News: First female drill sergeant for Kansas Army National Guard
Story by Sgt. Jessica Barnett
IOLA, Kan. - The words “drill sergeant” brings to mind flashbacks of fear and adrenalin for seasoned soldiers. Most think back to basic training of in-your-face yelling and disorientation. For one Kansas National Guard soldier, these words have a unique meaning she will be honored with forever.
Staff Sgt. Veronica Bartley, a recruiter for Emporia, Kan., with Recruiting and Retention, Kansas Army National Guard, graduated drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C., May 26, 2011, as the first female drill sergeant of the Kansas Army National Guard.
“I didn’t know [that I was going to be the first female drill sergeant] at all until I came back,” said Bartley, the first time she heard the news. “I was shocked when I found out. I didn’t realize that I achieved that. I hope I can live up to the expectation.”
While at Fort Jackson, Bartley had the privilege of being under the guidance of the first female commandant of drill instructors, Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King, appointed in 2009.
Bartley joined the Guard Nov. 15, 2005, at the age of 17. She completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in May of 2006. After attending a year at Allen County Community College, Iola, Kan., Bartley graduated Advanced Individual Training as a light wheel vehicle mechanic at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, graduating with high leadership honors.
During her first unit assignment with Company E, 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment in Topeka, Kan., Bartley attended Warrior Leadership Course and Recruiting and Retention Noncommissioned Officer Course. In November 2008, Bartley started her recruiting career for the Guard, in Emporia. In the following two years, she attended Advanced Leadership Courses Phase 1 and 2, achieving the commandant’s list during Phase 1.
While at school, Bartley still had to meet her recruiting quota. The recruiting noncommissioned officer must "adapt and overcome" in an effort to meet their mission.
“Bartley illustrates the total NCO, specifically the Army value of selfless service because she took over 60 days out of her recruiting cycle to attend the school, while still maintaining her mission,” explained her commander, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jack Hancock, of Company A, Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
As a drill sergeant, Bartley is a vital asset to the Recruit Sustainment Program; a program established for newly enlisted warriors to prepare them for the physical and mental rigors of boot camp. Bartley is now a subject matter expert on drill, ceremony and numerous other aspects of the current Basic Training environment, such as the new form of physical fitness, Physical Readiness Training. Thus, she becomes a great source of knowledge for her fellow cadre and the KSARNG.
She will be a mentor, coach and the "go to" leader for RSP soldiers heading to basic training. Her tutelage will help ensure these young soldiers are successful and become qualified soldiers that the Recruiting and Retention Command can transition into their prospective unit.
As a role model to new recruits, Bartley has always made it a mission to uphold the standard for female soldiers.
“I am always trying to set the standards for females,” said Bartley. “Any female I recruit and bring into the RSP program, I let them know what is and isn’t accepted.”
“I also let them know that if they want to get anywhere in the Army they need to set the standard themselves,” she continued. “No one else can do it for them. And that’s the only way you can prove yourself in the military.”
Bartley was honored in a brief ceremony on June 23. Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general, presented her with an Army Commendation Medal, an Adjutant General’s coin and a plaque.