Black Female Army Sergeant Battles To Keep Her Job

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Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. KingSgt. Maj. Teresa L. King‘s appointment as the first female commander of the Army’s drill sergeant school in 2009 was suppose to be a positive watershed moment for the U.S. Armed Forces.

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But the New York Times reports that King’s tenure has been riddled with accusations that she has abused her power, rigidly enforced “old-fashioned rules,” and set unfair standards.

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Another major criticism King has faced is this: How can someone with no combat experience lead trainers who instruct recruits on how to fight wars? King says she ignores the criticism, but it has not abated her detractors.

The New York Times has more:

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.

Last week she decided to fight back, filing a complaint with the Army asserting that her male supervisors had mistreated her because she is a woman, and asking for a Congressional investigation. Four days later, the Army reinstated her, saying that the accusations against her — including that she had abused her power — could not be substantiated.

Now, just a week from the scheduled end of her tour as commandant of the school, located here at Fort Jackson, and three months from mandatory retirement, Sergeant Major King, 50, is making clear that she is not ready to go quietly. In an interview this week, she described what she says was a yearlong campaign by two superiors — a command sergeant major based in Virginia and his boss, a major general — to undermine her authority and encourage her drill instructors to turn against her.

“The Army was my life,” she said. “These leaders, they almost destroyed me.”

Go to the New York Times for more on this story.

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