Midlands drill sergeant on Oprah's '20 women rocking the world' list

By Hannah Horne - bio | email

FORT JACKSON, SC (WIS) - Pick up the October issue of Oprah Magazine, and you'll see a familiar face from the Midlands.

Command Sergeant Major Teresa King is the drill sergeant in charge of training for the entire U.S. Army, and she's also one of 20 women 'rocking the world," according to Oprah Winfrey's 2010 Power List.

Among the other women on Oprah's 2010 Power List are Diane Sawyer and designer Vera Wang.

King was honored to receive the invitation."It was a yes, a definite yes. I think my soldiers were more excited than I was," said King. "They are all women who are driven and have a calling in their lives to do what they do and do it well. It was a healthy exchange of believing in what you do and giving back to the community."

The command sergeant major says the women on the list have different careers, but common ground. "They are all women who are driven and have a calling in their lives to do what they do and do it well," said King. "It was a healthy exchange of believing in what you do and giving back to the community."

King is a shining example of that mindset. Far from the New York City photo shoot, King trains and teaches drill sergeants with her unique blend of motivation and leadership. "I don't see myself as tough," King commented. "I see myself as driven, I do what I believe in. I must set the example and I'm not strayed by my emotions."    

Her focus and drive developed through what she calls a "blessed" journey. King's career began 30 years ago at the same drill sergeant school that she now runs at Fort Jackson. "I started out with nothing, I started in the Army and found my way. I feel called to do this," said King.

Growing up poor on a North Carolina farm, King says she committed to the Army in the 10th grade. "It's the best thing I've ever done," said King. "I had a hunch this Is where I was supposed to be."

Now, king heads up the school that trains the army's future leaders. Nearly 2000 drill sergeant cadets come through her program each year, and quickly learn her no-nonsense way of doing business. "I think it's my job to bring them to my level," she said. "I'm training my replacement."

But not before King infuses them with her brand of inspiration and motivation, one that she hopes reaches from her soldiers to her community, to especially women who are going after their goals. "Do not let your dreams die," she said. "Do what you think you want to do. What drives you? Don't let anyone tell you you can't."

And that's an order from one of the Army's finest -- just ask Oprah.

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