Prospect’s Spragg named Drill Sergeant of the Year

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By ANDREAS YILMA

PROSPECT – Consistent discipline was a key factor for U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Michael Spragg in winning the 2024 Drill Sergeant of the Year award.

Spragg represented Bravo Company 2/417th Regiment, 3rd Brigade out of West Hartford at the Best Warrior and Drill Sergeant of the Year Competitions at Fort Moore, Ga., from Feb. 8-11.

“My reaction was surprised but relieved knowing that all the effort that I put into the competition and the training leading up to it paid off in the end,” Spragg said.

Spragg was born in Spring Hill County, Fla., but moved to Naugatuck with his family when he was 4 years old. He has been with the Armed Forces for 15 years after he joined the Army following his graduation from Naugatuck High School in 2008 and had two deployments, to Afghanistan and Iraq.

He moved to Prospect about four years ago where he lives with his wife, Kelsie, and their children Alexander, 10, and Chloe, 3.

Spragg said all of the soldiers who competed left it all out there at the competition.

“Everybody pushed themselves extremely hard,” Spragg said. “I know I, myself, personally, I’m motivated by my children. I just want to set the example to them to push myself and show them that you can also achieve what you want when you set clear goals and you’re willing to continuously go outside your comfort zone to achieve them.

“That was my main motivator going in and even when I found out I won. It was a relief that my effort was able to set an example for them.”

The competition was tight, with two days of travel and two days of competing and little time between events.

Parts of the competition included an Army Combat Fitness Test where soldiers wore their uniforms rather than their physical training uniform, a 3-mile march/run, an Army Ranger obstacle course, day and night land navigation to find certain grid coordinates within a 30- acre location and a 12-mile march/run with a 30-pound large military backpack to be completed in under three hours, Spragg said.

“The hardest was definitely the 12-mile ruck run just because we had pushed ourselves so hard the first day and didn’t really sleep in between days and to go straight into a 12-mile with a 30-pound, which I had never actually competed in before but was able to push myself through it,” Spragg said.

This wasn’t the first time Spragg earned a physical competitive achievement. When Spragg was a NHS student, he did two years of track and field where he competed in short distance sprinting and had his main event as the pole vault.

He ended up 10th in the state in pole vault by his senior year and held that indoor record until about three years ago. He also went back to NHS for a year to coach the pole vault in 2022.

“Overall, it shows that consistency is key. I’ve never been the fastest, strongest or smartest person in the room but when it comes to determination and a will to succeed, I think my drive and willingness to suffer for success gives me pretty much the edge over the competition and I’m just happy overall with the result,” Spragg said.

The next goal for Spragg is to compete in the 108th Training Command Drill Sergeant of the Year, which is expected to take place in August. He has already begun training for 36 three-minute oral, word-for-word exams as well as running weekly and going to the gym almost daily.