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[Interview Begins]

SPRAGUE: Today is July 29, 2020. This is an interview with Major General Marcia Anderson, who served in the United States Army from May 1979 to August 2016. She served during the Persian Gulf and Global War on Terrorism. The interview is being conducted by Luke Sprague at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The interview is for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program. No one else is present in the room, and this is a phone interview being done during the Wisconsin COVID crisis in 2020. So, Marcia, how are you?

ANDERSON: I am doing very well, Luke. How are you today?

SPRAGUE: Good, good. Good to hear from you. We'll start out with--tell me a little bit about when and where you were born?

ANDERSON: Well, I was born in [Personally Identifiable Information].


SPRAGUE: And what did your family do in Beloit?

ANDERSON: Well, my mom at the time--and my dad, they were still married then. My mother, I believe she worked part-time at Beloit Hospital, and my father worked for the Beloit Corporation.

SPRAGUE: And if you'd be willing, could you tell us your parents' names?

ANDERSON: Sure. My mother's name was Arlayne, that's A-R-L-A-Y-N-E. And our last name was Mahan, M-A-H-A-N. And my father's name was Rudolph Mahan. And he is still alive. He's ninety-one. And he was a Korean War veteran.

SPRAGUE: Well, if he's--obviously, we'd love to talk to him with the veterans' program, if we have an opportunity to. [Laughs]

ANDERSON: Sure. Sure, sure, [laughs] sure.

SPRAGUE: I've got to say that.


ANDERSON: [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: What was that like, growing up in Beloit?

ANDERSON: Well, we actually moved there, moved from Beloit to East St. Louis, Illinois when I was eight years old and going into second grade. But I do have some memories of my early years in Beloit. My parents got divorced about a year after I was born. So, we then lived with my maternal grandparents in their home. And it was an interesting neighborhood. There were, at the time, a total of two African American families in that neighborhood in Beloit--our family and some next-door neighbors with two boys. But all the kids--kids are kids. We just all played outside together. We played war, of course, I--one of my favorites.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: [Laughs] Unfortunately, for the boys, I really liked war.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: They knew how to get rid of me by throwing worms on me. But 00:03:00anyway, it was fun. I went to Merrill grade school, which was just down the street at the time. They've since built a new one. So, I went there for kindergarten. And I actually ended up being in kindergarten for two years. As I like to tell students, I'm probably the only general they ever met--and lawyer--who flunked kindergarten. So, I was held back because the teacher at the time convinced my mother I was slow. So, I did two years in kindergarten. And then, I went to first grade at the Catholic grade school there, which still exists, Our Lady of the Assumption. And that's where I completed first grade, before we then moved to East St. Louis, Illinois.

SPRAGUE: And [clears throat] while your family was in Beloit, what did your family do?

ANDERSON: My grandmother and my mother, at the time, worked at Beloit Hospital in basically their billing department, as far as I can remember. They 00:04:00didn't have--they were clerical staff, so they didn't have a medical background. And they, along with my grandfather, supported our family.

SPRAGUE: Got it. So, what were your impressions on arriving in East St. Louis? What was that like?

ANDERSON: Well, as a little girl from Wisconsin, to move to basically--in a lot of ways, a southern area, because St. Louis, I think, considers itself almost a foot--having a foot in the South. And I was across the river, of course, in East St. Louis, which was predominantly African American. It had a very--its economy was starting to turn from being somewhat prosperous, because they had had packing houses there. There was a large railroad presence, and 00:05:00shipping presence there, and a number of factories in the city of East St. Louis itself that produced a variety of items, like feed for animals, and it had a large glass factory.

But through a combination of factors, those economic drivers were leaving the city. The city government changed hands. It went from a predominantly white-run city to an African American-run city. And with a combination of a bad economy and some other things, the city went downhill after that. But we still went to Catholic grade school, because my mother was determined that we would get the best possible education. She felt that was where we would get it. So, my brother and I both attended--his name is Barry Mahan by the way--we attended Catholic grade school. And we both later attended Catholic high school in the St. Louis area.

SPRAGUE: And if you could, tell me a little bit about your mother's role in the school district.


ANDERSON: Well, my mother was--she made sure, as I said, we were able to go to Catholic school. So, she scrimped and saved for that to happen. She did not have any formal role with the school, my Catholic school, other than my grandmother, at one point, was president of our PTA and was very involved in fundraising. And I guess they probably had some input on things like curriculum and things like that, but very limited.

SPRAGUE: And remind me, what was the name of that school again? [Inaudible]

ANDERSON: It was St. Joseph's grade school. It no longer exists. The building is still there. It's been converted to something else. The last time I heard, it was a Head Start. I have not seen it in years, and--because a lot of the population that was Catholic in East St. Louis moved out of East St. Louis to surrounding towns. The schools, the Catholic schools that existed 00:07:00then, ended up being combined into one school. So, it's just the population just shifted, and that's what happened. So--but I did graduate from there in 1972, from grade school at St. Joseph's.

SPRAGUE: And what happened during high school? Where was high school?

ANDERSON: I attended--first, I started out at Xavier high school in St. Louis. It was an all-girls high school. And due to declining enrollment, Xavier closed, and most of us went down the street to Rosati-Kain R-O-S-A-T-I dash Kain, K-A-I-N, high school, which was a long-standing girls--all-girls Catholic high school in St. Louis. As a matter of fact, my mother was one of the first young African American women to integrate Rosati Kain back in the '50s. So, 00:08:00that's where I finished high school my junior and senior year. Was in an honors program there, because I had tested--despite my kindergarten teacher's suggestion--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --that I was slow--I had tested high enough on the entrance exam to, throughout high school, be in honors classes, and even was able to earn college credits while I was still in high school.

SPRAGUE: Wow, okay. [Clears throat] So, the effect of being held back in kindergarten, not so much or not [laughs]--

ANDERSON: Oh, that was a huge driver. I was--I remember always being somewhat--not somewhat, deeply resentful [laughs]--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --of the fact that I [laughs] was a year behind other people. And I didn't feel it was warranted. As I got older, I realized I actually could read when I was in kindergarten. So, I don't know if the teacher just didn't like me. I could guess all kinds of things. But holding me back meant that when I went to first grade in Beloit, the second-graders all knew me. And, of 00:09:00course, kids are kids. There were the mean girls in the room--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --and in the school, who made fun of me, told everyone they knew me before and that I was stupid. So, I was not happy about that. And I think that's a good thing that I didn't get depressed, and I didn't let that define me. It just made me mad and determined to prove everybody wrong.

SPRAGUE: [Both laugh] So, tell me about reading when you were growing up?

ANDERSON: Well, I know my mother read to us. And I know our house was full of--we had subscriptions, even though we scrimped, we had subscriptions to Time magazine and Newsweek, and then Jet and Ebony, which are African American publications that--so they were--there was always reading material in the house. And we were taken to the library--every Saturday was a trip to the 00:10:00library, which I looked forward to, which means I'm really geeky. But I got to take out four new books, because that was the maximum you could take out of the children's section [laughs] at the library. And I would pour through those books and just devour them. So, I loved reading. Math, not so much. But I had been taught to read using phonetics. So, I could pretty much figure out and sound out any word, if I saw it. So, that was really also helpful, in terms of my education, is that I just read a lot.

SPRAGUE: [Clears throat] And do you feel that was--how--that, obviously, I would think impacted your success as an adult, or--

ANDERSON: It--absolutely because I liked to read. I could read fairly--and comprehend pretty quickly, as I had a number of tests when I was in grade school that we had to take, standardized tests. And I always scored really 00:11:00high on reading skills, comprehension. And I attribute that to, again, how I was taught to read, and my mother's making sure we had lots of reading materials available, and that it was an encouraged activity. It wasn't like it was punishment. In fact, I actually liked, sometimes, when I was in trouble, and she would banish me to my room, because then, that meant I could sit there and read. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: No one would bother me. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: What was your experience of race while you were in East St. Louis?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] It was an interesting time. It was the mid-to-late 1960s. So, as you can imagine, there was the March on Washington, had happened in '60--in the early '60s. And the Freedom Riders were happening. And there was the unrest after Martin Luther King's assassination. And then, there was the Black Panther movement. We actually had a member live at our house for a 00:12:00period of time, unbeknownst to us. And so, I got to see a lot of turmoil. And a lot of it was also because I was exposed to it on television, because my family, in addition to being big readers, watched the nightly news, which isn't a thing anymore. But as a family, the timing seemed to be we would sit down and, as I used to call them, Mr. Huntley and Mr. Brinkley were coming on.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: It was time to be quiet and watch the news. [Laughs] So, you saw all these things being played out on a national level. And I just absorbed it like any kid, just like a sponge. And there were discussions, I'm sure, that I don't recall around our dinner table about all these issues, the antiwar movement, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. All these things that seemed to happen--and Kent State, I remember Kent State vividly and Robert 00:13:00Kennedy's assassination as well. So, all these things were happening, and I was of an age. I was ten, eleven, twelve years-old. And you just are a lot more aware, at that time, of things that are happening around you.

SPRAGUE: What did you think of the assassination of Robert Kennedy?

ANDERSON: I remember I was crying. I--but I don't remember interestingly enough crying when King was killed, because there was some hesitation in my family to embrace that movement. And so, they were a little bit more reserved about that. But I remember being old enough to remember when his brother was assassinated, JFK [John F. Kennedy], which is--people still don't believe me, but I was home from kindergarten that day. And that's when, again, Mr. Huntley and Brinkley came on television. And I distinctly remember my mom being upset, me being upset. And so, I connected with both the brothers, and was really 00:14:00upset when Bobby was shot.

SPRAGUE: Now, you had mentioned the Kennedy brothers. You had also mentioned Martin Luther King--


SPRAGUE: --[inaudible]--

ANDERSON: Oh, yes. Yes.

SPRAGUE: --yes, of course. And--but yeah--

ANDERSON: Yeah, I remember the night that there was breaking news. There's not--there's so much more breaking news now today than there was [laughs] in those days. So, when it came on that there was breaking news that he had been assassinated in Memphis, I remember the house stopped because there was a realization that something significant had happened. And I don't know if it was my grandpa or my grandmother who said, "People are going to riot because of this." And that's exactly what happened, and--because there was just a lot of--there was, obviously, pent-up--there was anger as a consequence. So, I remember that very distinctly, and of course, watching this all play 00:15:00out, again, the riots on television, because that was then televised, in a way. It didn't come to East St. Louis, and I don't--if there were disturbances and uprising in St. Louis, I don't recall hearing much about it. So, I mostly saw what was on TV for the bigger city.

SPRAGUE: So, moving ahead. You graduate from Rosati-Kain in St. Louis. What happens next?

ANDERSON: Well, I actually managed to leave high school about a half a year early, because I had done the research. I was actually getting bored in high school. So, I had gotten--accumulated, as I said, some college credits already through a program that they partnered with St. Louis University on, where we took courses and were given credit for taking those classes. So, I approached the principal and said, "I've met all the requirements for graduation 00:16:00under the state of Missouri." And she was quite shocked when I walked [laughs] in and said that. And I said, "So, I don't really think I need to stay here for the rest of the year."

So, we made a deal where I enrolled at--on the campus near my home, for Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. And I enrolled, still was in high school, enrolled there and earned some more college credits, because my goal was to try to cut one year off of college, because I was trying to save money, quite frankly. [Laughs] And I figured this was a cheap way to do it. And that's exactly what happened when I graduated in May of '76 from high school. And then, I graduated, and I enrolled at Creighton University. I enrolled as a sophomore.

SPRAGUE: Wow, okay. So, why Creighton University?

ANDERSON: Well, the main thing--we're Catholic. I have an uncle, who's still living today, who's a Jesuit. And at the time, my uncle, Joseph Brown , was on the faculty at Creighton University. And he later served as 00:17:00their artist in residence for a time. But he taught in the department of English. And I also knew a lot of his fellow seminarians and priests--who he had served with in various places--who were also in the faculty. So, it was like going home in a way. I had lots of uncles on the Creighton faculty, who could look out for me. And it was a good school. It was small, which I liked. It was around three or four thousand students at the time. And I was coming from a small girls' high school.

So, I wasn't trying to go to a big-ten school or a large school. I did take the SAT and ACT. And I had scored well enough to get offers, acceptances and even some scholarship offers, from schools out east. But I was just really hesitant about going far away from home to strange places where I didn't know 00:18:00anybody, because I was still shy. So, I just decided, "You know what, the academics of Creighton are good. The reputation is good. That's where I'm going to go."

SPRAGUE: And how far is Creighton from East St. Louis, just out of curiosity?

ANDERSON: It's about a seven-hour drive, about 400 miles.


ANDERSON: So, it's in Omaha. So, you drive west, go through, towards Kansas City, and head north up towards Omaha through Iowa.

SPRAGUE: Was that a big change for you? Or tell me about that.

ANDERSON: Well, yeah, college was a bit of a change. But I had been raised to be somewhat independent and just to have a plan, take things in stride, if you need help, reach out, ask questions. So, yeah, college was like--for any kid, is a sea-change. But I had a strong support system in that, as I said, my uncle was on campus. And there were other priests on the faculty who I 00:19:00knew. So, I wasn't completely alone when I got there.

SPRAGUE: So, now I've seen a number of interviewers ask this question. How did you--tell me about getting into ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] [laughs] at Creighton?

ANDERSON: [Laughs] Yeah, it was very serendipitous, and it wasn't something that I even planned. I did plan a lot of things in my life. But this was not one of them. But it turned out pretty well. Between my sophomore and junior year, I was looking around for classes to take in my junior year. And I needed--at that time, I--there was a requirement for a science credit for all liberal arts majors. And I wasn't trying to take anything that required me to cut anything up. I didn't have time to do lab work, because I was working part-time jobs to pay for college. The only course I really wanted to take was 00:20:00astronomy, which of course met at night, and that's when I worked. So, I was standing around at this time--before the internet and computers, you stood in gyms in long lines and tried to not get cancelled out of classes you wanted. And as I was standing around, looking, I saw a table where there was nobody in line. And it said Military Science Department. And I thought, "Well, you know--" I didn't know anything about it. So, I went over and asked some questions, ran into a Master Sergeant, who probably could've sold me the Brooklyn Bridge.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: But he pretty much [laughs] was a master recruiter. He didn't lie to me, but he did answer the questions that I needed answered, which was, "When does this meet?" "Early morning," because it was ROTC. They're going to get up early, go do PT and have a class. And then, they paid a stipend, which was music to my ears. A hundred dollars in 1977 was a lot of money. [Both laugh]



ANDERSON: So, I was all over it. A hundred dollars just for going to class? Sign me up.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And he had posters behind him of people jumping out of airplanes and rappelling. And, as I said walking through the woods--well, as I found out later that was orienteering with a compass. And I was really terrible--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --at it. But it was a hike. They were hiking. And he said, "Oh, yes." And I said, "So, it's lot like physical education class?" He goes, "Yeah." [Laughs] So, I was like, "Sure, okay. I can do this. This'll fit into my schedule. I get paid to do it. Why not?" Well, when I went to see my uncle to show him my new schedule [laughs] to start my junior year--and they made me do a summer component, because I had missed a whole bunch of ROTC by joining as a junior. He says, "You signed up for ROTC?" I go, "Yeah." [Laughs] And he says, "Well, you know that's the Army?" "Oh, yeah." And he said, "Well, you know they use guns." I said, "Well, just for target practice."


SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: I just had no idea [laughs] this was what this was really about. I hadn't done any homework. But I said, "But they were very nice." And he was, "Yeah, okay." So, he wasn't anti-military or anything. He was just worried about me going into something like that, given my background, in terms of being a shy person. I didn't do any school sports. I did play softball in grade school. But definitely you wouldn't call me an athlete. So, I think he was just worried that I would get in there, and it would be hard. And it was hard. But it was fun, too.

SPRAGUE: So, you get your commission, Creighton University, ROTC?


SPRAGUE: Tell me, was there anybody else in your family who took note of the fact that you were entering the military at that time, or getting commissioned?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] My dad, when he came to my graduation, he was 00:23:00clearly proud that I was getting commissioned as a second lieutenant, because I mentioned, he served in the Korean War. And he volunteered. He actually didn't get drafted or anything like that. He and a friend of his decided to sign up and join. And he never rose beyond the rank of, I guess the equivalent would be E-3. And so, for him--for me to be an officer, I realize now--then I didn't understand. It was a big deal for him to have a daughter who was a lieutenant, because those opportunities were not--they weren't as big when he was in the military. And he really, throughout my military career, he really felt that being an officer was a big deal, and it was important. And he was proud. And he was just really fascinated by the things that officers could do. So, it really pleased my dad. That was my dad. And I had an uncle who served in 00:24:00Vietnam, I think. And he'd also enlisted. There seemed to be a theme here. Nobody in our family gets drafted. He enlisted as a marine during the height of Vietnam. So, I think there was a sense of pride there with him, too. So, that was--

SPRAGUE: And remind me, what was his name, your uncle?

ANDERSON: Odell. Odell, O-D-E-L-L, Niblett.

SPRAGUE: So, at that time, following your commissioning, did you choose--tell me about going to reserve duty, or instead of active duty, did you have a choice? Did you not have a choice?

ANDERSON: I initially opted for reserve duty. But when we went--when you go--at that time, when you went to your--and it may still be true. When I went to my officer basic course, which was your initial training as an officer, I, again, was scoring high enough so that at some point, they offered--at that 00:25:00time, a certain percentage of the class were offered to switch to active duty. And--but I was looking at active-duty life. And when I asked him what my choices would be for my first duty assignment, they said, "Well, you could go to Germany," oh, yay, "Or you could go to Korea." And I went, "That won't be a fun place for a single woman." And I said, "What are the odds?" "Well, fifty-fifty." And I thought, "You know what, I'm not trying to roll those dice."

And I knew by that time, I had become a lot more assertive as a person. And I felt that if I ended up in a situation--and at that time, the Army was still having challenges with women in the ranks. And I just felt that with my personality, and if someone put me in a position where they were trying to compromise me, it wasn't going to end well for them or me. [Laughs] So, I thought, "I really don't want to put myself at risk and find myself in a situation where I have to challenge somebody who's senior to me 00:26:00because they're harassing me, because I'm just not going to put up with it." So, I thought, "You know what, the Reserve's probably the best bet for me." I still wanted to do--to serve. I felt obligated to do my eight years. And I felt I could find units where they'd be compatible with my schedule and my lifestyle. So, I opted to stay in the Reserves.

SPRAGUE: Any experiences that you remember from officers' basic?

ANDERSON: Well, the day or two before I reported for my officer basic course in November 1979, there was a big event in Iran.

SPRAGUE: Oh, yeah.

ANDERSON: Yeah, [both laugh] yes. So, yeah. So, when I reported to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, which was where adjutant general and personnel officers training and enlisted training occurred at the time, we were--the 00:27:00president had put us at a high DEFCON [Defensive Readiness Condition] level. And people were--the base was on high-alert, and the military was on high-alert. And all my classmates were like, "We're going to war with Iran." And I'm like, "No, we're not." But it was--there--it was very electric, I have to say. And there were a lot of people who, as you might imagine, in my classmates, who had very strong opinions about this whole thing, one way or the other. So, it was an interesting time to be in school in the military, while all this was going on.

SPRAGUE: What--so you go to Fort Ben Harrison. Did you go to Airborne School after that, or what was the sequence there?

