The new US Army Drill Sergeant School

I am starting this discussion as the information I found prior to attending Drill Sergeant School was outdated, incorrect, or just flat out didn't exist. I will try to write something here daily-obviously if the course does not allow for it, I promise to at least have a post weekly. Today was the report date and here is what happened:

We formed up at the post theater at 0800 in our winter PT uniform. This was put out to us through a piece of paper at the hotel front desk. So don't go off of the welcome letter from the school's website. They did a roll call and then pitched three modules to us. After this, we loaded up on a bus and headed over to the new building which is very nice. We were taken inside for HT/WT/ Tape test. After finishing this, we went to a classroom and filled out some paperwork and were fitted for the campaign hats. The deputy Commandant spoke to us as well as a lady from lodging. After all of this was complete we marched to lunch which is in the same building. We had approximately 30-45 minutes to eat and the food is decent...plus you don't pay for it and they do not stop your BAS. After lunch we went back to the classroom for a 100% urinalysis which went faster than I thought it would. After everyone finished with that, we were broken down into squads and moved out to our classrooms. Again, more paperwork, some handouts and a powerpoint presentation on what you can expect. This is basically what I got from it:

o if you failed ht/wt/tape you are dismissed from the course
o if you fail to score at least 60 pts per event on the APFT (which is tomorrow) you are dismissed from the course
o if you fail to score at least 70 pts per event on the APFT you will attend special population PT daily
o you are off Sundays
o each time you walk past a Drill Sergeant Leader (DSL), 1SG, CSM etc. you sound off with "This we'll defend Drill Sergeant/1SG" etc
o no cussing
o there will be a break at 10 minutes til the hour-you are permitted to smoke but have to walk across the street
o smokeless tobacco is not allowed in the Drill Sergeant building
o chewing gum is not authorized while you are in uniform at all (it's actually in a policy letter)
o you are not authorized to drive your POV to the school...you have to be transported on the bus
o PT goes from 0500-0630. You have 45 minutes to shower/change. The bus leaves at 0715 sharp for the school house.
o MODULES...this is the big one. You do have to know them. Don't go looking for the module book and damn sure don't purchase one. Download FM 3-21.5 (Drill and Ceremonies) and learn all of it from that. Start out with Position of Attention, Rest Positions at the halt, and the hand salute. DO NOT GO OFF OF THE OLD MODULE BOOK! It is incorrect.

That just about sums up day one. Will try to post something tomorrow.
Original Post
Good morning! I apologize for not posting on days two and three. This school is demanding! But here you go:

Day 2
The day started with the APFT at 0430. It was a little cold here (for most people it was...I have been at Fort Drum for five years...enough said.) We did the pushups/situps inside the post theater. Even though there are about 80 students, it went pretty quickly. The DSLs were a little tough on the scoring...not as bad as an NCOES school though. The run is conducted on a track right behind the theater. It is three laps plus about 150 meters. There is a slight incline on the one straight-away, but once you make the turn it goes downhill so you can make up with addtional speed there. We were told that if anyone failed to get 60 in any event that they would be dismissed from the course. Apparently it was a scare tactic as some did not and are still here. The key is to get 70 in each event...if you do not you will have to do remedial PT. What they didn't tell us is that remedial PT is done after class hours and you conduct it on your own (you have to submit a plan and have it approved). Following the PT test we had about 35 minutes to shower and change into ACUs. By the way, everyone tries to shower after PT so there is no hot water. We caught the bus back to the school house and had chow. Classes followed after that were were on Master Resilency Training. I'm sure that everyone has taken the GAT survey by now and thought that it was retarded. These classes went in more detail which were actually pretty good. You have to keep an open mind though and realize that although most of us are stuck in our old ways (if you have been in more than eight years), society has changed and now the Army is forcing us to change. Take these classes for what they are...just another tool to add to your toolbox. So overall I think everyone took something from the training. We were also given the first ten mondules for next week. Thurday we will all pitch the Position of Attention, Rest Positions at the Halt, and the Hand Salute. Friday we will pitch one of the seven By-the-Numbers modules. Basically you have to learn all 10. You won't find out which one of the By the Numbers you will do until immediately before you pitch it. DO NOT STRESS YOURSELF OUT OVER THESE. Page 2-1 in FM 3-21.5 has the explanation (formerly known as the preamble or 1st paragraph) for all D&C modules: "The next position which I will name explain......" Here is all you have to do: get a battle buddy to work on these with you. Don't try to memorize anything other than the explanation. Instead just know what the hell you are talking about. Everyone knows what each of these movements do and look like. Once you say the explanation, you just have to explain the position. Too easy. I apologize...you need to memorize any notes that are in bold as well. If you come here and have memorized the Soldier's Creed, Drill Sergeant Creed, General Orders and can correctly pitch the first three modules, you will walk through this course without even trying. Anyway, after that, we caught busses back to the hotel around 1945. The classes run late daily...thus why I didn't post on here until right now.
Day 3

