Last weekend, the United States Army renamed its broadcast center at the American Forces Network Bavaria (Germany) in memory of a Southeast alumna.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Marcia Jeanne Triggs earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Southeast in 1995. At a career fair just prior to her graduation from SEMO, her path changed.
“One of the people she talked to was an Army recruiter,” says her brother Lonza Bufford, Jr. “She told him she loved to write, and the recruiter told her, if you join the army you will continue to write and you will see the world. She graduated on May 6 and on May 15, she was an official enlistee in the U.S. Army.”
While at SEMO, Marcia worked on the Arrow and is remembered fondly by fellow Arrow staffer, now chair of the Department of Mass Media Dr. Tamara Buck.
“Marcia was a hard-working dedicated journalist then, so it’s no surprise to me that she took those skills she learned right here at Southeast and put them to work sharing stories for a country she loved and served so well,” says Buck.
Her career did take her to the world, first stateside in Kansas, Hawaii, and then Washington, D.C. There, she was a news correspondent for Army News Service at the Pentagon. Marcia was there on 9/11.
“That was a horrible day for us,” says Bufford. “She did two tours in Iraq.”
During her time in Bavaria (Germany), Marcia became the one of the first print journalists to be station manager of a broadcast center.
“In 2006, I arrived in Germany as the station manager of AFN (Army Forces Network) Heidelberg,” said CSM Matthew Howard at the dedication ceremony. “The leadership called me to give me their appraisal of the station I was inheriting, and quite frankly we were last in every category. So as a leader, I was like, who’s number one so I have a model to aim for? Engineering: Bavaria. Radio: Bavaria. Television production: Bavaria. Leadership and administration: I think you guessed the answer, Bavaria. I have seen and been fortunate enough to be stationed at some great AFN stations in my career, but I have never seen a station that performed at the level that AFN Bavaria did.”
Marcia was later named the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for the OCPA regional office in Chicago, Illinois, which develops public Army support, community outreach, and media engagements across 16 states in the Midwest. She remained on active duty until her death in 2011.
The Army honored her once before by creating the Marcia Triggs Leadership Award to recognize public affairs professionals who are among the best in the field.
On May 6, 27 years after she graduated from SEMO, her Germany broadcast station was named The Master Sergeant Marcia J. Triggs Broadcast Center. The dedication ceremony, which was livestreamed, included comments from Marcia’s family, friends and fellow soldiers. The stories repeated a familiar refrain of an inspiring leader who served others with professionalism, grace and humility. We’re so proud of Marcia. We’re so thankful to her family for sharing her story with us. We’re so appreciative of the U.S. Army for recognizing her excellence.