ANDERSON: Oh, the--well, I went to--I completed [inaudible] school 00:28:00there. I actually didn't attend Airborne School until I was a first lieutenant. So, yeah. So, I--and I--the story about how I got to go to Airborne School is basically I was in the Reserve. I had served for a couple of years, and I decided to go to law school. So, I went to the individual Ready Reserve. I got out of an active--I got out of being in a Reserve unit to go into a standby status in order to go to law school. But I still had an obligation, or I could fill some of my obligation, in the summer. So, I ended up working at, at that time, it was called RCPAC [Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center] in St. Louis, which was where they did all the personnel management for Reserve and a lot of National Guard troops' records were maintained. And I worked for a major in the section there. And he was impressed with my physical fitness scores. I would usually max my PT test--get 300 points consistently for


ANDERSON: --the three-event test. And I ran every day at lunch in St. 00:29:00Louis, when it was ninety-five degrees. So, he just thought, "There's something about this AG [Adjutant General] officer." And he said--at the end, he asked me, and I'll never forget this, he said, "Well, I was going to give you an award." I said, "I'd rather go to Airborne School." And he just looked at me. He still gave me the award, but I think he thought I was crazy.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: So, he sent one of his NCOs [Non-commissioned Officers] out to give me a test. And I actually--they used the extended scale with me. I think I ended up scoring a 360.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: So, I even--I just blew them away. And so, that made him feel like it was--so I actually ending up writing my own orders to send myself to Airborne School. And he signed off on it.


ANDERSON: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Wow. Okay, that's impressive.

ANDERSON: [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Oh, very interesting. I happen to know what those scores mean, so wow. Okay, cool.

ANDERSON: Oh, yeah, I--yeah, I pretty much crushed it. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: That's excellent. Cool. So, you were serving summers at RCPAC [Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center] in St. Louis?

ANDERSON: Oh, one summer at RCPAC [Reserve Components Personnel and 00:30:00Administration Center] in St. Louis, and then another summer, I was assigned to a JAG [Judge Advocate General] office back at Fort Benjamin Harrison to work in their--I got a chance to spend time with their officers who did contracts. I got to observe a couple of court martials. So, it was really in-line with my legal career, even though I was still an AG [Adjutant General] officer. So, I was still doing some work for them there.

SPRAGUE: And for the listener, AG stands for adjutant general, correct?

ANDERSON: That's correct, yes. Sorry, yes.

SPRAGUE: Yeah, yeah, somet--yeah, we have some civilians that listen to these. So--

ANDERSON: Okay. Yep. S--

SPRAGUE: --yep, yep, for sure. A lot of them. So, just help them out a little. So, while you're there, what are you doing in your civilian side of the house, when you're not serving active duty on reserve status?

ANDERSON: Well, [inaudible] I went to law school from 1981 to 1984 at Rutgers School of Law at the Newark campus. So, I worked--I went through law 00:31:00school. And as I said, my summers were spent doing different assignments for the Army, which was good experience. And--

SPRAGUE: Did you have any time before that in Omaha, or anything like that? [inaudible]--

ANDERSON: Yeah, before I decided to go to law school, when I graduated from Creighton, I got a job working at the Kellogg company. They had a plant. They may still--I think they still have a plant. Kellogg still has a plant, cereal plant, in Omaha. It was one of their first plants, actually. And so, I worked there and--for two years, and then decided that I wanted to go to law school and elected not to go to Creighton. I could've--actually was accepted to Creighton's law school, but changed my mind and said I needed to see another part of the world and country. So, I ended up in New Jersey.

SPRAGUE: Were you a lieutenant or a captain at that time in the Reserve?

ANDERSON: I was a second lieutenant, going to be a first lieutenant. 00:32:00So, I was a second lieutenant. And my first unit of assignment was with an armored cavalry squadron. And this was an arm--this was a Reserve armored cav unit. But they were primarily--well they were a training unit. So, they conducted basic training at Fort Knox, which at that time, as people know, some of your listeners will know, was the home of the Armor. Armor, yeah, so--for the Army. So, we would travel from Omaha to Fort Knox and conduct two weeks of basic training, in rotation with other Reserve units that did the same thing.

SPRAGUE: Do you happen to remember the battalion or regiment number for that armored cav unit or squadron?

ANDERSON: Yes, I do. And it's the strangest thing. [Laughs] It was the first of the 322nd. And I can't remember w--I think we might have been second brigade. Yeah.

SPRAGUE: Second brigade. And they weren't necessarily associated with 00:33:00any particular division?

ANDERSON: They probably were. But I cannot recall. At the time, the way the Army Reserve was organized because it's undergone so many reorgs. But--

SPRAGUE: Yeah, no problem.

ANDERSON: --yeah. But our brigade headquarters, as I recall, was in Lincoln. And my commander kept trying to send me to the brigade headquarters, because they'd never had a female officer in that armored--at that unit in their history. And they didn't know what quite to do with me. So--

SPRAGUE: Well, to tie into that, that would've been a combat arms unit. And--


SPRAGUE: --that would've been different, just based on my experience, to have a woman in a combat arms unit directly. But maybe because it was a Reserve unit, that wasn't the case? I don't know.

ANDERSON: Well, it was a Reserve unit. That's true. And as I said, the mission was basic training for armored--for basic--armor basic training. So, they did basic and advanced armor training--was what their requirements were. 00:34:00So, they had drill sergeants who were--that was--they were--that was their MOS. They were armor. And they had armor officers overseeing the training. But they also had a personnel section. As an adjutant general officer, that was my area, was personnel. And the position for S-1, which is the senior civil--the person who leads the personnel function for that unit, was not coded male or female.

SPRAGUE: Oh, okay. My bad.

ANDERSON: [Laughs] Yeah--


ANDERSON: --it wasn't--yeah. So, when I got there, and I'm a personnel officer. And I looked at their unit mani-roster. And I looked at the code, and I went--so when the commander was like, "Well, wouldn't you be happier at brigade headquarters?" First of all, it was an hour away in Lincoln from Omaha. And I went, "No, sir, I wouldn't, because this is coded for me." [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: So, he couldn't get rid of me, because I wouldn't go. [Laughs] And it was only four blocks from my apartment. So, I thought, "Why would I go to Lincoln?" [Laughs] Yeah. It was interesting, though. Yeah, they--it 00:35:00was an interesting thing for them, too. I was fine with it, but they were the ones who--it took some adjusting.

SPRAGUE: That's the only reason why I asked. Okay.

ANDERSON: [Laughs] Yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, what do you remember about your--I know you'd mentioned this earlier--your decision to enroll in Rutgers? Tell me about that a little bit.

ANDERSON: Well, again--I hate to say it--I guess I've gotten lucky academically. I wanted to go to law school. In my hometown in East St. Louis, there was a woman, a Black woman, who was an attorney there. She was our state representative for that district. She had five children, one of whom was special needs. And that just convinced me that lawyers could do anything. And so, I wanted to be a lawyer. [Laughs] Plus, I didn't like math, and this was one thing that allowed me to read and write. And it was something that I could earn a living doing.

And as a political science major, I was interested in things like government. And so, it was an easy fit. But I decided to wait two years to go to 00:36:00law school after I graduated from college, because I just wanted to experience life. And I got a chance to do that working at Kellogg's and being in the Reserves and figuring out what I really--did I really want to do this? Because again, I was going to pay for my education myself. And when you make that kind of personal investment, you don't want to waste your money.

SPRAGUE: Yeah. So, what was going to law school like?

ANDERSON: That was a bigger change than going to college for me life-wise, because I moved from the Midwest to the East Coast, which is a whole different place. I was living in Newark, New Jersey, which was still recovering from the riots in the '60s. So, the city itself was still trying to--struggling to come back. So, it wasn't--and it was in the middle of the crack-cocaine period in the East Coast, in New York and New Jersey. There was a lot of drug 00:37:00activity, and Newark was a part of that. So, I was in a pretty rough neighborhood. But I chose it because it was cheap, and it was close to the school.

And so, I just learned how to navigate those mean streets [laughs], I guess I'll say, and study, go to school, work, make friends, navigate New York City subways, because I'd never seen a subway before, [laughs] till I got there. But I just liked the--I had a--it was fun. I think I was at that stage of my life. I was old enough to appreciate the experience, but also old enough to navigate some sticky situations. And just I had a great time.

SPRAGUE: Any experiences that you'd like to share?

ANDERSON: Oh, living in Newark? [Laughs] Well, I lived, as I said, in a rough neighborhood. And unfortunately, sometimes when I was walking home late from the library --it was an area that I think had a lot of prostitution 00:38:00activity. And occasionally, people would mistake me for a working girl and proposition me [laughs] on my way back home, which I always found weird, because I was carrying a backpack. But I got pretty adept and making them decide that they needed to leave me alone, or I was going to--I didn't have a cellphone, but I was going to probably do something--say something horrible to them and do something to their car if they didn't leave me alone. And then, in terms of the law school itself, it was a law school with a pretty storied history. The students there had helped write part of the brief that was submitted on behalf of Adam Clayton Powell when Congress was trying to expel him.

And so, we had a lot of professors there who were very committed to civil rights, and the Constitution, and interpreting it in a way to give 00:39:00people broader access to life in our country. So, we had a really, I'd say, very assertive and progressive faculty. And so, I had not had that kind of exposure to people like that before, who were that dedicated to these kinds of things--the environment. We had an environmental law clinic there, which I think was ahead of its time, because this was the early '80s. And so, the students had an opportunity to work on issues, write briefs, and learn from some really great legal minds. So, it was a good experience.

SPRAGUE: So, while you're in New Jersey, looks like you were involved, or worked at, a environmental firm. Can you tell me about that?

ANDERSON: Well, it was--it was an environ--it was an environmental firm in the sense that we, the firm, provided legal defense for companies that were being sued by the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution. We also 00:40:00had clients that were insurance companies that had--were being sued for the--again, by EPA and other entities for things their clients had gotten insurance for, environmental insurance coverage. So, we worked on that side of the equation. And I did that for several years before deciding that I really did not like that part of the practice of law, and just really didn't--wasn't comfortable with some of the positions we had to take, and just didn't feel like a lot of the scorched Earth litigation that we were involved in me made me--it didn't make me comfortable. And I wasn't--didn't feel fulfilled doing that.

SPRAGUE: While you're in this law firm, what Guard or Reserve unit were you in?

ANDERSON: Yeah, I was in --let's see if I can remember the division. 00:41:00It was the 98th Division at the time, which covered parts--well, it covered New York, covered all of New Jersey, and I believe Connecticut. And the job, again, was a training division. So, the units in it conducted basic combat training, so infantry one station unit training. I think we may have had a--in early on, we still had an armored cav unit with that. Later on, we also provided NCO [Non-commissioned Officer], non-commissioned officer, education, in terms of advanced education. Once you finished basic training, there's other specialties you need to get trained in. And, what's the other mission? I think that was it. I was there when we were--we had to mobilize a lot of our units 00:42:00because we had transportation units underneath the same umbrella. We had logistics units. You name it. We even had some medical units that were mobilized during the first Desert Storm.

SPRAGUE: So, what years would this be, roughly?

ANDERSON: Wow, '85 to '94, I'm thinking, is when I was in this unit, or in that division, and then various units in that division. Since I lived in New Jersey, I could--and in the Reserve, I could move around to different units, which I did based on jobs that were available, and especially promotional opportunities.

SPRAGUE: What were some experiences that you remember from both working at the environmental firm and in your Reserve unit?


ANDERSON: In the environmental firm, one of the main partners actually had been in--had lived in--he'd been an infantry officer in the Reserve. So, having a partner who understood what I was trying to do was very helpful. When I needed to do my two weeks of annual training, I at least didn't have to explain it to everybody. I could explain it to him. He knew what the deal was. So, that made it a little easier. And he was pretty supportive of my efforts. Although, like any law firm, it's about your billable hours. And they didn't want me to spend too much time doing extra things beyond the one weekend a month and the two weeks a year, which also factored into my decision that I probably needed to leave, if I wanted to continue to stay in the Reserve.

And then, with the units that I was in, again, we did training at Fort Benning, which was where the--home of the infantry. So, we would travel from 00:44:00New Jersey, down to Fort Benning to conduct annual training there. At one point, I volunteered for a special mission at Fort Leonard Wood to be--I actually was the Executive Officer for one of the active-duty training battalions there, which was a great experience, for thirty days. I got to sub for someone who needed to go on leave. And got to really get immersed in that side of it, because in some ways, there are some differences. So, I had some pretty good experiences while I was in that area, New York, New Jersey. And that also--I also had an opportunity to command a basic training unit as a com--as a captain, which was--and I guess I was the first female to do that in that division.

So, when I went down to Fort Jackson, which was--I could not command the infantry basic training units. So, we did the--they had basic 00:45:00training battalions that covered logis--people who got trained and who were going to be logistics or transportation or the other variety of MOSs in the Army. And so, I was--I commanded one of those units at Fort Jackson for a couple of rotations, which was a lot of fun, an interesting time, when Don't Ask, Don't Tell was going on. And lots of privates decided by the third day, they wanted to go home. So, they suddenly decided they needed to tell me they were gay. It just was a different time. And it was a--

SPRAGUE: Now, that would've been--sorry to interrupt you. That would've also been within that 98th Division?

ANDERSON: Yes. Yeah, yeah.

SPRAGUE: If you happen to remember--

ANDERSON: Yeah, so there's--

SPRAGUE: --the unit that you commanded, as company commander, by chance?

ANDERSON: I would have to go back and look at my--yeah. That one, for 00:46:00some reason, doesn't stick with me so much.

SPRAGUE: Okay. [Laughs] No worries.

ANDERSON: Yeah. I just--I wish I could, but yeah.

SPRAGUE: No problem.

ANDERSON: Because I was assigned there for quite a while. I was a company commander there. I was a S-1--I was a company commander, because I talked my way in. I also served as an S-4 in that battalion, even though I'm not a logistics officer. But that was the deal I cut with the brigade commander, so I could become a company commander. He told me I needed to clean up that arms room and that supply room for that battalion. I said, "Done."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: "Done and done, sir." [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Wow, okay.

ANDERSON: So, that's how I got to be a company commander. And I really enjoyed being a commander. I brought my drill sergeants around, because again, they were real skeptical. They thought they had gotten the short end of the stick when this female company commander shows up. And they were down in the dumps until--as I mentioned to you before, I'm pretty good at PT. And so, I blew them away. I passed a couple of them on the--


SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --two-mile run. And they suddenly went, "Wait a minute. This is not how this is supposed to work." And I said, "Yes, it is."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: So, [laughs] they came around to my way of thinking. And I actually had converted them by the time we went down to take over a company. And at that time, the military, or at least the Army, rather, wasn't doing integrated training. So, they still had female companies and male, all-male companies at basic training. And I had actually just about talked my drill sergeants into requesting an all-female company, because I told them, "Look, I got the inside track on this. I can get you guys through this. They are not going to run any games on you." And they were like, "Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, let's do that." Well, they didn't give me a female, all-female company. But it was--I had them talked into it. So, it was a good group of guys. And we ended up bonding. And they actually taught me how to play poker.

SPRAGUE: [Both laugh] So, I've got to ask, did--with the trainees and 00:48:00drill sergeants, if you had--did you have female drill sergeants as well, or male drill sergeants?

ANDERSON: No, I had all male drill sergeants. In fact, I don't think we had even one female drill sergeant in that battalion at the time. So, yeah, I had all male drill sergeants. And as I said, I had--I won them over after they realized I was a runner. So, that made them happy--


ANDERSON: --because after all, they're drill sergeants. I did have a battalion commander who was not happy about having me. And he ma--he was very vocal about that when I first showed up, which was interesting because my fellow company commanders, and I think a lot of the drill sergeants, were just like, "Well, she's doing the job. What is your problem with her?" So, he didn't--he just didn't like the idea. And luckily, I didn't let him stop me. I made sure that where it counted, and where it was hard for him to be subjective in 00:49:00my evaluations, I gave him--I put up really good metrics. And it's hard to argue with good metrics.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And that's what I carried through the rest of my career was I'd read, as a personnel officer, I'd read evaluation reports where people just wrote flowery language. But there was no substance to it, because they weren't talking about objective accomplishments. And I knew how that would look to a promotion board. And in my head, I realized, "You got to put the numbers up." You've got to have your people have completed their schooling, because that's a metric. Your people have to score certain--score well when they all go to the range for their annual weapons qualification. So, you got to make sure they do well on that, because that reflects on you. And then, their physical fitness. How many of your people have passed or exceeded the standards on the physical fitness test? Have any flunked it? So, I knew those things counted, and 00:50:00that's what I focused on.

SPRAGUE: Any--I've got to ask--any sexual harassment or anything un--within or outside, not--


SPRAGUE: --tell me about that.


SPRAGUE: Any of that going on? Any--I've got to ask.

ANDERSON: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Through early part of my career, I think I mentioned to you, that's why I decided not to go on active duty, because I knew if I went to Korea, from what I had heard from other women officers at the time, it wouldn't be a cakewalk. And I just didn't want to deal with that. When I had my summer position, while I was in law school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, I would go on long runs, because I just like to run and think. And apparently, I caught someone's eye--a senior officer who began [laughs] to pursue me very aggressively, to the point where I finally had to find one of his colleagues and tell him, "Look, you need to tell this guy to back off, or something's bad going to happen to him." [Laughs] Just I was crazy enough to just say stuff 00:51:00like that to people. So, I just didn't--and then, as I said, this battalion commander who the very first meeting I attended with the other company commanders, the staff, and some of the senior, non-commissioned officers, he introduced me as, "This is Captain Mahan. And I was forced to take her by the brigade commander."

He made that public announcement. And I thought, "Wow, okay. That's how that's going to go." But I remember other people looking surprised, and li--because they'd heard about me. They'd seen me as a S-1. They knew I was physically fit, and I was trying to do the right job and take care of soldiers. So, they're like, "We don't get your problem with her." So--and yeah, there was a major, once, who was the battalion S-3, the operations officer, who, again, paid too much attention to me. And then, when I pretty much rebuffed him, he went after a couple of my female NCOs.

And then, I had to take him and tell him off. Yeah, I'm a captain 00:52:00telling off a major. But I had also already lined up the command sergeant major who had my back. And I said, "Here's what I'm about to do. Sergeant Major, I just wanted you to know in case there's any fallout." He said, "Ma'am, we got you." So, they--I will say--and when I did run into people who either wanted to reject me because of what I looked like, or people who were trying to harass me, I will overwhelmingly say when I turned to non-commissioned officers and told them what I was trying to do and what was going on, they helped me out. I think there were quiet conversations with people that caused them to back off. [Laughs]

And so, I've not always been able to prove that, but I did notice that sometimes there was a change in attitude. And I knew I hadn't done all that much to change it. So, I just felt--I felt that if people saw I was trying to do the right things and take care of soldiers, they didn't care whether I was 00:53:00green and I was ten feet tall. If that's what I was doing, they were going to support me.

SPRAGUE: So, somewhere here--moving on, you went to the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Tell me about that.

ANDERSON: That was pretty far down the road.

SPRAGUE: Oh, okay. It's a little early to--

ANDERSON: Yeah, that's--

SPRAGUE: We'll come back to that.

