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When new trainees arrive on Sand Hill for the first time, the transformation from civilians to disciplined Infantrymen begins with a team of dedicated leaders, said Col. Jonathan Neumann, commander of the 198th Infantry Brigade.
Through one station unit training, Neumann said the foundation for the Army is composed of building Soldiers through physical fitness and technical abilities such as rifle skills and mortar training. However, developing a Soldier on the inside is a vital element.
For a lot of these men, its a challenge to transform your own mindset into someone who lives and abides by the Army values and thats what is expected of a graduate who leaves here as well, he said. He may not have internalized them completely yet, but he understands that he is expected to live by them and what they are as he heads out to the operational Army.
Those values are learned through drill sergeants, who become mentors for Soldiers. With long hours and time away from their own Families, Neumann said drill sergeants train Soldiers to follow in their footsteps of hard work, confidence and professionalism.
There are challenges on Sand Hill, and its a tough reality for many young men who dont know what to expect when they enter the Army, he said. A lot of them want to emulate their drill sergeants.
Innovative and efficient training through the experiences of cadre in combat and marksmanship is how the brigade remains strong through an evolving Army, Neumann said.
One of the biggest surprises is our mission hasnt shrunken at all, Neumann said. Weve stayed at the same level as when I came in 18 months ago. We had just under 25,000 trainees this year alone. This mission has grown more than last years mission.
By graduation, Neumann said Soldiers are molded into future leaders who will make a positive impact on the Army, their Families and communities.
We hope that a lot of them do great things through our profession and go through the ranks and become fantastic senior noncommissioned officers, Neumann said. Even if they serve one tour in the Army, I think we have (provided) the foundation for their success. They will be better husbands, fathers, and basically, better citizens.