Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington has served in the U.S. Army for 19 years and currently works as the administrative non-commissioned officer for the Support Battalion at U.S. Army Futures Command.
Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington has served in the U.S. Army for 19 years and currently works as the administrative non-commissioned officer for the Support Battalion at U.S. Army Futures Command. “I will go above and beyond to assist,” she said of her role. “If I don’t know the answer, I’m going to find someone who does.” (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Austin Thomas) VIEW ORIGINAL

AUSTIN, Texas — Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington has made a career of supporting others.

Working from Army Futures Command headquarters offices in downtown Austin, Washington currently serves as the administrative non-commissioned officer for the command’s support battalion.

“We provide support overall to the headquarters element and our downtrace organizations,” she said of the battalion.

Her work specifically focuses on military human resources activities, both for headquarters and the command’s nine cross-functional teams, which are located around the country. She also supports a variety of awards ceremonies and other command celebrations.

Embracing her NCO role at the command has meant that Washington is sometimes pulled in many different directions, but she always tries to find meaningful ways to help others.

“For me, the most rewarding part is just being able to provide assistance to personnel when they’re in need,” Washington said.

“I just enjoy helping people in general, and just how appreciative so many people are.”

Washington joined the Support Battalion in January 2022 but has been with AFC since 2018, working in roles with the Human Capital and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion directorates — including as AFC’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program coordinator.

Her role in human resources, however, spans back to December 2003, when she first joined the Army as a 42A out of St. Louis, Missouri.

At the time, Washington was looking for new opportunities and saw the Army offering them. Her mother had served in the Army before her, in the same military occupational specialty, though had reservations about her daughter following in her footsteps, knowing the challenges it might entail.

“She definitely did not want me to go,” Washington remembered, adding that she surprised her mom by letting her know she was heading off to basic training after she had already signed all of the paperwork necessary to join the military.

“But now, 19, almost 20 years later, she’s like the proudest mom ever,” Washington shared.

Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington remembers her time as a drill sergeant fondly. She encourages those entering the military and embarking on basic training to have an open mind and eagerness to learn.
Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington remembers her time as a drill sergeant fondly. She encourages those entering the military and embarking on basic training to have an open mind and eagerness to learn. “It will prepare you for a better future; it will definitely grow you as a person,” she said of the basic training experience. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

Washington’s path in the Army eventually led her to become a drill sergeant and drill sergeant instructor at Fort Jackson, South Carolina — an experience she describes as “the most rewarding time I had my entire career.”

She loved assisting, teaching, mentoring and coaching others, and found being a drill sergeant brought out all of those qualities.

“I was able to be that example to those incoming civilians coming into the military,” Washington reflected.

She appreciates how the Army has overall taught her to be adaptive, disciplined and a quick learner while also providing a source of close relationships and networks.

“The Army has definitely taught me how to be a leader,” she said.

At the same time, the Army profession has offered continuity and a venue for clear growth.

“The main thing you have to worry about being in the Army is being where you need to be, at the right time, in the right uniform and executing whatever it is you need to do,” Washington said.

Throughout her Army career, Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington has found time to cultivate interests outside of work, including fitness instruction and fashion design and styling.
Throughout her Army career, Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington has found time to cultivate interests outside of work, including fitness instruction and fashion design and styling. “Growing and being a leader and mentoring others – that is just something that I enjoy doing, and I think that it kept me in the Army this long.” (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington) VIEW ORIGINAL

Washington is proud not only to be a Soldier, but also to be a single mother in the Army.

“It was not an easy journey, but I did it,” she said, crediting her mother — who was also a single mother — and God with inspiring her to work hard, overcome challenges and be a good role model for her children and others.

“I wanted to show that I made a commitment, and I was committed to being the best Soldier I could be,” she said.

Her current position with AFC has also allowed her more time with her daughter and son, who are now 17 and 18 years old, respectively, in addition to a chance to enjoy all that Austin has to offer for families, from diverse activities and concerts to abundant lakes and parks.

“This assignment has really given me an opportunity to be active in my kids’ life, and I must say our little family has blossomed over the past five years,” Washington said.

She believes her children have seen her grow as a mother throughout her various experiences in the military, including deployment, becoming a drill sergeant and pursuing a fashion degree. At the same time, they have served as her motivation for achieving several goals inside and outside of work.

“Being a mother has been a blessing to me,” Washington said.

Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington speaks to Soldiers at Army Futures Command.
Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington speaks to Soldiers at Army Futures Command. “I think I have a great network of personnel that I will always be bonded to for the rest of my life because of my time in the military,” Washington said. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Tawayna Washington) VIEW ORIGINAL

Washington is also grateful for having the chance to lead as a female in what has traditionally been a male-dominated sphere.

“As a female Soldier, I have to demand my presence when around male counterparts, and I also have to show that I’m not weak or incompetent, but I can hold my own weight as well,” Washington said.

As a female drill sergeant, Washington worked hard to show that she could do the same tasks as her male counterparts. She always strived to set the pace for runs, do extra physical training, accomplish difficult tasks and be an example of excellence for both male and female trainees.

“I came in early and stayed late,” Washington said. “I did all that to show I can do it too. That is where I think I earned a lot of respect from my peers, leadership and trainees.”

As she looks toward retirement, Washington is excited to see what the next generation of strong female Soldiers will achieve.

“My advice to all female Soldiers: Be confident in all you do. Demand respect and give respect. Set the tone of how you allow others to treat you. Continue to work hard and take on those challenging assignments. Never settle for average. Always aim for excellence and pave the way for those after you.”