ANDERSON: Yeah, well--yeah, okay. We can come back to that. Yeah, yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, you move on from the firm in New Jersey. And where did you go next?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] I went to work for the United States Courts. I went to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is headquartered in New York City. And it covers New York, Connecticut, and Vermont--are the states that fall under that circuit. So, appeals, federal appeals cases--federal appeals are taken to that court from c--from subordinate courts in 00:54:00those three states that I just mentioned. And I worked in the clerk's office there, which was responsible for managing the appeals that were filed, supporting the judges that heard those appeals, and then just managing things for those three states at that level.

SPRAGUE: So, tell me a little bit, as a layman, what a Clerk of the Court does?

ANDERSON: Right. I was the assistant to the Clerk of Court there. And the Clerk of Court is like a CEO for the court. So, that person is responsible and has oversight for the different areas. So, they have a personnel person who works for them. They have a procurement person. They have an IT staff. They have a financial staff. Clerks of the Court in, at least in the federal system, are subject to annual audits, because they take in quite a bit of money 00:55:00and manage funds that are--have--well, treasury funds and things like that. You also are spending taxpayers' money. So, it's a--so it's a--it could be a very interesting job. In addition to the legal side of it, you've got the managing a--just managing a corporation side of it.

SPRAGUE: Wow. What--at that point, did you stay in the same Reserve unit, or did you go on to a different unit?

ANDERSON: Even though I was working in New York City, I stayed in the unit that was in New Jersey. And I just commuted. I was serving--I served in a unit that was--even though I lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, I would commute down to Trenton for my Reserve drills. For a while, I was in a unit that was 00:56:00in Lodi, New Jersey, which is in northern New Jersey. So--and then, I was also at our headquarters, which was located in--oh, I'm drawing a blank. And it was in central--it's near New Brunswick, New Jersey, which is the central part of the state, where the main university of Rutgers University campus is. So, I moved around to different units, as I said, based on the jobs and the promotion opportunities that were available.

SPRAGUE: So, at this point, you're still a captain, or you were on the way to being a major, or--

ANDERSON: I was a captain for most of that time. Was on my way to becoming a major. And I think I might've been in one position there when I was a major, in that division. But I had, as I said, the command job as a company commander. I worked as an auditor for the commanding general for that division. I 00:57:00was on an audit team that did different types of project audits, not financial audits. And yeah, and then I got promoted to major. I was--I had one job in one of the units there as the battalion S-3, which is the operations officer, for one of the training battalions. That was a fun job. I got to plan our annual training, our yearly training for the soldiers, so they all were proficient in their military occupational specialties. I got to plan our annual, or semi-annual, weapons qualification exercises for our entire brigade, which was conducted over a weekend when Fort Dix was open, we'd do it at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

So, I got to do a lot of things that you normally didn't get to do as an adjutant general corps officer, because I sought out positions, as I said, that didn't require a male or female, and also didn't require a specific 00:58:00branch qualification. So, I could sit in position, and people would say, "Well, I thought that an operations officer was an infantry or combat arms officer's job." I said, "Not in a training brigade." And they--nobody had ever looked at that before, because it wasn't coded that way. And I just said, "I put my name in." And they said, "Well, I guess you can have the job."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And that's what happened. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Wow. So, that was still within that 98th Division, all of those positions--


SPRAGUE: --pretty much? Okay.

ANDERSON: And actually, it was--I misspoke, because early on, it was the 78th Division. And then, it combined with the 98th, because of a reorg. Right. So, the 78th covered just the entire state of New Jersey. And as the consequence of a reorg, it was merged with the 98th. And it became the 98th for th--and at some point, it was like--there was a transition where it was the 76th Division. But again, some of these reorgs were--they happened pretty quickly.


SPRAGUE: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that clarification. It helps us understand what's going on. So, you're on the--working in the federal appellate court. What--did you have any particular mentors there?

ANDERSON: Wow. I had a couple of people. My boss, Elaine Goldsmith, who was the Clerk of Court. She had worked at the state court--in the state courts in New Jersey for a long time before she came over to the federal system, and was the Clerk of Court for the Second Circuit. She was my boss. And I learned a lot from her. Each court of appeals in the country has--well, each circuit I should say--has an office, which they call the Circuit Executive. And the 01:00:00Circuit Executive picks up where the Clerk of Court doesn't do anything.

So, they actually support the judges more directly. They manage things for the judges. They have a budget to handle making sure the judges have the furniture they want, they have the staff they need, the resources they need to do their job. And the Circuit Executive at that time, Steve Flanders, had been a professor. But he also had done a lot of work internationally with court governance. And he was, in a ways, a mentor. And then, his assistant, Vincent Flanagan--Vinny to all those who knew him--he and I were good buddies. And I learned a lot from him as well.

SPRAGUE: So, after your time at the appellate court, where did you go next?

ANDERSON: I still--I worked there from '85 to '90. And the last two years, two and a half years, I was there, I was the supervising staff attorney. 01:01:00Each court has a pool of individuals, who've all graduated from law school, who assist the judges and their staff with some of the overflow, I should say, work. So, there's a lot of cases that come through the court that move pretty rapidly when somebody's asking for, let's say, an injunction to stop something. Those kinds of cases were handled by our office for review purposes and to write the memos for the judges to review. So, I did that the last two and a half years I was there. And then, I decided--I didn't see any upward mobility at the court at that point. And so, I ended up going into the law firm from there. And so, that--so I was with the court--

SPRAGUE: Tell me about that.

ANDERSON: --from '85 to '90. And then, from '90 to approximately '97 01:02:00or '98, I was with the firm beginning in '96--well, let me step back here a second. I was with the firm for about five years. And then, I went in-house at a utility, as Deputy General Counsel for a utility that had locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And for those of you who are listening to this, they--one of their properties was Three-Mile Island.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: [Laughs] And so, someone will know what that means. It was the nuclear plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that had the unfortunate accident before I joined them, the company, many years before in 1979. We were still litigating Three-Mile Island in the 1990s. So--


ANDERSON: --yeah, it was still going on, but yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, was that firm the one in Boston, or is that something else?

ANDERSON: No, that--the firm I was with, the law firm I was with, was McElroy, Deutsch, and Mulvaney. They were in Morristown, New Jersey. And then, 01:03:00from there, I went to Jersey Central Power and Light, which was at that time a subsidiary of General Public Utilities, which was the actual owner of Three-Mile Island.

SPRAGUE: And were you in that same Reserve unit, the 98th, or did you change at that point? Or was that still the same?

ANDERSON: I was still in those--in that unit which ultimately transformed from the 78th to the 76th/the 98th. And so, I was still in that unit, doing work. At this point, though, I eventually left the utility and moved to a new job in Boston, where I came back into the federal court system. And that was 01:04:00the First Circuit, which covered Massachusetts--let's see, Massachusetts--let's see, New Hampshire, [sighs] Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island.

SPRAGUE: Where in there w--did you, at some point, go to the War College in there or not? Or [inaudible] later still?

ANDERSON: Yeah, that's later. That's actually after I've moved back to Wisconsin.

SPRAGUE: No problem.

ANDERSON: You can't--yeah, yeah.

SPRAGUE: We'll get to that.

ANDERSON: So, we'll get to that, yeah. Yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, while you're in Boston, were you still in that same unit that you'd been in in New Jersey and New York, or did you--

ANDERSON: I eventually applied for--because I needed a new position, and they were transitioning to teach non-commissioned officer courses. And they had set up a school system that permitted them to do that across most of New 01:05:00England. So, they actually covered eight states--school for non-commissioned officers in eight states in a variety of military occupational specialties. And the one I applied to be, the Executive Officer for--and at the end of the thing, the Executive Officer/S-3 was a unit that was headquartered in southern New Jersey that did training at Fort--what was left of Fort Dix. And it focused on postal and personnel services in-field.

SPRAGUE: Wow. Okay. And then, slipping back to the civilian side, tell me about the First Circuit in Boston, in Massachusetts?

ANDERSON: Yeah, I went up there, chiefly to help them set up a bankruptcy appeals unit for the court. Usually, when you file cases in federal 01:06:00court, you know that people were familiar with the criminal cases. But there's also a civil--lots of civil cases, tax cases, immigration cases, suits to--patent cases. And they also, of course, people have--there's a separate bankruptcy office, separate from civil and criminal, where bankruptcy cases are handled by specialized judges and staff. And normally, appeals for those cases would go to the trial court--the district court--and then to the court of appeals. But they had an opportunity to create a new option, which would have these cases handled, these appeals handled, by a specialized bankruptcy appellate panel, and then looked at by the First Circuit Court of Appeals. It's complicated. But in any event, it tried to keep it all in the family, so to speak.

So, you had specialists reviewing the appeals, as opposed to just any 01:07:00judge, who was normally used to handling things like civil and criminal cases. So, you had specialists handling--so that was my job, was to set the office up to administratively manage that caseload.

SPRAGUE: Any particular mentors at that point, or people that you remember?

ANDERSON: Yeah, the judge who was set up to be the chief judge for that bankruptcy appeals panel, Arthur Votolato. He was a bankruptcy judge in Rhode Island, who had been tasked to be in charge of this, or to be in charge of me, working with him, in charge of all of this. And he was a great old gentleman. He actually was a bankruptcy judge when they were called referees, because they didn't want to call them judges--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --for some reason. It's probably just an all in the family kind of thing for the judges. But they--so he used to--they didn't wear black and white shirts. But they wore--they were not allowed to wear judges' robes at 01:08:00the time when he was originally appointed as a bankruptcy judge. So, he'd been on the bench a really long time. But he was really--he was a very thoughtful person. He let me run my show. He was there if I needed input on things, but he didn't pretend to know how to do my job, which isn't always the case with judges sometimes. And he trusted me implicitly to do things the right way, and if I wasn't sure, to know when to ask him for his input.

SPRAGUE: So, if it's okay with you, Marcia, let's take a little break here real quick.

ANDERSON: Sure, sure.

SPRAGUE: This ends the first segment of the Marcia Anderson, General Marcia Anderson's interview. We're going to pause now for a moment.

[break in recording]

SPRAGUE: This is Luke Sprague and Marcia, General Marcia Anderson, starting with segment two of her interview. Again, this is segment two of the 01:09:00interview with Major General Marcia Anderson. So, Marcia, before we stopped in segment one--tell me about leaving Boston and the next place you went.

ANDERSON: Let's see. So, I worked at the court in Boston for a couple years, and then decided I needed to come back to the Midwest, because my father was getting older. At the time, my brother was still in the Marines, but he was coming to the end of his service. And so, I just decided, "You know what, I need to go back to the Midwest. Someone needs to be around my dad." And then, fortunately, the position to be Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court covering the western half of Wisconsin, with the headquarters in Madison, opened up. And so, I 01:10:00applied for the position. And after a couple of interviews, the judges selected me to be their new Clerk of Court. So, I moved back to Madison in 1998.

SPRAGUE: And what does a bankruptcy court do?

ANDERSON: Well, it's a specialized court, formed under Article--well, the Article One of the Constitution allows them to create such special courts as are needed. So, we're one of those special courts, bankruptcy is. So, the judges, that's all they do is they focus on bankruptcy cases. So, people who file under any of the chapters, people or corporations. So, there's Chapter Seven, there's Chapter Eleven, Thirteen, and I'm leaving off one, because it's--I just--anyway. So, there's corporate and consumer bankruptcy. There's farm bankruptcies. So, all of those are handled in a specialized court with trustees who 01:11:00have the responsibility for helping manage the administrative part of the case.

The Clerk's office, which I oversaw, does the administrative management of cases, schedules the cases for the judges, handles the filings from the parties, makes sure the orders that are issued by the judges get out to the parties. And then, the clerk--my job as Clerk of Court--as I said earlier, was like being a CEO with different managers who worked for me to handle finance, procurements, IT, HR, and then we had an--I had an operational staff, so--that actually managed a lot of the other things, the day-to-day work. So, that was my job when I moved back here in 1998.

SPRAGUE: And what Reserve unit did you join when you got back? How did that work?

ANDERSON: Let me see. So, in 1998, I was in the 95th Division, which 01:12:00was headquartered in Oklahoma [laughs] City, Oklahoma. But I was part of that division, which covered several states. And I was in--I had gone from being in the 84th--well, I'd gone to the division that was headquartered out of Milwaukee, and now I'm drawing a blank on that division. Oh, shoot. Rail-splitters, the 84th Division. I was a--I was in the Rail-splitters Division, which is the 84th Division, which was, again, another training division. And I was, at that time, I think working in their--in the operations area, in the G-3's office, because that's where I was on nine-eleven. But anyway, prior to 9/11 and when I came back in '98, I took over the 01:13:00command of a brigade, a school brigade, that was--that taught officer professional education. So, they did command general staff college, and they also did another intermediate course for junior officers. So, I was the brigade commander for the--and I was responsible for the instructors and the instruction for several states.


ANDERSON: And that was my job after my stint with the 84th Division and the G-3 shop. And I was also the G-1 for the 84th Division at one point. So, my full bird colonel job, at one point, I was the G-1. And then, I became a brigade commander.

SPRAGUE: So, at some point in there, as we had spoken about earlier, you had attended command and staff?


ANDERSON: As a major, I attended Command and General Staff College--

SPRAGUE: Yeah [inaudible]--

ANDERSON: So, that was when I was still back in New Jersey.

SPRAGUE: You mention in a number of your interviews that you really enjoyed training. Tell me about that. And it sounds like, to me, in listening, you were more of managing trainers, it sounds like to me. Tell me about that.

ANDERSON: Yeah. So, when I had my company command, and then later on, my staff positions, those were primarily managing training for people who were going through basic training. So, we managed the drill sergeants who conducted that training, made sure they were qualified to do what they needed to do, and they had the resources they needed. And surprisingly, things changed a lot in the Army, from the types of weapons that are used, to the way we train people to learn how to fire and fight. So, we were constantly updating our 01:15:00curriculum and making sure that the trainers, the drill sergeants, were ready to go.

And then, when I switched over to being in charge of educational units, it was the same thing. You had to be up to date with the curriculum, make sure the instructors were certified, and that you had the resources to train your students. [Inaudible]--And it was that one weekend a month when you were training them, and also that two weeks a year. So, you were in constant motion. People like to say when you're in the Guard and Reserve, "Well, it's just one weekend a month and two weeks a year." But the reality is that once you reach a certain level, as a major or even a captain, it takes up a lot more of your time that's--we call it, "It's for the flag." [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. How do you balance that, having your civilian career and being that active as a field grade, 01:16:00or junior grade, and then a field grade officer in the Reserves?

ANDERSON: I learned--I was an early adopter of using a day planner, [both laugh] because I had to be organized. I had to. I--because I had so many balls in the air. I'd sometimes find myself on a lunch break on a conference call with my boss at the time, whoever that was, a colonel or that was a commanding general, or I needed to contact some of my drill sergeants. And I'm calling them late at night at home, apologizing to their wife, "I need to talk to Sergeant Blank, because [laughs] of blah, blah blah." And so, you just--you--you couldn't get everything done on a weekend. It was real--it's really impossible. And you just have a lot of administrative details that you end up doing at home at night. During--as I was going through Command and General Staff College, and the War College, because both of those were lo--distance learning, I did work 01:17:00on my lunch hour. I did homework on [laughs] my lunch hour.

I did things. I got dinner on the table for my husband, pretty much threw it at him. And then, I'd go into my office [laughs] and work for a couple of hours on a paper, or reading some material for class. And then, having to go to classes sometimes in the middle of the week, on a weeknight, for a couple of hours to work on a project with my other CGSC [Command and General Staff College] classmates. So, yeah, it's a--more time than people realize that's not compensated.

SPRAGUE: What types of stereotypes of reservists did you encounter from active-duty soldiers before you were on active duty?

ANDERSON: Oh, [sighs] yeah, even after I was on active duty. There was a perception, because we didn't do the forty hours a week, that we weren't as immersed in military history, or tactics, or even the doctrine as our 01:18:00active-duty counterparts were. And as I mentioned, it simply meant we had to spend a lot more time working on it, because we weren't living it every day. And I think a lot of us, at least the people that I worked with, we made an extra effort. We tried to go the extra mile to be--to make it truly a profession, another profession that we were proficient at--because we worked a little bit harder, I think. I'm not saying either side was better than the other. I will say that when we went on annual training, there were times when it was clear that because we worked in the private sector, we had already seen certain things. Like I'll never forget, I had a specialist who they--when we were down at Fort Benning, they didn't really know how to use Excel spreadsheets.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And we just brought in one of our specialists, an E-5-- E-4, 01:19:00and said, "Create a spreadsheet for them," to a--told them what they nee--she said, "What do you need in it?" And they told her. And she'd go, "Okay, fine." Makes the spreadsheet. They're like, "Wow," because they just didn't--they hadn't had access to these kind of things. There just were some things they weren't exposed to. And then, we had a lot more people who had used a lot of different IT stuff beyond the things like--programs like Excel. So, there were just things we were exposed to, I think, that brought--I think they helped the team, because we came in with fresh--a fresh way of looking at things.

And we had younger soldiers who could do these things, whereas they were often--they often, I found, would think that it took a captain or a major or a master sergeant. And we're like, "Well, no, the specialist can do that." [Laughs] "Why are you doing that? You should be doing the 10,000, 01:20:0030,000 complex level stuff." So, yeah, I did run into people who automatically think that I wasn't as professional as they were about this, or it would be kind of a--that I was a part-timer. And that, by definition, that meant I wasn't as devoted or as good at certain things as they were. And to be honest, I wasn't always as good at certain things. And sometimes, the jargon would escape me because it had changed, and I wasn't up on it. But for the most part, when--I'd say, "When the bullets start flying and we got to get stuff done, nobody cares whether you're active, Guard, or Reserve. They just want to know if you can do your job."

SPRAGUE: Yeah. So, as you're going up in rank, and you're field grade--you made colonel, did you--what was your experience of both gender and racial discrimination?


ANDERSON: Well, [sighs] with every promotion, it got thinner and thinner. And I looked around, and a lot of my colleagues were gone. They hadn't gotten promoted, or there weren't as many women. So, by the time I'm a senior lieutenant colonel, and I have had battalion command, been a battalion commander, gone to these different meetings. And then, when I made colonel, full bird--and by that time, I had finished the War College, because I finished the War College as a lieutenant colonel. So, the prerequisite to attend is battalion command.

And I had --I had done that. So, in any event, I went to meetings, and I would be the only one. Or I sat--I think--I remember this distinctly. I guess I'd been a colonel about six months. And then, I'm at this big meeting, and they break all the colonels out from the generals--different general staff that were there. And so, I'm in the room with all the G-1's. And I'm--think one of a 01:22:00few women in the room. The rest are all males. And there was one guy sitting next to me. He's looking at me. He's looking at my rank and stuff. And he says--he can't help himself, he says, "Pardon me, but you know you are the youngest-looking colonel I have ever seen in my life." [Laughs] So, I said, "Well, that's just because you look like you've been rode hard and put out wet. So--"

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: "--I just can't help that, sir. [Laughs] I'm sorry. You have all that grey hair? Aw." [Both laugh] I just was like, "Okay." And I did. I looked around the room and went, "Yeah, I don't look like the rest of you guys." [Laughs] But that was a good thing. I used that to my advantage a lot of times, because they would sometimes think I was younger, or I didn't know as much. And I would let them run with that to a point--then I would just do my thing. But the more senior you get, the less you run into people who are going to try to overtly discriminate against you. Some of it's more subtle, and some of it is 01:23:00just, I think, because people aren't--it's unfamiliar territory. So, they're not used to having a woman in the room. And so, the way they talked ten years ago, they realize--they don't realize they shouldn't talk that way now. And I would gently correct them, or their colleagues would look at them and go, "You should never say that again."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: Or it would be helpful, because they would be making assumptions about something--a training exercise. And I could tell they hadn't factored in that they had female soldiers. And that wouldn't require a huge accommodation, but you couldn't ignore it. So, I would be happy to be there, because that diversity of thought, or that diversity of experience, I think helped people plan a better exercise.


