The best drill sergeant in the entire United States Army works at Fort Leonard Wood. Sergeant First Class Delfin Romani has survived a four-day, grueling mental and physical test to be picked over 13 others to become the 2007 Active-Duty Drill Sergeant of the Year. He’s a ten-year veteran who’s been overseas four times to Kosovo (twice), Honduras, and Iraq. He’s been a drill sergeant for two years, since coming back from Iraq.
He likes to turn civilians with few or no values into dedicated soldiers committed to Army values. But Romani says today’s recruits face a difficult situation. He says this generation might not be in the same physical condition his generation was in. But he says they’re smart. Romani says today’s recruits are joining the Army voluntarily at a time when the nation is at war, knowing they’re likely to deploy six months after they start basic training. He says it’s his job to get them ready.
Yes, he says, he sometimes yells to get the attention of the recruits, but don’t expect to meet somebody from "Full Metal Jacket" when you meet him. Romani says drill sergeants are leaders and the job of the recruit is not so much a matter of dealing with the sergeant as it is dealing with the tasks that have to be learned and done. He says it’s the drill sergeant’s job to make sure the soldier meets the standards of those tasks.
He’ll be working out of the army’s Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia, for the next year, traveling to represent the command, and offering expertise to other drill sergeants.