Write a tribute to your drill sergeant and it will appear in an upcoming issue of Army Times. (Army)
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SMA remembers his drill sergeant.
“He was a power lifter and he was an extremely big guy,” Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler told Army Times. “So if you want to talk about an ‘iron man,’ you know, he was firm but fair.”
The iron man’s name was Drill Sergeant Katerina and it was 1981.
“There are two things that I most remember,” Chandler said. “One, he wrote a letter to my mom just prior to my graduation, which I did not know about for probably 10 years.”
SMA’s mom told him about the letter when he made E-7.
“My mom, she knew that that was pretty significant and said, ‘You know, your drill sergeant wrote me a letter just before you graduated and said ...‘he is going to go far in the Army if he chooses to.’ ”
The second thing Chandler remembers is the fact, more than a decade later, Katerina recognized him.
“We were both at Fort Hood in the chow line ... and he said, ‘Sergeant Chandler, wasn’t I your drill sergeant in 1981?’ And, “Yes.” The fact that years later he recognized me in a dining facility was just pretty amazing.”
SMA said Katerina’s lasting impact is that he taught soldiers they could be strong leaders without having to raise their voices and yell.
So, SMA has shared his drill sergeant memories — now we want to hear from you. How did your drill sergeant inspire you? What was his or her most important lesson? Did your drill sergeant ever break character? What was his special brand of punishment? How do you honor his lessons today?
Please email your drill sergeant tributes to Managing Editor Tony Lombardo: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name, rank, post/city, state and the year you graduated boot camp. The best tributes will appear in an upcoming issue of Army Times celebrating the 50th anniversary of the drill sergeant academy.