Uncommon memories of 'great' drill sergeants

I attended Army One Station Unit Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as a "split option" trainee during the summers of 1984 and 1985. Our training company consisted of combat engineers (12B), which was my military occupation specialty, and bridge specialists (12C).

Oftentimes, when you read reminiscences about basic training, the drill sergeants are depicted as violent sadists, but I would like to say that mine were nothing of that sort. My impression of them was that they were highly trained and highly professional senior non-commissioned officers who always set a great example for us young troops. Being a combat engineer is about always getting the job done, and that's exactly what our drill sergeants did. They were certainly demanding and impatient with little tolerance for those who did not pay attention to detail, but they were in no way sadistic.

If you permit me, I'd like to name them: Sgt. 1st Class Kunze and Staff Sgt. Grant at basic training, and Staff Sgt. Gimlich and Staff Sgt. Clements at advanced infantry training. The fact that I can recall their names 30-plus years later is a testament to their professionalism. I wish I had the opportunity to meet them again. I would shake their hands and thank them for everything they taught us.

« Previous story
Next story »