First Female Command Sergeant Major for the US Army Reserve

Michele S Jones was the first female Command Sergeant Major in the US Army Reserve. I saw Michele speak at the Women Veterans Alliance, Women Veterans Engage event and I knew she would be a great guest for the podcast. She shared highlights from her career starting with the lessons she learned in Basic Training and pivotal moments in her career that led to her being the Command Sergeant Major in the US Army Reserve.

First Female Command Sergeant Major in US Army Reserve

She decided to join the military to gain experience in the legal field. She was going to college but was looking for something different and the Army with their motto, “Be all you can be” drew here in. At Basic Training she overall had a good experience. Her ability to not allow the drill sergeants get in her head led her to be a stronger person. She also learned the importance of bringing others up. Her battle buddy struggled and she was able to help encourage her and push her through training.

Not getting recycled

At Advanced Individual Training (AIT) she got sick and had to be admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately it was during a pivot point in her training. Her instructor at first was planning to recycle her without taking and failing the test. But she asked to take the test and with the help of her unit she was able to pass the test. Everyone in her unit was able to pass and set the bar high for training.

Her first assignment as a paralegal was at headquarters and was able to learn all the different aspects of being a paralegal. It also helped her realize that being a lawyer wasn’t the right path for her. She was planning to leave the military after her initial commitment but ended up switching into the Army Reserve.

Serving in the U.S. Army Reserve

While in the Army Reserve she deployed to Honduras. An opportunity that would not have been open to her as a female serving on active duty. They found themselves in a tough spot and she as the leader wasn’t sure she could lead her troops. She didn’t have adequate training because her gender often prevented her from training that would help her survive in a combat situation. That led to her deciding that if she survived she would take opportunities to attend trainings that would help prepare her as soldier.

She eventually got her chance and attended Army paratrooper school at Fort Bragg. There was a feeling that the women there were taking a spot away from men. And an idea that why would women need training since they couldn’t deploy. But she didn’t let that stop her. She was also the oldest female so she took the young women under her wing and encouraged them.

Becoming Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve

She became the Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve in 2002. Right after September 11th had kicked off a war that changed the landscape of the Army Reserve. Being nominated was an honor and she wasn’t sure what would happen. She took it as an opportunity to learn and was surprised to find out she was selected.

She talked about the different challenges they faced. There were so many things that were broken in the system of the Army Reserve. The military really needed to make changes and it wasn’t just in one area. Finance, family support, deployment training, equipment. All these areas were affected and needed to be addressed right now.

To women veterans and future service women

She encourages women veterans to share their story of military service. Stand up and share that you are a veteran. When women stand up and share they help change stereotypes and honor the women who have served. Also, record your story at the Women’s Memorial in Washington D.C. Have your story preserved for a legacy for the next generation to hear. You can go here to register. For women considering military service she encourages them to never give up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.