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Face of Defense: Woman to Lead Drill Sergeant School

By Crystal Lewis Brown
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT JACKSON, S.C., Aug. 4, 2009 – Army Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King of the 369th Adjutant General Battalion has been selected the next commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King will become the first female commandant of the Army’s Drill Sergeant School in September. U.S. Army photo by Crystal Lewis Brown

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

When she assumes responsibility in September, the ceremony not only will be commemorating a new school leader, but also the school’s first female commandant.

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

King enlisted in 1980, and, soon after, attended the same school she later would be slated to lead.

"I went to Drill Sergeant School before I went to my basic school for my [military occupational specialty]," the Clinton, N.C. native said. "The Drill Sergeant School has set the foundation for my training, so it's ironic that I'm going home."

Despite her rank as a specialist, she said she was expected to perform to the same level as 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, King said, being selected as commandant is a surprise. "It's sort of one of those moments of ... utter disbelief," she said.

King 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,” she said. “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 works in the Fort Jackson, S.C., public affairs office.)

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