Speaking to nearly 500 Soldiers graduating from three separate basic combat training companies in three separate ceremonies on May 28, Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, celebrated the successes of each Soldier.
After 10 weeks of rigorous training, layered with COVID-19 risk mitigation measures that extended to this ceremony, Martin welcomed the graduates from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, and companies C and D, 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, to the U.S. Army.
She also took the opportunity to speak to everyone involved – those present in person and everyone watching by live stream.
“I am proud that so many people have joined us virtually to see you – our exceptional Soldiers – mark this significant milestone of graduating from basic training,” she said. “Thank you for your support and for sharing in this significant achievement with our Soldiers.”
Martin also thanked the family members who set the foundation for these Soldiers’ success through “the lessons you taught at home and the encouragement you gave.”
Martin acknowledged the unique environment in which the Army’s newest Soldiers and families will continue to operate due to COVID-19.
“In these unprecedented times, you have made tremendous sacrifices for your sons and daughters to join the service, leave home to train and continue their service at their next training location in an unconventional way,” she said.
Calling them “the best of the best,” Martin thanked the drill sergeants for their work molding civilians into Soldiers and their families for “the countless hours of quality time they sacrificed for this important duty.”
“Our drill sergeants are subject matter experts, who have superior physical fitness and live to a higher standard than the average Soldier,” she said. “Not just anyone can be a drill sergeant. It takes a noncommissioned officer with unmatched technical expertise, patience and a passion for people.”
Martin said that after 31-years of service, joining the Army was “the best decision of my life.”
“I have never regretted it,” she said, reassuring the Soldiers, “You can be proud of your choice to serve.”
After each of the three ceremonies, Martin singled out the graduates and drill sergeants who demonstrated exceptional leadership by tossing them a commander’s coin – foregoing the traditional handshake presentation method to maintain social distancing.
“I am proud to serve with you,” she said.