‘Everyone in our Army recognizes the importance of the noncommissioned officer as a trainer. Drill sergeants mold and build our young recruits into Soldiers. Unit sergeants and corporals continue to train our soldiers individually and as a team to accomplish the unit mission. In the final analysis, it is the noncommissioned officer who will lead our nation’s best against the odds and win.’
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Julius W. Gates
U.S. Army Retired
America’s Army is a world-class, value-based institution comprised of some of our very best, brightest, and bravest young men and women who have answered the call to duty during a time of war.
That’s the Army we have today.
The question is: How do we ensure that America’s Army remains the best in the world? The answer can be found in Army recruiting stations and training centers.
It starts with noncommissioned officers who select and train soldiers to take their places in today’s formations; NCOs who perform the minor miracle of transforming young men and women from civilians to soldiers. It starts with U.S. Army recruiters and drill sergeants.
AUSA is pleased to have as our special guests at this year’s AUSA annual meeting the "Best of the Best" of our great noncommissioned officers.
The noncommissioned officers selected as the 2011 recruiters, drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeant of the year.
The noncommissioned officer selected as the 2011 U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the year is Staff Sgt. John L. Heslin.
Heslin was born in Baltimore, Md. He graduated from St. John’s at Prospect Hall High School, Frederick, Md., entering the United States Army in July 2004. He completed Fire Support Specialist One Station Unit Training at Fort Sill, Okla., in October 2004.
Heslin’s assignments include: Headquarters Company, 1-12 Infantry Battalion Fort Hood, Texas, and Headquarters Company, 2-7 Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood.
His deployments include; Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07 Task Force Cobra, Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10 Task Force Mountain.
He is a graduate of the Warrior Leader Course, Advance Leader Course Phase 2, Combatives Level 1, Drill Sergeant School, Combat Life Saver Course, Joint Fires Observer Course, Joint Firepower Course, FBCB2 Leader Course, and the Basic Instructor Course.
He has 12 semester hours of college credit toward an associate’s degree in general studies from American Military University.
Heslin’s awards and decorations include: The Army Commendation Medal (7 OLCs), Army Achievement Medal (2 OLCs), Iraq Campaign Medal (4 Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, and the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge.
He has distinguished himself by being selected as the Distinguished Honor Graduate for Fire Support Sergeant ALC.
Heslin was recently recognized as the 192nd Brigade NCO of the Quarter, 192nd Brigade Drill Sergeant of the Year, and 2011 Fort Benning Drill Sergeant of the Year.
He is currently a drill sergeant assigned to Delta Company 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment at Benning.
Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Palmer was selected as the 2011 U.S. Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year.
Palmer was born in Milwaukee, Wis. He graduated from Kewaskum High School in Kewaskum and entered the Army in June 1997. He completed Infantry One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning in November 1997.
Palmer’s assignments include: Delta Company, 2/505th PIR, Fort Bragg, N.C.; the 1454th Transportation Company, Concord, N.C.; and Charlie Company, 3/518th Regiment, Hickory, N.C.
His deployments include: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Support Group Haiti-Port Au Prince, Haiti.
His military education includes; Airborne School, Combat Life Saver Course, Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Office Course Phase 1 and Phase 2, and Drill Sergeant School.
He has 60 college credit hours towards an associate’s degree in advertising and graphic design from Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C.
Palmer’s awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal (3 OLCs), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2 OLCs), Global War on Terrorism Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Basic Parachutist Badge, and Drill Sergeant Badge.
He is assigned as a Drill Sergeant for Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion 518th Regiment at Hickory, N.C.
These great NCOs along with the 2011 Army Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year and soldiers and NCOs throughout America’s Army will be attending this year’s AUSA Annual Meeting Oct. 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
You are invited to join us and meet all these great soldiers and noncommissioned officers who have distinguished themselves; men and women of character who are "Army Strong" – the Strength of the Nation!