Michele S. Jones
Michele S. Jones was the first woman in the United States Army Reserve to reach the position of command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserve. She was the first female non-commissioned officer to serve in the highest enlisted position of a component of the U.S. Army, active or reserve, and was at one time the highest-ranking African-American female enlisted person in any branch of the United States military, as well as the highest-ranking enlisted African American in the Army Reserve.
Michele S. Jones
Command Sergeant Major Michele S. Jones
|Born||24 November 1962|
Randallstown, Maryland, USA
|Years of service||1982–2007|
|Rank||Command Sergeant Major|
Jones serves as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.
Jones was born 24 November 1963 in Randallstown, Maryland. She grew up in the Baltimore area. She is a graduate of Milford Mill Academy. She was for a time a Baltimore Colts cheerleader. At Fayetteville State University, she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration.
Jones originally joined the U.S. Army because she "liked the uniform" and because none of her friends were joining—she reports that she has "always been an independent thinker". She said she took the advertising slogan to heart, "Be All You Can Be In The Army", and enlisted in September 1982. In her 1997–1998 class of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, she became the first female selected as class president.
On 28 October 2002, Jones stepped into the role of Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve, to serve as the principal representative of the enlisted ranks, adviser to the chief of the Army Reserve. She traveled the world, seeking out and initiating solutions to U.S. Army and Army Reserve enlisted personnel resource problems. She served state-side on active duty assignments during the Kosovo War as well as during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and the Global War on Terrorism.
Ebony magazine featured a portrait and short biography of Jones in June 2003, on a one-page monthly feature entitled "Speaking of People". The next month, Jones was honored with the Meritorious Service Award by the NAACP. Jones was pictured in Essence magazine in April 2005 in a photographic essay entitled "The Beautiful Ones: 35 of the Most Remarkable Women in the World", showing 35 African-American women worthy of note.
In her meetings with Army Reservists, Jones often emphasized the basics, such as physical fitness, even for those soldiers who were able to complete their assigned tasks without passing physical fitness examinations. At the Sheridan Army Reserve Center in northwest Baltimore in 2006, she actively demonstrated her stance on the matter to the enlisted leaders of the 80th Division. She slid her body underneath a chair and addressed them from that position: "Let's say you're a soldier and you're a mechanic and you need to get under this Humvee. If you're not physically fit, you may not be able to fit under the vehicle."
The year 2007, she was profiled in American Black Military Leaders, a book by Walter Lee Hawkins.
Jones was invited to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. On 27 August, she delivered her text, an endorsement of then-Senator Barack Obama. In her speech, she shared her projection of how Obama would serve as commander-in-chief of the military, supporting the common soldier. She said, "He'll fully fund the VA, so all our returning heroes get the quality care they deserve. And when it comes to the national shame of too many homeless veterans, Barack Obama has one simple policy: Zero tolerance."
On 19 May 2009, she was among the four American women given the 2009 Spirit of Democracy Award by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. The other awardees were California Representative Barbara Lee, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and magazine editor Susan Taylor.
A supporter of Barack Obama since his campaign for president, Jones serves him in a civilian role as the Special Assistant to Robert Gates, the United States Secretary of Defense. In this position, Jones is the Pentagon-based liaison to the White House. Jones's name was in the news in December 2009 when Tareq and Michaele Salahi, a prominent Washington couple, gained access to the White House without invitation. News agencies discovered that Jones was a Facebook friend of Paul W. Gardner, the attorney of the Salahis, and that Jones exchanged email notes with the couple, telling them she was putting them on a waiting list in case tickets became available for a state dinner with the President and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The couple went to the dinner and enjoyed themselves, only to be discovered the next day after Michaele Salahi posted her photos of the event on her Facebook page. Leading up to the evening, Jones repeatedly told the Salahis that she had no tickets for them. She released an official White House statement saying "I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening’s activities. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come."
Jones has been reported as living in Washington, D.C. in 2003 and in Baltimore, Maryland in 2004, she now lives in Jacksonville Florida. She enjoys traveling, skiing, dancing to salsa music, and she exercises using the regimen Tae Bo. She is single and has adopted 4 girls, all having the same mother.
- Hokkanen, Benjamin (20 October 2004). "What Makes the Army: Soldiers" (PDF). Guardian. Kosovo: KFOR Multinational Brigade (East). XI (4): 8–9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2010. In that role she successfully championed the right of the Reservist to have the same commissary privileges as the Regular Army soldier.
- Olson, Bradley (12 February 2006). "Army leader comes full circle". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- McQueen, Arthur (26 February 2009). "First female component Command Sergeant Major relates 'an amazing journey'". United States Army. US Army Garrison – Miami. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- Williams, Rudi (12 November 2005). "Command Sergeant Major Praises Women's Service". United States Department of Defense. American Forces Press Service. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- "Command Sergeant Michele S. Jones". Army Reserve 100th Anniversary: Faces of the Army Reserve. U.S. Army Reserve. Retrieved 20 February 2010.[dead link]
- "Speaking of People". Ebony. LVIII (8): 10. June 2003. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- Sample, Doug. "Defense Department Still Has Room to Grow, Abell Tells NAACP". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- "The Beautiful Ones: 35 of the Most Remarkable Women in the World". Essence. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- Hawkins, Walter Lee (October 2007). American Black Military Leaders. p. 270. ISBN 978-1-4120-3676-4.
- Jones, Michele S. (27 August 2008). "Michele S Jones Democratic National Convention Speech". Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph Among Spirit of Democracy Honorees". Washington, D.C.: The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- Rao, Vidya (1 December 2009). "Salahis: 'We were invited, not crashers'". today.msnbc.msn.com. MSNBC Interactive. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- Shear, Michael D. (1 December 2009). "Salahis sought gala access through a Pentagon door". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
Media related to Michele S. Jones at Wikimedia Commons