Page 18 - Jackson Journal
P. 18

                   Maintaining the Balance
An Open Challenge to Platoon Sergeants/Senior Drill Sergeants
 Basic Training Cycles are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Will you get a Summer
Surge, a Late Surge, an OCS Class, or an ESL
Class? Each will come with its own unique trials and tribulations to overcome. This used to be
the only thought before pick up day that would
go through my mind. Over the last year, Basic Training Companies were “gifted” Platoon Leaders, which brought another unique set of challenges
to overcome as a Senior Drill Sergeant. The new thought running through my head was, when am I going to find the time to train, coach, and mentor fifty to sixty Trainees, two or three junior Drill Sergeants, and a Platoon Leader, while still fulfilling my duties as a Senior Drill Sergeant? Over the following months I found that the answer sounded easier to accomplish than it would be to execute.
In order to find a balance, I needed to stop seeing myself as a Senior Drill Sergeant and start acting like a Platoon Sergeant.
Initially it was a rough ride, everything prior
to this point had been about the Trainees and
the process of transforming them into Soldiers. Transforming civilians into Soldiers was still the number one priority, but there was now a great amount of emphasis placed on mentoring a new lieutenant assigned to the platoon. I knew I would be doing not only myself a disservice, but I would be doing the Army a disservice by not taking this opportunity that had been afforded to me. This was a chance for me not to only shape the Soldiers that were going out to various units, but for the first time as a Drill Sergeant, I was able to mentor
SFC Thomas Mendoza
leaders that will one day shape the Army. Needless to say I was excited to take on this challenge. Watching the Trainees transform at the end of the cycle has always been rewarding. Over the months that I have been assigned a Platoon Leader, I have been able to get the same satisfaction watching him grow and transform into a confident leader, as well as an integral piece of the platoon. The Trainees want to be trained and having a competent Platoon Leader can allow you, as a Platoon Sergeant, to oversee and instruct without having to step out to begin planning for the next event. As a Platoon Sergeant, I have more time to keep the Trainees engaged, as well as ensuring my Drill Sergeants are training them to the standard.
When I first became a Drill Sergeant I was told that a good team can make or break you when
you are in cycle. I always thought that meant that you had to have strong Drill Sergeants to enjoy your time on the trail. I learned very quickly that having a good team can make or break you, but
not every Drill Sergeant has the same strengths
and weaknesses. A good Platoon Sergeant/Senior Drill Sergeant uses the strengths of each one of their Drill Sergeants to make a good team. A great Platoon Sergeant/Senior Drill Sergeant will identify the weaknesses of their Drill Sergeants and help them to become a better-rounded leader so you don’t run into the issues of having the same Drill Sergeant teach the same thing every cycle. When you are in a cycle it already feels like Groundhog Day, it is made much more apparent how repetitive it can be when you have to teach the same classes every two months to a different group of people.
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