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.
He 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 wall.
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 commandant.
“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 time.
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.
But of 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.
Ernest 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 way.”
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.”
So the cloth was removed and the freshly-hung plaque bearing the name of the original drill sergeant standard bearer was unveiled.
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
Provided through DVIDS
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