In a virtual ceremony today, the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training named Staff Sgt. Erik Rostamo, a drill sergeant with Fort Leonard Wood’s 14th Military Police Brigade, the 2020 U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year.
Rostamo, who is from St. Michael, Minnesota, competed against 10 other drill sergeants from units across the Army and the Training and Doctrine Command to earn the prestigious title. He said winning the competition meant a lot.
“This title means a lot to me because being a drill sergeant is preparing trainees, new recruits and turning the civilian volunteers into inspiring professionals – this is the best job in the world,” Rostamo said. “To go around and help people and advise the things that I’ve learned and lessons learned is going to be the opportunity of a lifetime.”
During the competition, drill sergeants had to complete a 12-mile foot march, the Army Combat Fitness Test, land navigation, weapons qualification, a 200-question exam and a virtual board, according to CIMT Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Mitchell.
Rostamo “surpassed every other candidate,” Mitchell said. “It is definitely a treat when you actually get to see a drill sergeant who went to the academy and came out to be distinguished as Drill Sergeant of the Year.”
Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge agreed.
“If you could have seen his performance, it was something that I’ve never saw before,” Breckinridge said after CIMT’s announcement. “I haven’t seen too many NCOs this amazing, we are all super proud of you.”