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Master Chief Petty Officer Vincent Patton, III

Master chief petty officer Vincent Patton III was born on November 21, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan. Patton attended Cass Technical High School where he became an Eagle Scout and joined U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) James M. Hannan Division before graduating in 1972. Patton earned all of his college education while on active duty. He received his B.A. degree in communications from Pacific College Angwin, California in 1976 and his B.S. degree in social work from Shaw College in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Loyola University in 1979 with his M.A. degree in counseling psychology, Patton earned his doctorate in education degree from American University in Washington, D.C.in 1984. Patton’s advanced military education includes the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (with distinction), and the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.

In 1973, Patton graduated from U.S. Coast Guard Radioman (communications) School and was assigned duty on board the USCGC DALLAS at Governors Island, New York. He also served as a radioman at the Coast Guard Group and Air Station in Detroit, Michigan and as a recruiter at the Coast Guard Recruiting Office, Chicago. In 1979, Patton changed his occupational rating from radioman to yeoman (personnel) and was assigned to the Ninth Coast Guard District Office in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended American University as the first enlisted member selected for graduate school where he earned his doctorate degree and wrote his dissertation on developing the Coast Guard Enlisted Performance Evaluation Program. After graduate school he served onboard USCGC BOUTWELL homeported at Seattle, Washington and later returned to Coast Guard Headquarters to become the first Coast Guard enlisted training manager. Following this assignment, Patton became the Command Master Chief for the Coast Guard Atlantic Area, based at Governors Island, New York where he was the senior enlisted advisor to Joint Task Force-160 deployed to Haiti and Guantanamo Bay Cuba during Operation Support Democracy.

Patton served as the 8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from 1998 to 2002. He was the first African American to reach that rank in the U.S. Coast Guard. As the service’s highest ranking enlisted member, he served as the principal advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, his directorates, the U.S. Secretaries of Transportation and Defense and the Commander-in-Chief. In 2002, Patton retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after thirty years of active service. He became an assistant professor at University of California Berkeley before working for Monster Worldwide as director of Government Partnerships and Alliances. Patton was later named vice president for Homeland Security Programs at AFCEA International.

Patton’s military honors include the Distinguished Service Medal; two Meritorious Service Medals, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbon, eight Meritorious Team Awards, and eight Coast Guard Good Conduct Awards. He also has earned the Cutterman’s Insignia and the Parachutist Jump Wings Badge.

8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Vincent W. Patton III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/25/2013

Last Name

Patton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

W.

Schools

American University

Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley

Loyola University Chicago

Pacific Union College

Shaw College

United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Cass Technical High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, weekends. Available on weekdays provided his work schedule allows

First Name

Vincent

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

PAT09

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, teens, adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Only necessary travel expenses

Favorite Season

April

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Zealand

Favorite Quote

It is all good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/21/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Master chief petty officer Vincent Patton, III (1954 - ) became the first African American selected as the service’s senior-most enlisted ranking position as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard in 1998.

Employment

AFCEA International

Military Advantage (Monster Worldwide)

Halley's Comet Foundation

University of California, Berkeley

United States Coast Guard

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34522">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vincent Patton's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34523">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34524">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34525">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton talks about his mother's education and how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34526">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34527">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34528">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton talks about his father joining the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34529">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton shares his father's war stories and tells how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34530">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vincent Patton talks about his father's career after the army and his oldest brother, Gregory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34531">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton talks about his younger sister, Viola</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34532">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton discusses his younger brother, Frank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34533">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton speaks about his older sister, Stephanie</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34534">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton speaks about his younger brother, Francis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34535">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton talks about his younger brother, Robert and his sister, Mary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34536">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton discusses his younger sister, Catherine and brother, David</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34537">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34538">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton describes the neighborhood he grew up in</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36771">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36772">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36773">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton discusses his elementary, junior high and high school experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36774">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton recalls significant teachers and mentors from his elementary and junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36775">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton talks about being a boy scout</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36776">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton talks about the people who influenced him in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36777">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton remembers his high school teacher, Ms. Musson and the Detroit riots</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36778">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton talks about his maternal grandmother's involvement with the civil rights movement in Detroit</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36779">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton recalls two incidents of police harassment he experienced in Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36780">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton remembers attending the March on Washington in 1963, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36781">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton remembers attending the March on Washington in 1963, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36782">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton describes how he worked part-time for a jazz radio station</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36783">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton talks about notable musicians from his high school and his favorite subjects in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36784">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton discusses black book stores, his senior year of high school and his graduation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36785">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton explains how he joined the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36786">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton discusses his change in interest from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36787">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton explains what drew him to joining the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36788">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton describes his parents' response to him joining the U.S. Coast Guard, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36789">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton describes his parents' response to him joining the U.S. Coast Guard, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36790">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton talks about his interest in becoming master chief petty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36791">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton talks about his interest in becoming master chief petty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36792">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton discusses his training at radio school and his first assignment in the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36793">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton explains how his surveillance of Soviet spy vessels in the U.S. Coast Guard led to a personal commendation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36794">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton describes the difficult time he had with a racist chief in the Coast Guard, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36795">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton describes the difficult time he had with a racist chief in the Coast Guard, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36796">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton talks about taking college courses in the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36797">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton speaks about Chief Wood's apology for his racist behavior</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36798">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton discusses his assignment at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36799">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton talks about how he obtained two degrees while in the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36800">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton describes meeting African American writer, Alex Haley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36801">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton discusses the autograph he received from African American writer, Alex Haley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36802">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vincent Patton discusses his recruiting duties in the U.S. Coast Guard and enrollment in graduate school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34571">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton talks about developing an enrichment program for the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34572">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton talks about being asked to revise the U.S. Coast Guard's enlisted evaluation system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34573">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton describes the U.S. Coast Guard's enlisted evaluation system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34574">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton discusses his mentors and teachers from graduate school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34575">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton talks about his family and politicians, Harold Washington and Marion Barry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34576">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton recalls the pressure he received about becoming an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34577">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton talks about his decision to return to sea and his assignment to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34578">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton explains why his best tour of duty in the U.S. Coast Guard was on the Boutwell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36803">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton describes going on a drug interdiction, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36804">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton describes going on a drug interdiction, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36805">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton talks about his training management position</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36806">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton discusses his experience at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36807">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton discusses "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and his advocacy for gays in the military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36808">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton discusses women and gays in the military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36809">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton discusses his involvement with Operation Support Democracy and promotion to Command Master Chief for the Atlantic area</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36810">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton talks about being selected Master Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34587">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton shares highlights from his career as the 8th Master Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34588">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton shares highlights from his career as the 8th Master Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34589">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Vince Patton talks about the U.S. Coast Guard's assistance with clean-up after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34590">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Vince Patton talks about the U.S. Coast Guard's assistance with clean-up after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34591">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton reflects on his accomplishments as 8th Master Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34592">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton discusses his teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34593">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton talks about working part-time as the executive director for Haley's Comet Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34594">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton discusses Monster Worldwide, Inc.'s involvement with helping transitioning military personnel find jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34595">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton discusses working together with Monster Worldwide, Inc. to help transitioning military personnel find jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34596">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton talks about APCEA and his role as vice president of the association's Homeland Security department</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34597">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Vincent Patton discusses volunteering in Haiti after the 2011 earthquake and his community service focused ministry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34598">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Vincent Patton comments on his retirement goals and APCEA's STEM scholarships for students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34599">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Vincent Patton shares his thoughts on running for office and reflects on his regrets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34600">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Vincent Patton talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34601">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Vincent Patton reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34602">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Vincent Patton talks about his son from his first marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34603">Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Vincent Patton talks about his daughter from his second marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34604">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Vincent Patton talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34605">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Vincent Patton describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$9

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Vincent Patton remembers attending the March on Washington in 1963, pt. 2
Vince Patton talks about the U.S. Coast Guard's assistance with clean-up after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, pt. 1
Transcript
I just remember the adults who were walking were very much complaining and worried and things like that. My grandmother she kind of kept telling everybody to shut up and just walk (laugh). So we get to the mall area and so we miss the actual march because of the walk. So we get to the mall area where Dr. King is about to speak. When we get down to that area the first thing we try to do is inch our way as close as we could. So somewhere along the reflecting pool and my grandmother and the crowd that we were with said okay this is about as close as we are going to get. So we kids take off for the reflecting pool thinking that's a swimming pool and we are going to jump in. There was somebody out there telling everybody to get out of the pool. Of course, we jumped in the pool, kids were-they quit yelling at us, they gave us because there were too many of us. Right about the time when the event started, this is the thing that I remembered most. We got out of the reflecting pool quickly and with the how many thousands of people that were there. A hundred thousand or whatever number it was, but what I remember most is that it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop when Dr. King spoke. Now, again I couldn't tell you anything that I paid any attention to other than the fact that I looked about me and realized how everybody was just so quiet, how they were all facing in the direction toward the Lincoln Memorial and there were speakers out but we were so far back that we didn't--there weren't any speakers back--but you could hear almost as if you were right up there on the steps. Because today when I walk--I remember taking my kids to that very spot--somewhere around that spot many years ago and at the time that I did that, I was telling my kids the story, I looked down and saw how far away it was to the Lincoln Memorial but I felt at that time when I was kid that I was no more than ten feet. It just made me feel that way because of the just the energy and the fact that you know--his voice. To my dying day, I will never forget that moment. How magnetic it was and getting everybody really tied into the listening of that speech. And I feel honored to be one of the hundreds of thousands that were there although at that time that age I didn't quite understand it then but has time has gone on I grasp a little bit more about it. But that's a moment that I will never forget was being there.$The, probably the biggest thing that I think about the most is 911 because I was Master Chief of the Coast Guard during the time of 9/11. And within a couple of days after the, the Twin Towers were hit, Admiral [James] Loy, myself, we were in the Secretary of Transportation at the time, and, which was Norm Manetta and a few other people, we got on a plane. Well, of course, nobody could fly out anyway, except us. And we went up to New York. And this was like Day Three, I think. And, and I got to see the destruction of Manhattan. You know, it was still smoldering. It was, I remember the cloud, you know, just clouds of smoke were still there. And, you know, ash all over the place. I mean it was, I mean it was several feet of ash. I mean there were parts of Manhattan that was up to your knees of ash. And it, and it--when I walked the Ground Zero area there, and I mean as I tell the story, I can still smell it. I could still smell how it is, and, you know, and of course, I was stationed there twice before. So I, so I'm going into familiar turf here, and I know where such and such place was and so forth. In fact, I reenlisted in the Coast Guard on top of the World Trade Center. So, you know, so I knew a little bit about it. But here's a story that I don't know if many people talked about, that I keep in my head, is within a few blocks of the World Trade Center, stands this little church called the Trinity Church. It's located Rector Street, Rector and I think it's Broadway. I'm not sure, but Rector Street is the East-West street. And it's a few blocks from the World Trade Center. Now, everything around the World Trade Center was demolished, completely gone. It was rubble, it was piled--and it was literally piles of ash. Trinity Church, which by the way is--the graveyard of Trinity Church has the grave site of Alexander Hamilton, the father of the Coast Guard, lays and rests there. Admiral Loy went over--and I went over there. And we looked around and saw all the destruction of everything. And the graveyard certainly had debris as well as ash and so forth. And we took a look at the church. The church stood like nothing happened to it. It had one broken window as a result of a tree falling up against it. And, of course, it was covered with ash, but the church stood like nothing really happened to it.$$It's one of the lowest structures though in the area, right?$$Yes, yeah, right, it's one of the lowest structures. So you know where it is. So we, first of all, I remember looking at that in amazement, and I walked into the church and talked to the Vicar there, and he was, you know, of course, they--the church became an aid station as well 'cause there were people still in there that were being treated, firefighters and so forth. And as I walked out, Admiral Loy said to me, he said, he said, "Master Chief, why don't you get some people to clean up this church, okay?" And I said, "No problem." So I, I contacted my Command Master Chief for the New York area, and I said, "I need some volunteers." Get me some volunteers to come up, and I want the, I want the churchyard cleaned and do as much as you can around the church and so forth.

Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones

Army Noncommissioned Officer Michele S. Jones was born on November 24, 1963 in Baltimore, Maryland. She spent her childhood in the the Baltimore area, and graduated from Milford Mill High School. Upon graduation, Jones enrolled at Howard University but then transferred to Fayetteville State University, where she received her B.S. degree in business administration in 1994.

Jones enlisted in the United States Army in September 1982, and later became the first female selected class president of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. Throughout her military career, Jones has served in many positions of leadership, including squad leader, section leader, platoon sergeant and first sergeant. Additionally, she was involved in every major contingency operation involving U.S. Armed Forces: Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope, Provide Comfort, Joint Endeavor, Nobel Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2002, Jones became the first female appointed as the 9th Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve. In 2007, she retired after twenty-five years of service in both the active and reserve component.

Upon retirement, Jones continued to serve the youth and elderly as a motivational speaker for the civilian community. Through the Army’s Planning For life Program, Jones has given lectures and speeches to over forty-five thousand middle and high school students in the U.S. and abroad. In 2009, she was appointed under the administration of President Barack Obama as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense White House Liaison. Jones has also held positions as the special assistant and senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense, the principal deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense, and as the director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach.

Jones is the recipient of several military awards, including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Parachutist Badge, the German Army Forces Airborne Wings and the Royal Thai Airborne Wings. In 2005, she received the Meritorious Service Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 2009, she received the Spirit of Democracy Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation as well as the Freedom’s Sister Award from the Ford Foundation. The National Congress of Black Women honored Jones in 2011 with the Shirley Chisholm Trailblazer Award.

Michele S. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.016

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/14/2013

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

S

Schools

United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Fayetteville State University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michele

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

JON33

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

People Say God is good. I say chicken is good. God is amazing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/24/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Crab (Blue)

Short Description

Noncommissioned officer Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones (1963 - ) the 9th Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve, was appointed under the Obama Administration as the Director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach in 2012.

Employment

Department of Defense

United States Office of Personnel Management

United States Army

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36069">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Jones' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36070">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michele Jones lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36071">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36072">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36073">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her mother's education and career in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36074">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36075">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36076">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her father in high school in Baltimore, Maryland and his drama club</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36077">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36078">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her close-knit family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36079">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes how her parents met and married</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36080">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36081">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36082">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her exposure to religion as a child and her freedom to choose her faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36083">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36084">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36085">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michele Jones describes her extracurricular activities as a child and her family's interest in music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36086">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her father serving for six years in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36087">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her experience in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36088">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about playing softball and cheerleading in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36089">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her teachers in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36090">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about going to the prom as a freshman in high school, and almost not attending her senior prom</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36091">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her grades in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36092">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her decision to join the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36093">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michele Jones talks about her parents' reaction to her decision to join the U.S. Army and their support of her decision</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36094">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at basic training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36095">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36096">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36097">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her first assignment to Fort Carson, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36098">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her auditions to become a cheerleader for the Baltimore Colts and talks about their relocation to Indianapolis, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36099">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes her auditions to become a cheerleader for the Baltimore Colts and talks about their relocation to Indianapolis, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36100">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36101">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36102">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her experience when stationed in Hanau, Germany in 1984</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36103">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in Honduras and Panama and her decision to go to Fort Bragg, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36104">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about attending Fayetteville State University while stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36105">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about being mobilized during the Gulf War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36106">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about studying business administration at Fayetteville State University's Fort Bragg campus and her instructors there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36107">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36108">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36109">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about the training received at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36110">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her experience at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36111">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her class' involvement in the community while at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36112">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her assignments as an instructor at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and with the 78th Infantry Division</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36113">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michele Jones recalls the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the death of her friend, Davin Green, in the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36114">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her retirement being postponed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and being selected as command sergeant major</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36115">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her role as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Reserve</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36116">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes being the first female command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserve and her African Americans predecessors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36117">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about educating the media about the U.S. Army Reserve</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36118">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about the challenges faced by the U.S. Army Reserve in the global war on terror</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36119">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michele Jones discusses her role during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and talks about Lt. General Russel Honore's coordination of military relief efforts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36120">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about retiring from the U.S. Army in 2007 and founding The Bones Theory Group, LLC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36121">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michele Jones talks about The Bones Theory Group's focus on tutoring businesses on recruiting and retaining veterans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36122">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about being invited to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36123">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36124">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her service as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and White House liaison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36125">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her service as the special assistant and senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36126">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michele Jones shares her views on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't tell" policy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36127">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michele Jones discusses her appointment as the director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36128">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michele Jones discusses restarting her consulting practice</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36129">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36130">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michele Jones reflects upon her career choices</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36131">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michele Jones reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36132">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her daughters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36133">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about receiving her parents' unconditional love and support</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36134">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her friend, Janet Miller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36135">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36136">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

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DATitle
Michele Jones talks about her retirement being postponed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and being selected as command sergeant major
Michele Jones talks about the challenges faced by the U.S. Army Reserve in the global war on terror
Transcript
In, what, 2002, you're promoted to command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserves.$$I was selected. I was selected--$$Selected--$$--um-hum, yeah. I was promoted to command sergeant major in 1997 or promoted to sergeant major in 1997 and selected for command sergeant major in 1997 as well. Two months later they held a Command Sergeant Major selection board. But I was selected as command sergeant major of the Army Reserves in 2002.$$Right, 'cause you had been previously command sergeant major of the 78th [Infantry] Division, right?$$Right, exactly.$$All right, so 2002, now, you were retiring on the day, you know, that 9/11 [September 11, 2001; terrorist attacks on the United States] took place, September 11, 2001. So you decided to re-enlist or--$$No, my retirement was pulled. Retirement, most people think you, you know, you hit twenty years [of service], you automatically retire. But, no, you have to be approved to retire from the military, under, even under the best circumstance, even without anything going on. So you request to retire and then it's approved, considering and there's no other reason not to. And in most cases, there's no reason not to. They check to make sure you have the adequate number of years, etc. But in my case, my retirement was pulled before it was approved because of the fact that we were talking about, September 11th, October, November, December, we're talking about less than ninety-four days away. And I had a, even though I was a command sergeant major with a non-specific career field, 'cause that's what command sergeant major--my background was civil affairs. So, you know, anyone in the Special Operations community, we were not, we were not being allowed. They have what's called "stop loss." Whenever there's a war going on, potential, anything like that, the military does Army "stop loss." In other words, stop anybody from leaving be it retirement, you know, the getting out. As long as it's not a medical reason, "stop loss." And so all things are put on hold. And so at that point, when, you know, my boss, Joe Ulmney [ph.], said, you know, Sergeant Major, you know, you're not gonna retire, you're--and I said, okay, how long will you think? A year, two years, probably about a year. So I said, okay. Well, then as things evolved and played out, you don't wanna retire. You don't wanna get out when someone's attacked your country. Now, you're like, okay, what do I need to do, okay. So my unit--I'm still the division command sergeant major. My replacement is not in yet. So, and that was those things that would happen in those ninety-plus days before I retired, to find my replacement to help them onboard. But now, I'm like, I've got all my unit. I got reserve soldiers that are being activated and mobilized because we run these power projection platforms, these mobilization stations where soldiers that are deploying. This is our mission. So I'm like, there's no way I'm retiring, you know. I don't want to retire.$And what--you alluded to some of 'em, but what were the major issues [faced by the U.S. Army Reserve], I guess?$$Some of the major issues were the fact that the equipment that the Army Reserve had during training when they did train was outdated, obsolete, etc. The [U.S.] Army never funded--the funding system for the Reserve was outdated, you know, based on some crazy calculation that didn't even make sense. So we didn't have the resources to buy current equipment. We didn't have the resources to have soldiers come in and train all the time, in an environment, as the saying goes, "Train as you fight." Well, we couldn't train as we fought. We didn't have the equipment. We didn't have the locations. We didn't have the money. The other piece of it was soldiers in the IRR [Individual Ready Reserve]. They received no training. There wasn't any resources for that. That was one thing. The other piece was, they kept talking about the fact that reserve soldiers have, are going into battle without having up-armored vehicles. In other words, all the protection that the vehicles needed. No one did, because we were fighting a type of war that we had never fought before. Those type of units weren't expected to be anywhere near IEDs [improvised explosive devices], RPGs [rocket propelled grenades]. Although they were traditionally in the rear, there was no rear. So no vehicles were--I shouldn't say, no. Vehicles that traditionally would not have been exposed, they didn't have it. So therefore, it wasn't just indicative of the Reserve. It was the simple fact that we were fighting a different war. Same thing like in Vietnam. It was a different type of warfare. So we had equipment that did not fit the scenario, period. So what did they do? And so my job was to explain. Well, this is what we're doing now. Are we building and shipping them over? In some cases, yes, but we were doing it in theater too, you know, actually physically--I could talk about what they were doing to vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because I actually went and went to those facilities to see what they did. So those were some of the other issues as well, and then the third piece is the training, how long they were spending at mobilization stations to train, to prepare. Well, we didn't have the resources to train 'em more than two weeks in any given year. So you don't wanna send someone over that's not prepared. So, yes, Love One, (unclear) they're gonna stay there because I need to know that they are trained, you know, so that they can come back to you whole. So those were some of the top three issues. But taking it at surface value, you know, it was a, it was a mess. It was a "hot mess" as they like to say, but you need to delve into the whys.$$So, I think you alluded to this earlier too, that the U.S. had never, the U.S. government had never gone as deep into the reserves as it did during the Iraq conflict?$$Absolutely, absolutely.$$So reserves were finding themselves overseas in war, maybe for the first time since when, I mean--$$There were--reserve soldiers were deployed in Vietnam [War] as well, but, but you also had a draft during Vietnam, okay, whereas global war on terrorism, there was no draft. The extra soldiers that were needed came from the Individual Ready Reserve, who quite frankly, remember when I, as I stated, they're, you know, when you join the Army, enlist in the Army, you have a eight-year, mandatory, statutory obligation. So someone could have been in active component, let's say three years. But the last time they touched a weapon might have been three years 'cause they haven't met that eight-year mark. So you're pulling out of that population as well. So there's a, again, a lot of different dynamics to the Reserve, the larger population or the population of the reserves had grown exponentially since, you know, the Vietnam War, it was different. You could go into the Army during the Vietnam War and say, I wanna be active. I wanna be Reserve, I wanna be [National] Guard, you know. This time, we pulled, you know--or you were drafted. No, we didn't draft anybody for the global war on terror. We pulled from our own reserves, "reserves," henceforth, the word "reserves." So we were used in a different capacity, you know. You didn't have to start from scratch, but you did have to start some serious retraining for this war.$$Okay.