SPRAGUE: You find yourself ever comparing with what your father's experience during the Korean War was with yours?

ANDERSON: Absolutely, because when I got promoted to colonel, my dad was able to come to the ceremony and pin my rank on with my husband and my commanding general. And, of course, he was over the moon. He was so excited. And he began to tell me--he hadn't told me up until that point, really, too many stories about his service during Korean War, because if you recall, this was only a few years after the executive order by President Eisenhower that ordered the desegregation of the military. And my dad told me a couple stories where he would be on Air Force bases, and they would still have segregated quarters for the African American soldiers.

And he told a story about the time he was at a base, and I--to this day, I'm not sure which four-star this was. But apparently, he came, and 01:25:00he asked where his Black soldiers were, African American soldiers were. And they said, "Well, they're down on blank part of the base." And of course, down there, they don't have really good facilities. They have to travel to go to the--longer distances to go the mess hall, entertainment stuff for them. And he said--and this is his story, and he stuck to it all these years. He says, "Well, you know what?" He said, apparently the general said, "Well, you know what? I'm going to go have some lunch. And when I come back this afternoon, this needs to be fixed." [Both laugh] And you know, and I know, what happens when a general says, "I would like all the fences painted green--"

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: "--today." Well, that's what happens. [Laughs] All the fences get painted green today. And he said that there was a lo--a flurry of activity. He and his buddies were all told to move. They were put into integrated quarters. And he said, "You know what? I don't think that general ever actually came back." [Both laugh] And so, he--and he also has a soft spot in his 01:26:00heart for colonels, because I guess at one point, he was the colonel's driver. So, back in the days when colonels had their own designated driver for their vehicles--I still remember saluting those cars when they went by. And so, this colonel liked my dad. And I guess he came one day and said, "Oh, I can't drive you anymore because I've gotten orders." Well, there was a sergeant who didn't like my dad and felt he had too much of a close relationship with the colonel. So, he'd somehow finagled it around to get my dad transferred to a horrible place. I guess even the Air Force has horrible places, apparently.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: Wherever he was going to go was not a nice place. And my dad came back and told the colonel's wife, and then the colonel, that he wouldn't be driving. And he says, "Well, why?" "Well, sir, I got orders to go blah, blah, blah." And my dad said the next day or so, I guess, he goes into the orderly 01:27:00room. And his orders had been changed. But this particular sergeant was now going to that really bad place. [Both laugh] And my dad said the colonel never said a word to him. He just kept driving for him. [Both laugh]


ANDERSON: So, he has a real--he likes colonels and generals. He thinks colonels and generals are the best ever. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Wow. Great story. So, getting back on the trail again here--


SPRAGUE: --you're in Wisconsin. You're Clerk of the Court. What happened and how did things change after nine-eleven?

ANDERSON: Wow, yeah. I was actually--had just started in July, my War College course. And then, nine-eleven happened. And that changed a lot of what we did for War College. But it also meant that--the attack happened on a 01:28:00Tuesday. And by that Thursday, I was at Fort Benning. I was the deputy G-3 for my division. And again, it was a training division. And we did--part of our training was we did basic combat training for support Soldiers and sent people to Fort Jackson, drill sergeants and units. But we also sent them to Fort Benning to conduct infantry basic training. And our mobilization station and job, if they mobilized everybody in the United States, was to go run an infantry training brigade at Fort Benning. So, we had to prepare for that, because nobody knew what was going to happen, if you remember the early days after this. They just knew we might have to mobilize all these people. So, they wanted to be ready.

So, the G-3 called me and said, "I--they need someone to go down and talk to the people at the infantry training brigade at Fort Benning." And I'm like [laughs], "Oh, that means--that's me, huh?" "Well, you're the deputy G-3." I said, "Well, yes, sir. Three bags full, sir." So, I told my chief judge. I said, 01:29:00"I have to go." Said, "Where?" I said, "Fort Benning." "Now?" "Yes, sir." [Laughs] "As in twenty-four hours from now, I'm going to be boots on the ground." He's like, "Okay." And I gotta say, they took that well, because prior to me, the chief probation officer and the deputy chief probation officer, during the First Gulf War, were both in psy-ops units. And they were taken in twenty-four hours. So, they were--


ANDERSON: --a little gun-shy about possibly losing their executive at the bankruptcy court here in Madison for an undetermined amount of time. But he took it in stride. I had a deputy, who I just told, "You are now left to run everything. I'll be back."


ANDERSON: "I think I'll be back. I don't know when," because it was an open-ended mission. So, I literally was at Fort Benning, traveling through the Atlanta airport on a Thursday, when it was a ghost town, because they'd shut everything down. But there were a few of us going places, pilots and people like me who were--had special missions. And that was it in the Atlanta 01:30:00airport on a Thursday afternoon.


ANDERSON: So, yeah. So, I went to Fort Benning. I did there, again, run into, "Believe it or not, I'm a lieutenant colonel." Ran into couple people on the installation who didn't think they needed to salute female officers.

SPRAGUE: What? [Laughs]

ANDERSON: Yeah, it didn't go well for any of them. [Both laugh] I--because I was walking into the infantry training brigade. This--I think he was a E-7 [inaudible]. He looks at me. He sees me. He just cruises by. And I went, "Soldier, stop." And I said, "You don't ever not salute an officer." "Well, I didn't see--" I said, "No, I don't want to hear you talk right now, either." And so, I ripped him a new one. And then, I walk into the infantry training brigade headquarters. And I have an appointment to see the colonel, the O-6 in charge. Well, this NCO apparently came back in the building. And next thing he knows, I'm talking to his boss. So, he went to get me coffee. He was really 01:31:00nice all of a sudden. We [laughs]--but yeah, being at that time, even then, 2001, at Fort Benning, there were still people in our military who still didn't believe that I belonged. So, it's been an adventure.

SPRAGUE: And--huh.

ANDERSON: [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: That was with the 84th Division, or was it a different unit out of Wisconsin?

ANDERSON: That was the 84th Division, yeah. Out of Milwaukee, headquartered in Milwaukee, yeah, at that time.

SPRAGUE: You were the deputy G-3.

ANDERSON: I was a deputy G-3, yeah.

SPRAGUE: Well, I wouldn't want to be that E-7.

ANDERSON: And it was fun for me. It wasn't so much fun for him. He--I don't think he'd ever had anyone talk to him [laughs] like that before. Well, probably not since he was a private. But I just wasn't going to stand for it. Just decided that we're not playing this game today. I don't have time for this anymore in my career. [Laughs] Yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, you get down there. Tell me about what you had to do 01:32:00when you got there in that quick of a notice?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] Yeah, well, yeah. So, my job was just introduce myself to the--to know who would be our counterpart in the event we did come in--move into his building and his--he and his drill sergeants, who were all infantry officers and NCOs had to leave to go to the fight. That was--that's how it was laid out. So, my job was to go down there, see how they did business, find out if there were any resource constraints on us, provide any updates we needed to our training plan for our NCOs and our support personnel, check in with the emergency operation center that they had now stood up at Fort Benning to make sure that I did any necessary coordination with them for our unit's arrival, deal with what we used to call--can't remember now anymore, but the engineering folks on the installation, the housing folks on the installation, 01:33:00because we were going to be bringing down probably a brigade-sized element from our Reserve unit, along with myriad support personnel and overhead, headquarters overhead. And all that resourcing needed to be ready to go in the event we got the call.

So, I did that for about ten days, ran around Fort Benning with my hair on fire, making new friends along the way, as my boss would say. [Laughs] He said--because he knew there were times when people would act inappropriately--I had a major at the emergency operation center who starts openly flirting with me in front of his NCOs. Now, first of all, he's a major. I'm a lieutenant colonel. And that was never--that was a non-starter on a good day. And this is now a bad day that I was having, and I was tired. So, I took him aside and basically read him the Riot Act and said, "You don't need to continue down this path, [laughs] because you don't know who I know, and you don't know what'll happen to you if you keep this up. So, while you may think I'm attractive, this is the wrong time and place." [Laughs] So, it just--it was like many days in my career, 01:34:00I just had to figure out h--read people, figure out who I was, and then just be willing to assert it. And I didn't--as I got older, I just stopped caring if they didn't like me as my boss said about making new friends. I [laughs] just said, "I got to get this done. And you're an obstacle. And if I can't--find that I can't work with you--" and I told this major that, "Then I'll just suggest to your boss that he put somebody else in this job. End of story." So, it was--it was an adventure.

But we didn't--they eventually did not need us in the numbers that we thought. But I was happy that I was able to go down there, and plan for it, and get things ready in case that what happened.

SPRAGUE: That must've been a very memorable experience.

ANDERSON: It was, because I had been at Fort Benning. That's where I went to Airborne School. So, I was actually pretty familiar with Fort Benning. But I had--my experience had been as a student and as a first 01:35:00lieutenant. So, it's a different world.

SPRAGUE: So, what was your next assignment after that? And what happened next?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] After being the deputy G-3, [inaudible] the lieutenant colonel's job, I became the division G-1. Still a lieutenant colonel. And while I was in that job is when I got promoted to colonel, full colonel. And I did that for about eighteen more months. And then, I applied to be a brigade commander. And that's where I ended up, with the brigade command that was in Topeka, Kansas. So, I still lived in Wisconsin, but I was traveling for my drill weekends and other activities out west to Topeka, where my unit was headquartered, and to Oklahoma City, where our division headquarters was.

SPRAGUE: So, quickly, before we move into that, what brigade was that 01:36:00that you had command of?

ANDERSON: It was the 6th Brigade. Yeah, it was the 6th Brigade, 95th Division.

SPRAGUE: Sixth Brigade, did you say 95th?

ANDERSON: Ninety-Fifth Division, yes, 95th Division.



SPRAGUE: So, tell me a little bit about this, because I was an active-duty soldier. But I can't imagine, just because I'm not used to it, flying or driving to--

ANDERSON: [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: --my duty station. That would be hundreds of miles away for a weekend or--flesh that out for me, if you can--


SPRAGUE: --or how that worked.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and that's similar to my traveling when I was a major, and I was traveling from Boston to New Jersey. You did that out-of-pocket. So, I got very good at finding deals on the internet for low-cost flights. When I could, if I could swing it, I'd try to stay in military housing, if there was 01:37:00some located nearby. But you were often very low on the pecking order. You were even after retirees, if you're a reservist, to get a room on a military installation. And so, I just got really good at trying to find deals. I'll willingly admit, if I actually went back and did the math, there were weekends when I was in the hole. And I later had a conversation with the Chief Army Reserve, Lieutenant General Stultz, many years later, who told me that he asked for the financial folks to give him some numbers. And he figured that in any given month, about 10,000 reservists under his command in the entire Army Reserve were negative. They were spending more money than they made to attend drills. And you don't get re--at that time, you didn't get reimbursed for it. I could write some of it off on my taxes. But I never really got the money back dollar-for-dollar.

SPRAGUE: Do you think that's--they were looking at --or you were 01:38:00looking at the retirement benefits maybe as a kind of reimbursement, maybe?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] Well, by then, I had passed--I could've retired already. Although, I couldn't have collected it that soon. I didn't really--I don't know. I think people who do that, we do it because we really love doing it. It sounds insane to other people that you pay someone to [laughs] do a job, literally. But I liked the people I worked with. I felt that we were really contributing to our national security in a really important way. We weren't just what they used to call us, "Weekend Warriors," playing at being a soldier, a sailor, an airman or marine. We really did matter, because after 9/11, and in the Iraq War, they really needed us. People don't know this. But at one point, General Casey, who was then the Chief of Staff of the Army, he told someone. He said, 01:39:00"Forty percent of my boots on the ground right now, in theater, are National Guardsmen and reservists." He said, "I could not do this mission without them."

SPRAGUE: And how--that relationship obviously changed. It shifted dramatically after 9/11 it sounds like.

ANDERSON: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. It did. It did. We were second-class citizens. They were rolling out the new M-4s for the active Army. And we were still waiting for them in the Reserve. And they got rid of the forty-five-caliber sidearm and went to 9mm. And we were still waiting for them in the Reserve. So, we were at the end of the resource chain, us and the Guard.

SPRAGUE: It sounds like, though, that eventually--maybe some of the 01:40:00Reserve members were able to get reimbursed for travel, maybe later, or not?

ANDERSON: Yes. I think, as a consequence of the contributions after 9/11, we got a lot more traction with members of Congress, and also I think our own Army leadership, DOD [Department of Defense] and Department of the Army leadership, realizing they had funding in the budget to cover some of this and to try to partially, at least, reimburse maybe junior NCOs for their mileage. Maybe not all the officers. And for your mileage or for your travel expenses, because some point, you--it just made sense. And again, I think the contributions we made just made people realize it wasn't such a big budget item to reimburse a few of us for our effort.

SPRAGUE: So, we were at the brigade command, 6th Brigade, 95th 01:41:00Division. Moving ahead, that puts us at what, about 2005, 2003, somewhere in there?

ANDERSON: Yeah, about 2005-ish, 2003, 2000--well, see, I finished--yeah, 2005, 2006, seven.

SPRAGUE: So, what happened after that, after you completed your command?

ANDERSON: Well, I was still in command. And the deputy commanding general for the 95th Division worked for a major logistics corporation. And he was also a logistics officer. And he was a one-star. And they decided they needed his skillset in theater. So, his name was General Thurgood. He was--they said, "We need him." So, they decided to just mobilize him. Well, that left my 01:42:00commanding general without a deputy. And he just couldn't run the division without a deputy. So, he called me and asked me to come over from my brigade command and step in and be the acting division--the deputy commander.

SPRAGUE: Wow, okay.

ANDERSON: So, I leapfrogged over a couple of people who were brigade commanders [laughs], a couple of people who I don't think ever got over that. But he knew that I knew--I understood the mission from--that the division did. I had done basic training. I had run that at all levels. And I understood the school's mission. And I understood mobilizing and training people. And so, he felt comfortable putting me in that position and giving me that oversight responsibility.

SPRAGUE: Who was the--you had mentioned it, I had a hard time hearing it--the general that got pulled?

ANDERSON: Thurgood was his last name.


SPRAGUE: Thoroughgood?

ANDERSON: Thurgood, T-H-U-R-G-O-O-D.

SPRAGUE: Oh, Thurgood. Sorry. Cool. So, tell me about that phone call, [laughs] about being pulled to be the deputy commander?

ANDERSON: The assistant--yeah, the assistant division commander, yeah. Yeah, because he had two. He had one for support, and he had one for operations.


ANDERSON: So, I ended up being ADCO [Assistant Division Commander, Operations]. And I actually--I had a Blackberry at the time. And I don't think I had looked at my Blackberry for twenty-four hours or something. I think I was going on strike sometimes. I just got tired of it going off. So, I didn't realize that General Archer had called me [laughs] twice and left me voicemails. And when I finally got the message, and he's like, "Is something wrong with your phone?" And I go, "No, sir. No, no." [Laughs] "Just, well I didn't look at my phone." So, he basically told me what had happened. I didn't know about General Thurgood. I had found out then. And he said, "You're the first person I thought of. Are you willing to do it?" And I said, "Well, of course. Yes, sir." And so, that was that. [Laughs] I was--I went on up to division 01:44:00headquarters and helped him spin a set up for mobilizing a good number of our folks, sending them overseas, spinning up our operations with regard to training, because some of the basic training requirements were spun up--spooled up--and [sighs] just helping him do his job.

SPRAGUE: Now, you were a full colonel at that time, or you had been promoted at that time?

ANDERSON: Oh, I was just a colonel. I was a colonel. So, I was sitting in a brigadier general's slot as a colonel. And I hadn't even been selected for promotion yet.


ANDERSON: I was applying for brigadier general. But I hadn't come out on anybody's list. So, that's--yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, tell me about becoming promotable as a colonel, and to 01:45:00become a one-star general. Tell me about that process.

ANDERSON: Well, once the list is re--the list is available, they give you a phone call. Now, you haven't seen the list. Someone calls you before the list is actually public. And so, it's a big deal. And I was back in Madison at my office here. And the phone rang. And I have caller ID, and I didn't recognize the number. But I--and I didn't have a secretary, so I answered the phone, okay. And it was a two-star general, who I knew. The three-star who was in charge of the Army Reserve was--I think he was out of the country. But he tasked somebody to call in his--he deputized somebody to call. And this person called me. And I was familiar with him. And I'd met him at a meeting a couple weeks before. But I was thinking--I was trying to remember if I had shot my mouth off and volunteered for something.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And--because I'm thinking, "Why is he calling me?" Right? 01:46:00It never occurs to me--because I don't know. Again, I don't know. And so, he says, "Well--" and so, he finally says, "Well, we're calling you because we just wanted to give you some good news. You're going to--your name's going to be going forward to be nominated to be a brigadier general." And I couldn't talk. [Laughs] I was speechless. And I remember stuttering. And finally, I just said, "You know what, sir?" I said, "Probably right now, you're probably reconsidering that decision because I can't talk." [Both laugh] And he said, "No, it happens to everybody. You just--you're not--" I said that was good to know and he laughed, too. He said, "You clearly weren't expecting this." I said, "Didn't think a snowball's chance in hell it was going to happen."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: I didn't. I threw my name in the hat because I felt obligated to do that, because I knew I had a good record. But I'm thinking, "These guys are going to look at it. 'She's not a combat arms officer--'" because overwhelmingly, people--combat arms are--and I was just a service support officer. I wasn't even a signal officer, which was the next level-- 01:47:00next step thing. And so, I didn't think I really would get it. Plus, I hadn't deployed, which was a big ticket at that point. So, this was 2008. And so, the war's being going on for about five or six years. And although I had tried, I still hadn't--I never got any--picked up for deployment. So, I was thinking, "They definitely don't want me." So, I was--that's why I was so shocked.

SPRAGUE: And that day was March [February] 15, 2008?

ANDERSON: That would be about right, I think.

SPRAGUE: That sound about right?

ANDERSON: Yeah, it's about right, yeah. Yeah.

SPRAGUE: So, what did you tell your spouse at that point, or partner? What was that--how that conversation go?

ANDERSON: Yeah, my--yeah, yeah, it was surreal. He was just as s--well, he acted like he wasn't surprised. So, I'm not sure if he really was or not. I don't know.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: Maybe I was harder--always harder on myself than anybody else was. But the one person that I was very excited to tell, and this is sad, 01:48:00because--I called my grandma. And she lived alone. But she was still living in her own home. And she was--and she had had a cold for a little--couple weeks, a week or two. And she--so I called her, and woke her up, and told her what had happened. And she said, "Oh, I'm so proud of you, baby," and, "That sounds really nice." And then, I left to go on a trip for the Army. And I was sitting in the airport in San Antonio, Texas, and got a phone call that they had gone to her house and found her unresponsive. So, my grandma passed away a few days after I found out I had been nominated for brigadier general. So, she never got to see my ceremony. I know she was proud of me. But that was a real hard phone call, when I got the call from my family. So--

SPRAGUE: Sorry to hear that.

