Mother Medic: Single Mother Turns to Soldier

4th Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade
Story by Sgt. James Geelen

Date: 05.10.2019
Posted: 05.17.2019 16:24
News ID: 322857
Mother Medic

FORT CARSON, Co. –People usually decide to join the military out of a sense of patriotism or duty, for action and adventure, or for a steady job in a depressed economy.
For U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bliss M. King, now the senior medic for 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, the decision to join the military wasn’t taken lightly. When King decided to join the Army she was a 42 year old, single mother of a teenage boy.
“I was teaching in San Diego and the plan I had for my life started to change,” King said. “I went through a divorce and the economy was really bad. The schools began to get rid of teachers that were not tenured, so I needed to reinvent myself.”
In 2011 King enlisted in the Army as a motor transport operator and went to Fort Leonard, Missouri for training.
“I think the Army is a good fit, you get to travel, meet new people, and help others,” King said. “My biggest thing is I want to make a difference no matter where I am or what I’m doing.”
Because King was constantly picked on about her age going through training, she used that as motivation to outperform her peers.
“The drill sergeants were always calling me grandma,” King said. “That made me want to prove myself and push myself harder. I take pride in beating kids that are my son’s age on the APFT.”
Born in Taos, New Mexico, and raised by her father, King was taught early on in life that hard work can be rewarded.
“I was ready to be done with Taos and move on, so I doubled up on my classes and graduated early,” King said. “I moved to Hollywood where I worked on commercials, videos and features as a production assistant.”
King’s father taught her a sense of responsibility, hard work and integrity which helped her to cope with being a single mother.
“I’ve worked for literary and talent agencies, retail, flower stores, management and health food stores,” King said. “A plethora of different jobs. Whatever it took to make it work as a single mom with no child support in Maui.”
For many Soldiers that join the military later in life, having work and life experience pre-military helps to separate them from their peers.
“Staff Sgt. King having administrative and management skills from her past employment has contributed to how quickly she has been able to move up in rank and fill the shoes of platoon sergeant,” said Sgt. Derek J. Powers, healthcare specialist for 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. “She accepted the role and ran with it and even with the difficulties she’s had, she has never faulted. She has continued to receive more duties but she’s stayed focused and always completes what’s asked of her.’
It wasn’t long before King felt that she could do more with her career and after her initial contract was finished, she chose another military occupational specialty, MOS.
“I decided to switch jobs to become a medic,” King said. “I knew that I had more to offer the Army and wanted to help people. It’s a privilege to be a medic because we’re able to help so many people”
After she completed her medic training, King was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where she helped to in-process new soldiers.
“The colonel at Fort Jackson called me ‘mama King’ because I was always trying to mentor the younger soldiers,” King said. “I tend to take people under my wing, help them out and act as mom.”
King has continued to be a helping hand throughout her time with 4SB.
“She has made herself well known to soldiers around the brigade with how caring and approachable she is,” Powers said. “No matter where she is, she gets approached with medical questions, people needing help, people needing a shoulder to cry on or needing to vent.”
As the head medic for 4th Sustainment Brigade, King has consistently been able to motivate her soldiers to perform beyond their limits.
“Most places have enough medics, so they can rotate between the aide station, the hospital and the soldier readiness processing (SRP) site,” King said. “We don’t have that, but we always accomplish the mission and our medical readiness is one of the highest in the Army.”
All of the long hours and hard work has benefited the Soldiers throughout the Brigade.
“Sometimes I believe the workload is a bit too much for a single person,” Powers said. “And we’re always short staffed, but she has continued to keep taking care of her family and her soldiers on a continual basis without faltering.”
Soldiers that work with King always know that they can count on her to look out for their best interest.
“We all know that we can approach her with any issues, from anything minor, to the very personal matters that we don’t share with anyone else but family,” Powers said. “She will help in any way she can, no matter how busy she is. She will make time to listen, talk and guide us when we need it and she knows when she needs us, we will do the same for her.”
King would like to be able to combine her love of teaching and her desire to help people.
“I hope to be able to return to Fort Sam Houston, (Texas), and be an instructor,” King said. “Teaching and mentoring just comes natural to me and there I would be able to do both.”
Sgt. Powers also believes that King would be a great instructor for the new medics at Ft. Sam Houston.
“She loves to teach and be involved with everyone around her,” Powers said. “She’s not one to sit back and let a single Soldier fall behind or feel left out. Her ability to prepare and be ready for multiple outcomes or scenarios would be key in an educational environment.”