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2013 Drill Sergeants of the Year Announced

By Stephanie Slater

July 18, 2013

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USNS Gordon (U.S. Navy photo)

The U.S. Army selected Sgt. 1st Class David E. Stover, representing Army Training Center, Fort Jackson, S.C., as the 2013 active duty U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year; and Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. McCaffrey, representing the 98th Reserve Division, as the 2013 Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year.

Winners were announced in a military ceremony hosted by the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School on July 17 at Fort Jackson. Both Drill Sergeants of the Year were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

The winners were among six of the Army's top drill sergeants who competed for the prestigious award. Four active duty and two Army Reserve drill sergeants were recognized as the Drill Sergeant of the Year for their respective installation or division. Competitors included Staff Sgt. Troy T. Braun, 95th Reserve Division; Staff Sgt. Jonathan B. James, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood Mo.; Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. McCaffrey, 98th Reserve Division; Staff Sgt. Steven L. Newman, Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Ga.; Staff Sgt. William C. Schmidt, Fires Training Center of Excellence, Fort Sill, Okla.; and Sgt. 1st Class David E. Stover, Army Training Center, Fort Jackson, S.C.

The competitors endured physical and mental challenges during a 30-hour competition, July 15-17, which tested their knowledge of Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, as well as their ability to teach these tasks to new Soldiers. The selection process concluded with each drill sergeant appearing before a board of command sergeants major to evaluate their knowledge of leadership and drill sergeant training tasks.

The active Army Drill Sergeant of the Year receives the Stephen Ailes Award, initiated in 1969 and named for the Secretary of the Army from 1964 to 1965 who was instrumental in originating the first Drill Sergeant School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Army Reserve winner receives the Ralph Haines Jr. Award, named for the commander of the Continental Army Command (forerunner of TRADOC) from 1970 to 1972. The awards will be presented in a ceremony in Washington at a later date.

Drill sergeants are the cornerstone of Army readiness, entrusted with the task of preparing new Soldiers to fight and win our nation's wars. Producing quality Soldiers demands that only the Army's best and brightest serve as drill sergeants. Approximately 2,000 drill sergeants train 160,000 new Soldiers each year.

Drill sergeants are located at four installations: Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; and Fort Sill, Okla. Reserve component drill sergeants represent training divisions located across the United States.