ANDERSON: Yeah. But I know she was proud of me. So, yeah. Yeah.


SPRAGUE: Absolutely. Okay. Well, why don't we stop there for the day. And--


SPRAGUE: --we'll start another segment, if you're okay with that.

ANDERSON: Oh, we are, I am.

SPRAGUE: Okay. So, this ends segment two with General Marcia Anderson. We're going to stop, and we will start again on segment three. Thank you, Marcia.

ANDERSON: You're very welcome. Thank you.

[break in recording]

SPRAGUE: Okay, so this start segment three of the interview with General Marcia Anderson. And Marcia, how are you doing today?

ANDERSON: I am doing terrific.

SPRAGUE: Good. Good to hear. And so, we're going to go ahead and continue. And we had left off, Marcia, by talking about your experience and becoming a brigadier general. Could you tell us more about that?

ANDERSON: Well, after I told my grandmother, and, of course, the rest 01:50:00of my family, I was in a state of, "Well, what happens now?" because it wasn't something I truly, truly experienced--expected, I should say. And the experience was pretty surreal. I didn't know any people in my immediate--obviously--circle, other than a couple friends and mentors who were generals. But I'd never talk with them about what happens, how does this work, because I knew that the leap from colonel to general is--it's across a giant ice fissure. It's huge. And once you're on the other side, your life is changed. And expectations are markedly different. And there's lot of traps and pitfalls that you can--easily derail you.

And of course, I did not ever expect when I was a second lieutenant that I was going to be standing there in that position. So, there was a lot to process. It wasn't something that--I know I had a lot of colleagues who were 01:51:00working their entire lives for that goal. So, they already had plans. And I'm just sitting there, going, "Okay, now what do I do?" So, there was a lot of that. But of course, there was the importance of having the celebration, which I took really seriously. I wanted the community here in Madison, my friends and family, to be part of it, because I was acutely aware that Madison doesn't really have a history of super support for the military--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --given our experiences [laughs] in the--during the Vietnam War. So, I just wanted to put a mark down and say, "Look, you guys know me. You know who I am. You know me personally. I need you to change your perception of what the military is and the people in it are like." So, I consciously did this ceremony. I had--of course, I had a ceremony for my soldiers. At the time, I took over--taken over a unit in Arlington Heights, Illinois, which was affiliated with First Army West. And I'll talk a little bit more about that in a 01:52:00minute. But I had my swearing-in ceremony in the chamber, in the legislative chamber at the state capitol here in Wisconsin. I thought it was an appropriate setting. It offered great seating for people. And I wanted them to understand that this was a serious ceremony, and so we were going to do it in a very serious place.

SPRAGUE: So, what was--tell me a little bit about the pinning ceremony, if you would.

ANDERSON: The person who officiated was a mentor of mine, Brigadier General Robert Cocroft. He was deputy secretary of Wisconsin's Department of Veterans affairs at one point. He was CEO of Center for Veterans Issues, which was a--it's still a veterans' charity and organization in Milwaukee that 01:53:00provides housing and services for homeless veterans and other services. So, I had asked Bob to do both ceremonies, so he did, the one in Arlington Heights and the one here in Madison. And so, that ceremony involved--you obviously--there's--you get presented certain emblems that signify your new office. So, you obviously get pinned with your star.

I had my dad and my husband help with the ceremony, pinning me. I had a retired Air Force master sergeant friend of mine present me with my general officer flag, which is a red flag with a gold star in the center of it, which is flown whenever you're in certain buildings. And we do other things, ceremonial things. And then, I had my brother, who is retired from the Marine Corps, present me with my service weapon, which was a 9mm pistol. So, there's just 01:54:00different parts of the ceremony. And of course, there's speeches. And you just thank your family and friends for supporting you all these years, and certainly your family, your immediate family, your spouse, your children. It's just important to recognize their support of your efforts, because they've sacrificed along the way when you weren't around, because you were doing Army stuff. So, it was a great ceremony. I really, really enjoyed it.

SPRAGUE: And what was going through your mind during that ceremony?

ANDERSON: It was mixed feelings. I was actually privately terrified. [Both laugh] I was terrified of what was next. And as I mentioned, worrying about all these things that I needed to do. And I wanted to get it right, because I knew I was only the second African American woman in the Army Reserve to 01:55:00achieve the rank of brigadier general. That is--the Army Reserve had been around over 100 years by this time. And like really? So, I knew there'd be--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --lots of people watching everything I did. And lot of the people would have my best interests at heart, and a lot would not. So, I just thought--I was thinking about that. So, it was important that I set the stage with my ceremony and my remarks. And I don't think they were particularly noteworthy. But I did talk about the people, as I did when I got promoted to major general, I talked about the people who had come before me and made sacrifices, and whose dreams were deferred, who were not able, because of the time, to achieve their dreams, or even to achieve the rank, and even sometimes the military honors, that they deserved because of the color of their skin or their sex. And I wanted to make it clear that I was aware of that, acutely aware, and that I owed them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices 01:56:00and the things that they were not allowed to do. But the fact that they did the best they could, in their job and in their lives, paved the way for me and made me possible. So, I made sure I let people know that that was important, and we can never forget that.

SPRAGUE: And that was March 2008 [inaudible]?

ANDERSON: That's correct. Yeah.

SPRAGUE: [inaudible] March 15th?

ANDERSON: March 2008, yes.

SPRAGUE: Wow, okay. Very good. So, your first position as brigadier general was deputy commanding First Army West, does that sound right--


SPRAGUE: --or not?

ANDERSON: --I was--yes, I--that was my--I had--I was what they called dual-hatted. So, I had two hats, two jobs. I was deputy commanding general, First Army West, which is generally covered the western half of the United States, and conducted mobilization training for Reserve and National 01:57:00Guard members of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and even Coast Guard, for them to be prepared to deploy overseas, because at that point, we were in the midst of operations in Iraq. And so, my job was to assist the commanding general of First Army West with--that was Major General Mark Graham at the time. And our boss was Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, who I would love to talk about for hours. But I'll keep that brief.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And [laughs] then, so I--but I was the commanding general of the 85th Support Command, which was a subset of the First Army organization. But my role, I had I think it was six or eight brigades that, while they were run by active-duty colonels, they were filled mostly with Reserve soldiers 01:58:00and a mixture of active-duty soldiers. So, my job was to support the Reserve soldiers who were in the those active-duty formations, because unfortunately, the Army had not merged our personnel systems, our financial systems, you name it. And so, they needed people like my unit, which was a support unit, and it had a lot of people whose jobs were to manage all that stuff, for those Reserve soldiers.

SPRAGUE: Now, during this time, were you still in reserve status, or were you on active-duty?

ANDERSON: I was--it was a mixture of reserve and active. Sometimes, I had to put myself on active duty, I could do that, put myself on [laughs] active-duty orders to do certain things when I had to travel out West to our headquarters. First Army West headquarters were at Fort Carson, Colorado. So, I'd have to go out there for stretches of time and work with General Graham. And I 01:59:00had to go to Atlanta, where General Honoré was. That was a First Army--our First Army's headquarters was at Fort Gillem, which no longer exists, like a lot of things. So, I'd have to go out and visit him. And then, I'd also have to travel around to the different mobilization sites that we covered in First Army West. So, we had--then it was called Fort Lewis, Fort Sill, Fort Hood, obviously Fort Carson. One is escaping me. But we had a lot of mobilization locations where soldiers were training, as I said, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coasties were all training. And it was a pretty big operation, because we had a lot of reservists going overseas at that time for--to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

SPRAGUE: So, to my ears, this--you've got a lot. It's a staggering 02:00:00amount going on. You probably--I'm sure you had a staff, somebody, some--tell me about that, or your support group, or your immediate support group.

ANDERSON: Yeah, I had a terrific staff that was headquartered in Arlington Heights. Surprisingly, with all the people we were trying to manage, I think I only had 130 people in my headquarters. And I had a mixture of active-duty, reservists. I had, of course, Department of the Army civilians full-time. So, we had a mixture of full and part-time people running the show. I had a Chief of Staff, basically I had a general staff. I had a G-1, three, four, six, eight. So, all of those, for those people who are listening to this who are not in the military, G-1 is personnel, G-3 is operations and training, G-4 is logistics. G-6, at that ti-- well, it still is responsible for communications and 02:01:00IT. G-8 is your budget and controller.

And then, of course, I had various other--I had my own JAG [Judge Advocate General]. I had someone who d--I had an inspector general. So, I had a full staff for all functional areas because we had a lot going on. I had a chaplain and a chaplain's assistant to minister to all of our personnel. So, there was a lot going on. I had the same kind of requirements that you would for an active-duty command, in terms of making sure my folks were trained. They had to have their--they had to get their schooling done. They had to get their medical stuff, keep their medical stuff up to date. So--and we had our share of issues with injured soldiers, or soldiers who'd come back from deployment. So, there was just a lot going on. And I was still juggling my full-time civilian job with all of this.

SPRAGUE: Wow. How-- what are some quick techniques that you used to be 02:02:00able to manage all--to handle this amount of--all these things going on?

ANDERSON: One of the things I tried to do, Luke, when I was even a younger commander, was look at my staff, figure out what their strengths were, and fully empower them to do their jobs. I could not be everywhere. I could not do everything. And so, I tried to assemble people that I could trust, that I knew were smart. And I didn't care if you were an NCO or an officer. I have NCOs who know that I would say, "Really? You--that's a good idea. Why don't you--[inaudible] plan that and carry that out." And I would just let them run with it, because I just am a firm believer that you just--you got to give people an opportunity. And the good thing about the Reserves is--here's a great example. The first sergeant for our HHC [Headquarters and Headquarters Company] in Arlington Heights when we had a HHC in my building, so I had a 02:03:00company commander who did all that, took care of all the training for everybody. And the first sergeant was working on his PhD in organizational design.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: And so, I just went--because [inaudible] about everybody. And I said, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute, stop. Tell me that again." And then he--I said, "What's your dissertation on?" And he summarized it. So, I said, "You know what? [Laughs] We need to do [laughs]--we need to do a reorganization for this headquarters, in terms of some functions and things. I'm going to put you on the team, and you're going to be an integral part of the team reporting to the chief of staff to make that happen." And he looked at me like, "What?" I said, "Well, that's what your PhD's going to be in." The guy was terrific. So, I was like, "Why wouldn't I put him on the team?" Yes, he was an E-8. And some people wanted to question it and tell me, "Well, you got majors." But I said, "Yeah, who can't find the front door with both hands."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: So, I'm putting the master sergeant in charge of it. [Laughs] I--seriously, I had majors who would send me draft documents. And I'd 02:04:00send it back to them bleeding red. And he'd send me something. And, of course, he knew how to write. [Laughs] Okay. So, I--that's how I manage, is I just found people's strengths, empowered them to do the job, supported them, gave them the resources. And if they--and I'd tell them, "If somebody's trying to roadblock you or sharpshoot you, you let me know. And I'll fix that." And I also had a great command sergeant major, who--he and I are friends to this day. Last year, he and--I took him and his son up at Lambeau Field to--he's a Detroit Lions fan, unfortunately--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs] Oh, no.

ANDERSON: --and took him to a game. We're still good friends, because he and I became close battle buddies. We were sympatico in the way we thought about taking care of soldiers, and sailors, and airmen, and Marines. And he was just as much of a fighter as I was. Somebody was mistreating a service member, a junior service member, he and I were not going to stand for that. One story, we had an operation where we had an exercise that I confined everybody 02:05:00to our building to simulate real conditions. Some of the other subordinate commanders had come in for--and we were having this exercise--training exercise. And I restricted people coming and going off our compound, because the place--the command--our command covered, oh, about a couple square blocks in Arlington Heights--was an old Nike missile silo location. It was old Nike missile site. So, it was pretty big.

So, I had people on the--there was an MP [Military Police] unit, and I had them in charge of access control at the gate. And a colonel decided to leave--lieutenant colonel decided to leave without a pass--proper pass. And he chewed out this E-3 who tried to follow orders and stop him. Ripped him a new one because the kid was doing his job. Well, it got back--word got back to me and the command sergeant major. And I counseled the colonel--[laughs] I gave the lieutenant colonel a counseling statement. And then, I made him go with my command sergeant major and apologize to the E-3 [laughs]--



ANDERSON: --because I said, "That young man was doing his job. You d--you were wrong. He was right. And you need to apologize to him." And he did. He hated me after that, but hey, it was the right thing to do.

SPRAGUE: Do you--would you be willing to share that command sergeant major's name?

ANDERSON: Oh, I'm sorry, yes. His name is Sergeant Major Paul Bianco. And he later went with me to the Pentagon. I called him up a few years later and said, "I need somebody to cover my back at the Pentagon." He was all in. He was great.

SPRAGUE: Tell me about--just as a sidebar--writing your own orders to put yourself on active duty?

ANDERSON: Well, basically I would--I could authorize myself, in a sense. I guess it's weird to say that. It still went through the normal process. And there had to be funding for it. And so, of course, I would do a--follow the rules of the--with a G-8. But that was pretty much basically what I did. Yeah.


SPRAGUE: It just sounds really interesting, in a good way--from a former veteran's standpoint--to be able to do that. That could be very useful and helpful to do exactly what you were doing, yeah.

ANDERSON: If you are judicious in your use of it. I will be honest and say I know people who I think overdid the amount of time they were on orders. I would try to maximize the time and minimize it to the point that I would deliberately give myself less time than maybe I should have to do certain things, because I just didn't want to--putting a general on orders is expensive. So, I was acutely aware of that. And I tried to keep it to a minimum, and only to do it as necessary.

SPRAGUE: Tell me about General Honoré.

ANDERSON: [Sighs] Lieutenant General Honoré is I think, one of the most amazing leaders we had at some pretty pivotal times in our history. He was 02:08:00sent in to assist the leadership in Louisiana after Katrina and Rita hit. After there were some challenges with the FEMA operation, he went in. He's famous, I guess, if people go back and look at the news on this. There was--the 82nd Airborne was rolling into New Orleans, and he was standing in the middle of the street. I don't know, I can just--I still see it. And he commanded them to put their weapons up, stop pointing them at people, and put them on safe. "You're--this is--you're not coming in to occupy the city. You're coming here to help these citizens." And he was pretty angry about that. But he worked really well with the Coast Guard admiral, who was part of that team that got things going and got the operation moving to help the people there recover from those hurricanes. And he was very colorful. But he was the commanding general at the same time of First Army.


I didn't work for him during Hurricane Rita and Katrina. General Mark Graham, the person I worked with in First Army West, did. And he just--he got things done. He cared about people. He was pretty fiery when it came to soldiers. He used to make my Blackberry light up at two in the morning, [both laugh] because he was hot about something, and some soldier had told him something. And he was going to chew us all out, but--because his heart was in the right place. And when I went to meet him, just as a meet-and-greet at his headquarters in Fort Gillem, I'll never forget. I was sitting at his conference table. And he was finishing up a phone call. And a lot of conference tables--and I don't know if it's a thing now--but have a glass top.

And usually, there's just--the glass top is just protecting the wood surface. But under the glass top of his table were all these notes and cards. 02:10:00And I started reading them. And they were from the parents and families of service members, reservists and guardsmen, who had been either wounded or killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan, thanking him for what--his efforts to train them or his efforts to keep them safe. And he told me that that--he kept that as a reminder of how the real--the people part of his job, and the real people behind all the numbers. And, that really w--that stuck with me. And that's something I think about quite often.

SPRAGUE: And for the record, could you help me out with the spelling of his last name?

ANDERSON: Yeah, he's a--I guess he has Cajun roots. [Laughs] He's from Louisiana. So, Honoré is H-O-N-O-R-E and I think there's an accent on the E.

SPRAGUE: Honoré, got it. Okay, thank you. So, '08, '09, how did 02:11:00President Obama's election affect you?

ANDERSON: Well, I cried through the entire inauguration. [Laughs] it was--and I cried on election night. It was really powerful for me to see someone who looked like me. And I just--I had a lot of positive feelings about that moment for our country. I was really very hopeful. I thought he had a wonderful team that he had put together to support him. And it just felt good. It just felt like we were in a good place, and that even though we were still in the midst of a war, that administration and the people that worked for him were going to do their best to the do the right thing.


SPRAGUE: And did you see--what did the intersection of President Obama's election and the next day in the military? What--did you notice anything different? What was your experience?

ANDERSON: Well, it just so happened that I had to travel the day after the election. So, I was traveling out to Fort Carson. And because I had a meeting pretty much as soon as I hit the ground, I was traveling in my duty uniform, my camo--people call it your camouflage uniform, but anyway. And so, I was walking through the Madison airport, and in particular, the Denver airport. And I just remember that it was like people went out of their way to catch my eye and smile at me. It was just [laughs]--and that happened in uniform before, but a lot of people were carrying the newspaper that had the headline on it, "Historic moment, blah, blah, blah."

And I just felt like, "Okay, there's this thing happening right now. 02:13:00People are really--it's just like people were trying to let me know, 'Yeah, that--this is great.'" They didn't say anything. Some people did say something to me--but it just felt really good. And I was just excited.

SPRAGUE: Any other experiences like that that you'd be willing to share?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] Well, I think--I know that a lot of my soldiers were excited. They were--first, they were excited to see me. But--and so, that--I think that novelty had worn off by then. [Laughs] But I think they were--they were--they felt pretty hopeful. And I don't think they necessarily thought it was going to make some massive change in the way the Army was run, or the way the war was run. I think they just felt like there'd be a different perspective in the White House and in the administration on how to do things, and that it was 02:14:00more about diversity of thought--that there's more than one way to skin the cat--and that people would be willing to entertain those kinds of opinions. And that would benefit our Army, and that would ultimately benefit the way we did things to handle our domestic and our international policy.

SPRAGUE: Okay. Moving onto '09, can you tell me a little bit about the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education. What's that about?

ANDERSON: Well, yeah, that's an opportunity for you, in your military career, to work--get more exposure to other services, because we spend so much time in our own service. We learn that lingo. We learn how we operate and do business. But the fact of the matter is in the middle of an operation like Iraq or Afghanistan, you're working with all the services. So, once you get 02:15:00towards the senior levels, you don't understand how they talk, how they think and act strategically and tactically. If you don't get to know the players at those levels--because you're going to be working together and making decisions together--you can really--we found, I guess, many--early in the--when you're [inaudible] that early in the career, or at least early in the history of our country, it can cause lots of unnecessary rivalries, as opposed to collaboration.

So, this really teaches you--you meet your colleagues, who you may run into at the senior level later on. But most of all, you learn about how those other services work as professionals. And I gained a lot of respect, particularly for the people in the Navy, because one, I don't swim very well. And so--I--the whole thing about getting on this thing and going across the ocean to me is pretty crazy. But submarine warfare and submarines and all that stuff--and then just their operations on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier are 02:16:00fascinating. So, just really is an opportunity for you to learn how to work with the other services.

SPRAGUE: Any memorable experiences during that course?

