Fort Sill hosts Drill Sergeant of the Year competition - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fort Sill hosts Drill Sergeant of the Year competition

FORT SILL, Okla._Fort Sill's top drill sergeants are being put to the test this week as they vie for the title of Drill Sergeant of the Year.

Five drill sergeants were chosen by their units after competing in preliminary events. They earned scores for 65 tasks they have to complete. Wednesday, they were at the 40-foot tall Treadwell Tower, rappelling off of it using a harness they made themselves.

This has been a long, grueling week for them already and it is only Wednesday. They have been waking up at 4:30 every morning since Monday to start the competition and finishing at 10:00 every night. And then they wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

Staff Sergeant Sophia Burdulinski has been in the Army for 10 years. She competed for the title of Drill Sergeant of the Year for the first time last year. She says she tried to spend more time preparing for the tasks ahead of her this year.

"It was a little difficult because I was in cycle. I do have soldiers I was training, so I kind of used their training to prep me. So, those tasks that I have to teach them I made it a point to be the one to teach them, so that I knew that I knew what I was talking about," said Burdulinski.

Burdulinski says for her, the most difficult part of the competition was trekking the land navigation course without knowing where they were going.

"When it comes to the bearing down and looking at the terrain and you don't know how far you're walking, you don't know how much stuff you are carrying that will get to you if you let it, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and I just keep moving," said Burdulinski.

Sergeant First Class Calyl Cecilio became a drill sergeant 13 months ago. He says the competition has been mentally and physically tough, but he believes he is up to the challenge.

"I feel great. I feel great right now. I feel ready to compete and to hopefully make it past these three days and survive, and then we will see what happens," said Cecilio.

For Cecilio and the other competitors, this is about proving who is the best trainer for new recruits that come to Fort Sill.

"I love my job. I love transforming civilians into soldiers. That's about it. I love my job. I can't ask for anything more," said Cecilio.

The competition will wrap up Friday with the Army physical fitness test consisting of push-ups, sit-ups and a 2-mile run.

Fort Sill's Drill Sergeant of the Year will be announced at a ceremony on May 7. The winner will then go to the Army-wide competition at Fort Jackson on September 7.

The Soldier of the Year and the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year competitors were also in action at Treadwell Tower. They completed the same tasks, but took different written tests than the drill sergeants.

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