Married to the job: two First Sergeants tackle leadership

By Capt. Jeremy Idleman | Missouri National Guard | Oct. 14, 2020

Joint Force Headquarters — One Missouri National Guard couple provides new meaning to the word team. This couple is Trisha and David Katzfey. Both first sergeants and full-time Soldiers, the husband and wife team find balance with their different, but complimentary leadership styles and face the challenges of leadership and full-time Guard service together as one team.
 
Trisha and David have each served three overseas deployments. For them, their second deployment was unique. Trisha explains, “We went on a second deployment together and ended up getting engaged during the deployment. I had to come home for emergency leave and he got to come home with me. On Christmas Eve of 2009, when we were home together, we got engaged. And it’s been wonderful ever since.”
 
The two have been together for 12 years and just celebrated their tenth anniversary. They have three kids together, ages 4, 6 and 9 and it can sometimes be a challenge to manage the household while both of them are working full-time for the National Guard. Trisha said in October and December traditionally they mobilize for different missions. “Sometimes we have to leave our kids for the needs of the Army,” she said.
 
Though the demands of working full-time for the National Guard presents the couple with occasional challenges, the Katzfey’s believe their supervisors understand their burdens and work well with them. David was recently at a school for professional development and when he returned he said, “I just got back home from a school and the first day I got home, she got called up to in-process Soldiers for a state emergency mission in St. Louis. But, everyone bends over backwards to help each other out during deployments and state emergency duties.” He continued, “it has put on a strain on us but we take advantage of every minute we’re home with the kids and make the most of it. A lot of friends and family have reached out to help with our family operations. It works out very well.”
 
Since both are senior leaders who manage several Soldiers, the two are in a unique position to help each other. Trisha has been in the National Guard for over 20 years and is currently a 42A, Human Resources NCO as a full-time job. On drill weekends, she is the first sergeant for 1137th Military Police Company. On the other hand, David, who joined 18 years ago, is a full-time technician and first sergeant with HHC, 140th RTI. Together, they bounce ideas off each other in an effort to hone their skills. Trisha explains that, “discussing issues helps us to make better determinations with what’s going on in our individual units. Since he is such a great operational leader, I ask him about how to respond to individual incidents. Since I am more on the administrative side with my full-time position, he is able to ask me human resources questions that he may not understand. It makes for a great team.”
 
Though their relationship is unique, they both agree that it makes them a stronger, more nimble team in their home life, and makes them more effective in their leadership roles.