The U.S. Army has named Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King, an African American, the first woman commandant of the drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C.
King, 47, one of 12 children and the daughter of a sharecropper from the Fort Bragg, N.C., area, has been in the Army for 29 years, The New York Times reports. Last year the Army consolidated several drill schools into a single campus, “meaning Sergeant Major King, with her staff of 78 instructors, will oversee drill sergeant training for the entire Army,” according to the Times. King is among just 8 percent of the active-duty Army’s highest-ranking enlisted soldiers — sergeants major and command sergeants major — who are women. About 13 percent of Army personnel are female, according to the Times.
Willie Shelley, a retired command sergeant major who supervised King in three postings, said he promoted her over the objections of his commander into a position at Fort Bragg that had been held only by men. “Turns out she was about the best first sergeant they ever had,” Shelley told the Times. “It would not surprise me that she could become the first female sergeant major of the Army.”