Becoming a Drill Sergeant is one of the highest honors obtainable as an NCO. After all, only the most qualified NCOs are chosen to attend Drill Sergeant School, where they are trained to fulfill a role of utmost importance…turning civilians from all walks of life into Soldiers.
However, earning that infamous hat is not easy…at all. Their training is some of the most strenuous and demanding the Army has to offer…essentially it is Basic Training all over again…on steroids. Think about it…these NCOs are expected to do everything perfect as they are the ones expected to train the Army’s recruits. They are the best because new recruits deserve to and need to learn from the very best the Army has to offer. Here is a brief overview of How to Become an Army Drill Sergeant.
Most Drill Sergeants are selected, but you can also volunteer for a vacant Drill Sergeant slot within a Training Command element. Entry into the Drill Sergeant Program is obviously the first step. To be considered, you must be an NCO (E-5 through E-7) and meet the requirements outlined in AR 614-200, Chapter 8.
The next step is completing DA Form 7424 (Sensitive Duty Assignment Eligibility Questionnaire) and completing the initial orientation/inprocessing paperwork required by the schoolhouse program. Each state and Training Command has their own process for applying and obtaining a DSS slot, but AR 614-200 and TRADOC REG 250-16 provides the best information with regards to those qualification requirements.
Drill Sergeant School begins at Fort Jackson, SC with inprocessing. Prior to, you will hand in your packet which includes such items as EMILPO Inprocessing Sheet, Weapons Handling Form, Mental Eval/DA 3822, POW Registration and the DA 7424. Also, prior to arriving, it’s a good idea to review FM 7-22 (Physical Training), TRADOC REG 350-16 (Enlisted Initial Training Policies and Admin), TRADOC REG 350-16 (Drill Sergeant Program) and TC 3-21.5 (D&C) as these will be the primary areas of focus for the course.
Without ever attending Drill Sergeant school myself, I am unfamiliar with the POI taught there, but I am aware that every topic is specifically targeted to the Basic Training environment. Their training is strenuous. The School’s curriculum mimics Basic Combat Training, week for week, because Candidates must be experts in all facets of BCT to begin training recruits.
Candidates receive top notch training from their Drill Sergeant instructors. Classes consist of BRM, D&C, unarmed combat training and a variety of other basic military skills training. The school’s overall goal is to train each candidate to become the trainer, to be able to clearly and concisely relay what he’s learned to Soldiers. Drill sergeant candidates also receive stress-management and personal relationship classes to help them in their future roles as mentors.
If you have what it takes and graduate the Army DSS you are then awarded the SQIs “X” and “8” and assigned to the Training Command element. After earning that “brown round” Drill Sergeants are evaluated annually on all warrior tasks and battle drills. Drill Sergeants are also re-evaluated each time that the BCT/OSUT POI is changed or altered.
For many NCOs becoming a Drill Sergeant is a “military dream.” Not every NCO has what it takes to be a Drill Sergeant. Taking on the challenge means they have proven themselves again and again-so much so that they’re entrusted with training new Soldiers. They know that when they receive their DS campaign hat, they’ll have the ultimate job…being a role model and trainer of the Soldiers that make up the ranks of the greatest Army.