FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico –
Drill sergeants hold one of the essential tasks in the Army: training the Soldiers who will serve as defenders of the country and future leaders. They are the heart of the initial entry training in the U.S. Army.
While it is true that an Army drill sergeant spends long hours training and motivating civilians to become combat-ready Soldiers, many agree that it is a rewarding career, explained 1st Sgt. Carlos Declet.
Both Declet and Staff Sgt. Hector Burgos, from the 1st Battalion-389th Regiment of the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, share the same military profession and are also fathers.
"Being a drill sergeant is very demanding, but the memories and love you get out of it is never-ending," said proud Declet, proudly. "I never ask people to do what I am unwilling to do; the same applies to my kid."
Declet has a son named Carlos Manuel Declet Claudio, 8, who instills discipline in with simple tasks like tidying his bed and room. "How does your room have to be all the time?" he asked his son during this interview. "Clean as yours," Declet Claudio responded.
In the military, his role makes him a mentor to many Soldiers, but he is aware that his son, Declet Claudio, also sees him as an example to follow.
The most important thing when you are a mentor to somebody is trust and patience, because people not necessarily catch on instantly what you are saying or teaching, said Declet. "My son believes I know everything and emulates everything I do."
On the other hand, Burgos is the father of a girl named Amaia Isabelle Burgos Aleman, 6, and he says he enjoys every moment with her.
"A month after she was born, I deployed to the Middle East, and it was a difficult period for me. Then when I returned a month later, I was activated again to provide support to civil authorities to carry out humanitarian missions," said Burgos.
Before becoming a drill sergeant, Burgos belonged to the 471st Engineering Company. In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and María, the Army Reserve Soldiers supported the Defense Support of Civil Authorities in different regions of the island by clearing obstructed roads, delivering fuel to hospitals, and assisting the local community.
"In 2021, I graduated from the Army Drill Sergeant School as it was a personal goal that I always had in mind," said Burgos. "I know my daughter is proud of me; she is 'daddy's girl,' and I will always be there to mentor her and teach her the values of discipline and respect."
Drill sergeant candidates attend the Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Since 2018, the 1st Battalion-389th Regiment falls under the 1st Mission Support Command.