When Joseph D. Moore was growing up in Lancaster, Pa., his only role models were family members with blue-collar jobs.
After graduating from high school, he found himself working alongside his father as a machine operator in a Nissan Foods factory.
“I remember looking over at him one day and thinking, ‘That’s going to be me in five years, and he’s not the model of fitness or health,’ ” Moore said. “I decided that I needed to get out of that area.”
Moore confided in his father about wanting to talk with someone from the Army.
“He immediately got on the phone and called the recruiter right in front of me and said: ‘I got one for you. When can I bring him down?’ ” Moore said.
“I was in the military two weeks later.”
Once in the Army, Moore – who now holds the rank of staff sergeant – made a point of consistently showing up in the right place, at the right time, in the right uniform and with the right attitude, he said.
That made him an ideal candidate for drill sergeant school when the Army decided to return drill sergeants to advanced individual training sites, such as the Defense Information School, after an 11-year hiatus.
Attention To Detail
On March 12, Moore – having earned the right to wear a round, brown campaign hat – became the first drill sergeant at Fort Meade’s U.S. Army Signal School Detachment Student Company, which supports DINFOS, in more than a decade.
The Defense Information School is the only DoD school that specializes in training U.S. service members, DoD civilians and international military personnel in all aspects of public affairs operations — public affairs, print journalism, photojournalism, photography, television and radio broadcasting, lithography, equipment maintenance and multimedia.
The Soldiers were already attentive to discipline, said 1st Sgt. Amy L. M. Brown, the first sergeant at the detachment.
Now, with the possibility of an inspection at any moment, they are even more alert. Whenever a Soldier sees Moore’s icy jaw and piercing eyes, or even his campaign hat in the distance, he or she instantly corrects any deficiencies.
Moore’s eye for detail is so piercing that he can point out the smallest flaws in a line of 10 Soldiers, Brown said.
“I think that’s pretty spot-on for what you expect from a drill sergeant,” she said.
Moore’s first encounter with a drill sergeant was at Fort Knox, Ky., where he reported for basic training in August 2000.
The drill sergeant he met at the reception area didn’t yell, and he let the Soldiers do what they wanted, Moore said. However, when Soldiers met the drill sergeant from their training company, things were completely different.
“His name was Drill Sergeant Gregory and he was a tanker,” Moore said. “He was about 5-foot-7 and 200 pounds of solid muscle. I remember him doing pullups and just talking the whole way through like 30 pullups, slow cadence. I could never believe how strong he was.”
The instruction Moore received at basic training instilled the discipline and military bearing he needed right away, he said. The little things are what made the difference.
“I remember getting to my duty station and standing up and going to parade rest for any rank that was above me,” Moore said. “Back then, we shined our boots and pressed our uniforms every Sunday, and I still do that to this day.”
Leading By Example
Not completely sure that the life of a carpentry and masonry specialist was right for him, Moore left the Army in 2004 after his initial four-year contract. After completing a few years of college and beginning a family, however, memories of his positive experiences compelled him to re-enlist and to commit to being the best Soldier he could be.
“If I’m going to do this, this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” Moore said to himself. “I’m going to treat it as a profession and give it my all.”
Moore trained as a petroleum specialist and then went to DINFOS. He soon became a public affairs specialist at Fort Bragg, N.C.
By 2014, staying the course and doing things to the best of his ability had secured him a position as the noncommissioned officer in charge of his public affairs detachment there, he said.
At that point, he was in a position to pick from a selection of assignments, and in 2018 he was presented with the opportunity to become an instructor at DINFOS. Moore said he’s always been the type of person to volunteer when there’s a chance to learn something new or step outside his comfort zone, so he immediately said yes.
He found out he made the promotable list for sergeants first class while moving to Fort Meade. Because there were no available positions for that rank at DINFOS, Moore accepted a position as a platoon sergeant at the Army detachment.
There had been talk about converting the platoon sergeants to drill sergeants for a while, but no one really knew when the change would come into effect, Brown said.
Moore discovered that he’d be a part of that conversion and would be attending the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, rather than platoon sergeant school, at Fort Jackson, S.C.
At the first formation following drill sergeant school, Soldiers at the detachment were more still and quiet than he had ever seen, Moore said.
“When the campaign hat is on, you can hear pins drop,” he said.
Since March, Moore has helped to fine-tune the day-to-day appearance and military bearing of Soldiers at Fort Meade, Brown said.
He’s meticulous and makes corrections with the intent to teach Soldiers the standard.
Seeing Soldiers heed and benefit from his guidance is the most rewarding part for him, Moore said. He hopes to help make sure that the most disciplined and knowledgeable Soldiers are hitting the workforce.
For Moore, being a drill sergeant means mentoring and instilling discipline in everyone he trains.
“I am humbled and honored to be in the position to take these individuals and guide them through the transition from civilian to Soldier,” he said. “That’s an incredible responsibility, and it’s not one that I take lightly.”