Linda Maye Adams

Soldier, Storyteller

Drill Sergeants–Respect Them and Hate Them


I had to work pretty hard to find this photo.  I went through 15 pages of Air Force photos, and I could only find one of a woman that wasn’t very good.  Fortunately, DOD did have the photo below, though it was the same problem–a lot of awesome photos, but women were nowhere to be found.

14378351610_6ef14c0d55_zU.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ben Sedlacek, a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft boom operator with the 350th Air Refueling Squadron, directs the boom to connect with approaching aircraft for midair refueling June 26, 2014, during Red Flag-Alaska 14-2 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Red Flag-Alaska is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation forces, providing combined offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. (DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. William Buchanan, U.S. Air National Guard/Released)

I had two male drill sergeants in Basic Training and one for the training.  Both classes were all women.

It’s quite a shock getting off the bus, and these people are screaming at you.  Their screaming prompted us to race off the bus, and then race up two or three flights of stairs in the barracks, and then race down the stairs again.

Even in the Mess Hall line, the drill sergeants stalked back and forth next to us in the line, telling us to hurry, hurry, hurry.  We’d sit down and barely get the first fork in, and then the drill sergeant was screaming at us to go, so we’d be in line to turn the tray in and still gulping down all the food.

At one time, we saw the drill sergeant’s hat on the table, and we were like cats checking out something that we didn’t trust wouldn’t attack us.  Of course, no one touched it.

But by the end of basic training, some of women were starting to imitate the drill sergeants, which was a shift in how we thought about them.  We’d survived, and they’d helped.

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