ANDERSON: Oh, getting to tour an aircraft carrier. [Both laugh] That was--I just--those were just amazing. I think everybody should get a chance to be on an aircraft carrier. It's the--I couldn't do it. And so, I got to ride the aircraft elevator, the one that they bring the jets up on from below deck. Those things are really fast. [Laughs] And to go up on the bridge and see what the captain sees--who's basically the equivalent of a colonel in the Army. I did, however, make a slight faux pas, because of being me. There was this chair sitting there. And this was the chair that could see everything. And it had a big--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]


ANDERSON: --eagle on the back of it. I know--[inaudible]. And so, this is a Saturday. So, there's no--it's not a full--they were in port. So, they weren't going anywhere. And so, there are just a few sailors there to explain stuff to us. And had some young sailors explaining things and they did great. Their junior sailors are just like our junior NCOs, just really super smart and sharp. And then, there's a lag in the conversation. And I walk over, and I sit down in the chair. Oh, my goodness. You should have seen people's faces--blood drains out of their faces. They're all staring at me. And this is a nice chair. [Both laugh] Because it was exclusively the captain's chair. And apparently, nobody is ever supposed to sit in this chair but the captain.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: So, I'm just like, "Oh, oops." [Laughs] So, I didn't realize it was that sacred. And so, the nice chief petty officer said, "Ma'am, you need to get out of that chair." [Laughs] So, I did. [Both laugh] Leave it to the Army person to say, "Oh, it's a nice chair. Let me sit down right here." "No, 02:18:00no." [Both laugh] Oh, well. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: So, tell me about Governor Doyle and becoming involved with the Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Board.

ANDERSON: Yeah. I didn't personally know the governor prior to this time. I only saw-- had seen him on television. And--but General Cocroft had encouraged me to think about becoming a board member. He, having been the deputy secretary, knew the importance of that board in the operation of the department. At that time, the board selected and supervised--had oversight for the secretary. And so, they had an important role. They were made up--they tried to make the board as diverse as possible, different military eras as well as different services. And so--and I don't recall, but I know they hadn't had too many 02:19:00people of color on the board. So, I decided, "Well," looked at what they did. And I really cared about veterans and thought I could add something to the conversation, and particularly for women veterans. And so, I applied for and went through the confirmation process with the legislature and sat on the board for a couple years.

SPRAGUE: What can you tell me about--one of the things that came up was the board firing--John Scocos I believe is how it's pronounced.

ANDERSON: That's correct.

SPRAGUE: Would you be willing to talk about that at all?

ANDERSON: Yeah. John was in the Army. He was an armor officer and had done active duty as well as in the Reserve, and I think the Guard as well. 02:20:00So, he certainly had an understanding of the military. What happened, though, with his tenure as secretary was--and I have never registered with a party. So, I don't have a dog in any of those fights. I was there because I cared about veterans. But unfortunately, to my--in my sense and my experience was that some people view things through a partisan lens, even when they shouldn't, with regard to veterans. And I think that was part of John's approach to his job.

Since I was appointed, and several others were, by Governor Doyle, I think he saw adversaries rather than partners in trying to get things done for veterans. And there were some of his managers who were not managing things as well as we could've all liked. And part of the board's charge was to ensure that funds were expended properly, programs and services were provided for the 02:21:00greater Wisconsin veterans' community. And there were clashes on how to best get that done. Some were personal, some were professional.

But when it got down to it, there were services that weren't being provided for the folks at the veterans' home up in King. It was understaffed. We couldn't get satisfactory answers on things like that. Budgets were not watched as closely as one would like. So, we had an audit done, which did uncover some areas that needed improvement. And none of this was trying to be personal. We were trying to make the department responsive to all veterans and their needs. But it devolved into a--unfortunately, in public, it devolved into and was presented by John as something personal and political. And so, ultimately, I was 02:22:00at that time--later on in my service, I had become the vice chair. And the chair was out of the country for a time. But it had reached the point where the attorney general's office, at the behest of someone else after reviewing the audit, preemptively declared that nothing criminal had occurred with regard to $750,000 that was overspent in the budget.

Now, I am a member of the--I was, at the time, member of the federal government. And we have something called the Anti-Deficiency Act. And by law, someone like me, who was the Clerk of Court, it was a punishable offense by fines and all kinds of things if you overspent your budget. So, you were expected to be a good steward. And to me, when you spend three-quarters of a million dollars over your budget, you're not being a good steward. And the attempt to get--have a discussion and dialogue around that, like I said, turned into someone submitting it--not us--to the attorney general's to determine if anything criminal happened. We weren't trying to say it was criminal. We simply wanted 02:23:00good management and good stewardship.

And so, the report came out. But before he talked to any of us about it, it mysteriously got released by the AG [Attorney General]. And John was interviewed about it and made it seem as though the board was coming after him personally. And that was not it at all. So, it did get ugly at the end. It was unfortunate. And so, at that time, as I said, the board selected and could also terminate the secretary. So, ultimately, we had a vote. And we decided to terminate the secretary. And it didn't--of course, it got public since our meetings were public. And it--there was lots of press. And I was not trying to be in the press and talk about this at the time. And there's always going to be spins. And it got unfortunate. And later, we got sued. But that's how those things go, as I learned. And I don't take anything personally. I just hope that, going forward, our Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs focuses always on the 02:24:00needs of veterans, and puts personal feelings and everything else aside, and just does what's right.

SPRAGUE: So, moving on, tell me about being the deputy commanding general with the Army Human Resources Command.

ANDERSON: Ah, that was one of the best jobs I've ever had [laughs] in the Army. Other than being the company commander for a basic training company. First, it was a huge honor. It's a big job. The Army's Human Resources Command--and for people who, again, are not in the military, they're--human resources in the military is soup to nuts. It covers the recruiting processes. It 02:25:00covers retention of people. It takes care of your family. If you have to move, they're in charge of transfers and moving you to new duty assignments. They have programs that support your family members, particularly your family members who may have special needs or education or care needs.

We are there when people are injured, particularly in foreign areas of operation, and help the survivors with support. So, it's a huge operation that covers a lot. And also, people's education and professional careers and training is managed by the soldiers and civilians who work at that command. So, it's a pretty big operation. It's a global operation. It's twenty-four seven. And I got to be the deputy commanding general of that. And honestly, part of my job was to assist the commanding general with the support and management of the 02:26:00Reserve and Guard soldiers and their families, because there's different regulations and policies that apply to the Guard and Reserve. We've come together on a lot over time, but there were a lot of different quirks and things. And so, it was a pretty big job. And it was a lot of fun. And I only got to do it for a year. [Laughs] So, I was--

SPRAGUE: And you were--

ANDERSON: --bummed out about--[laughs]

SPRAGUE: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

ANDERSON: Yeah, it was only for a year. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: And you were on full-time active duty at that point, or both, or--

ANDERSON: Yes. Yes, I was on full-time active duty. I moved from Madison, Wisconsin to Fort Knox, Kentucky [laughs] and lived there full-time.

SPRAGUE: Yeah. One of the things that I've looked at--it looks like you replaced Major General William Razz Waff. What can you tell me about that?


ANDERSON: Oh, sure. Razz is a good friend of mine. And he's an Episcopalian priest. That's his actual job when he's not in the Reserve. And he also is a--he's an ethicist. It's hard to explain that. But he worked with hospitals, in terms of--as a chaplain, and dealt a lot with ethics and things like that. So, Razz is quite a character, too. But he and I followed each other around in the Army a little bit. But he has the same background I had as a personnel officer and was a real advocate for taking care of soldiers.

SPRAGUE: So, while you were at Fort Knox, the Human Resources Command moved from there to--moved there from DC. And then, the Armor School left. What 02:28:00struck you about--what was the biggest transition during that time?

ANDERSON: Well, the biggest part of the move for Human Resources Command--move from Alexandria Virginia--had happened before I got there. And they were still settling in, but a lot of it happened on General Waff's watch. And then, the Reserve parts had moved from St. Louis and Indianapolis. So, they had taken three locations and put them all in at Fort Knox. And so, they were still storming, forming, and norming as a consequence of that. And then--you're right--the Armor School moved from Fort Knox--was moving--in the process of finishing up and moving to Fort Benning. So, it was quite an exciting time. There was a lot of uncertainty in the community that surrounded Fort Knox, because obviously, you take a lot of soldiers out. And they've now lost a large--it has an economic impact on the towns that surround it.


So, it was--there was still a lot going on. Accessions Command, which no longer exists--Lieutenant General Freakley F-R-E-A-K-L-E-Y, Benjamin Freakley, was in charge of Accessions Command. And that also worked closely with us on Human Resources Command on, as I said, recruiting and personnel. And so, there was a lot going on, a lot of change. And they were trying to bring in different types of activities and units to Fort Knox to keep it viable, because you couldn't really just keep it viable with Human Resources Command and Accessions Command there. You needed some kind of a training base. And so, they brought in a support brigade, active-duty support brigade, that was about three or four thousand soldiers, I believe.

SPRAGUE: And for the public, can you tell what accessions does, 02:30:00Accessions Command?

ANDERSON: Accessions Command--


ANDERSON: --was responsible for--under that, at that time, was the recruiting function for the Army. So, all the Army's recruiters and the recruiting op--marketing, operations, budget--was managed out of Accessions Command. And that's a pretty big job. Just for an example, just in general attrition at that time, I think the number was about 60,000 soldiers a year would leave the Army. So, you're basically trying to, I'd say, recruit the equivalent of maybe Eau Claire, Wisconsin [laughs]--


ANDERSON: --or a city the size of Eau Claire, Wisconsin--


ANDERSON: --or a city of 60,000. So, you got to operate around the country and the world and find people who are interested in service. We know that there's a large percentage of people in our country who aren't able to serve because of physical issues. They're not educationally qualified, or they may 02:31:00have something else in their background that makes them unfit for service. And then, of course, we're competing with various corporations and businesses for that same pool of eligible kids. So, it's a pretty serious operation, because we're trying to get the best and the brightest. And we're competing against some pretty big hitters around the world.

SPRAGUE: Tell me about the continuum of service project for--with General Stultz, I believe it is.

ANDERSON: Yes. He was--General Stultz was amazing. He was a Chief Army Reserve at the time I became a general officer. And I served briefly under him when he was chief. I was later assigned to the Pentagon. And the continuum of service approach is to look at a servicemember's career as not culminating 02:32:00with your active-duty service. Consider your--if you decide to go on in the Reserve, that's--you're still serving as part of the Army. He was trying to create more of that real one-army concept that we always talked about. We talked a good game, but we never actually did it.

So, looking at this service continuum, and then following you as a reservist into your professional career, making sure that the military helped connect not just reservists with employers, but also active-duty servicemembers with employers to try to help people--take their resumes and see--look, just because--you say, "I was just a platoon sergeant." But you were responsible for forty people--their lives, the resources, their professional careers. You weren't just a platoon sergeant. So, you could be a supervisor in a 02:33:00warehouse. You could be a construction supervisor. You've already got the people skills. And so, to help servicemembers view themselves in a different light, and then learn how to present themselves to the civilian employers in a different way.

SPRAGUE: Was--so that was addressing that changing role of the Reserves and the Guards--


SPRAGUE: --post-9/11.

ANDERSON: Yep. And to also l--try to talk to employers about the fact that we have someone in the Guard or Reserve who's a workforce asset, they have access to medical care through this Tri-Care system. So, as an employer, you could save money by hiring a member of the Guard or Reserve. Yes, they might get mobilized and deployed, but you're not paying for their healthcare if they sign 02:34:00up for Tri-Care. Also, you may be able to capitalize on some of the professional training they get in the military. As a hospital system, you may have members of your staff who are members of the Reserve--where most of the medical assets are--who's required to do professional training. The military pays for a lot of that professional training. So, just to try to open employers' eyes to the fact that having a member of your organization who's in the Guard or Reserves is a plus, not a minus.

SPRAGUE: So, did the Human Resources Command move from Fort Knox? And then, you have here, "2011, Fort Bragg." Did they move, or is that something else?

ANDERSON: No, that's something else. Yeah, they're firmly ensconced at Fort Knox.

SPRAGUE: At Fort Knox, okay.

ANDERSON: [Laughs] They have a--in fact, the building that--the 02:35:00location of the building at Fort Knox, which was named after a general who was killed in the attack on the Pentagon, General Maude--Lieutenant General Maude, is on the same site--for those people who are fans of the movie Stripes--it's on the same location where the barracks were when they filmed the movie Stripes. [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: [Laughs] I remember that.

ANDERSON: [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Interesting. So, moving ahead, October 1, 2010. Tell me about that.

ANDERSON: Wow. Yeah, that's--I got promoted to Major General. Wait, 2011 or '10?

SPRAGUE: I have '10.

ANDERSON: 2010? Well, that's when I reported to Fort Knox.

SPRAGUE: So, when did you make Major General?


ANDERSON: October 2011.

SPRAGUE: Apologize for that. Okay.

ANDERSON: That's okay.

SPRAGUE: So, tell me about that day, October 1, 2011?

ANDERSON: Yes, well, I--when I found out that I had been promoted, and I got the phone call--and actually what happened was I was in a meeting with some community leaders, interestingly enough. Just back up a little bit. And the CG [Commanding General] Major General Gina Farrisee comes in. And she says--she just interrupts the meeting. And I look up, and I go, "What's going on?" thinking something really bad is happening.

SPRAGUE: Yeah [laughs].

ANDERSON: And [inaudible]. And she just stopped the meeting and tells everybody, "Just wanted to let you guys know that you're looking at the newest promotable--[inaudible] promoted to major general in the United States Army." And they were all happy and stuff. I did a lot of work with the local 02:37:00community, [laughs] so great folks. And he--so it was very exciting. And then, I had--he heard before I did. So then, I called my husband and told him. And then, I called my dad, who, as usual, had to go call everybody, [laughs] even though I said, "I just been nominated. It hasn't been completely confirmed yet."

But anyway, so fast-forward, everything's in place. I know I'm leaving. They want to have a--I need to have a ceremony. And Lieutenant General Freakley, who I had worked with, offered to host my ceremony. And I was really excited for him to do that. I knew it was going to be historic. I thought that was a good setting to do it in. And so, I had my ceremony in front of the entire command at--of Human Resources and Accession Command at Fort Knox.

And I guess, for some reason, I wasn't--I was so busy, I wasn't thinking about it till the morning, that the public affairs officer walked in about 02:38:00four hours before the ceremony and said, "Well, they want to talk to you, the Louisville, TV station's here, and da, da, da." I go, "What?" And she says, "And then, somebody else wants to talk to you from some other--" and I said, "Why?" She says, "You do realize that you're the first African American woman in the history of the Army to reach this rank?" And I went, "Get out of here," [laughs] because I did not know that. I just didn't even register. And so, it was--that made me re-write my speech--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --quite a bit. But it was really--that was even more--as I mentioned, making one-star was one thing, but this was even more. And a little bit overwhelming for a moment. I'm glad I had some time in my office to process that. So, it was a beautiful day. The weather cooperated. The one thing that didn't cooperate was General Freakley wanted them to do a twenty-one--a salute, an artillery salute. All three artillery pieces misfired. [Laughs]



ANDERSON: And I'm not a field artillery officer. But I heard a click, and then another click when they pu--and then a third click. And then, now you got live round in the tube. All of a sudden, a bunch of people who were field artillery officers start running towards the pieces. And they're like, "Well, that's not going to work." So, that was the only thing that didn't go well that day. But it was a beautiful day. My husband came. My dad and--I didn't--because of the distance and stuff, I didn't ask my dad to travel. Just didn't--I had a reception later in Madison. But he couldn't be there physically. But I did acknowledge, again, the people who had gone before me who had made this possible, and the importance of remembering your history. It was a beautiful day. I think I shook a thousand people's hands that day, because the 02:40:00receiving line was longer than I've ever seen a receiving line, because everybody just wanted to be part of that moment. And I was happy to be there with them and do that.

SPRAGUE: What advice do you have for other African American women in the military and--for their growth as a leader? Tell me, what do you have for that?

ANDERSON: And this is one of those questions of what would you do differently, if you could go back, I think, too. I didn't reach out as much as I should have to people who offered to help. And I think that's a trait you have, at some level, when you're a really driven person. Even though people do offer to help you--and I think the ones that do are genuine--we don't often avail ourselves of their assistance because we're just so--we're just so driven, and 02:41:00we're so determined. And in some ways, maybe we're embarrassed to ask for help. You can't be embar--you can't be embarrassed to ask for help if somebody offers it. You really need to take advantage of it.

I would also, perhaps, have been not so hard on myself--not so determined to be perfect, because that puts a lot of pressure on you that can manifest itself in unhealthy ways. And it's just not good for your mental or your physical health. So, I would tell people be aware of--if you have that personality trait--just to be self-aware to make sure you have a good self-care routine. And if you have a circle of people that you can trust, that you can talk to, and that you really know you can trust them, that's important to have people that you can 02:42:00vent to when you need to, without worrying that it's going to end up on social media. And then, of course, for younger people, I would say stay off social media. [Both laugh] Once you reach a certain level in your career, do not post anything on social media that sounds like an opinion. Post pictures of puppies and cats--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --and flowers and happy things. But do not engage in conversations or follow people who could say things that will come back to bite you later.

SPRAGUE: Okay. What can you tell me about CAPSTONE General and Flag Officer course in 2011?

ANDERSON: Yes. That's another good example of the military--the Army and other services wanting to bring together people from different branches at the senior level, knowing that at some point, we will be working together with 02:43:00each other, and this is a good way for us to get to know each other--but also, to expose us to a lot of senior-level experiences that, again, will help shape us as leaders. And so, it's several weeks long. I think it was six--I don't--six weeks or something, with quite a bit of--just work with the other services, familiarization at that senior level. Also, some travel overseas was part of it.

They brought our spouses in for a week to also expose them to some things that they needed to know at this higher professional level, and also for them to meet each other, because again, there's a circle that you end up being in. And you're going to run into each other a lot. And you can help each other out. So, it was a really good professional development course. And again, it's a 02:44:00recognition that the military service that you work with--or senior leaders you work with--are a part of all see your potential for leadership at the next higher level. And they're making sure they expose you to your peers.

SPRAGUE: So, moving ahead, tell me about your role as Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve.

ANDERSON: Yeah, that wasn't the job I wanted. [Both laugh] I actually was looking forward to and hoping to be Lieutenant General Freakley's deputy at Accessions Command at Fort Knox, because at that time, he had a two-star position. And I knew we would've made a great team working together. And he thought so, too, I think. However, the Army reorganized and eliminated Accessions Command. So, this is in the middle of them figuring out my 02:45:00next assignment. And so, the change was--the Chief Army Reserve decided I was going to be his deputy. [Laughs] So, I was like, "Oh, okay. That hadn't been on my wish list." Maybe later, because I still wanted to be involved with soldiers. I--that was what I really liked doing.

I wasn't--I didn't consider myself a bureaucrat. I knew I had the skillset for it, but it wasn't at the top of my list of things to do. So, yeah, so I ended up at the Pentagon as the DCAR [Deputy Chief Army Reserve], or Deputy Chief Army Reserve. You--it's like anything else. You are the stand-in for the boss, the chief. When they're out of the country or have a conflict, I attended meetings as the representative of the Army Reserve at the Pentagon. So, it could be anything. It could be something that required me to go into a SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility], which is the secret compartmented information facility, basically. For people who think about spy 02:46:00movies and stuff, it's a secret--a place where you can't take your phone. And it's very safe from spying.

So, anyway--and so, sometimes I went to meetings like that on operational stuff. But I did a little bit of everything. And then, I was in meetings that dealt--that required some member of the Guard or Reserve there for--because it covered personnel. I regularly attended the Chief of Staff of the Army's staff meetings as the representative of Army Reserve. At that time, the Chief of Staff for the Army was General Ray Ordierno. So--and I worked with my Army Guard counterpart.

