Hold your head up, hold it high!
More than just a cadence, those words are the message the new command sergeant major for the Adjutant General School and the AG regimental corps has for all Soldiers in the adjutant general branch.

Command Sgt. Maj. Darlene Hagood became the sixth Soldier, and the first female, to hold those positions during a change of responsibility ceremony, Dec. 11, at the SSI auditorium. Hagood said one of her first priorities is to instill a greater sense of pride throughout the corps.

"I don't want to say there isn't pride within the corps. I know that there is, she said.
Hagood explained that too often she sees Soldiers in the adjutant career field hang their heads when asked about their MOS.

"We chose a career field to serve other people," she said. "I want our Soldiers to do that with pride so that the person they are providing customer service to walks away knowing they were serviced by someone who cares about them."

Hagood entered the Army in 1987. Soon after, she set her sights on a 20-year journey that came to fruition last week.

"I remember being a young specialist, and being so proud about the job I was I doing and realizing what we did taking care of other Soldiers. Once I realized what the rank structure of the AG Corps was, I thought to myself, I wouldn't mind being the regimental sergeant major one day," Hagood said.

Being the first female in her position is something Hagood knows will have her actions put under a microscope. It is a challenge for which she said she is prepared.

"I realize I operate in a male-dominated arena. But I have always believed that if I carry my load, if I do what I am supposed to do, then my male counterparts will just see me as one of their peers," she said. "I don't want me being the first female to be the focus. I hope they see the leader, not the female."

While Hagood tries to downplay being the first female AG regimental command sergeant major, the commander of the AG school, Col. Robert Manning, said that it is something that deserves special recognition and is confident she is the right person for the job.

"Being the first means one will be the standard bearer for all who will follow," he said. "The selection team needed to get it right. I am convinced it did."

Though this is something she has planned for, sought after and had her sights set on for 20 years, Hagood admits reaching her career goal still has not sunk in.

"I still think I really don't get the magnitude of the position I'm in," she said. "I don't think of it being about me, but rather it being about the Soldiers, enlisted and officers. I'm their CSM. I'm here to support them."