Military Life

5 ways to stay on your Drill Sergeant's good side

Before troops enlist in the military, they often find themselves preparing for the hellfire that their soon-to-be Drill Sergeant/Instructor is going to rain on them. Hate to break it to you, but there's no escaping it — everyone gets bit in this shark attack. And remember, while they still have their brown round, you'll never get the chance to grab a beer with them.


That doesn't mean that your Drills are hate-filled robots. The point of basic training/boot camp is to break the civilian out of new recruits and turn them into moldable clay by the time they get to their first duty station. You won't ever be friends with them while they're your Drill Sergeant, but you can get on their good side. Here's how:

5. Lose the civilian attitude

For some reason, after recruits sign on the dotted line, say goodbye to mom and dad, and are ready to defend this great nation of ours, they still show up and think it's like working at Starbucks.

You see those other troops? Act like them and you'll be just fine.

First Lesson: Never look a Drill Sergeant in the eyes. Even if they question why you're not looking in their eyes. The response is because you can't while at the position of attention. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Griffin, U.S. Army Reserve Command-Public Affairs Office)

4. Learn everything you can

Basic training is just that — it trains you in the basics of what it takes to be a soldier. This is why the focus is on military customs and courtesies, Drill and Ceremony, and the proper wear and appearance of your given uniform.

The more you learn, the quicker you learn it, and the less you have to be told twice the better.

Second lesson: "Half right, face!" is not a suggestion. (U.S. Army Reserve photo Sgt. First Class Lisa M. Litchfield)

3. Shoot and PT better than everyone else

If there's one thing that makes a Drill Sergeant/Instructor giddy, it's seeing their recruits shoot better than the other Drill Sergeants'/Instructors'.

Be the guy that your Drill is willing to pit against the other recruits.

They yell because they care. Or they just like yelling. It's a bit of both. (U.S. Army photo by SPC. Tynisha L. Daniel)

2. Don't f*ck up

If the Drill Sergeant tells you to do something, do it. If they say not to do something, don't you dare do it.

Drill Sergeants have an expectation that they're teaching a bunch of idiots, so they'll tell bark orders at you for everything shy of common sense.

I guarantee you'll get tired doing push-ups far before they get tired of watching you do them. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by SGT David Turner)

1. Most importantly, don't suck up

Drills are used to damn near everything they put up with from new recruits. You can just barely pass your PT test, shoot just well enough to qualify, be as quiet as a ghost, and they'll still talk highly of you after you graduate.

This goes hand-in-hand with dropping the civilian mentality: suck-ups don't make it in the military, well, on the enlisted side anyways. They don't need some kid telling them how great they are — they have a mirror. Suck-ups don't make it far because it goes against the one rule of military life: one team, one fight.

You should only try to outdo everyone during competitions. Then, you better be first. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. William A. Parsons)