Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No. 23 New Top Drill Sergeant

Dear Followers,

Thanks for the feedback. I am happy you enjoy the "women's stories" as much as I do. Something very special happened yesterday, and I would like to share this latest "first ever" achievement with all of you.

Yesterday, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Command Sergeant Major Teresa L. King, was named Commandant of its drill sergeant school. She is the first female to ever run one of the Army's schools to train drill sergeants. The 48-year old groundbreaker is the eighth of twelve children; her father was a sharecropper who grew tobacco and cucumbers in North Carolina, near Fort Bragg.

King has served in the Army for 29 years, and has a staff of 78 instructors who are in charge of drill sergeant training for the US Army. Her appointment is a major step toward "gender integration" because although more than thirteen percent of today's Army is female, only eight percent of high ranking soldiers (including Command Sergeant Major and Sergeants Major) are female.

King enlisted in the Army while still in high school, worked as a drill sergeant in her twenties, and then served as aide to then-Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney. She served at NATO headquarters in Europe, the DMZ in Korea, and with the Airborne Corps at Ft Bragg. Interestingly, King believes that most women simply cannot accomplish what she has done. For example, at her recent semi-annual physical training test she scored a perfect 300 (during which she completed 34 push-ups and 66 sit-ups in under two minutes and then ran two miles in 16 minutes and ten seconds).

King told writer James Dao of the New York Times that she could think of very few occasions when a man had challenged her authority because she was a woman. And then she added, "...when they did, I could handle it"

King admits that since her divorce (she has no children) she has poured her heart into the soldiers at Fort Jackson. As she told Dao, "when I look in the mirror, I don't see a female; I see a soldier."

Looking forward to your comments...

1 comment:

  1. Tremendous accomplishment for Sgt. King. I love movies (some more than others) and the first thing that came to mind reading your post was what a terrific film (and sequels) it would make. I'm imagining a Pam Grier or Siguorney Weaver type as the protagonist. Has to be someone with a formidable physique and commanding presence. There have to be a million compelling boot camp stories out there. Look at all the ones that have been part or all of good films (Tigerland, G.I. Jane, Spartan, Full Metal Jacket to name just a few). And considering the length of her career and all the postings and assignments she has had, there would be occasion for plenty of sequels, flashbacks, historical events, etc. If solving mysteries made for a stronger story line, a screenwriter might want to transform her into a Warrant Officer, a la The General's Daughter. Stand down, Terminator; Sgt. King's on duty!