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  • Bill Owen

Sharing Knowledge at the US Army Drill Sergeant School

Army Drill Sergeant School. Originally posted in 2013. Updated in 2020.

I have always found in life that the people I get along with best are the fierce, aggressive, hard chargers that get the job done. On this trip, I may have found a second home.

This was mostly supposed to be a intel aka intelligence gather trip with a little bit of teaching and sharing best practices with the Drill Sergeant Leaders. Man, that was only the tip of the iceberg though. So many amazing men and women, and so many inspiring life changing experiences made this trip unforgettable.

To start with a quote I heard from SGM Huston, “To be inspiring, you have to be inspired.”

Drill teams come to us wanting to take 1st place at any competition. We don’t send them back for 2nd place. We also don’t pass on incorrect regulation procedures.

All these are probably reasons that over 90% of the programs we work with bring us back every year. Over 96% when you figure in the programs that go with an every other year plan.

All the time we get asked how we do what we do and how we know what we know. If it were easy, everyone would do it. The rock star side of being a Competitive Outcomes’ trainer is actually running training camps. The “real” work we do though is the research, the phone calls, the statistical and psychological studies, the reading, the checking, double checking, triple – ok, you get the point. Bottom line is we have to be correct and on point 100% of the time. 99% is for losers.

Part of that is continuously learning and evolving our teaching methods. In some places the drill manuals are vague and questions come up. The answer, “the is just the way I teach it” is never something that would come out of any of our trainer’s mouths. We are privileged enough to be brought in to teach former Drill Sergeants, Drill Instructors, and Military Training Instructors from all branches in addition to Police and Fire Department Honor Guard veterans.

These are the professionals who also ask the best, most pinpointed questions. Competition drill is similar, but very different from recruit training drill & ceremonies.

While we do have a lot of things figured out, competition drill is graded and thus subjective. We want to know two things at all times: what the judges want, and what is being taught currently to our active duty military personnel.

So when something comes up, we go straight to the top. In this case, the United States Army Drill Sergeant School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

It’s right here that the next generation of Army Drill Sergeants are forged from the ground up. One of the unique things about Army Drill Sergeants is that they train their platoons in all aspects of recruit training rather than handing them off to another set of instructors for training in things like marksmanship and combatives. Its all done by the same group of Drill Sergeants that received the platoon on day 0 of training.

The Drill Sergeant’s Creed

I am a Drill Sergeant

I will assist each individual in their efforts to become a highly motivated, well disciplined, physically and mentally fit Soldier, capable of defeating any enemy on today’s modern battlefield.

I will instill pride in all I train, Pride in self, in the Army, and in country

I will insist that each Soldier meets and maintains the Army’s standards of military bearing and courtesy, consistent with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

I will lead by example, never requiring a Soldier to attempt any task I would not do myself.

But First, Last, and always, I am an American Soldier, sworn to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

I am a Drill Sergeant.

Drill & ceremonies can take you all over the world and introduce you to the best people anywhere. Though you may only get to see these soldiers when they judge at National competitions, know they are masters of way more than just drill & ceremonies. We cannot thank these men and women enough for all they do not only for this country but for the drill world as a whole.


- Bill Owen


Bill Owen is the founder and lead trainer managing and conducting: Competition Drill Team Training Camps, Military/Police/Fire Honor Guard Training Courses, Funeral Operations Seminars, Coaching/Train The Trainer Seminars, and Leadership Devolvement with Competitive Outcomes - an International Drill & Ceremonies Training Company.


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