They reversed the schedule on us today so we reported in at 0430 in ACUs. We went to 120th AG for hearing conservation (only some needed it done) and to get issued ear plugs. Then we went back to the classroom for more classes. They have a couple guys from the Army Center for Enhanced Performance (ACEP) come talk to us for most of the day. It had a lot to do with goal setting and thinking optimisically-focusing on the good rather than the bad when either you or one of your Soldiers fails to meet a standard. Like yesterday's classes-another thing to throw in your toolbag. The best part was a recovery drill which was basically a 12 minute power nap to teach us a way to get a quick evergy recovery. It worked out pretty good to my surprise. After that, we changed into PTs and had TA-50 issued to us. If you don't need the stuff you will just leave it in your room until it is time to turn it in. Then we had a class on how to conduct the new Army Physical Readiness Training. If you haven't started using it at your units-then start now to get familiar. Download TC (Training Circular) 3-22.20. I started using it with my platoon back in September and it really helped with the training today. We went over the proper way to conduct prepartory drills (what we all used to call stretching-by the way-these will have you pissed off that you don't get to stretch out the way we were all taught in the past) plus the pushup/situp drill and four for the core. Like I said-start looking into and implementing this now...FM 21-20 was obsolete as of August 2010. Even though I had been doing all of this for a few months now, they taught us the right way to teach the positions and the right way to execute them. Having a knowledge of all of them was definitely beneficial even though I was doing some of them wrong prior to today. That was all the training for today and we actually have a three day weekend. If anyone has any questions, please let me know. I will try to put my next post after training on Tuesday. If I don't, you will hear from me next weekend on the week's events. THIS WE'LL DEFEND!!!
quote:
Originally posted by SSG E:
SSG Chaney,

This is awesome keep it going!


+1

Thanks for taking the time, it's great reading about the course from the source. Even though I'll never be going to DS School, it's very informative to know what the Soldiers are learning.

....I need to start the 'new' PT program as well.
SSG Chaney,

I went to DSS last summer and it's good to hear the changes. Some guys I work with are going real soon and I gave them the link to this so they can read up before they go. Just wondering if Your using the new barracks or still in lodging? Good Luck and Thanks
SSG Chaney,

This is exactly what I needed, very helpful. I'm on my way out from Germany and I'm going to school in June. I'm reporting to my unit first though, which is in Ft. Sill. I've heard so much about school and actual duty, pros and cons. All of it is memory but I'm glad you're doing this so I will know firsthand since I'll be attending in a few months.

KEEP IT COMING!!!
About 30 days prior to your report date, get with your schools NCO. If you have a Government Credit Card, you will use that. If not, your schools NCO will put your info into DTS and you will receive an advance payment. You will then receive a supplement of your travel pay every 30 days or so. You will receive enough for your entire hotel bill, plus mileage if you are driving a POV, and a supplemental amount for laundry/incidentals. Save all your receipts, you must turn them into your Schools NCO once graduating the school.
Day 5

Today we pitched the first 3 modules. This is extremely easy. Just don't try to memorize anything word for word. Talk through instruction is just that...talk through. You just have to explain the position in a clear and consise manner. We were also informed that we will be pitching not only one of the by-the-numbers modules, but two more talk through. So this weekend (we are working on Saturday-Victory Tower) we will all be going through more modules.
@ SSG Edwards,

What do you mean as far as service restrictions? As in another branch of service or MOS? As far as I am tracking, any active duty NCOs in the rank of SGT thru SFC that meet all the requirements for Drill Sergeant Duty (Ref. Tradoc Regulation 350-16) can attend the school. The same regulation should be able to tell you what the requirements are for Reserve Soldiers. I do not think other branches of the military may attend-they have their own programs. But the school here does allow some foreign military attend. If that does not answer your question, please let me know.
Day 6

Today was exhausting. We got done yesterday around 2000 and we had first formation at 0320. We did the PRT Preparation Drill then bussed over to the school. We then conducted a "footmarch". THis was 4 km with FLC, patrol cap, and M16. Since it was dark we walked a 3.2 km/hour pace. Pretty much slower than the speed of smell. But, this is how we will do it with the new Soldiers on the trail to start out. So be prepared to be annoyed with this. The footmarch ended at an obstacle course. We went throught the course three times. The first time our DSL explained each obstacle and the safety requirements for them. The second time we all executed each obstacle. The last time was for us to explain each obstacle. Not hard at all. By the time we were done with that, everyone was awake. We then went back to the school to pitch our Step by Step module. There were seven that we studied and we pulled a card from a deck of cards and pitched it right then. Not hard-again, my advise is to know the three methods of instruction for D&C and then you can pitch any module.....DO NOT MEMORIZE!! It was very apparent who had tried to memorize the modules verbatim and many of them got choked up on the words and steps resulting in NO-GO's. We had a class on how to conduct the APFT and a nutrition class this afternoon and were actually back to the hotel by 1900. Tomorrow we have Victory Tower (rappeling) and more classes....really sucks since it is Saturday.
Day 7

