Dr. Scottie Thomas, management analyst with Fort Jackson's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, sits next to Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Jackson, commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, May 31 at the Post Theater. Thomas, the 23rd commandant of the Drill Sergeant School, was the guest speaker at the DSA graduation.

Garrison employee greets new drill sergeants

Story, photo by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

They say the Army is a small place and that everyone knows everyone. It truly is a small world since a good deal of Department of the Army Civilians are retired officers and senior noncommissioned officers.

Someone knows someone, or they know somebody who knows them.

That is the case for Dr. Scottie Thomas, a management analyst with the post’s Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. Thomas is a virtual fixture of the Fort Jackson landscape who has worked for years on post in both the PAIO and Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

PAIO provides oversight of assigned programs; conducts analytical reviews; monitors Army baseline standards; captures and enables implementation of best business practices; and identifies, tracks, and orchestrates reporting of performance measures.

Most probably don’t know that he once sported a brown round drill sergeant hat and belt as the commandant of the Drill Sergeant School.

Thomas was invited by Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Jackson, current commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, to speak at the school’s graduation, May 31.

Jackson called Thomas an “amazingly phenomenal role model” who has served in every NCO leadership position including a recruiter, drill sergeant, and the 23rd commandant of the Drill Sergeant School.

Thomas spoke to the graduating class saying the skills they learned at the academy will be put to the test “immediately.”

They are graduating a course “with a bunch of technical and tactical skills … used to train the future force in the basis of becoming a Soldier,” he said. When the drill sergeants travel back to where they came from, they are not “gonna go back to business as usual. You are now a U.S. Army drill sergeant and things will be different.”

Thomas said after the graduation there are many benefits to graduating as a drill sergeant as it “will enhance your career. When you have a chance to be a physical manifestation of the Army’s values, standards, and principals to an entire generation, nothing is more rewarding.

The experience was humbling he said, “to be asked, as a former commandant, to speak to those drill sergeants.”

He added his time as commandant was the “single most rewarding position I held in my career … the enduring impact drill sergeants have on Soldiers in Training was deeply satisfying.”