At one point, because of a vacancy in the Assistant Secretary of the Army's Office for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, I was put in as an acting 02:47:00deputy--acting secretary for training and mobilization and readiness. So, I was detailed, as they say in the military, from my job as DCAR [Deputy Chief Army Reserve] temporarily to that office to fill in until they could find a civilian to come back and take that position. They didn't want to leave it vacant. And so, the equivalent for me--was me, a two-star was equivalent to the senior civilian who would normally sit in that position. So, I did that for a little while. So, I did a couple of things while I was in the Pentagon in addition to being Deputy Chief.

SPRAGUE: So, as DCAR [Deputy Chief Army Reserve], you shared a building with a Force Comm four-star--


SPRAGUE: --maybe--no?

ANDERSON: Nope, nope. The way that worked is that they have--the Army Reserve--the Chief of the Army Reserve has two hats, commanding 02:48:00general Army Reserve, and then Chief Army Reserve. The commanding general piece, yes, there's an operation--part of our operation for the Army Reserve is located in Forces Command, at the headquarters there at Fort Bragg. And so, the CAR [Chief Army Reserve] has an office there. I didn't have an actual office there. I could go down there sometimes if I wanted to, but I didn't need to go down at all--well, most of the time. But the main operations were either Pentagon, for the Chief Army Reserve--that side of his job--his or her job.

SPRAGUE: What were some of the challenges between those two components, the Reserve and active duty, that you encountered at that level?

ANDERSON: Well, we were further along, in terms of seeing each other as teammates, as opposed to the red-haired stepchild, the Army Reserve. [Both laugh] My grandma used to say that, but I never quite understood what 02:49:00that meant. But I did feel that way sometimes. But we were much--it was much more because there was a clear recognition that you couldn't do the job that the Army was doing in theater--in Iraq and Afghanistan--without Army Reserve and Guard soldiers. It was more--we were more a member of the team.

Now, there were times when you had to fight to be heard. And sometimes, they would talk about policies and still not have a sense that you can't implement this policy without recognizing the impact on the Guard and Reserve, because yes, you've got a lot of them on active duty. But we're not a full-time force. So, your policies can't just be geared towards the full-time force. So, there was that cons--there was that constant tension. And of course, just like anything else at the Pentagon, everybody's fighting for money out of this limited pie. So, if you're all trying to fight for the resources you need to do--you think you need to do your job, or you do need to do your 02:50:00job. So, there was that tension as well, trying to make sure you did not get short-changed when it came to funds for training, funds for equipping, and funds for manning. So, there was a lot of that. [Laughs]

I learned a lot about how to navigate a bureaucracy. I learned that relationships--I knew that already, but relationships are super important. So, even though you may have a good argument, if the people in the room think you're--they don't like you, [laughs] and along the way, you burned some bridges, you could have the best idea since sliced bread, and it's going to get killed. So, I learned to work on relationships, to cultivate those relationships, so that when I needed something, I could turn to these people before a meeting and say, "Hey, I need your support on this in this meeting." And I also learned that trick. You don't just go into a meeting and 02:51:00start having an argument. You need to develop and lay the groundwork before you ever walk in the room. And that's where the relationship piece comes in, and the trust. And so, I tried to do a lot of that while I was there. And it definitely kept me busy.

SPRAGUE: And who was the chief at that time, if you were deputy?

ANDERSON: General Stultz was leaving, and General Talley, Jeff Talley, was coming in.

SPRAGUE: And had you known General Talley from before--earlier in your career or not?

ANDERSON: I had not known him personally. I knew him by reputation. And he had a very good reputation. And he's an engineer, a very intense, cerebral and thoughtful guy, very energetic. And I loved working with him.

SPRAGUE: So, you were there until 2013, roughly? Does that sound about--


ANDERSON: Fourteen.

SPRAGUE: Fourteen. Okay. And in '14, you return to Madison?

ANDERSON: I did, in July of 2014.

SPRAGUE: And tell me a little bit about that.

ANDERSON: It was nice to come back home. [Laughs] And I had pretty much made a decision, at that point, that I was--I'd given my--I said, "I've given my fair share to the military and to the country, in terms of being full-time." And so, I wasn't looking for another full-time position. I was happy to come back to the United States Courts, and my court family, and my family-family. And I did have a conversation with General Talley. And he was happy to offer me a second two-star position. But I didn't want one. And I know people thought 02:53:00that was crazy, because I could've had a command. But I know--and I'm not saying this to brag--I had done a really good job as his deputy chief. And I'd done a good job when I was in Fort Knox. So, I was doing good work. I was doing well. But I just was tired. [Laughs] As I like to say to people, "I went to the Pentagon, I was 6'5". And when they got done with me, I was 5'6"."

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: They just beat me into submission. [Both laugh] So, I was tired. And I was ready to--just okay, I'm done. [Laughs] And I also told him--I said, "Sir, there's another officer out there--another two-star who would really like to have a command. And it would be really important to them. To me, it would be--I would be happy. I could do it. I would do my best job for you. But I really don't need it. I'm happy with this being my culminating assignment." So, he said, "Okay." [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: Do you ever-- you ever think back on that and maybe regret 02:54:00that a little, or you're ha--that was--you feel good about that today?

ANDERSON: I feel good about that. That was right for me. I--it wasn't even a--I told him--I said, "I don't need to have, 'And she was commanding general' on my tombstone. I don't need that." [Laughs] I didn't need it. And like I said, there were a lot of other people who were really--that was their life's ambition. It wasn't mine. So, I always tried to be that aware about myself. And I felt there was some things I wanted to do back at the courts that I--because I was thinking about retiring. And I knew there were some things that I needed a couple years to get in place. So, it was time to come back home and devote my energy to doing that job.

SPRAGUE: So, what was it like, retiring from the military, as an experience?

ANDERSON: Well, I sat in a-- I don't know if you want to call a 02:55:00holding pattern for about two years, just because I wasn't quite ready to totally hang it up. And I felt that, as I looked around, I knew there might be an opportunity for me to come back and do some special projects. So, I wanted to be available for that. It didn't turn out. But I did let him know I was available, should something--a need arise. So, that I did. So, I really didn't come to the final-final phase of it until 2016, when I said, "Okay, it's--I'm good. Ready to go." And it was anti--it was an anticlimax, really, because I'd already been in that place. And I'd already looked at my paperwork and pulled most of it together. So, there wasn't a lot to do there. And I was well-aware of the benefits and how it all worked. So, it was really an anticlimax.

And my husband is the one who really wanted to have the retirement ceremony and celebration. And I was like, "Eh, okay, fine." But I'd forgotten that 02:56:00it really is an important way--it is important to mark your retirement. So, I did end up having something for family and court--my court family at the courthouse here in Madison, because they were such an integral part of me being able to do--to be on leave and for the court to continue running while I was absent. And I wanted them to see what our retirement ceremonies look like. And--because there's a lot of stuff that you get. You get a certificate for your spouse, for their service. You get a final retirement award. You get your retirement certificate. And to be honest, I chose to retire then because I knew my retirement certificate would have President Obama's name on it. [Both laugh] So, I just said, "Yeah, you know what?" [Laughs] "I'm going to go now." [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: So, did you continue the--any relationships ongoing with 02:57:00people you served with?

ANDERSON: Well, as I mentioned, Sergeant Major Bianco and I still stay in touch. Colonel Larry Waldhart, who was my chief of staff when I was at the--in char--the commanding general for the 85th in Arlington Heights. He and I stay in touch, and have had--we get together. There's some retired general officers that I stay in touch with, including General Waff and a couple of others. We'd stay up--just communicate on email or by phone. And even further back--I recently lost a Master Sergeant who had worked for me when I was a major. She passed away. And I stayed in touch with her, Mabel--Mabel Holmes, Master Sergeant Mabel Holmes, who also came to my wedding.

So yeah, it's a--those are relationships that you just keep for--it's hard to explain, because we all come from such different lives. And even, as 02:58:00I just mentioned, we may have different ranks, but you form friendships in that time. You learn to trust these folks. You've been through some crazy stuff with them, experiences that it's hard to explain to people. And I know people have said, "Well, it's like being in a sorority or fraternity." And I go, "Not." [Laughs] It's not like that. It's even more intense than that. And not to disparage anybody who's a member of a sorority or a fraternity. I don't want to have anybody listening to get mad at me.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: But--[laughs] please don't. But it's just a different bond that you build. And then, I've even kept in touch with people I met who were in another service, like in the Coast Guard or the Air Force. It's just hard to explain.

SPRAGUE: So, for the historical record, could you maybe help me with the spelling on Command Sergeant Major Bianca's family name or surname?

ANDERSON: Sure. Surname is spelled B as in Bravo, I-A-N-C-O.


SPRAGUE: Bianco, got it.

ANDERSON: Mm-hm, yes.

SPRAGUE: And how about Lieutant Colonel Waldhart?

ANDERSON: Waldhart is W-A-L-D-H-A-R-T.

SPRAGUE: Got it. Thank you. I'd like to take a quick break--and we will start up in--with the last segment of the interview. So, we're going to pause here. This ends segment three.

[break in recording]

SPRAGUE: This is Luke Sprague with the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. And this General Marcia Anderson. This will be segment four of her interview. Again, this is segment four with Marcia--General Marcia Anderson. So, Marcia, if you could, tell me about receiving the James Earl Rudder medal?

ANDERSON: Yes. The Association of the United States Army, AUSA 03:00:00[Association of the United States Army] for short, is an organization that promotes the Army in ways that the Army can't promote itself, I guess is the best way to say that. It's able to lobby members of Congress to support the Army, in terms of resources, programs, policies, funding, you name it. And so, they have an annual--couple--they have an annual and a semiannual meeting. And the Rudder Award, it's a big deal. It recognizes your service to the Army, your efforts to--at least in my instance--to work across all parts--components of the Army, so my efforts to try to work collaboratively with the active component, as well as the National Guard, to find ways for us to coexist and to 03:01:00add to the diversity of thought in our--the way we did business. So, it was an honor.

I think I was the first woman to get that award, even. And it's presented at the annual meeting of the association, which was normally held in the fall in Washington DC. And this was a really--I was surprised when I was nominated for it. And actually, one of the former recipients was Lieutenant General Stultz, my old boss, several years ago for his efforts to do something similar. And so, I joined a really august group of people as a recipient of that award.

SPRAGUE: So, your experience being--both as a reservist, and then as 03:02:00an active-duty soldier, what--do you think that distinction still holds, or is that going away, in terms of you have a pure active-duty soldier, versus a reservist? W--

ANDERSON: [Sighs] I think--yeah. I think you're spot on with the question, because prior to nine-eleven and our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was a lot of this us and them mentality. And as I said, the Guard and Reserve are viewed as not real soldiers, part-timers--often people would accuse us of playing at being a soldier. But we also were sometimes--often times, I should say--under-resourced. And--but after the war started, and their 03:03:00recognition in the active Army that one, they didn't have enough people to cycle in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. You simply couldn't overwork the Force like that. But two, there were specialties and talents resident in the Guard and Reserve that weren't--that didn't exist in large enough quantities in the active Army.

And so, that brought us closer together, made us--it was a necessary evil to work together and to utilize each other. But I think as we've drawn down the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, they've reduced the footprint and the involvement of the Guard and Reserve soldiers with these specialties--and the need for us--that we started to drift away again from being--seeing ourselves as one force, and have gone back into our different camps and tribes a little bit. So, while it was chaotic and crazy at the height of the operations in 03:04:00Iraq, it got--it brought us closer together. We were compelled to work together and to recognize each other's talents more. And we had to integrate more people--because again, they were running out of the ability to function effectively in lots of ways.

So, they were plugging Guard and Reserve people into roles in the Pentagon, and the Army, and all kinds of other places across the other forces that they hadn't done, because they just avoided it. They could avoid it. And so, I think that with the drawdown, we're seeing less and less of each other in the environment. And I don't think that's good for us. It'll take leadership who actively reminds the force that we're one force and actively find ways to integrate 03:05:00Guard and Reserve members into the active-duty operation, so that we continue to see each other as one team.

SPRAGUE: What were some of the obstacles that you encountered in your career? You've mentioned some of them, what ones stand out in your mind?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] I guess, for me, because I didn't have any real reference points in my family for this kind of experience--and as I may have said earlier, I didn't have the playbook [laughs]--I had to feel my way along and follow my instincts in a lot of ways. I was lucky that I had pretty good instincts. And since, as a--when I was younger, I tended not to be the person who talked the most in the room, which you wouldn't know from this interview. [Both laugh] But I would sit back and watch and observe people, and try to read 03:06:00what was going on and figure out when I needed to interject myself.

So, I had a lot of experiences where I would not be the most popular person in the room. But I would wait until the right moment to speak up. Occasionally, that would be interpreted as me being scared, [laughs] which I don't know if that's a gender thing. I don't know what it is. But the military culture sometimes is everybody's got to be in there, talking. And I wasn't--that wasn't part of my personality, so I didn't buy into it. But you're still in that culture. So, people observe you and think, "Well, either she doesn't know what she's doing, or she's scared. Blah, blah, blah." And I'm like, "No, that's not what it was."

So, I sometimes had to disabuse people of the notion or the belief that because I was not always the most chatty person in the meeting, or shooting my mouth off, that I didn't get this, or I wasn't good at this profession. So, 03:07:00I sometimes had to fight that perception. And also, occasionally, had to fight the--here's the thing where I'm in the meeting, and I say something. And then, five minutes later, Charlie says it, and it's the best idea they've ever heard. And I just said it. [Laughs] I just didn't say it the way Charlie did. So, that happened early on in my career. Didn't happen so much later on. But it was a phenomenon, and I think it's something that continues to this day for women for a variety of reasons. There's not enough of us in the room or whatever. And then, the occasional person--again, this happened earlier in my career--who made it clear they didn't feel that I belonged, and indeed, they felt I was taking up space that a man deserved. So--and some of it was blatant, some of it was subtle. But it was definitely there.


SPRAGUE: If you could encapsulate your leadership philosophy in one paragraph, what would it be?

ANDERSON: Is this a short or a long paragraph, Luke? [Laughs]

SPRAGUE: It's a long--let's go with the long one, Marcia.

ANDERSON: Well, I c--you know what's going to happen. I'd say my leadership style is inclusive. I try to listen more than talk. I believe in empowering the people who work for you. I also believe in mentoring them as much as possible, making sure that they have as many opportunities to excel as I can possibly give them, and also recognizing that good things come in different packages. And all of us had biases, unconscious biases.


And I tried, myself having been a victim of some of that, I tried very hard to work on overcoming those biases when I worked with people, when I selected people for positions, when I selected people for projects or different assignments. I think it's important to be aware that we all have those, and to work really hard to defeat those. Otherwise, you're not going to surround yourself with the best possible team. You're going to gravitate towards people who look and think and act like you, and what you're going to miss out on is variety and diversity of thought.

SPRAGUE: If you could pick a couple mentors from the military and the 03:10:00civilian world, who would they be, and what did they teach you?

ANDERSON: The first one would be Brigadier General--retired and now deceased--Robert Cocroft. He was a strong and caring leader. He could be very blunt, [laughs] as people who know him will say. But he had a good heart and a very strong work ethic. So, that's what I learned from him. And also, not to sell myself short. I think he saw, early on, in me, things that I didn't see, and was working quietly behind the scenes to get me in places where I'd have an opportunity to demonstrate my talents. And for that, I'm also always--ever-grateful. Miss him a lot.

The next would be--in my civilian life--my former chief judge at the 03:11:00bankruptcy court, Chief Judge Robert Martin, retired. He could also be blunt. [Laughs] But he cared very much about the impact of his actions and my actions on our staff. And that was often the conversation we had when I was talking about a new policy that either I was thinking about, or a program, or something that was coming from our--the court's administrative office in Washington DC or from the Judicial Conference of the United States. That was often one of the first questions he would ask, "How is this going to impact the staff?" And that is something that I have always kept in my mind. When I implemented a policy when I was in the military, or in my command, it might sound like a great general officer or commander idea. But what's the real impact? So, you have to think about those things.

And this may sound different. But my husband, Amos Anderson. He, too, 03:12:00can be blunt. And I think I recognized in him that he was more inclined to just make those hard personal decisions and just--you need to cut bait. That's what people say? "Fish or cut bait?"

SPRAGUE: Yep, yep.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And he often, when I would talk about a personal thing, and I was thinking about a softer landing for somebody or a kinder approach--and he would often suggest to me, "Maybe it's not as kind as you think it is to let that person down that softly." And that made me often think, "Sometimes, you've got to be honest with people and just say, 'This might not be a good fit for you. And here's why,' rather than move them into a new job and never tell them that they were deficient, really." You've got to be hon--and sometimes, I didn't always want to do that. I didn't want to hurt people's feelings. So, 03:13:00he sometimes would clarify that for me, without realizing he was doing it. And I've never told him that. So, maybe when he listens to this someday, he'll go, "Oh, she never told me that." [Both laugh]

You don't want to tell them all that stuff. And then, I think, Command Sergeant Major Bianco. Again, he was soldier's soldier. A selfless public servant, he was a member of the Kalamazoo Police Department. He was also certified and worked as a fire--in the fire department. And as I said, he came with me to Washington DC as my battle-buddy in the Pentagon. And I sometimes sent him to meetings, as my representative, and he could raise cane, because he was a sergeant major. Sergeant majors run the Army. [Laughs] So--and he was a great example of that. But he was an Eleven-Bravo infantry soldier, airborne, air assault qualified . Just a super stand-up guy, smart, practical.


And again, I relied on him when I was, again, wanting to make sure what I was thinking about doing was going to have a positive impact on soldiers and their families. And I could always count on him, too, to be blunt and tell me the truth.

SPRAGUE: You answered a little bit of this before, but I'm going to ask it again. If you could go back and talk to yourself as a cadet, and you had five minutes with yourself, what would you tell her?

ANDERSON: I would tell Cadet Mahan, at that time, be a little bit more forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. And the other thing is to learn from those mistakes. And then, don't beat yourself 03:15:00up eternally for a mistake you made thirty years ago. It's over. It's done. Move on. The other would be to trust more people when they say they want to help you. And call on those people, really take them up on their offer. And I guess the last is even though I did have fun, try to have more fun.

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: Life is supposed to be--life is sh--you know we don't--we're not around forever. And you got to enjoy and treasure the moment, and not be so focused on the future sometimes. Live in the present. Enjoy the present. And enjoy family. And I think--I've never been really good at preserving memories. I'm going to take more time, and take more pictures of stuff, and be in pictures more than I used to, so I have things to look at when I get older and 03:16:00I'm sitting around, looking back.

SPRAGUE: How has the role changed for women in the United States Army between when you entered the service and when you left the service, if it has changed?

ANDERSON: [Sighs] Well, when women entered, it was--grudgingly, we were allowed in. And then, we were relegated to really minor roles. And we were--our leadership abilities weren't assumed. In fact, they figured we didn't have any leadership abilities, pretty much. And the other thing is that women are now making inroads and strides in special operations and other parts of the--rangers and in infantry units, leadership roles, because ultimately the leadership of the Army--and that's true of the other services--is focused on individuals who come from the combat specialties, fair or not fair. I don't 03:17:00necessarily think it's fair.

