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    U.S. Army Drill Sergeants tell their personal story in the spirit of Women’s History Month- Part One

    U.S. Army Drill Sergeants tell their personal story in the spirit of Women’s History Month- Part One

    Photo By Gary Loten-Beckford | Fort Jackson, SC- Drill Sergeant Leader (Staff Sgt.) Darleneanne Roque leads step...... read more read more



    Story by Gary Loten-Beckford 

    U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training

    JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.- (Mar. 6, 2023) This is the first of a four-part series of military women sharing their personal stories for Women’s History Month.

    Women’s History Month is interwoven into the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy. In 1972, six noncommissioned officers from the Women’s Army Corps were enrolled and graduated from the drill sergeant program at Fort Jackson, SC.

    Women who serve as drill sergeants share the same experiences with their male counterparts. The long demanding hours, sweltering hot summers on marksmanship and training area ranges, bone-chilling and freezing cold-weather winter temperatures at field training exercises, administrative collateral duties for maintaining company operations and intermittent family time are all shared experiences for the exceptionally tough and rewarding special duty.

    Drill Sergeants are noncommissioned officers who excel in the top 10 percent of all the Army NCOs. Drill sergeant leaders, however, represent the top one percent of the drill sergeant population. Drill Sergeant Leaders are responsible for molding NCOs into drill sergeants before they are assigned to transform civilians to Soldiers in Basic Combat Training.
    Drill Sergeant Leader (Staff Sgt.) Kenya Beasley, Drill Sergeant Leader (Staff Sgt.) Candice Jones and Drill Sergeant Leader (Staff Sgt.) Darleneanne Roque are assigned to the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, SC. They have served as drill sergeants at various Centers of Excellence, now they are responsible for molding and transforming NCOs into highly effective drill sergeants.

    Their inherent mission is to train, educate, certify, and validate NCOs’ abilities to execute and teach the core tenants of Enhanced Basic Combat Training Program of Instruction, which include physical readiness training, drill and ceremonies, basic rifle marksmanship and Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.

    DSL Beasley of Lithonia, Ga., has been in the Army for 10 years. Beasley enlisted as a Medical Logistician and volunteered to be a drill sergeant based on the positive influence her drill sergeant embodied.

    “My drill sergeant saw potential in me and that changed my life,” Beasley said. “I wanted to have that impact on new incoming Soldiers. I wanted to get them to believe in themselves to reach their full potential.”

    Beasley is a leader, Soldier, coach, and mentor but above all she attributes being a mom as the ultimate title.

    For young women hoping to join the military and those already serving, Beasley shared some advice.

    “For young women hoping to join the military, stay true to who you are. Go for every opportunity, rise to the opportunities presented to you, be fearless, be confident, advocate for yourself and always challenge yourself,” Beasley said. “For women already serving, continue to be pioneers for the women under you, be kind to yourself, remember to focus on progress, remain motivated, stay consistent.”

    Beasley is also a member of the prestigious Sgt. Audie Murphy Club. Members of the club are those who exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development, and welfare of Soldiers and concern for families of Soldiers.

    DSL Candice Jones did not join the Army immediately after high school. In fact, Jones was recruited out of high school under a basketball scholarship and served as an assistant coach at Olney Central College in eastern Illinois. After 18 months of feeling stagnant and too comfortable, Jones said that she needed a challenge. No bigger challenge than joining the Army.

    Jones enlisted in the Army in 2012 as a Horizontal Construction Engineer and climbed the ranks where she sought mentors and mentorship along the way, which were pivotal to many of her career decisions.

    “I’ve had mostly engineer mentors and they were prior drill sergeants and drill sergeant leaders,” Jones said. “They gave me hard love & easy love and taught me many things. It’s gotten me to this point in my career and they’ve taught me to be a better person.”

    On what Jones would say to her younger self, “pay attention and concentrate.” There is so much to learn by simply paying attention, Jones added. It’s imperative to focus on the details, as she began to care about herself and future better than ever, Jones says she’s been able to accomplish more.

    “Advice I have for younger women looking to join the Army: always shoot for your dreams and never change who you are, just change the situation you’re in to make it better and always do the right thing even when no one is watching,” Jones said. “Women currently serving, if you’re finding it more challenging because you’re a woman, know that it must be challenging, or everyone would do it, be that woman that young Soldiers look up to and inspired by.”

    DSL Darleneanne Roque, native of San Jose, Calif., joined the Army to be a part of something bigger than herself. “I joined the Army where my impact can be measured but not limited,” Roque said. Roque enlisted as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic and has eight years of service. Though Roque was selected by the Army for drill sergeant duty, her initial plan was to volunteer later in her career.

    After 18 months of drill sergeant duty at Fort Lee, Va., Roque competed for the coveted role as a drill sergeant leader at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy.

    “I volunteered to be a Drill Sergeant Leader because I realized the type of influence this position holds,” Roque said. “I wanted to apply myself within the organization to affect the future of the Army on a much larger scale.”

    Roque credits her time as a drill sergeant for boosting her confidence and increasing her knowledge of Army programs and regulations. Roque became the expert in her field by digging into the regulations, putting in countless hours of studying and role modeling the training manuals.

    “My experiences and interactions with my leaders, peers, and Soldiers helped shape the decisions I’ve made throughout my military career,” Roque said. “I take the good out of certain situations and make sure to never repeat the bad.”

    In speaking to her younger self and other women thinking about joining the Army, Roque says that you must stay true to what you believe in. There will be many variables that will try and sway you, but if you continue to do the right thing, you’ll never regret your next position in life.

    For more information on how to become a Drill Sergeant Leader, check out



    Date Taken: 03.06.2023
    Date Posted: 03.05.2023 14:02
    Story ID: 439726
    Hometown: ILLINOIS CITY, IL, US
    Hometown: LITHONIA, GA, US
    Hometown: SAN JOSE, CA, US

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    Downloads: 1