East St. John High’s Journae Q. King makes military history

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NEW ORLEANS — Private Journae Q. King made history Nov. 30 when she became the first female to enlist as a field artillery automated tactical data systems specialist for the Louisiana Army National Guard.

Journae Q. King

Journae Q. King

After completing training, King will operate communication systems, assist in the preparation of computer centers, prepare field artillery tactical data systems and determine target locations using computers or manual calculations.

King, 21, of LaPlace graduated from East St. John High School in 2011. She was attending college at Southern University when the military caught her eye.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter previously announced all military jobs would be open to women, setting the stage for King’s enlistment.

For the first time in U.S. military history, gender is no longer a deciding factor or disqualification.

King expects to encounter some challenges along the way but is prepared to face them head on.

“I have always been a competitive person and have a never-quit attitude,” King said.

King’s mom gave her daughter advice on the challenges ahead.

Rhonda King James, Journae’s mother, said she is “so proud” of her daughter.

“From the beginning, I was very supportive and knew she could do it,” James said. “I’m so glad she made the decision to join, and I told her, ‘whatever you decide, I’m going to support you.’

“Never say you can’t. Try before you give up, and if you fail, try, try again. Keep on until it can’t be done, and eventually you will get it.”

James said her daughter has always been a go-getter.

“Her attitude was always a strong one, even though sometimes we wouldn’t agree,” she said. “She wouldn’t let anything or anyone stop her. In school, she played basketball and ran track, among other activities. She was a very strong competitor. I know she can do anything she puts her mind to. I’m just ready to see her succeed and prove to herself that she was right.”

King knows her athletic background will help her excel during basic combat training.

“I like competition and challenges, it is something that someone with a weak mind couldn’t do,” King said. “It’s a life changing experience, serving your country.”

King will be joining the LANG’s historic 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, also known as the Washington Artillery.

Capt. Anthony LaNasa, 1-141 Alpha Battery commander, welcomes King.

“We look forward to having her in our battery, we put our full support behind her,” LaNasa said. “This is a stepping stone for women to fight the misconception that they can’t serve in combat arms. They will earn the respect and overcome this misconception.”