Friendly competition: Married Soldiers both get selected for drill sergeant academy

It’s often said that the job of a good Soldier is to help train and prepare the next generation of Soldiers. For staff sergeants Carlos and Jamie Castillo, that’s exactly what they are getting ready to do.

This married couple reenlisted together recently and will soon leave Regional Health Command Europe to become U.S. Army drill sergeants.

“I come from a military background and being a drill sergeant is something I always wanted to do,” said Jamie. “Those are the people who mold and shape you into the Soldier you will become. I’m happy I’ll get to train the next generation of Soldiers.”

Carlos’ selection to the drill sergeant academy wasn’t as much of a certainty, which made his selection even more special.

Brig. Gen. Ron Stephens, Regional Health Command Europe commanding general, delivers the oath of enlistment to Staff Sergeants Carlos and Jamie Castillo.

“I’m surprised I was selected because my career field is so small and there generally are not allocations to career broadening assignments like this,” said Carlos. “I want to motivate the new Soldiers. I don’t just want to be the angry, mean, drill sergeant.”

The Castillos met in Germany in 2012 at their first duty station. “We actually met through social media,” said Jamie. Just a few months earlier, Jamie had enlisted as a dental technician and Carlos as a veterinary food inspector specialist.

Since 2017, Carlos has been filling dual roles as Public Health Command Europe’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Lead Victim Advocate as well as Public Health Activity-Rheinland-Pfalz’s food branch section noncommissioned officer. Jamie came back from a deployment at the beginning of 2019 and since then, has served as the Operations Noncommissioned Officer in Charge under Dental Health Activity-Rheinland-Pfalz.

Service members and their families are often subject to long separations from loved ones, and must face the uncertainty and demands of multiple deployments, school and job transfers, and frequent moves. This can be even more challenging when both spouses are Soldiers.

“There are challenges being a dual-military family and maintaining a work-life balance,” said Carlos. “However, don’t be a statistic. Dual-military couples are prone to a high-divorce rate. Have trust and communication with your partner. Make sure you understand each other’s jobs.”

Jamie echoed her husband’s feelings about supporting your significant other.

“It’s been a friendly competition between the two of us,” said Jamie when describing her and Carlos teasing each other about who got promoted first or who had better physical fitness test scores. “However, your career is my career and vice-versa.”

Both Castillos have their own long-range goals after their time as drill sergeants. Carlos wants to attend airborne school and become a warrant officer. Jamie would like to finish her college degree and become a member of the esteemed Audie Murphy Club.

The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is a private U.S. Army organization for enlisted noncommissioned officers only. Those NCO’s whose leadership achievements and performance merit special recognition may possibly earn the reward of membership.

“The military has taught me how to become a better leader,” said Jamie. “It’s taught me how to be a better team player and how to face my fears and challenges. It’s made me a better person.”

Carlos has a similar positive attitude about what his time in the Army has given him.

“The military has molded me into the leader I am today,” said Carlos. “It has taught me to pay it forward and to take care of my Soldiers. I know if I take care of them, they will take care of me.”