FORT JACKSON, S.C. - On a cold and cloudy January morning, a lone
drill sergeant prepares a spot on the foundation of a single
building. His tools: A level, a drill and a screwdriver.
carefully measures then drills into the brick and mortar of the
seemingly impenetrable foundation. He stands back, eyes his work and
turns four small screws that attach a single brass plaque to the
But this Soldier is no ordinary drill sergeant. This
Soldier is a drill sergeant leader at the prestigious U.S. Army
Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The wall he
chose is on the foundation of the headquarters building of the
school. And the plaque that he hangs bears the name of one single
Soldier whose accomplishments not only to the Army, but his
community, are worth remembering.
The name is none other
than that of the late retired Command Sgt. Maj. William Raleigh
Hyman, the school's first enlisted commandant.
Army Reserve drill sergeant leader, Staff Sgt. Ryan Price, U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, hangs a plaque in memory of retired Command Sgt. Maj. William "Bill" Hyman on the wall of the headquarters building at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy on Fort Jackson, S.C. The building was dedicated to Hyman, who retired honorably from the Army in 1975 after more than 21 years of service, Jan. 15, 2015. Hyman served two tours in the Vietnam conflict and is credited as being the first enlisted commandant of the Army's Drill Sergeant Academy. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton)
During a ceremony at the school Jan. 15, 2015, friends,
family, former and current drill sergeants, as well as three
of the original drill sergeant leaders gathered to pay
tribute to a man whose whole life revolved around service:
Service to the nation and service to his community.
“This is a memorialization and a dedication of the building
here at the Drill Sergeant Academy to one of the first
leaders of the drill sergeant program,” said Command Sgt.
Maj. Lamont Christian, U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy
“We want to
recognize former drill sergeants like Command Sgt. Maj.
Hyman for not only the impact they had on the drill sergeant
program but the Army as a whole,” Christian said.
Hyman, who enlisted into the Army in 1953, served more than
21 years before retiring at the rank of command sergeant
major in 1975. He served two tours in Vietnam during that
After completing his service to the military,
he went on to work for the Kershaw County, South Carolina,
Sheriff's Department and later served as a municipal judge
for the town of Elgin, South Carolina, for 26 years. He was
named the Elgin Citizen of the Year in 1996.
his many accomplishments, his widow, Valerie Hyman, said the
one he loved the most was being a Soldier. Valerie and
William, or Bill as he was known, were married for 52 years
until his death in 2010.
“He loved it! The Army was
his whole life. He went in at a very young age, and that's
all he wanted to do. One of the guys who served with him
told me the other day that he was the perfect Soldier, and
he was. I miss him terribly,” Hyman said.
Jones, one of the school's original drill sergeant leaders
was present at the ceremony and worked closely with Hyman
during the drill sergeant program's inception in 1964.
“If you took the definition of a Soldier and placed it
below a picture, that picture would be that of Sgt. Maj.
Hyman,” Jones said. “He was all about the standards. He
wouldn't tell you to go get a haircut, but he would give you
a safety lecture and tell you he was going to put his foot
up your butt if you didn't go get one! That was just his
So at the conclusion of the ceremony and after
all of those whose lives Hyman had touched spoke, the
congregation moved outdoors to that spot where the young
drill sergeant leader at the Drill Sergeant Academy hung the
plaque of the old commandant.
“This is an opportunity
for the family to be able to share with the rest of the Army
and the world the impact that this man had. Sgt. Maj. Hyman
was not only a good father, soldier and noncommissioned
officer. In retirement, he was a Soldier for life,”
Christian said. “After the Army, he worked with the
community doing what he did as a drill sergeant by shaping
and creating the future of this country as a judge in his
local community. By having this building named after him,
his memory will continue to live on forever.”
cloth was removed and the freshly-hung plaque bearing the
name of the original drill sergeant standard bearer was
And in that moment the skies cleared and
nothing was ever more evident. For his family, community and
the Army, Command Sgt. Maj. William “Bill” Hyman will
continue to live on as a Drill Sergeant For Life.
By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton
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