagine your Drill Instructor as a therapist?
- Drill Instructor Commercial
Does a Tide pen really work? Just ask this new recruit faced with a mean Drill Sergeant.
A Drill Sergeant Cares
I FEEL responsible for the Soldier now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
AIT Drill Sergeants a Dying Breed
Recently the Army made the decision to do away with Drill Sergeants in Advanced Individual Training. Soldiers are now only exposed to Drill Sergeants in Basic Training. The idea behind the change was that Soldiers were deploying within a year from graduating AIT. Some felt the transition would be easier from trainee to combat Soldier without the presence of a Drill Sergeant. I personally disagree.
Do you feel it was the right decision for the Army to do away with the Drill Sergeants in AIT (Advanced Individual Training)
A Drill Sergeant Sympathizes
I FEEL responsible for the Soldier that will not see the birth of his child.
A Drill Sergeant Worries
I FEEL responsible for the Soldier that will not come home for a year.
Drill Sergeants "End of The Trail"
The phrase "on the trail" dates back to frontier days when cowboys would drive cattle from one place to another. Drill Sergeants adopted the phrase because they move Soldiers from civilian to Soldier with discipline and order
A Drill Sergeant Cries
I FEEL responsible for The Soldier that may never come home
What is the difference between a Drill Sergeant and a Drill Instructor?
It is difficult to compare Drill Sergeants and Drill Instructors. It is considered taboo in the military to compare Marines to Soldiers. Each branch of service has its own mission. Basic Training is different for each service and is tailored to meet the needs of that particular branch of service.
1. Drill Instructors are responsible for training new Marine Recruits
2. Male and Female Drill Instructors, unlike the Army wear the same style of campaign hat.
3. Drill Instructor School is located in Parris Island, South Carolina.
4.The first female Marine graduated Drill Instructor School in 1978.
5. R. Lee Ermey, the Drill Instructor on Full Metal Jacket was actually a Drill Instructor in the Marine Corp during the Vietnam War.
6. Frank Spencer Sutton the actor that played Sergeant Carter a Drill Instructor on Gomer Pyle USMC served as an Army Soldier in in the South Pacific during
World War II
- US Army Drill Sergeant School
Visit Fort Jackson, South Carolina and see where Drill Sergeants are made.
- History of the Army Drill Sergeant
Read the history of the US Army Drill Sergeant, Drill Sergeant badge and campaign hat.
- Army Drill Sergeant School Facebook Page
See the new breed of Drill Sergeants on Facebook. DSS post pictures of the current class as they undergo the rigorous training of becoming a Drill Sergeant.
- Female Campaign Hat
Read the history of the female campaign hat.
- Male Campaign Hat
Learn everything you ever wanted to now about the brown, round smokey the bear hat.
- The Face of Today's Drill Sergeant
Who are today's Drill Sergeants? Are they a kinder, gentler group of Soldiers?
- Marine Drill Instructor School
Welcome to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
- Sgt Grit Marine Specialties
Sgt Grit is a former Marine. He blogs about current issues and changes in the US Marine Corp. You will want to check out his page to see pictures of Marines and their families all over the world.
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Many people picture the Drill Instructor from Full Metal Jacket when they think of a Drill Sergeant or Drill Instructor. They think a Drill Sergeant is a rough and tough male sporting a high and tight. I am a petite 4'11'' female with a voice of thunder.