I think leaders are everywhere. But the opportunity for women to have a chance to serve in those specialties is opening up greater opportunities. And I think it's making the Army more diverse. And then, women taking on leadership roles, very senior leadership. The new Chief Army Reserve, Lieutenant General Jody Daniels, is a peer of mine. And she's the first woman to be Chief Army Reserve. So, I think that's awesome. The Chief Air Force Reserve, a few years ago, was a woman. I think at some point, someday, we're going to see a Chief of Staff of one of the services. That's not too far off in the future, I truly believe. And perhaps, one day, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. But it's just 03:18:00the recognition that talent and leadership come in all different shapes and sizes. And it shouldn't be restricted to a select few who may have attended the right college or have chosen a particular specialty. We should look at everybody who has the talent and give them a fair shot. And that's what's changed.

SPRAGUE: And over the span of your career, as an African American woman, have you seen ra--how have you seen race relations change? Have you seen them change?

ANDERSON: Yeah, this is an interesting topic. I have seen a change. I came in and I was commissioned in 1979. And I think there was still--there 03:19:00are still issues related to some of the problems we had in the Army, in particular, I think, during the Vietnam War. I think that we've come a long, long way. I think having a lot of people of color who are senior leaders--not necessarily a whole lot--a number who had very visible roles to the public has changed a lot of perceptions. I do still think we have a lot of work to do, though, in the military.

I still think there are people who see things in terms of color and not talent. And that's unfortunate. And in some cases, you don't have people of color encouraged to take jobs that we know are on the career path that puts you in position to take on these significant positions of authority and 03:20:00leadership. Maybe it's not--I don't think it's a conspiracy. There are people who say that. I don't believe that. But I do think there--it mirrors, sometimes, what happens in corporate America--is you're not given those opportunities to be in these jobs, which if you do well in them, lead you to that next position, and that next position. You're pushed off onto a path--often a softer path--positions that don't lead to those, just like it happens in a corporation. We all know what those paths are. But you've got to make a concerted effort to put people in those positions. And that has to happen, I think more than it does even now, in the military.

SPRAGUE: How did the death of George Floyd--or killing of George Floyd--affect you?

ANDERSON: Having been on the wrong end of a police officer's weapon myself in my life--and have had a number of stops that were stressful and scary--I 03:21:00was upset that it happened. But I was also heartened by the fact that it was visible to so many people. It finally brought more awareness about race and policing, because something that a lot of people in the African American community, and other communities of color, have known for a long time is that encounters with the police are not the same for people in this country. And they don't end the same for lots of people in this country.

My friend, Command Sergeant Major Bianco, is a police officer. We've had a discussion about this in the past. And he understood my feelings about it. And he knows there are officers who are not doing the right thing. And I think other officers know that as well. So, the one thing about it--yeah, it made me upset. But I guess I'm happy that it's raised awareness. I'd like to see 03:22:00some of the energy channeled more toward policy, as opposed to what we've been seeing in the street. They got to take that energy and apply it to policy, and changing laws, and electing people, and putting people in charge of police departments who will appreciate, understand, and try to work with the community. So, I think that's a good thing from it. It's raised awareness.

SPRAGUE: Remind me, what was your experience with--you'd mentioned some stops, police stops. You may have mentioned it earlier. Remind me about that. Tell me about that, if you can.

ANDERSON: [Sighs] Yeah, I was--I was living in New York City, or the New York City area at the time. And I was going--traveling to Vermont with two girlfriends on a bike trip. We were going on a bike trip. So, we were in my car. I was not driving. My friend, Lisa Greenberg, was driving. They're 03:23:00two white females, both New Yorkers in the car. And one was asleep in the backseat. And I was in the passenger seat. And my friend, Lisa, was driving. And we--all of a sudden, we're driving through this--it was after work, so we're heading up to Vermont for the weekend. And all of a sudden, out of the dark, come all these police cars and flashing lights, and they pulled us over. Now, I have a--my car at the time had Jersey plates on it. This is a part of that story that will make sense in a minute. And there's a lot of police officers. And it was a small town, so clearly, this was about State Troopers, and the county, and whoever the local police officers were.

So, they're approaching the car. And they're all yelling--as I told Paul, "Why do you guys all yell five different things? Very confusing and scary." Some of them say, "Put your hands up. Put your hands on the wheel. Do th--da, da, da." Well, as I'm looking in the passenger mirror, I see a police officer approaching my side of the car. And he clearly sees me, and he pulls his weapon 03:24:00out. And he points it at me, while he's yelling. And I'm like, "Okay, this is a traffic stop. Why is his gun out?" And I'm--and I'm not processing this. My girlfriend, Lisa, of course--I love her to death, but she was clueless as to what was about to happen. She didn't realize how serious the situation was. So, she starts to reach for her purse, which was on the floor of the car, which makes him yell even louder. And the other officers yell louder.

So, finally, I told her, "Stop moving." I tell the officer--and I talk him down carefully, "Sir, what's going on? This is my car. What's the problem? Blah, blah, blah." And he finally, after a while, puts his weapon down after I got my hands planted on the dashboard. But it was--she was speeding, but not excessively so. And I basically think that we were profiled, because the car had Jersey plates. Interstate 95 at the time, I'll admit, was a conduit for drugs. This was during the crack-cocaine epidemic era. But the bi--the car had three bikes on the back and three women in it. But I was the only person 03:25:00they pointed the gun at, and I've never forgotten that. It scared the heck out of me. But I also realized it was a simple traffic stop. And there was no--if they'd run the plates on the car, there was no connection between the plates on that car and any illegal activity.

So, to this day, I think it was a profile. And it was very scary. And unfortunately, halfway through, my conversation with the policeman, my friend, Virginia, sits up in the back seat. I don't think they realized she was back there. So, of course, her head pops up. That, again, makes people raise their weapons and start pointing and yelling and screaming. So, it was scary. It was an unnecessary way to stop people and approach us for speeding. And it just left a really bad feeling in me for--well, still have a bad feeling about it. I still get--my heart races when I see red and blue lights behind me. Even if I know I've been speeding, I still start to think, "What's going to happen?" 03:26:00And I know I'm not alone in that thought of--I have had conversations with other people of color. It--everybody gets a little bit anxious when you see police lights. But we get anxious for another reason.

SPRAGUE: Any other experiences that you'd like to share?

ANDERSON: Well, when I bought that car, I purchased it at a dealership in New Jersey. And I was driving it back to my home in an apartment across a park--a small park, not a big park--in Jersey City. And I passed through a traffic circle. And I passed a police officer. Now, I jogged through that park all the time. These are tight traffic circles. They're not like the regular ones. They're little. So, you couldn't speed. You couldn't go more than ten or fifteen miles an hour. And I wasn't speeding. Well, he pulled me over. And his immediate demand was that I open the trunk. And I was like, "What?" because he's not said anything about a problem. He simply said, "Open the trunk." And 03:27:00I'm like, "No, [laughs] not opening the trunk."

And we had a discussion. And I was going to be a third-year law student at the time. So, I knew you have to have probable cause to search a vehicle. And he had not said I was speeding. He did not say anything else. He asked to see my license. I provided that. Told him I'd literally just bought the car. Well, he obviously--I later thought about it and realized I had to drop a couple names before he let me go. But I said, "You can take the car in. I'm going to keep the keys and lock the car. If you can get a search warrant, you can search it." And that's when he finally realized, "Maybe this wasn't going to be a regular stop." Well, across the park was a housing project. And I've often thought to myself that he--again, I was profiled. He thought I was associated with a drug dealer, or I was a drug dealer's girlfriend, and I might've had drugs in the trunk of my car. So, that kind of stuff shouldn't be happening. And as I said, I had just bought the car--had temporary tags on it. I showed him the bill of 03:28:00sale, which clearly showed I had just picked the car up. But yet and still, he was insisting he needed to open my trunk.

Now, the reason I was reluctant was I had had experiences working as a student, part-time in law school for a defense--criminal defense firm. And I knew that at this time, there were officers who planted drugs in cars. So, I wasn't going to allow that to happen. And I had seen cases where, mysteriously, they'd find a crack pipe with residue in a vehicle, because that's easy enough for someone who's not a nice officer to come u--to have--or a small quantity of drugs would be found in the vehicle. And I just said, "No, we're not doing this today. I'm not playing the game." So, yeah, that kind of stuff happened to me more times than I like to count.

SPRAGUE: Any thoughts right now on race relations in the United States, outside of the military? Any other thought?


ANDERSON: We--yeah, we talked about George Floyd. I think it's a good moment for us all to do some introspection. I wish we would have more opportunities in communities to sit down and have discussions, facilitated discussions, because I think the time is right for this. I think--just yesterday, Vice President Biden announced his running mate will be Senator Kamala Harris. I think things like that, and former President Obama--I think the number of people of color who are running for office in this country--and leading police departments, as a matter of fact, which I think is important--I think that the recognition during this epidemic that we have large swaths of our country who don't have access to the internet. So, the children can't, even if they wanted to, participate 03:30:00in online learning. And that increases the inequality gap for all segments of our society.

I think this is a time for us to really grab a hold of this opportunity and do some real work on that. And I wish people would step up, who have that capacity, and various organizations, and insist that we have these kinds of conversations. I think the opportunity exists. And if we let it pass us by, we may not see this again for another twenty or thirty years. And that, I think, is--for our country, because ultimately, I think we're all better off if we understand each other, and work together, and collaborate, and appreciate our diversity, and use that to make us be strong, and not divide ourselves into camps, because then, it's the old divide-and-conquer. You're weaker. You're not stronger.

SPRAGUE: So, tying into that, how do you think your career opened up 03:31:00doors for other African American women? And how do you feel you fit in the long context of those African Americans who went before you in the military?

ANDERSON: I think, like the famous postal battalion, the 6888th, that served during World War II, the women in that unit recognized that their efforts and their excellence is its own protest--someone said. Actually, it was Wynton Marsalis, who's a jazz musician. I love that. I think their excellence, and the work that I tried to do to demonstrate that I deserved to be there, and that having me at the table improved parts of our discussion, as well as our operations and our--just our general military--I think that's what's 03:32:00important. And I think that's what my opportunity to serve in those roles did.

And I just think it's part of a continuum. And we--every step forward we take makes it easier for that next person. And I know, because I heard from many people across the military that I didn't even know, who told me that my promotion and the work I did encouraged them to stay in the military, most importantly, and to work and try to go to the next level, because they were thinking about getting out. So, I'd like to think that I retained some people, and that today, maybe they're in positions of leadership, and that they're also mentoring other people.

SPRAGUE: Okay. So, tell me a little bit about your current involvement in local community organizations.

ANDERSON: Well, let's see. [Laughs] I'm a member of the Green Bay Packers board of directors. [Laughs]



ANDERSON: [Laughs] Go Pack. And I'm also a foundation trustee. The Green Bay Packers has a charitable foundation that gives back to the entire state of Wisconsin communities. I'm on board of Active Community Health, which is a federally-qualified health center, which serves the underserved members of the Madison and Dane County community. And I've done the United Way board in the past and worked with some other service organizations here in Madison--Women in Focus, which provides scholarships for youth of color in Dane County. So, I think all of those things are just really important.

And then, yesterday, I worked the polls for the first time in my entire life. It was really cool. I really liked it. I have always tried to vote in every election I possibly could, so the opportunity to work at the polls on 03:34:00Voting Day, for me, was important. It sounds corny. But I just felt like I was part of democracy yesterday. So, I really liked doing that. So--

SPRAGUE: Tell me a little bit about being on the board of directors of the Green Bay Packers.

ANDERSON: [Laughs] Well, it's--

SPRAGUE: What's that like?

ANDERSON: It's--[laughs] well, it's a decent-sized board. It's about thirty, I think. I don't know the exact number of people. And there's an executive committee that really works more closely with Mark--President Mark Murphy and the rest of the Packers organization. But the rest of us participate like I do, as a foundation trustee. There are some people who work with the community outreach committee. We have members who work on the investment committee for the team. There's an audit committee, of course. But it's a board--it's a good board. People are--come from all walks of life. Very friendly folks. 03:35:00And we don't get inside information. I know people think that. But we don't get inside information--

SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --which I think is a good thing. I'd rather not know.

SPRAGUE: Yeah [laughs].

ANDERSON: I would rather be just as surprised as everybody else is when they trade blank, or they decide on this person in the draft. I'd be ha--I don't want to know those things. But it's a good organization, because it's a community team. It really is a community team. And a lot of the discussions in meetings and reports we receive from the Packers staff and management is geared towards ensuring that the team's decisions are not just about money and winning, but about the fact that they, in a big way, represent the state--people of the state of Wisconsin who are Packers fans, and that it's important to try to do things that are conscious of that community, and also are responsible. And 03:36:00so, I really like that culture.

SPRAGUE: Tell me a little bit about your involvement with the commissioning of the USS Beloit.

ANDERSON: That is a really exciting opportunity. And I'm really humbled to have been asked to represent my birthplace. It started with Senator Baldwin, who had a good relationship with Secretary of the Navy Spencer--former Secretary Spencer--and was instrumental in having the Navy consider Marinette and Beloit as namesakes of Navy ships. It's a new class of Navy ship, called a littoral combat ship--LCS [Littoral Combat Ship] for short. And they're designed to operate in shallower waters than most other ships in the current Navy inventory. I think the draft is about fourteen feet, which is pretty shallow. 03:37:00But they're also able to operate in the ocean and sea. And so, she asked me if I'd be interested in having my name forwarded to the secretary for consideration as a sponsor of the ship. And I said, "Yes, of course." And so, the secretary called me and asked me formally. And that was very interesting. He's a very nice person. I really thought he was awesome. But the sponsor of the ship is responsible to be the--like the mother of the ship, or the father of the ship, throughout the life of the ship.

So, you are--I went to the keel laying ceremony a couple of weeks ago, where my initials were inscribed on a plate, which was--it's affixed to the--inside the ship, in the keel. Of course, there's the launch ceremony, which most people are familiar with, when the ship is actually launched and begins its 03:38:00trials to make sure it's seaworthy. And then, the sponsor is also responsible for putting something on the ship that stays with the ship for the life of the ship, until it's decommissioned. And then, you want to have a relationship with the, obviously, the initial crew of the ship. But you're encouraged to have a relationship with subsequent crews. You maybe greet the ship when it comes back from a deployment. But you're just part of the ship and the life of the ship. And it's just a great honor, especially since I'm in the Army, but also because I'm from Beloit. [Both laugh]

SPRAGUE: So, after your retirement, where do you see yourself in five years?

ANDERSON: Playing lots of golf. [Both laugh] Probably still badly, but still playing golf, because it's a social activity. I've thought about writing a book on leadership, but not for adults, because if you Google leadership 03:39:00for adults, you come up with millions of hits. I think it's important to maybe write a book for kids, maybe even engage in some social media to talk to kids about leadership, because I think back on who I was when I was middle-school age. I didn't--my teachers didn't see me as a leader. So, they weren't paying attention to me, because I wasn't one of the popular kids or an athlete.

But yet and still, somewhere in me were some leadership qualities and abilities. There's a little leader in there. And it should've been cultivated earlier. And I'd like to cultivate it earlier in kids who are just like me, who don't necessarily stand out as the obvious choices, but who have that--who are good listeners, who know how to collaborate, who maybe have a quiet vision that they're not always going to shout from the mountaintops. But they have good ideas and should be developed and encouraged. So--because I think that's where we need to start is at that next generation, start cultivating 03:40:00the leadership traits that they have and get them ready--if they want to--to go onto the next level. So, that's what I'd like to do--so kind of a little germ of an idea in my head. But I want to make that happen.

SPRAGUE: And what are you currently reading and researching in history?

ANDERSON: I--because of the pandemic, I pulled out my book on the 1918 pandemic [laughs] and read that again. And I found interesting parallels about the mistakes we're making now [laughs] to that pandemic. Some of the same things are happening again. And I like history. I love World War II history. So, I'm an avid--I like to watch stuff on the History Channel, especially about World War II. My husband will complain--


SPRAGUE: [Laughs]

ANDERSON: --"You've seen this documentary before." I go, "Yeah, I know. But I just want to watch it again." So, that's where I--drew my focus, is that kind of stuff.

SPRAGUE: Do you do anything special for either Veterans' Day or Memorial Day?

ANDERSON: I often get asked to speak, especially around Veterans' Day. So, the past couple years, I've spoken at a couple of places--did something for Northwestern Mutual couple years ago. Did something for CUNA [Credit Union National Association] Mutual here in Madison. Spoken at veterans' events. And then, Memorial Day is a little--usually a little bit quieter. But I have done some speaking on--around Memorial Day events as well.

SPRAGUE: So, how's your life changed as a result of being in the 03:42:00military, on the whole?

ANDERSON: Wow. [Sighs] I definitely became a more assertive person. You get thrust into leadership roles or, even as a squad leader in the military, you're suddenly in charge of other people. And you're responsible for the success of whatever you guys are doing. And I wouldn't have had that kind of experience, I think, if I hadn't gone in the military, because I wasn't following--I wasn't consciously putting myself in those kinds of situations. And I think with the career path I was following in school, as a Political Science major, thinking about going to law school, that wouldn't have been my experience. So, having my--a part of my life devoted to a wholly different organization and culture and mission opened up opportunities for me to develop myself that 03:43:00wouldn't have existed otherwise.

SPRAGUE: And what interested you in doing this interview?

ANDERSON: Well, I had done some research a couple years ago, when I spoke at a community college in--uh-oh, Janesville. Now, I'm forgetting the name of the college. [Blackhawk] I believe. But anyway--and I stumbled across some oral histories in the state historical archives on individuals who had participated in the Great Migration from the South to the North in the African American community, and in fact, ended up in Beloit--many of them working for Fairbanks-Morse. And it was just fascinating to me to hear their voices talk about life in Beloit, and life in Mississippi, and Georgia, and 03:44:00Alabama, and why they left. And then, they moved North, and how different it was in Chicago, and Madison, and Milwaukee. And to hear their voices, it was just--it was very special. And I thought, "You could read stuff, and it doesn't have the same impact as when you hear someone tell you their story."

So, I thought this was an opportunity for me to tell my story in a different way and reach more people. And I would also listen to--the Smithsonian has that series that they've done, where they do different interviews, called StoryCorps, where they do snippets of interviews with people. And I just--hearing someone's voice, and their story, and their passion just makes it come to life.

SPRAGUE: And I know we may have covered this at the beginning, but do you have any familiar, or by marriage, links to the Great Migration and workers at Fairbanks-Morse in Beloit that you're aware of?


ANDERSON: Not directly. I'm fairly certain some members of my family worked there. But I can't remember exactly who. I do know, though, that my dad's family came north. I don't know the whole--all the particulars of the story. But they ended up in Beloit. And as part of my research, I found out that the Fairbanks-Morse had a Black man who worked there, who went home regularly--not regularly. He went home for vacation, and they suddenly realized that he could be a recruiter. So, he [laughs] was their recruiter. And so, who knows. He may have recruited some of my family members to come work at Fairbanks-Morse or live in Beloit.

SPRAGUE: So, this concludes the interview. Is there anything that you think you'd--that we haven't covered, that you'd like to cover?

ANDERSON: No. You --we touched on most of the topics and areas of my 03:46:00life that I thought are worth hearing. And I really appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences, and hope they'll be useful in some way to somebody, someday.

SPRAGUE: Well, there's nothing else. Then this concludes the interview with General Marcia Anderson. Thank you for your time today, General Anderson.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

[Interview Ends]