BOISE, Idaho - Command Sgt. Maj. Alice Randolph unofficially began her career in the U.S. Army when she was just 10 years old.
“My brother came back from basic training and taught us drill and ceremony, took us running with him and taught us inappropriate cadences,” said Randolph. “When I turned 17, neither of us hesitated when he said he was taking me to the recruiting office.”
Throughout childhood, her family home was a revolving door of foster system children. She recalls her brother, instead of playing “Simon Says,” leading “Drill Sergeant Says,” in which he’d teach her and their foster brothers and sisters cadence and facing movements.
Now, 34 years later, Randolph serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Idaho National Guard. While she chooses not to dwell on this fact, she is the first female in the organization to hold the position.
“If being the first female lets us stop talking about firsts, then that will mean something,” said Randolph. “This isn’t about me; it’s about showing Soldiers they have opportunities. I am proud to have been selected for the position based on my abilities and will do my best for the Soldiers and Airmen in our organization.”
Randolph enlisted into the Army National Guard in Nebraska as a medic in 1989. She moved to Idaho in the early 1990s to join the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team’s Charlie Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion.
She deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the company as an acting platoon sergeant. In 2010, she became the senior medical noncommissioned officer in charge of the IDARNG Medical Detachment.
Shortly after becoming Charlie Company’s first female first sergeant in 2014, Randolph participated in the 2015 Army’s Best Medic Competition as a member of the first all-women, all-Guard medical team.
“I’ve never striven to be in positions of leadership, only to be the best leader in the positions I’m given,” said Randolph. “Rather than looking up and out, I’ve always kept my focus on the job I’ve been given and on being the best that I can be.”
The 116th CBCT completed rotations at the National Training Center in 2015 while Randolph was her company’s first sergeant and again in 2019 after she became the 145th BSB’s first female command sergeant major.
In 2020, she served as the 204th Regional Training Institute’s command sergeant major until her selection as the IDNG’s senior enlisted leader.
As senior enlisted leader, she will serve the Idaho National Guard’s enlisted members by communicating directly with the state’s commanding general on their behalf and interpreting National Guard Bureau policy for implementation across the organization.
Though her brother left the service as her career was only beginning, his advice continues to inspire her. As an exchange student in Brazil, Randolph’s brother sent her a letter with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt. She’s held onto it and embodied it throughout her career:
“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”