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MEDCoE’s top drill sergeant competes at Army level

By Tish Williamson | U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Public Affairs | Aug. 3, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Staff Sgt. Travis Webster is the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Drill Sergeant of the Year, or DSOY, for 2020 and represents MEDCoE at the Army-level DSOY competition.

The event is hosted by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, and conducted virtually Aug. 3-5, due to COVID-19, considerations. 

Webster is from Los Angeles, California, and originally joined the Army in 2012 as a 68W combat medic. He attended advanced individual training at the MEDCoE and has been a drill sergeant for 20 months He is currently assigned as a senior drill sergeant in Company B, 264th Medical Battalion at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

“When I decided to join the military eight years ago, never did I believe that I would become the Drill Sergeant of the Year for the Medical Center of Excellence,” Webster said.

The competition is conducted by TRADOC’s Center for Initial Military Training, or CIMT, and consists of a written exam and an oral board with questions from various regulations and drill sergeant modules. 

Through video teleconferences, competitors are expected to demonstrate performing and directing modules like coming to the position of attention, performing a hand salute, facing movements, an inspection of arms, or weapons, and forming, aligning and dismissing troops. 

Webster said that his preparation for the higher-level, virtual completion began by re-familiarizing himself with the broad range of information he anticipates he will be confronted with during the event. 

“I have been studying for some time but the amount of information the board and test will cover, spans over a variety of regulations that have an enormous amount of information,” Webster said.  “Ensuring that I am covering an adequate amount of material to keep me prepared is the biggest challenge I face for the events.” 

Webster also admits that there is added difficulty in preparing for virtual board questions since this is the first-ever DSOY event conducted virtually. 

Webster earned the title of 2020 MEDCoE DSOY after he excelled over his competition during the 2020 MEDCoE Trinity Competition held July 7-13.  The Trinity is MEDCoE’s annual, multi-day, internal competition open to permanent party personnel to appraise and select the MEDCoE best medic, best warrior, and drill sergeant of the year.

This year, 13 Trinity competitors were challenged to negotiate a wide array of tasks designed to test their overall tactical and technical aptitude, as well as physical and mental endurance. They were assessed based upon their performance during an oral board, weapons qualification, the Army Combat Fitness Test, a 12-mile road march and a variety of other common Soldier tasks.

Since this year’s Army-level DSOY competition is virtual, the scores earned by Webster for the in-person events like the 12-mile ruck march for time, weapons qualification and the Army Combat Fitness Test, went forward and will be used to calculate the winner of this week’s competition.

“I am proud of what I have been able to do so far,” Webster said. “I remind myself that it is just a milestone in the competition, so that I can continue to stay focused on the next challenge, which is the TRADOC DSOY.”

Webster said that what makes him most proud is continuing to train, motivate and educate the hundreds of new MEDCoE Soldiers he has come in contact with as a drill sergeant.    

“It is an honor to represent the Medical Center of Excellence and to be chosen compete at the TRADOC level,” Webster said. 

He said that if he is able to recall all of the necessary information, remain calm under pressure, and all goes well for him this week, he hopes to be named the 2020 Drill Sergeant of the Year.  

“The worst-case scenario is maybe I fall a little short,” Webster said. “But it [preparation for the TRADOC DSOY Competition] definitely helped me hone my skills and was a needed review all of the regulations that are so important for all leaders in the Army.”

TRADOC hosts the 2020 Army-level Drill Sergeant of the Year competition virtually from August 3-5.  Winners are expected to be announced in a virtual ceremony on August 5.