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Army picks first female commandant to lead Drill Sergeant School

Jul 30, 2009

By Crystal Lewis Brown

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (Army News Service, July 30, 2009) -- The 369th Adjutant General Battalion's Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King has been chosen to be the next commandant of the Drill Sergeant School.

The assignment will make King the school's first female commandant. She will officially become commandant during a change of responsibility ceremony in September.

King, who said she learned of the selection in June, will replace Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Newsome as head of the school.

The Clinton, N.C.-native said the appointment is ironic. The 28-year Army veteran enlisted in 1980, and she found herself going to the same school she will soon lead three years later as a specialist.

"I went to drill sergeant school before I went to my basic school for my (military occupational specialty)," she said. "The Drill Sergeant School has set the foundation for my training, so it's ironic that I'm going home."

Despite her rank, she said she was expected to perform like the rest of the students.

"They held me to the same standards that they held the (other) drill sergeants," she said.

Her graduation was held in the morning, she said, "and I was on the trail that afternoon."

King said it is important to note that a hard worker will shine, regardless of gender.

"It really doesn't matter if you're male or female," she said. "If you...enforce standards, people will respect you."

King said it has not really set in that she will be the first woman to hold the school's top spot, but said she hopes the selection will encourage other women.

"Because I'm doing it...that means another female command sergeant major can do it," she said. "I think it's going to set the bar higher for them. Not just for drill sergeants but for other female Soldiers."

Even now, she said, being selected as commandant is a surprise.

"It's sort of one of those moments of...utter disbelief," she said.

She added that she is honored and humbled by the selection, and is grateful for the chance to take the reins.

"I feel like I'm chosen to lead a noncommissioned officer who is charged with a high degree of responsibility. I'm responsible for them as they lead, mentor, counsel and train America's finest,

"There's nothing else that can compare to that."

(Crystal Lewis Brown writes for Fort Jackson Leader)

 



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