News: Drill Sergeants Support Mid Atlantic Recruiting Battalion
Story by: 2nd Lt. Dan Maher
FORT DIX, N.J. - On Saturday, May 22, nearly 400 future Soldiers assembled at Doughboy Field on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for a Mega Function. The event was hosted by the Mid Atlantic Recruiting Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Harry Woodmansee. The massive assembly of civilians was turned over to the drill sergeants of the 3-385th, 4th Bde., 98th Div, who endeavored to train these men and women in an effort to prepare them for the rigors of basic training.
The day’s events began with a battalion formation and a short, but energetic run, complete with cadence callers and highly motivational chants. Next, the future Soldiers were given instruction in drill and ceremonies -- the basic positions and movements -- to give these civilians-in-transformation a feeling for moving as a single unit.
The day’s training also included basic land navigation and hands-on experience with the M240B and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon machine guns. The weapons systems were brought to the site by the 98th Division drill sergeants from the Regional Training Center-East who volunteered to help out with the function. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Clark and his staff gave discussions on the weapons’ capabilities and facilitated the event.
After everyone enjoyed a hearty lunch of burgers and hot dogs, the drill sergeants conducted push-up and sit-up competitions. The roar from the future Soldiers was deafening. The level of muscle-failure, sweat and shaking limbs was an indicator of the level of motivation these men and women achieved. The day concluded with a get-dizzy drill, wherein participants spin around a baseball bat, and then attempt to run in a straight line. The last exercise reminded everyone that there was much fun to be had along with the serious business of soldiering.
“We got some much-needed exercise,” said Oscar Maldanado of the South Jersey Hitmen.
The Hitmen were just one of the four companies participating that day. The units sport such nicknames as the Newark Knights, Central Jersey Pathfinders, and the North Jersey Warriors. Sgt. 1st Class Carl Urrutia, D Company, 3-385th, said, “These guys are motivated. Their recruiters must be doing a great job prepping them for basic training.”
Capt. Charles Phillips, commanding officer of the South Jersey Recruiting Company, said some future Soldiers signed on as late as last week, while some have been signed on for a year and are shipping out next month. “They’re at varying skill levels and have various backgrounds,” he said. Phillips spoke of one 39 year-old recruit who left a corporate job in order to, “give something back” to the country.
Preparation for basic training was only part of the purpose of the event. The drill sergeants and recruiters recognize the sacrifice and risks that these future Soldiers are taking by enlisting when our country is at war, and they took this unique time to congratulate and accept these future warriors. Whether it was an opportunity to handle U.S. weapons systems, a motivational run around the fields at JB-MDL, or a barbeque lunch served up at the picnic grounds, the men and women who are slated to ship out shortly, were treated to a memorable day.
“When it comes to recruiting, we have to think outside the box,” said Woodmansee. He provided this Mega Function as one example of a non-traditional training event that keeps future Soldiers focused on their goals and keeps their desire to serve alive and well through contact with veteran Soldiers.
U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants are uniquely positioned to support this type of event. In the eight hours spent at the Mega Event with the future Soldiers, the drill sergeants of the 3-385th were able to share insights and combat survival skills with these men and women who were not only responsive, but very appreciative. “The drills [drill sergeants] gave me straight answers to a lot of questions,” said Anthony Taylor, a member of the South Jersey Hitmen.
In a concept promoted by 1st Sgt. Randolph Weltch, D Company, 3-385th, a company of drill sergeants could be permanently assigned to JB-MDL. Weltch was one of the masterminds behind the marriage between recruiters and drill sergeants. Those interested in learning more about becoming a U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeant – the US Army’s premiere trainers of our future warriors - should contact Weltch at (551) 221-0696 or Randolph.email@example.com.