Darrell's drill sergeant hat has been retired. His last day "on the trail" was Saturday, 30 June. Of course in typical Army fashion, he ended up having CQ that night, extending his last "day" about eight hours through the night and into the next morning.
I hadn't had a chance to see him in uniform on post since then until today after work. I got off work early and called Darrell to see what he was up to, to spend some time with him if possible before picking up the kids. He was headed off post to do some grocery shopping, so I met him in the parking lot.
He gets out of the car with his beret on. I'd forgotten how awesome he looks with it on, although I prefer the look of the Army soft cap (looks like a baseball cap). He prefers the soft cap as well (MUCH more comfortable, cooler than a black wool beret in the summertime heat, gives more eye/sun protection, etc...) Anyway, it was nice to see NO MORE BROWN ROUND (aka the drill sergeant hat)!! Our two years are over!
And those two years went FAST. Darrell had something like nine cycles during that time (might be ten, I'll have to ask). He worked up to 130-140 hours a week some weeks. Rarely had a whole weekend day off, never had a full weekday off while in cycle. Only had a couple cycle breaks longer than a weekend. Trained HUNDREDS of Soldiers.
I'm extremely proud of him. He's a great leader, a fantastic Soldier, and a dedicated mentor. I knew when I met him that he was one of the best, and he proves me right every single day.