FORT JACKSON, S.C. —
The U.S. Army drill sergeant is one of the most mimicked Soldiers amongst civilians. The prominent character is not only the first impression of new army recruits, but they also have the responsibility of turning those same recruits into warriors and defenders of America’s freedom.
Almost two dozen sergeants major from the Colombian Sergeant Major Academy, Programa Integral para Suboficiales de Alta Jerarquiai, or PISJA, recently visited the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, S.C., where these drill sergeants are produced.
The class’s primary mission for the trip was to increase their knowledge on topics such as noncommissioned officer professional development, gender integration in senior leadership positions, human rights and joint military integration.
Army South served as the host for the group and kept a busy schedule for them while at Fort Jackson. The class not only observed in several of the drill sergeant academy training blocks, but also participated in a few.
“We are continuing to build stronger relationships with other countries by doing these type of events. These exchanges provide the opportunity for those countries to take advantage of resources we have here in the U.S.,” said Sgt. Maj. Vaughn Overton, Regional Affairs Directorate Sergeant Major and primary organizer for the event. “This is a great opportunity for our partners to network with not only each other, but with the Army South team here as well.”
One Army South Soldier, Sgt. Maj. Miguel Espinoza, civil affairs directorate sergeant major, has participated in five of the seven Colombian PISJA visits.
“We have had nothing but cooperation from the drill sergeant academy here. The drill sergeant instructors have been professional and are proud of what they are doing,” Espinoza said.
Other countries are not at the same level when it comes to integrating females into specific roles in the military and the academy was a great place for the Colombians to see how it works.
“The academy was more than happy to help communicate the importance of integrating female instructors in the academy,” Espinoza said. “It impressed the Colombians so much that they want to take that back and share it with their army.”
Warrant Officer Class One Anthony Lysight, Force Sergeant Major of the Jamaican Defence Force, also attended the exchange as an observer in order to gain further insight on the discussed imperatives, particularly noncommissioned officer development.
“We want to expose our senior enlisted soldiers to what other military’s are doing,” Lysight said. “I wanted to see what other opportunities are out there and what technological advances there are that we can use in our course.”
The next visit, PISJA 8, will occur late fall and planning is already underway for the topics the Colombians will want to expand on.
“I have worked with the Colombian army on and off since 2004 and I have seen significant change in their positive development,” Espinoza said. “Every time they come here, they soak in the information and use it to progress and become a better force. We are proud to call them one of our closer partners.”