We went to Victory Tower this morning and conducted training on and negotiated the rappel wall. It was actually pretty fun. Now we are having a class on the Army Values. Simple day for us, but it is Saturday and it looks like we will be here until at least 1900 tonight.
SSG Acton,

Nothing to be nervous about. The course is set up for you to pass. If you can get down the three methods of instruction for teaching drill and ceremony, the drill sergeant creed, and do a little practice marching your joes around the class will be a breeze. The days are long because they are trying to teach us time management. If you have been in the Army for more than 5 years, most of this stuff is just a refresher for you.
I see that you keep saying if you have this down or that down,things will be fine and easy.what if you dont? Do they give you time to learn and study or will i be up all night.also, do you take your computer with you to class,is there internet? just wondering how you post at different times of the day....thanks so much for all your post,they really help out.I will be there next week!! very nervous.GL to you
@SGTH07
If you do not prepare before coming, it will be a little more challenging. Depending on how quick you can retain information will determine how late you will be staying up. I am fairly good at learning and retaining information and I am averaging 4.5-5 hours of sleep at night during the week. There are computers for us to use in the classroom with internet access. Bring your laptop for the hotel-bring a CAT5 cable to connect to the internet in the hotel.
ok, sounds good.thanks for the info. only 5 hours of sleep huh? lol, thats not much. ill be there tomorrow so i am looking forward to it.i really hope its not like all other army schools where there is no chance to fail(if you know what i mean).Do you wear everything on your ACU's or nothing? just found out we are staying off post as there is no more room,guess that means even less sleep.
quote:
Originally posted by SSG Chaney:
Thanks. We are still in lodging...Magruder. The barracks isn't scheduled to open until September 2011. The cost is $34.00 per night. once you check in, you pay the bill every 30 days. The welcome packet says you have to pay in advance...not true.


I just got here my class starts on wednesday 26 Jan I got to on post lodging and they told us that we were staying off post at the holiday inn. there is a cost differance. it is $71.00 a night if this happenss to you make sure you call back to your unit to get your orders amended. also since I am staying off post we get $15 a day for milage.
ssg sackett,it does say in the packet that when you get your room,you can take yours bags up and unpack.now that we are staying in a hotel im wondering if we will move soon. so i may not unpack everything when i get there tomorrow.if you hear anything please post.thanks.
Thank u very much for this day by day account of whats goin on and now i can see what i have to look forward to in June. LOL i was trying to learn the modules word for word but it feels great to kno i dont have to now so once again thanks and keep it cummin. "This We'll Defend"
To answer a question I missed earlier, the first formation on report day should be in winter PTs. Make sure you do not wear spandex and you will be getting ht/wt/tape done. The school should drop off an information paper at the hotel the day before your report date with the information as far as what to wear, what to bring and the time and place to report to. If there is one thing I have noticed about this course, it is that there is not a standard across the board so things will vary from platoon to platoon. Just play the game and roll with it. I am learning that the motivation to get the hat and badge goes up the farther you make it into the course just so you can get the hell out of here. Good Luck.
BigSarge14,

If you are trying to PCS the day before class, you are setting yourself and your wife up for failure. I am assuming you are PCSing from OCONUS if you are PCSing first. If that is the case, you want to get your PCS Report date moved up so you have a couple weeks to inprocess post and find a place to stay. If you are stationed here at Jackson, you do not stay in lodging-I do not know if this will change once the barracks is complete this fall. Bottom line-get your PCS date changed to save you and your wife a lot of A$$ pain.
quote:
Originally posted by BigSarge14:
@ SSG Chaney

I will be attending DSS in June, my wife and I will also be PCSing to Jackson the day Prior to me reporting to DSS. Do you know if I have to stay in lodging or will I be able to go home every night?


I am not a drill Sergeant or anything but why would you report to any school in the middle of a PCS???
Time to get all of you caught up this week. It's been a little crazy and stressful since Monday. Monday we started going through the Army Basic Instructor Course Modules (ABIC) which gets you your "8" identifier. Death by powerpoint-the jist of it is how to properly conduct training. Later on in the couse we will each give three classes. My guess is that we will find out what the class will be about two days prior to conducting it. Tuesday we did more of that in addition to pitch the first basic manual of arms module (talk through method). Pretty easy. Today we pitched our first By-the-Numbers modules (Left/Right/About Face). Just to reiterate, each module is on a card and you pull it from the others. Then you immediately pitch the module with a demonstrator. We also had a two hour EO class which was actually interesting because of the instructors knowledege and the way he conducted the class...not your typical EO Class you receive from your EOL at your unit. Tomorrow we have a written exam on Drill and Ceremony (we did not find out about it until around 1600). Should be off Saturday and Sunday-will try to post tomorrow and Friday if I get the chance.
Today we were assigned our first classes we will teach...extremely simple. We will be giving them on Monday. We also took our Drill and Ceremony written exam. Also very simple...30 questions, multiple choice, and 60 minutes to complete. We continued with the ABIC classes and just got back from Sexual Assault Prevention. It was a decent class as CID conducted it.

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