We believe the Army made a mistake in its recent appointment of CSM Teresa L. King to the job of Commandant of its Drill Sergeant School at Ft. Jackson (First Woman Ascends to Top Drill Sergeant Spot):
"It may come as no surprise that the Army’s new top drill sergeant idolizes Gen. George S. Patton Jr., has jumped out of planes 33 times, aces every physical training test and drives a black Corvette with “noslack” vanity plates."
How does a sergeant -- or even a sergeant major -- become a commandant in any U.S. Army endeavor? When did sergeants gain the command authority to issue orders?
Commandant orders are not sergeant-level or doctrinal realities. Officers command, NCO's follow, except in today's Army that rule has been subverted. Even Warrant Officers are being given command authority, a misuse of the concept. Warrant Officers and NCO's are not officers.
King "says she regrets not having been deployed to a war zone during her 29-year Army career." It seems ridiculous to have a senior NCO who has never deployed to a combat zone -- let alone had combat duty -- be in charge of all the drill sergeants in training. Today, there are service members with as many as seven deployments, yet a slick sleeve gets the top job? This is a poor call for the chain to make.
Why would the Army want a non-combat arms type in charge of training all of our Drill Sergeants? When was the last time the CSM of the Army was not a combat veteran? Why should a non-combat arms female who never deployed be given this plum assignment without paying her combat dues, as did all of her male predecessors? The Army does not need a support type in a top command leadership position.
As if to justify King's choice in the face of her service weaknesses, she is described as both hard and soft, in an attempt to showcase what a woman might bring of especial import:
Pardon me, but if a man hugged a female soldier we would be crying sexual harassment. Yet when CSM King does it, it is seen as matronly and praiseworthy. Most soldiers would pass on the hugs, even from Momma Bear; that is not why we join the Army.
"Yet for all her gruffness, she can show surprising tenderness toward her charges. She describes her soldiers as “my children” and her approach to disciplining them as “tough love.” She wells up with emotion while describing how she once hugged a burly master sergeant whose wife had left him."
As an aside, the Times article on CSM King carries a misleading statistic regarding "gender integration" in the military:
"Just 8 percent of the active-duty Army’s highest-ranking enlisted soldiers — sergeants major and command sergeants major — are women, though more than 13 percent of Army personnel are female."The figures are misleading because they do not consider the fact that not all slots/units have female soldiers. The actual percentage of women in high-ranking positions factoring out the above would reflect a different number, one more consistent with women's actual presence.
All things considered, this looks like a token appointment, and not one to the betterment of the service.
Tomorrow: More on CSM King and women's role in the Army
We remember the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the "date which will live in infamy"