In January 1976 the Army assigned me to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Drill Sergeant duty. I completed the Drill Sergeant Course in May 1976. I found the Drill Sergeant Course competitive, challenging and demanding.
Being a drill sergeant meant I worked day and night for nine weeks. We called our Drill Sergeant Duty “being on the trail.” My day started by waking at 4:00 am, getting ready for work and then driving to post. The CQ had the trainees up and doing their morning routine: making their bunks, cleaning the barracks and latrine, and getting their gear ready for the training day before I arrived. We followed the training schedule, and I’d get home around 7:30 pm.
The drill sergeants wear the campaign hat as a testament of their demonstrated professionalism, commitment to the mission, and proven leadership. The hat further symbolizes the lineage of the past, present, and future of the U.S. Army.
When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir and Soldiering After the Vietnam War.