FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO – Missourians and Americans should be swelling with pride. A Fort Leonard Wood man has been chosen as the top drill sergeant in the entire U.S. Army.
19,000 soldiers a year are trained at Fort Leonard Wood. From the moment new recruits arrive Drill Sgt. Erik Rostamo said he feels honored, “All of these parents and families trusted us as drill sergeants to take care of their child so I assume a huge responsibility for that.”
His goal is to teach them to be soldiers who are better than the best.
“To make every single trainee better than I am, faster than me smarter than me and more lethal than I am,” said Drill Sgt. Erik Rostamo.
To win the top award he had to endure several rounds of competition in the past year, one involved 4 days of continuous round the clock physical and mental challenges. Sergeant Rostamo’s superior officer describes him as humble, hard working, he has passion to get the job done.
“There is no better drill sergeant in entire U.S. Army to represent the army than Drill Sgt. Erik Rostamo,” said Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge.
Rostamo said being a drill sergeant is tough. He gets out of bed at 2:30 in the morning and may not get home until 8:30 at night.
“It’s pretty taxing, taxing on us and especially taxing on the families who are the support behind every single drill sergeant,” said Drill Sgt. Rostamo.
He called his wife the backbone of the family.
People at Fort Leonard Wood said they’re lucky to have Rostamo, Americans are lucky too.
“We’re just very blessed to have him in the United States Army. I look forward in ten years to him taking my job,” said Command Sgt. Breckinridge.
There are about 3,500 drill sergeants across the country.
Staff Sergeant Rostamo said he was first inspired to join the army in sixth grade, on 9-11.