Page 44 - Jackson Journal
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                   How to Stay Sharp on the Trail
 Your head must consistently be on swivel as a United States Army Drill Sergeant. Waking up and going to work with the continual concern of maintaining your reputation and, most importantly, leaving the trail honorably are daily stressors in the life of a Drill Sergeant. In order
to stay abreast of the constantly revolving door
of changes, aside from the daily stressors stated above, you invariably will be questioned by your chain of command on why you chose to attempt a task a certain way. I’ve learned during my tenure on the trail that the only way to stay on course is
to routinely seek an azimuth check by your peers; your peers will always have your back. They have always had mine, and this leads me to believe that they will try to keep you honest and will not let you stray away from what being a Drill Sergeant really means.
When a Noncommissioned officer is selected to be a Drill Sergeant it is possibly the most confusing time for that NCO during their career. From my own experience, when I was told I was going to be a Drill Sergeant my heart sank into my stomach. I was worried about how my career would play out if I became a Drill Sergeant. I had always heard the horror stories associated with the job. I wondered, how could I do the job that the Army just tasked me with? Am I really what they need?
SFC Leal Potter
When I graduated from the Drill Sergeant Academy I thought that I was ready. I figured
that I would just treat Trainees the same way I treated my Soldiers on the line. This is the biggest mistake I have made, it was ignorant to think this. The civilians that we get from the outside never learn the same as the previous cycle. The way we
do things here is a process, and they, the Trainees must buy in to our way of life in order for the transformation process to begin. Units often fail to understand that there is a steep learning curve all Trainees undergo. We all take for granted that when you get a new Soldier at your unit that they are
the finished product, the Soldier can shoot, move, communicate and survive. He or she is the total Soldier. That is what I thought before becoming a Drill Sergeant. My task was to mass produce this product cycle after cycle for two years!
Well how do I mass produce this product that we will call a Soldier, remembering that revolving door I mentioned earlier about the chain of command intervention and wrenches being thrown into your day? What do I do with constant changes to the plan? Platoon Leaders are now in BCT? They are now making the plans and trying to interpret mission command? My good man, could this get any worse? (The fact is, they really are not that bad. I just hate change and I will admit they are a breath of fresh air).
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