The 3 uniforms of the American drill sergeants

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We all know the American drill sergeants. They are known for their green hats, and you often see them shouting at soldiers in movies. Their function is to prepare recruits (people who are being trained as soldiers). But what do these drill sergeants actually wear, and what do all those badges, hats, and belts mean?

The 3 uniforms of the American drill sergeants
Joseph Holliday, drill sergeant leader at U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy | Photo: U.S. Army

Function of the American drill sergeants

Before I tell you more about the uniforms, it’s time to delve into the history of the drill sergeant. This position was created because there were problems within the American army. Research by the Department of Defense showed that the working hours were too long, the work was too complex, and there was insufficient attention to personal problems. According to the research, the problems were largely caused by the trainers. They had a negative attitude, and their level of education was too low compared to other government services such as the navy and air force.

That’s why special drill sergeant schools were established in 1963. At these schools, the trainers (drill sergeants) learned how to raise the level of the recruits. Initially, only men were eligible for this job. Since 1972, female drill sergeants have also been hired. They get a separate hat, specifically for women.


The 3 uniforms of the American drill sergeants

A few days ago, I came across a video in which a drill sergeant explains exactly how the hats and uniforms they wear work. Super interesting!

The full clothing package consists of a fitness uniform, army combat uniform, and an army green service uniform.

As you can see in the video, the hat is an important part of the uniform. It is also treated with care. The U.S. Army website states that wearing this hat is a sign of professionalism, dedication to the mission, and proven leadership. Because you don’t become a drill sergeant overnight. It takes years of career in the military beforehand. So, I understand why they are proud of that hat.



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