I NEVER TOOK MY ARMY BOOTS OFF
My encounter with a tripple K card carrier
MY ENCOUNTER WITH A TRIPLE K CARD
At the time, I was a Staff Sergeant and a Counterintelligence Agent in the United States Army. My unit was the 527th Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, located in Kaiserslautern, Germany. I was also the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of my battalion's Detachment A. I was responsible for 13 special agents. The detachment was located on Eselfurth Kaserne, about 20 minutes from my battalion. Job-wise, I had a full plate conducting background investigations, scheduling interviews for security clearances, writing intelligence reports, and security briefings. Plus, I had my NCO responsibilities for required Army training, field training exercises, and language training.
One day while I was in the battalion, the first sergeant stopped me in the hallway and asked me to come to her office. I knew I wasn't in any trouble, but I was curious about what she wanted. After I sat down in front of her desk, she asked me to be the Equal Opportunity (EO) Representative for the unit.
At first, I was hesitant. I wasn't sure why the first sergeant asked me to take on this extra duty. She knew I was the only Black female Counter Intelligence Agent in this unit. And she knew me to be intelligent, outspoken, and fair. So I believe she asked me this because of my maturity and good reputation in the unit. I was proud of my standing as a Black female NCO special agent in the unit. Although it was in addition to my Army duties as a Counterintelligence Agent and supervisor of 13 agents, I accepted this extra duty. To this day, I had no regrets.
To be honest, I had a knack for sensing the pulse of the unit. I always felt an underlying uneasiness between the intelligence and non-intelligence personnel. The climate felt like an "us" against "them" type of atmosphere and mentality. The "us" comprised military intelligence enlisted soldiers. The "them" included non-military intelligence support soldiers. Their jobs entailed administration, supply, maintenance, signal, logistics, and other military occupational specialties.
As for myself, I never saw a difference in any of the soldiers. We all wore the same damn uniforms. But some of the MI personnel were on ego trips, especially the ones that carried badges and credentials as I did in doing our jobs. They thought they were better than the other non-MI soldiers. In my eyesight, they were not.
As the EO Representative for the unit, I would be the eyes and ears for the first sergeant and the commander. I could help end some of the animosity between the rival factions in my unit. My advantage was that I connected with most of the soldiers immaterial of their jobs. I knew I would be an asset to the first sergeant and commander. I felt confident in nipping potential issues in the bud before they ballooned into problems, which could affect our missions. My bottom line mission was to help my command run the company much smoother.
So the first thing I had to do was to attend the two-week EO course in Vilseck, Germany, which was a four-hour drive from Kaiserslautern. This course introduced me to the Army's Equal Opportunity Program. It prepared and trained me to identify elements of racism, discrimination, and sexism, and leadership issues. I would be able to tell the difference between an EO problem and a leadership issue, which could often lead to an EO problem. I could assist soldiers with leadership situations, that didn't fit into the EO categories.
When I returned to my unit, I briefed the first sergeant of my responsibilities as the EO Representative for the unit. I expressed to her that my EO training prepared me to recommend courses of action to her ...