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Army drill sergeants key part of Goodfellow's joint mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Abbey Rieves
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Bing. A new email appears in your mailbox. Your eyes scan the subject line. 

Congratulations!

You have been Department of Army selected to serve as a drill sergeant at the 344th Military Intelligence Battalion, Alpha Company on Goodfellow Air Force Base.

For some Soldiers, a selection email to serve as a drill sergeant can be as pleasant as going to the dentist, but for Army Staff Sgt. Jacob Arellano, 344th MI BN Company A drill sergeant, the email to serve was the call he was waiting for.

“I definitely wanted to be a drill sergeant,” said Arellano, who by trade conducted interrogations, source operations and debriefings as a human intelligence collector prior to drill sergeant orders. “I love teaching. I like molding the Soldiers into better Soldiers because eventually they will replace us.” 

Falling under the Air Education and Training Command, Goodfellow offers exceptional training for all branches of the military and America’s Allies. The 344th MI BN is divided into an alpha company, which trains signal intelligence analysts, and a bravo company, which trains linguists.

For Company A drill sergeants, molding intel students by the hundreds within a six month graduation timeline starts with 5 a.m. accountability.

After accountability, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hernandez, 344th MI BN Company A drill sergeant said students are developed during physical training, marched to the schoolhouse, monitored going to lunch, overseen traveling to their platoons after school and checked again for their 8:30 p.m. curfew.

Drill sergeants also have additional tasks to complete in between student management.

“We make sure the students are good to go for graduation,” Hernandez said as a student began counting off his pushups in the hallway. “If corrective action is needed, we also take care of that.”

For over 15 hours a day, drill sergeants, who are selected by being the top 10% within his or her career field, continuously give their all and sacrifice their personal life to develop the students.

“It takes a lot of time away from families,” said Arellano, who has four children. “But when I go home, I help my kids with homework, read them books and play with them. Just letting them know that I’m here for them too.”

In addition to family and work requirements, drill sergeants are also held to Army standards, even on an Air Force base.

“Second to my family, I also have to keep myself in shape,” said Hernandez. “When we do PT with the students, we make sure they do the exercise correctly. So then, I have to take extra time to keep myself within Army regulation.”

Drill sergeants are crucial for developing students into Soldiers.

“We are here to make sure that students don’t lose their discipline between Basic Military Training and their actual duties,” said Hernandez. “Drill sergeants make sure they are ready for actual operation with no lag in standards.”

Goodfellow’s Joint Force mission to develop professionals on behalf of the Department of Defense can’t be done without drill sergeants’ help.  

“At the end of the day, we all have the same mission,” said Arellano, with a small shrug. “Whether Soldier, Airman, Marine or Sailor, we all took the same oath for our country.”

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