COLUMBIA — The first female boss at the Army’s prestigious drill sergeant school is being reinstated after she was suspended in November for reasons the Army has never explained, her attorney and the Army said Friday.
Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King, who is black, filed a military legal complaint over the suspension, arguing that it was a result of racism and sexism from soldiers who resented her promotion and the national attention it attracted.
“To the Army leadership, I have devoted my life to train American soldiers. My removal was without justification,” King said Friday.
Her attorney, James Smith, said she would return to her job as commandant of the drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, the nation’s largest military training installation.
“She’s going to get reinstated,” he said. “She’s been vindicated.”
The decision to reinstate her was made by Maj. Gen. Bradley May, the deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
“Major General May determined after a thorough review of the case that a release for cause was unwarranted and her suspension be lifted immediately,” said Col. Christian Kubik, a TRADOC spokesman.
King’s voice cracked briefly as she spoke Friday. She thanked God and the friends, family and fellow soldiers who believed in her and who told the Army that the allegations against her were untrue.
“There were dark days, and I wanted to quit,” King said. “But the mission was too great. Had I quit, I believe I would have literally died.”
The move comes after King’s attorney filed a legal complaint Monday against two of her superiors. He also sought a congressional investigation into the matter, appealing directly to South Carolina’s two senior members of Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jim Clyburn.
The complaint cited statements from King’s deputy at the school and an Army colonel who worked with King. The attorney said younger soldiers who had spoken out against King had recanted their statements, and that his own investigation had uncovered more than three dozen people who vouched for her high standards and good name.
In her rebuttal to the Army, King wrote her superiors, “My instincts tell me that if I were a male, that none of this would have happened.”