PORTAGE, Mich. - Drill sergeant battalions are always looking for opportunities to train America’s soldiers and always looking to recruit new drill sergeants. The 3rd Battalion, 330th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), Portage, Mich., has found a way to do both.
When most people think of drill sergeants, they think of training new recruits but, “drill sergeants do a lot more than just initial entry training,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Robb, 4th Brigade command sergeant major. For example, drill sergeants can run ranges and teach combatives for other units.
Robb said too often he talks to soldiers from other units who say they didn’t even know there was a drill sergeant unit in the area. But drill sergeants in the 3/330th are making their presence known throughout their region.
The unit has developed a very successful modern Army combatives program to hone drill sergeant skills while assisting other units to fulfill their training requirements. In 2012, they assisted/refereed the combatives tournaments for the 75th Division and the 4th Brigade, 95th Division Best Warrior Competitions. Since 2010, drill sergeants have conducted 10 classes of Basic Combatives (level 1) certifying 152 students and conducted five Tactical Combatives (level 2) classes certifying 54 students.
Running a successful MAC program requires the entire unit to be on board with the concept. In the beginning, they had no combatives equipment like mats, gloves and rubber weapons. Initially, noncommissioned officers in the unit pooled personal resources to stand up the program. As the program has grown, their supply chain has found innovative ways to provide the necessary MAC kits. After the drill sergeant school closed at the 108th Training Command in North Carolina, the 3/330th received the one kit that was there and then their property book officer found them two more kits stored at another location. Resources, funding, coordination for borrowing mats from other units are all factors in conducting a combatives’ class and is coordinated by members of the 3/330th.
The unit’s customer base is loyal and expanding. The 3/330th trained the 415th Civil Affairs Battalion in 2005 when that unit was deploying and needed MAC Level 1 training. The 415th is deploying again this year to the Horn of Africa and needs to update their skills. They once again reached out to the 3/330th to conduct the class, which was held Dec. 2-6, 2012, in Portage.
New units also reach out to the 3/330th based on word-of-mouth referrals.
Scott Shippy, the 3/330th unit administrator, said soldiers will call from other units and say, “You did a Level 1 combatives for so-and-so. Can you do that for us?”
The good thing about other units requesting the 3/330th’s assistance, according to Shippy, is that those units will usually provide the needed funding, allowing the 3/330th to preserve its own funds for organic missions.
The 3/330th has had requests to conduct training from units as far away as Colorado, according to 1st Sgt. Wesley Greenman. Such far reaching contact has benefited the 3/330th by improving its recruitment of new drill sergeants.
“Soldiers attending the training get to see drill sergeants in action and realize there’s more to the job than initial entry training, and they think, ‘that’s something I’d like to do,’” said Greenman.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Slomp of the 3/330th said, “I have been in the building with the 415th for five years. I’ve seen the faces but rarely have an opportunity to speak with them. Now, through this training, I’m connecting with them in ways that are relevant to both them and us. Having face time and building a rapport, that’s how to recruit!”