Historic Day at Fort Leonard Wood

By  | 
View Map

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (KSPR) - Brigadier General Donna Martin will become the first African American female ever to serve as commandant of the U.S. Army Military Police School. A ceremony Friday, July 14 will make her title official as Brigadier General Kevin Vereen will relinquish commandancy.

Brig. Gen. Martin described herself as a quiet, small town girl from Virginia. She stayed in Virginia to attend college at Old Dominion University until she was sent on her first assignment with the U.S. Army in Germany. She said she didn't know if she was going to take the military route at the start of college, but a group of ROTC members made her feel at home. "They were really a group of kids who were just like me," said Brig. Gen. Martin. "We all had common goals, we all had this feeling to serve and be apart of something that was bigger than ourselves." She said that's where her love for the Army started nearly 30 years ago. "It never gets old... Every single assignment, every single move is a new adventure and I'm having a blast."

She called her new role one of the most important roles she has ever taken. She remembered the first time meeting her commandant at Fort McClellan in Alabama, where the U.S. Army Military Police School was before moving to Fort Leonard Wood. "I don't know that I ever aspired to be the commandant, but I always looked up to this position," she said. She described how the commandant would share his thoughts about the future and said " we all bought it." She said they all thought those conversations were amazing. "For me, 25 or 26 years later now to be assuming that role, it's still kind of surreal."

As for taking on this new role, she said she is excited to be apart of the team in Fort Leonard Wood. KSPR News asked what advice she had for anyone who finds her inspiring or looks to her for strength. She said it pretty simply, "You have to be determined, set a goal, and just work hard."

Brig. Gen. Kevin Vereen will relinquish commandancy of the U.S. Army Military Police School to Brig. Gen. Donna Martin in a ceremony scheduled for 9:00 a.m. at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Plaza at Fort Leonard Wood.