Army suspends first female drill sergeant leader

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 1:43 PM
Last updated 7:41 PM

COLUMBIA — The Army has suspended the first woman to lead its drill sergeant school while it investigates an undisclosed personnel matter, the service said Thursday.

Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King, commandant-select of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, near Columbia, has been suspended. King, the first woman to lead the drill sergeant school, is under investigation for an undisclosed personnel matter, the Army said Thursday.  U.S. ARMY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King, commandant-select of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, near Columbia, has been suspended. King, the first woman to lead the drill sergeant school, is under investigation for an undisclosed personnel matter, the Army said Thursday.

A spokesman for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command said Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King remains commandant of the school at Fort Jackson, near Columbia, but is suspended during an investigation.

Spokesman Harvey Perritt said he cannot disclose the reason for the suspension, which he described as a personnel matter.

King told The Associated Press on Thursday that she cannot talk about the matter.

“I can’t speak about it,” the 50-year-old said. “I have to have you speak with the Army’s public affairs officers.”

King was named commandant at the school in 2009, which handles all training for the order-barking drill sergeants.

The Pentagon ordered the Army to consolidate all schools for the senior-level sergeants at Fort Jackson in 2005 in a cost-saving move.

Perritt said the suspension decision was made by Maj. Gen. Richard Longo, the deputy commanding general in charge of the Army’s basic and advanced individual training, which comes under the Training and Doctrine Command located at Fort Eustis, Va.

King’s appointment in 2009 came amid much fanfare, because no woman had risen to such a prominent position among the service’s senior enlisted ranks.

Accompanied by a reporter on a barracks tour, the sharecropper’s daughter from North Carolina exuded a tough attitude toward her charges, demanding that each stand tall and respond to queries promptly. Yet her questions showed a concern for her charges and the deadly environs jobs they could be entering.

“I have a family in the Army. It is my family,” King said.

There were few women training alongside men when she first entered the military in 1980, just out of high school.

King rose to become the first female sergeant named to oversee the heart and soul of Army fighters: the headquarters company of the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., where she was responsible for 500 paratroopers, 22 sergeant majors, 22 colonels and three general officers. She served in South Korea and Europe and held jobs at NATO and the Pentagon.

While opportunities for women have increased over the past two decades, they are still excluded from assignments where soldiers engage in direct combat, such as infantry and tank units.

But the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that front lines no longer exist, and even accountants or medics in the rear can find themselves in the heat of battle and must defend themselves and their buddies.

“I have one chance to do it, and if I don’t get it right, that soldier could not survive on the battlefield,” King said when she was named to the post.

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John Locke
John Locke 12/15/11 - 07:34 pm
Which is why one should not

Which is why one should not make a big deal out of First this and First that. Same thing happened to the First black CSM of the Army - McKinney. It just makes it all worse for them.

CoastalDawg 12/15/11 - 10:55 pm
I'm certain that I will

I'm certain that I will receive negative remarks for my thoughts here but in the reality of it all there never should BE a woman who is the top drill sergeant unless it is over the female soldiers. Try as you will, rant as you want, when we've come to the point in our country, in our military when we're matriarchal in our war effort everyone loses. Can she even DO everything that a young male in shape soldier can do physically? Some soldiers personally known to me have already begun to express fear for future soldiers because of the softening of training and placing a woman over the entire training of drill instructors isn't the right place for political correctness.

stillamazed 12/16/11 - 08:42 am
Described as a personal

Described as a personal matter makes me think fraternization perhaps. Coastaldawg, while I do agree that the Army has softened and I know that for a fact! I am not so convinced on the woman thing, I see some tough, tough females everyday, but on that note Fort Jackson has the reputation for being called slackin Jackson by some soldiers. Some soldiers also tell me that their female drill SGT's were alot harder on them than the males... I can see that because they feel they have more to prove. And while physical strength is very important being intelligent is very important and being a good decision maker is important also.

autumnlady55 12/16/11 - 02:16 pm
It's no wonder the U.S. can

It's no wonder the U.S. can not win a war. They downsized to the point that they had keep sending the same soldiers for multiple deployments and then they wonder why all these soldiers are committing suicide. The new soldiers have no morals, nor do they care if they do a good job. All they care about is having a cell phone and a hookup for the weekend. Until parents stop buying off their kids,and give kids a goal and some direction for the future, the Army is nothing more than a BABY SITTING service. RECYCLING soldiers though a course over and over again is not the best way to go, especially when it comes to patient care. It takes a special person to work in the medical field to start with, but if you don't care about people, then go get a computer job.
Oh, I think I opened a can of worms here. Sexual harrassment has never ended at any facility because people are human and they want what they want, when they want it. It just gets swept under the carpet and an attempt to clean it up happens when a new commander wants a new oak cluster or whatever they call those silly things they are awarded for an outstanding job,usually accomplished by an underling.

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