FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Aug. 5, 2020) — In a virtual ceremony today, the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training named Staff Sgt. Erik Rostamo, a drill sergeant with Fort Leonard Wood’s 14th Military Police Brigade, the 2020 U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year.

Rostamo, who is from St. Michael, Minnesota, competed against 10 other drill sergeants from units across the Army and the Training and Doctrine Command to earn the prestigious title. He said winning the competition meant a lot.

“This title means a lot to me because being a drill sergeant is preparing trainees, new recruits and turning the civilian volunteers into inspiring professionals – this is the best job in the world,” Rostamo said. “To go around and help people and advise the things that I’ve learned and lessons learned is going to be the opportunity of a lifetime.”

During the competition, drill sergeants had to complete a 12-mile foot march, the Army Combat Fitness Test, land navigation, weapons qualification, a 200-question exam and a virtual board, according to CIMT Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Mitchell.

Rostamo “surpassed every other candidate,” Mitchell said. “It is definitely a treat when you actually get to see a drill sergeant who went to the academy and came out to be distinguished as Drill Sergeant of the Year.”

Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge agreed.

“If you could have seen his performance, it was something that I’ve never saw before,” Breckinridge said after CIMT’s announcement. “I haven’t seen too many NCOs this amazing, we are all super proud of you.”


Drill Sergeant Erik Rostamo competes in the Fort Leonard Wood Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition before moving on to win at the Army level.












Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge awards Drill Sergeant Erik Rostamo the certificate naming him Fort Leonard Wood Drill Sergeant of the Year. Rostamo would go on to compete and win at the Army level.













About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: