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Joe Geeter, III

U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Joseph H. Geeter was born in Chicago, Illinois. He earned his B.S. degree in management from Park College. In January 1976, Geeter enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and underwent training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Basic Logistics School where he graduated as a class honor graduate.

During his first enlistment, Geeter served in all three active Marine Divisions and earned meritorious promotion to Corporal in 1978. In 1981, Geeter was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Beaufort, South Carolina where he served in logistics and participated in the NATO exercise Ocean Venture in 1982. He soon transferred to Okinawa, Japan and became the Assistant Group Logistics Chief and Platoon Sergeant, Headquarters and Service Company of the 3rd Force Service Support Group (FSSG). He was then reassigned in 1984 to MCAS, Beaufort and served as the Logistics Chief of Marine Air Control Squadron Five where he coordinated and participated in several field exercises. In 1991, Geeter was deployed to the Republic of the Philippines and served as the Operations Chief and Detachment Gunnery Sergeant for Combat Service Support Detachment-35 in support of MAGTF 4-90. He soon transferred to Okinawa and served as the Logistics Chief of the Tactical Exercise Control Group in the 3rd Surveillance Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group, III MEF. During this tour, Geeter participated in Cobra Gold ‘95 in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Geeter completed the Equal Opportunity Advisor’s Course at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute and was promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant in 1999. He then was assigned as the Equal Opportunity Advisor to the Air Station Commanding Officer aboard MCAS, Beaufort. After retiring in 2001, Geeter was appointed as the Corporate Employee Relations Manager at the corporate offices of AmeriGas Propane.

Geeter served as the 16th National President of the Montford Point Marine Association from 2005 to 2009. During the 2010 National Convention, Geeter was inducted into the Montford Point Marine Association Hall-of-Fame. Geeter also served as the National Legislative Officer and the National Public Relations officer for the Montford Point Marine Association. He is also a lifetime member of the NAACP, the 1st & 3rd Marine Division Associations, and the American Legion.

In 1998, Geeter received a Special President's Award from the National President of the Montford Point Marine Association for his work with the Beaufort Chapter, and the James Calendar Award in 1999 for his continued efforts on a national level for the Montford Point Marine Association. He was honored with the prestigious NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award for his significant contributions to the Marine Corps in the area of equal opportunity and community involvement. Geeter’s military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Joseph H. Geeter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 26, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.086

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/26/2013

Last Name

Geeter

Maker Category
Middle Name

Henry

Schools

Morgan Park High School

Park University

Holy Name of Mary School

Mendel Catholic Preparatory High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Joe

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GEE01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saint Martin

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Find Time To Do It Right, When Will You Find Time To Do It Again

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

9/17/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Noncommissioned officer Joe Geeter, III (1958 - ) was the 16th National President of the Montford Point Marine Association. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after twenty-five years of service, and became the corporate relations manager for AmeriGas Propane, Inc.

Employment

United States Marine Corps

AmeriGas Propane

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joe Geeter, III's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joe Geeter, III lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joe Geeter, III describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his maternal grandfather's military service

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joe Geeter, III describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joe Geeter, III describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his paternal grandfather's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joe Geeter, III describes his father's work experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joe Geeter, III describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joe Geeter, III lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his early neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Joe Geeter, III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his early experiences with religion

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his childhood interest in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joe Geeter, III remembers the 1969 World Series

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joe Geeter, III describes his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his maternal grandfather's mentorship

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joe Geeter, III remembers transferring to Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his favorite high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joe Geeter, III remembers joining the bowling team in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joe Geeter, III recalls complications prior to starting boot camp

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his early experiences in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joe Geeter, III recalls searching for his estranged father

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his administrative graduation from boot camp

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his decision to fight at U.S. Marine Corps boot camp

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joe Geeter, III remembers being denied the right to vote at boot camp

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joe Geeter, III describes his experience with racism at Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his experiences at logistics school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joe Geeter, III talks about military representations in the media

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his assignments after logistics school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his work at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joe Geeter, III recalls moving to the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joe Geeter, III describes his promotion record

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his time stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joe Geeter, III recalls becoming a recruiter in Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his recruiting assignment in Joliet, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joe Geeter, III recalls reuniting with his maternal grandmother

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joe Geeter, III describes his recruiting philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joe Geeter, III remembers reconnecting with paternal family

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his first encounter with the Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joe Geeter, III remembers teaching lessons about African Americans who served in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joe Geeter, III describes the history of African Americans in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joe Geeter, III talks about the Persian Gulf War

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joe Geeter, III describes how Jimmie Howard received the Congressional Medal of Honor

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joe Geeter, III remembers meeting Jimmie Howard

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Joe Geeter, III talks about preserving Jimmie Howard's legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his last duty station in Beaufort, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joe Geeter, III remembers training a second lieutenant, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joe Geeter, III remembers training a second lieutenant, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joe Geeter, III recalls training to become an equal opportunity advisor

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his last U.S. Marine Corps position

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his decision to leave the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joe Geeter, III talks about his awards

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joe Geeter, III remembers his first civilian position at AmeriGas Propane, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joe Geeter, III recalls his transition to civilian life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Joe Geeter, III remembers being the national president of the Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Joe Geeter, III talks about the formation of the Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Joe Geeter, III recalls lobbying for the Congressional Gold Medal for the Montford Point Marines

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Joe Geeter, III remembers rallying support in Washington, D.C. for the Congressional Gold Medal bill

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joe Geeter, III recalls having to re-lobby after the 2010 midterm elections

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joe Geeter, III remembers the vote for the Congressional Gold Medal

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joe Geeter, III describes the aftermath of the congressional vote

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joe Geeter, III recalls the support of the original Montford Point Marines

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joe Geeter, III talks about the support of AmeriGas Propane, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joe Geeter, III reflects upon his military legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joe Geeter, III describes the impact of his U.S. Marine Corps career has had on his private sector career

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joe Geeter, III recalls making the Montford Point Marines documentaries

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joe Geeter, III reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Joe Geeter, III talks about the importance of the Montford Pointers Marine Association, Inc. in his life

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Joe Geeter, III describes his family's support of his endeavors

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Joe Geeter, III reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joe Geeter, III narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

12$7

DATitle
Joe Geeter, III recalls his administrative graduation from boot camp
Joe Geeter, III describes the history of African Americans in the U.S. Marine Corps
Transcript
Is this like when you're in the Marines, did you like the feeling of being part of a team or?$$ It was. It was part of belonging. I was a recruiter so I know those intangibles that the [U.S.] Marine Corps sells and I bought into it and I wanted to be a part of that team. So despite--some folks still didn't want us there and when I say us, I mean African Americans. It was pretty tough in boot camp when they put the white platoon leaders, the squad leaders, the guide [guidon bearer], they were all white and they were tough on us. They were tough on me.$$Did they give you racial insults and--?$$ Oh absolutely, every day. Every day but that was--I can give as good as I got though, so yeah.$$Okay. What was the toughest part of boot camp [at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, San Diego, California]?$$ Not graduating with my platoon?$$Okay, well what happened?$$ Got into a fight a couple of days from graduation. That same old guy that was just throwing these epithets at me and talking about me, I got an opportunity to get him in a corner and I took advantage of it. Yeah, that was tough. But I wasn't going to let him go back to Texas talking about how he bossed around African Americans. So I made sure I gave him a little something to remember me by. But I got caught.$$Okay.$$ Yeah, so that was tough.$$So did you have a reasonable chance of not being caught?$$ I didn't think I was going to get caught. We were about a week from graduation when we're thinking we're going to be Marines, we were very close to being Marines and he had said something to me and my bunk mate and I think it was, had something to do with my buckle, my brass buckle. He did something to it and I got a chance to get him what we called the hot locker at the time where we stored detergent and things of that nature. And the drill sergeant really trusted us then because we had gone through seventy-two, seventy-three days of boot camp. It was only seventy-eight days in boot camp, we was almost at graduation. So they weren't in the squad at the time but this guy came into the hot locker when I was in there and I just took advantage of him and tried to knock him out. Yeah, but then that wasn't the right thing to do then either here 'cause we got caught and when we went in front of the captain for what we, what I now know was office hours. And the captain just had one question, "Who threw the first punch?" And of course it was me. So I had to do seven days in what they call correctional--correctional custody there, so seven days in the brig.$$And when you got out of the brig I mean you had, did you have to do boot camp all over again?$$ Interesting story, that's probably the first time I'm really telling this publicly but when I got out of the boot camp, I went in front of an administrative officer. I think it was a major at the time and I completed three of the four final steps for boot camp. So he told me that, said, "You have a couple of choices here." He said, "I could send you back to the platoon that's going to graduate next week and you can finish your final inspection," which was the fourth of the four things you had to do to graduate. He said, "So the Marine Corps is really not the thing for you there young man because you really lost your discipline and your bearing and maybe you shouldn't be a Marine." So he said, "I could administratively discharge you right here, right now and you go back to Chicago [Illinois]." And the third choice I thought was very interesting. He says, "I can administratively graduate you from boot camp because you've completed most of the necessary tasks to graduate and I can have you on an airplane in a couple of hours back to Chicago." Guess what I took? I got on the airplane back to Chicago and graduated administratively.$$Okay.$$ So when I went to recruiter school in 1987, part of recruiter school is to attend a graduation because these are the kids you're going to put in the Marine Corps to graduate. And I remember looking over to the guy next to me, I says, "You know this is my first time really seeing a graduation." And he says, "Joe [HistoryMaker Joe Geeter, III], you graduated from boot camp," and when I told him, "No I didn't," he was absolutely flabbergasted. He said, "You what? You never graduated from boot camp?" And I never went to the ceremony. And so it was pretty weird. I never met anybody that didn't graduate from boot camp, but I didn't graduate.$$So he gave you an administrative graduation--$$ From boot camp.$$--and then you flew back to Chicago for R and R [rest and relaxation] (unclear)?$$ Yeah, I had ten days off.$$Ten days off.$$ Actually a little bit more than ten days because I was scheduled to graduate December 22nd I believe and I think I went to correctional custody on December 17th or something like that. So it was right before Christmas. So they extended my time instead of the normal ten days I think I got like twelve or thirteen days, so I didn't have to report back to my next duty station 'til January 3rd; so I had a couple of weeks back home after boot camp.$Well this is as good a time as any, just kind of give us sort of a sketch of the history of mon- of the blacks in the U.S. Marine Corps.$$ Oh that's the easy stuff there.$$All right.$$ Well prior to World War II [WWII], there were no blacks in the Marine Corps. There are some documented cases of blacks serving during revolutionary times but they didn't serve as open enlisted Marines, most of the time they have served in the stead of somebody else during revolutionary times. Blacks had served in the [U.S.] Army. The Buffalo Soldiers people are familiar with them, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment [54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment]. Everybody saw them most people have seen the film 'Glory' with Denzel Washington. Blacks have served in the [U.S.] Navy since revolutionary times too. The [U.S.] Air Force wasn't in existence yet. It didn't come into existence 'til 1948, but there were no blacks in the Marine Corps. Around that time blacks were starting to fight for jobs in the [U.S.] Department of Defense. And a gentleman named A. Philip Randolph was really petitioning Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to open up the defense agency for African Americans. And he actually threatened a march on Washington [D.C.] in 1941 to make his point. And we all know that I think 1942 is an election year and Franklin Delano Roosevelt really needed the black vote. So June of 1941, he signed an Executive Order 8802, which allowed for blacks to have, to compete for jobs in the Department of Defense, specifically in the Marine Corps. So that document is very important to, it should be important to all Marines, but particularly the African American, the Montford Point Marines because that document allowed them to become Marines. Now although that document was signed in 1941, the Marine Corps didn't start accepting blacks until June of 1942, fully a full year after an executive order. That's because the Marines didn't want us. The commandant of the Marine Corps, Thomas Holcomb at the time didn't want blacks in the Marine Corps. He was asked if it was a choice between 250 blacks or five thousand whites, which would you take? His answer was, I'd rather have the whites. And you got to keep in mind, this is the commandant of the Marine Corps, we're on the verge of World War II, if not in World War II at the time, but his disdain for African Americans was so deep that he just didn't want them in the Marine Corps. But he has a, an executive order that he has to comply with. So after about a year of going back and forth with Frank Knox who was the secretary of the navy at the time, the Marine Corps finally complied with the executive order and they started enlisting blacks on 1 June 1942. But these blacks did not go to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego [San Diego, California] like I did or Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island [Parris Island, South Carolina] like most Marines go to. They went to a place in Camp Lejeune [Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina], originally called Mumford Point [sic.]. It changed to Montford Point [Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, Jacksonville, North Carolina] and I really don't know the origin on how it changed but the tract of land was Mumford, M-U-M-F-O-R-D [sic.], but it ended up being called Montford, M-O-N-T-F-O-R-D. And it was located on New River, about eighty miles from the big base being built called Camp Lejeune. So it was a separate facility that no more than woods and trees and bears and mosquitoes and they had to build those first arrivals there almost had to build the base. So from 1942 to 1949, approximately twenty thousand men went through Montford Point; and those men became known as the chosen few, the first black Marines. And that was very, very important to me to learn this history and to know this history.

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

Birth Date

11/24/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

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

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michele Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her mother's education and career in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her father in high school in Baltimore, Maryland and his drama club

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her close-knit family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes how her parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her exposure to religion as a child and her freedom to choose her faith

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michele Jones describes her extracurricular activities as a child and her family's interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her father serving for six years in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about playing softball and cheerleading in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her teachers in high school

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

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her grades in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her decision to join the U.S. Army

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

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at basic training

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her first assignment to Fort Carson, Colorado

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

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

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her experience when stationed in Hanau, Germany in 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in Honduras and Panama and her decision to go to Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about attending Fayetteville State University while stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about being mobilized during the Gulf War

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about studying business administration at Fayetteville State University's Fort Bragg campus and her instructors there

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about the training received at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her experience at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her class' involvement in the community while at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

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

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

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

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her role as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Reserve

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

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about educating the media about the U.S. Army Reserve

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about the challenges faced by the U.S. Army Reserve in the global war on terror

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

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about retiring from the U.S. Army in 2007 and founding The Bones Theory Group, LLC

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michele Jones talks about The Bones Theory Group's focus on tutoring businesses on recruiting and retaining veterans

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about being invited to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her service as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and White House liaison

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

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michele Jones shares her views on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't tell" policy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michele Jones discusses her appointment as the director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michele Jones discusses restarting her consulting practice

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michele Jones reflects upon her career choices

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michele Jones reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her daughters

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about receiving her parents' unconditional love and support

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her friend, Janet Miller

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her photographs

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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.