Spanish Fort, Ala. (WKRG) — Janet Cobb has come a long way from working in the potato sheds of Baldwin County at 14 years old. After graduating from Foley High School, she joined the U.S. Army Reserve. 42 years later, the Commanding General of the 81st Regional Support Command would retire.
Now, Major General Janet L. Cobb (Retired) is at the helm of The U.S.S. Alabama. “I inherited a wonderful position here, a wonderful crew,” said Cobb.
In 2015, she became the first woman to serve as Executive Director of the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park overseeing the 155 acre property.
“It is the coolest job in the world. We are charged with honoring the men and women who have served in the military in all branches who are from the state of Alabama and to educate the public on those sacrifices.”
Her own military service has taken her all over the world, from Saudi Arabia loading ships to working in the Pentagon. Her ability to lead comes naturally to her.
“You do your job, you treat people fairly but you have to have a standard and you can’t be afraid to enforce that standard.”
Cobb says her military veteran father instilled in her to always act like a lady, treat people with respect and know what you’re talking about.
Her employees describe her as fair and very modest. The longest working Battleship Memorial Park employee, Pam Jeffcoat, serves as Deputy Director/Human Resources Director and refers ‘General Cobb’ as ‘the best.’ “She’s almost embarrassed at times when you congratulate her or tell her what a wonderful job she’s done. She’s just amazing,” said Jeffcoat, an employee since 1974.
Cobb’s accomplishments have earned her The Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and other military decorations, yet she gives others the credit.
“I just think that you have to credit the success first to the people that work for you. The longer I was in the military I was successful because of what the people that you know worked for me that I was able to lead did,” said Cobb.
Good advice she’s taken to heart and shared over the years, “Do what’s right, come what may.”
A breast cancer survivor for more than a decade, Cobb draws her strength from God and believes in keeping a positive attitude.
“The people I’ve always been inspired by had problems, but, they didn’t really mention them. You know, didn’t know much about it. They just carried on and they made sure that they were interested in you and what you were doing and how well you were doing and I think if we keep our focus on others, we’re always gonna be successful.”
Cobb, 63, expects to continue serving as Executive Director for a couple of more years. After that, she plans to kayak, read, play golf and visit friends around the country. Being retired from the military, she has many friends to see.