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Guardians go where none have gone before

  • Published
  • By Robert Timmons
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Two Guardians boldly went where no Guardian had gone before and came out as drill sergeants.

They received their distinctive drill sergeant hats and walked across the stage at Fort Jackson’s post theater and into the record books during a ceremony held April 3.

Tech Sgt. David Gudgeon and Sgt. Yuji R. Moore became the first graduates from the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy from the sister services.

“This is historic, and I don’t think it’s lost on anybody how we bring the joint force together in order to get after it,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Harris, Army Training and Doctrine Command senior enlisted leader. “The Army will never fight by itself; the Space Force will never fight by itself. In the entire Department of Defense, we fight in a joint force … So, to be able to bring that experience and be able to help each other as we transform or Department of Defense for 2030 and beyond is amazing.”

Gudgeon and Moore joined 100 Soldiers, representing the top 10% of Soldiers Army-wide in becoming drill sergeants.

The graduates of Class 006-24 represent the disciplined, motivated and physically fit service members who exemplify the Drill Sergeant Creed.

“When the two head back to their Space Force assignments, they will have more learning to do,” said Army Maj. Clinton Emry, commander of 1st Delta Operations Squadron/Detachment 1 at Space Force basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas.

“It is different between the Army and the Air Force, and different with the Space Force as well,” he said.

The Air Force Recruiting Service recruits for the Space Force who then come to Emry’s detachment at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for initial training. So far, more than 4,500 Guardians have graduated from that training.

“So, about 25% of all Guardians on active duty were trained by Guardian military training instructors and now Guardian drill sergeants,” Emry added.

The two Guardian drill sergeants are part of a program to have personnel train with sister services.

The training “allows our Guardians to learn a little about how the Army trains its citizens into Soldiers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Karmann-Monique Pogue, senior enlisted leader for Space Training and Readiness Command. They are planning to use knowledge gained to “shift our curriculum and how we take citizens and make them Guardians.”

Once Gudgeon and Moore head back to their units, they will add a sprinkle of Army training.

“I think we’re definitely going to be bringing in a different flavor to that training environment that they haven’t seen yet,” Gudgeon said after the ceremony.

Some of the Army training flavors the two learned were the be comfortable in the uncomfortable and “Be, Know, Do.”

They were definitely in an uncomfortable environment, but they excelled. Gudgeon and Moore both enlisted into the Air Force and transferred into the Space Force.
“So, for me, this is a pretty foreign environment being Space Force and come the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy not being really familiar with Army tactics or doctrine and things like that,” Moore said. “I had to continuously lean on battle buddies to be like, ‘Hey what is this?’”

Fellow candidates help him feel unafraid to “ask those questions and they made the environment very conducive for me to feel comfortable, to be kind of vulnerable and be the new guy there,” he added.

Gudgeon agreed that the experience was foreign.

“I’ve only really experienced how Air Force training conducted its business. So, coming to an Army academy and just experiencing how they deliver information and how they communicate effectively as [noncommissioned officers] – it’s just outstanding and a great broadening opportunity for both of us," Gudgeon said.

Their drill sergeant leaders, or the drill sergeant who train drill sergeants, had glowing reviews of the Guardians.

“Immediately, we all noticed a different sense of them coming in and just how they carried themselves,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Kountz, Gudgeon’s DSL. The two were in a different environment surrounded by Soldiers. “To see their mannerisms and how they carried themselves was very professional … they’re very intelligent and they want the best of themselves.”

Army Staff Sgt. Sheldon Saia, Moore’s DSL, said the two are ready to hit the trail.

“They’re technically and tactically proficient,” Saia said. “They are ready to go as far as bringing a civilian into our organization.”

The academy has also trained drill instructors of five partner nations to include the Hungarian Defense Force, the South Korean Army, the Croatian Army and the British Army. Graduating in Gudgeon and Moore’s class was South Korean Army Sgt. 1st Class Bong Won Lee.