Once Hailed as Army Pioneer, Now Battling to Stay on the Job
The New York Times
May 11, 2012
When Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King was named the first female commandant of the Army’s elite drill sergeant school in 2009, proponents of gender equality in the military hailed the news as a watershed.
Sergeant Major King headed the Army’s drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C.
But it did not take long for the grumbling to start. Students who flunked out of the school complained that she set unfair standards. Some of her own instructors said she rigidly enforced old-fashioned rules. Traditionalists across the service asked: how could a woman with no experience in combat manage the Army’s only school for training the trainers who prepare recruits for war?
She says she tried to ignore the criticism, but her superiors did not. Last November, they suspended Sergeant Major King, forbidding contact with students or staff and opening an investigation into what they called the “toxic” environment at the school. As that review dragged on, she says she felt like a criminal: isolated, publicly humiliated and so despondent that friends worried that she might hurt herself.
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Additional Reporting from The New York Times:
At War Blog: Head of Drill Sergeant School Reinstated The New York Times, (May 4, 2012)
First Woman to Lead Army Drill Sergeant School Is Suspended The New York Times, (December 15, 2011)
First Woman Ascends to Top Drill Sergeant Spot The New York Times, (September 22, 2009)