Sunday, August 14, 2011

74 female drill sergeants at Fort Jackson, some are single parents

Single mom drill sergeants juggle family, work
By Suzanne M. Schafer - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Aug 14, 2011 13:38:36 EDT
FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Few women make it into the ranks of the Army’s top drill sergeants, even fewer when they face the challenge of being a single parent. But there they are, running fresh recruits through the grueling boot camp that welcomes every new soldier.

To juggle childrearing with a job that features 18-hour days and six-day weeks, the women take different paths: One sent her two daughters to live with relatives in Tennessee, one drops her son and daughter at an Army-run day care center at 4:30 a.m., while a third woman’s own mother moved from Texas to care for her 7-year-old granddaughter.

“You just have to build a big extended family,” said Staff Sgt. Esasha LeBlanc, a 10-year-Army veteran with a 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. “It’s like being sent to war.”

The 30-year-old LeBlanc is one of 74 female drill sergeants at Fort Jackson who are single parents, out of the 207 women holding the job at the training post this summer. By contrast, 39 of 523 male drill sergeants are single parents, Army officials said.
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