1-330th Regiment Drill Sergeants support Purdue University Drill Competition

March 01, 2014
​By Capt. Mark Swenson

Staff Sgt. Drew Jeffers, C/1-330th Regiment, Fort Wayne, Ind. evaluates Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps soldiers during a drill competition hosted by Purdue University on February 12.
On February 12, 1-330th Infantry Regiment supported a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Drill Competition hosted by Purdue University Army ROTC at the Purdue Armory in West Lafayette, Indiana.
 
The annual competition has seen an increase in participation over previous years with 19 different teams participating from high schools in states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. 
 
The operation is an example of cooperation as Purdue AROTC has coordinated with the Indiana Army National Guard for logistical support and with the U.S. Army Reserve for expert judges from the 1st Battalion, 330th Infantry Regiment located in Fort Wayne, Ind. The 1-330th is a training unit with the mission of conducting Initial Entry Training (IET) or basic training for Infantry Soldiers. The battalion is comprised of Drill Sergeants which are the primary instructors in IET.
 
“Having the opportunity to use drill sergeants is great for the competition,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Cook, the Senior Military Instructor for Purdue Army ROTC. “They bring an aspect to the competition that impresses competitors.”
 
The 95th Division has supported this event since its inception with Drill Sergeants from Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, but this is the first time in three years that the 1-330th has exclusively supported the competition. Sourcing support from within the local area has enabled the U.S. Army to reduce the cost of supporting the event while developing a mutually supporting relationship with the various Army organizations.
 
The Drill Sergeants benefit from the competition by using and honing their Drill and Ceremony skills. This event prepares them for the upcoming Annual Training missions at the Army Training Centers where they will conduct basic training or IET.
 
The real world experience was especially helpful for Drill Sergeant Candidates (DSC) who will soon be departing for Drill Sergeant School. The candidates had the opportunity to see their fellow Drill Sergeants in action. Cpl. Jessica Bailey, one of 1-330th’s female DSC, had the opportunity to participate in the evaluation and watch some of the best Drill Sergeants in the battalion, including Staff Sergeants Joyce Cripe and Melissa Miller, the two female Drill Sergeants currently serving with 1-330th. “Having these female Soldiers participate in this event is especially exciting,” said Mr. Mark Swenson, Purdue University Army ROTC Operations Officer. “They are a positive role model of strength and professionalism for our female ROTC cadets and the junior ROTC participants. Their participation sends a message to the observers and competitors that this Army is a place where women/female Soldiers can lead and be successful.”
 
More than 400 JROTC cadets, nearly 30 drill sergeants, and the entire Purdue Army ROTC program participated in the event, with several hundred parents and family members watching.
 
Twenty-nine Soldiers participated in the event from the 1-330th Infantry Regiment. Of the 29, 19 were Drill Sergeants. Additionally, Capt. Robert Bahler, Alpha Company Commander and a Purdue Army ROTC alumnus, was able to attend and provide additional Soldiers to support the event from his company.
 
As the competition ended, Drill Sergeants gathered in the Purdue Army ROTC offices for a small ceremony where they received recognition from their active duty counterparts including certificates of achievement and Commander’s Coins from the Purdue Army ROTC Professor of Military Science, Lt. Col. Jerry Hubbard. 
 
For more information, comments, or questions about joining the unit, please contact Capt. Mark Swenson, A Co., 1-330th Regiment Commander via phone 815-922-0709 or email mark.a.swenson.mil@mail.mil.
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