LANG honors Women’s History Month
By Capt. Darren T. Herring Jr., Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
NEW ORLEANS – The month of March marks the beginning of the federally recognized commemoration of women and their countless efforts and contributions throughout the past and present history of this nation.
The Louisiana National Guard joins this nationwide commemoration by celebrating the presence, accomplishments and selfless service of all past and present female service members and their pivotal role to the force. In the present, the Louisiana Army National Guard (LAARNG) has a diverse force of more than 24% female Soldiers, both enlisted and officer.
A proud representative of this diverse force is Sgt. 1st Class Jade Mays of Bayou Chicot, Louisiana. Mays, the marketing noncommissioned officer (NCO) for the LAARNG Recruiting and Retention Battalion (RRB), followed in the footsteps of her mother by enlisting into the LAARNG on Jan. 24, 2001 as an Army Motor Transport Operator (88M).
“My mother [Miranda Mays] enlisted into the Army Reserves in 1976 and always discussed the challenges of being a member of one of the first rotations of females to be incorporated into the military at that time,” said Mays. “It makes me incredibly proud to see how far we’ve come as an organization since then and the amount of emphasis placed on recognizing the past and present contributions of women throughout the world.”
As the state marketing NCO, Mays and her team provide direct support to recruiting and retention NCOs through marketing and advertising with the primary purpose of generating leads that convert to accessions, ultimately contributing to overall personnel strength.
“My very small section works really hard to tell the Guard story through a different lens by highlighting individual Soldiers and their families and support networks throughout the local communities in Louisiana to help the end state of personnel readiness. At the end of the day, we hope to achieve lead generation that will ultimately turn into men and women who want to serve their country,” she said.
Mays has experienced a great deal of success serving in her role as the LAARNG RRB marketing NCO. On March 3 of this year during the 18th Recruiting and Retention Battalion annual awards ceremony, Mays was named the Top Marketing Noncommissioned Officer in the state. Additionally, she also won the Strength Maintenance Advisory Group Region V Marketing NCO board and will compete at the Director of Strength Maintenance Awards Ceremony (DSMAC) for a chance to be named the Top Marketing NCO in the nation.
“Being recognized as the 2022 SMAG V Marketing NCO of the Year makes me proud to have been given the opportunity to represent state at the regional level and to be able to represent my region at the national level,” she said.
Mays, a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, earned a General Studies degree with a minor in English prior to her deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011. She is the first person in her immediate family to obtain a college degree.
Mays is a proud advocate of women’s history and considers herself to be a lucky beneficiary of the women who came before her and paved the way to where she is now. She accredits her grandmothers, mother, and aunts for instilling a foundation of professionalism into her during her childhood that she presently upholds in her military profession today.
“Women’s history month is about paying respects to all those women that came before me and saying thank you for all those hard-fought battles to try to make things a little better for the generations to come,” she said.
Retired Lt. Col. Kurt Talbot, deputy director of the LAARNG RRB, has witnessed the professionalism of Mays through first-hand experience as her supervisor and believes that it is a key reason the RRC Marketing Team has been functioning with success.
“SFC Mays is the epitome of what the NCO Creed asks Soldiers to be,” said Talbot. “Her dedication to perfection, management skills and ability to solve complex problems with outside-of-the-box thinking are the reasons for the Marketing Team and the Recruiting Battalion’s success over the years.”
On March 23, 2023, Mays will look to continue her path of excellence as she competes for a chance to be named the Top Marketing NCO in the nation during the DSMAC. She believes that representing the state in any capacity is a huge achievement in itself; however, being the recipient of this award and bringing it back home to Louisiana would be nothing short of an absolute honor.