FORT JACKSON, S.C. – After graduating high school in 1993, the 81st Regional Support Command's Master Sgt. Tomeka Brown wasn't ready to follow the crowd and head toward college. Instead, she felt like she needed a change in her life and decided to join the United States Army Reserve as a human resource specialist.
At the 81st RSC, Brown is responsible for providing administrative support and guidance to Active Guard Reserve and Active Component Soldiers within the southeast region, which includes reviewing and processing junior enlisted promotion packets.
Master Sgt. Tomeka Brown (center) celebrates with Soldiers of the 81st Regional Support Command during their 2013 annual training on the fit to win. At the 81st RSC, Brown is a human resource specialist and responsible for providing administrative support and guidance to Active Guard Reserve and Active Component Soldiers within the southeast region, which includes reviewing and processing junior enlisted promotion packets. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Toshiko Gregg)
She's considered a positive influence to all her peers, military and civilian; with this she is still able to manage to put her family first, being a leader and mentor while grooming her son. Brown said she's been able to balance her life being a single mom by the grace of God, and also the love and support from family and friends.
“I've stayed in as long as I have, because I have two sons that I have to do my best to build as men by me being a single mother,” said Brown.
Brown spent the first 10 years of her career in the United States Army Reserve as a traditional drilling Soldier. It was when she was mobilized from 2004-2006 at United States Army Reserve Command in Atlanta that she realized that she enjoyed being a full-time Soldier and decided to go AGR.
“I get enjoyment out of grooming other Soldiers to become better than me,” said Brown. “I enjoy the challenges NCO's face and overcome to obtain the rank.”
The honesty, positive attitude and energy that Brown brings to table touches everyone around her.
“Master Sgt. Brown is one of the most dedicated leaders that I know,” said Takeya O'Neal, 81st RSC acting branch chief, Full Time Support Military Branch. “She truly believes in taking care of Soldiers and the mission. She would make an excellent mentor to our younger Soldiers. She most definitely leads from the front.”
Brown is nowhere close to being shy and is able to acknowledge all her strengths and weakness while continuing to be a motivator to all.
“I believe Soldiers can gain a great deal of knowledge on how they can take their careers to the next level,” said O'Neal, “especially for those Soldiers striving to become a senior NCO one day.”
Several years ago when Brown was a sergeant she said she just wanted to sit around and do nothing at drill. Her mentors, retired Sgt. Maj. Michelle Shepard and Sgt. Maj. Dovie Wilson, wouldn't allow “just sitting around” to happen.
“They taught me to never keep what I've learned a secret and to always give it back; They taught me how to not allow personal feelings get in the way of taking care of Soldiers,” said Brown. “Since I've been at the 81st, Mrs. Angela Moore has taught and is teaching me how to use the gift God gave me to overcome and persevere whether it's military or civilian life.”
By facing one goal at a time, Brown said she has been able to achieve an associate degree, bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and she's four classes shy of completing her master's degree in Human Resource Management. Her ultimate goal is to make sergeant major and retire with at least 30 years of service. Brown has completed the Battle Staff NCO Course and is on track to achieving her goal.
“This assignment has been an assignment of Soldiers who fight, fuss, argue, build, learn grown and in the end still come together just as family does,” said Brown. “I've met some women whom we all come from different backgrounds, but share similar instances and we have grown, learned and cried together. Thanks to the former Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, Maj. Brockman, and her encouragement, I was able to accomplish a goal that I never would have set for myself and that's completing my first half marathon and still breathing at the end!”
Throughout the years, Brown has learned three things, once you set a personal and professional goal do what you can to accomplish it. About being a Soldier, fear is the acronym False Evidence Appearing Real. About being a leader, being a good leader is knowing how to listen, learn and fall back when need be and not always being the one to be the boss.
“Every commander needs that senior NCO that gets it right the first time every time, does the right thing when no one is watching, and gives their best to molding our upcoming leaders,” said Maj. Kristen Brockman, former Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander. “That is Master Sgt. Brown."
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Toshiko Gregg
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