Female commandant of drill sergeant school speaks out
At the twilight of a 31-year career in uniform, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King was put through the ringer. Now, she is putting the spotlight on two superiors, who, she told the New York Times, "almost destroyed me."
In November, King, the first female commandant at the Army's drill sergeant school, was suspended from her position amid accusations that she abused her power and created a toxic environment at the Fort Jackson, S.C., school.
An uproar ensued as her merits and demerits were debated.
Months went by, as the Army investigated the complaints, before King filed a counter-complaint alleging that her superiors had mistreated her.
Four days after her complaint was lodged, the Army announced that King would be reinstated to her job, one week before her assignment there was to end.
With just three months left in the Army before she retires, King could have felt vindicated that the investigation found no grounds to substantiate the complaints brought against her at the school. But according to the Times, she is not going to let the matter lie.
"These leaders, they almost destroyed me," King was quoted as saying.
King told the Times her tenure at the school went well while the training base was under the command of Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who left that post last year to become the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe. She said Hertling had instructed her to maintain high standards for the recruits trying out for drill sergeant slots.
The Times quoted Hertling saying, "I think she did a very good job."
After Hertling left, things changed, King told the Times.
She said her direct supervisor, Command Sgt. Maj. John R. Calpena with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command's Initial Military Training sub-command, tried to undermine her authority and sabotage her work, accusing her of being too much by-the-book.
King also told the Times that she began to be shunned and that the first time she met Maj. Gen. Richard C. Longo, the former head of the Initial Military Training command, he told her that he had been hearing bad things about her. Later, she said, an aide to the general informed her not to eat at the cafeteria while the general was dining there.
According to the Times, King has petitioned to have her assignment at the school extended six months to compensate the time she was suspended, but the Army has said her end date is May 17. Her mandatory retirement date is in August.
Source: New York Times