CSM (R) Andrew McFowler and CSM (R) Jimmie Spencer represented the AUSA Bragg Chapter and presented a print of "First in Last Out" on behalf of AUSA.
Article Courtesy of NC DMVA
NC ROTC Roundtable African American Military and Veterans Lineage Day 2023 | DMVA
ROTC Cadets Learn Valuable Life Lessons From African American
Military Leaders at NC ROTC Roundtable
Raleigh, NC — Nearly 200 ROTC cadets from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and JROTC from high schools across North Carolina learned some valuable life lessons from some African American military leaders at an event in Raleigh on Thursday.
The cadets gathered with the Falcon Battalion and schools from many areas around the state at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh as part of the 3rd Annual North Carolina ROTC Roundtable and the African American Military and Veterans Lineage Day. The NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NC DMVA), the Division of Archives and the NC Department Natural and Cultural Resources, St. Augustine’s University, and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) partnered to teach, coach, and mentor cadets about the important contributions Black military men and women made throughout history, to show how they continue to lead and serve in US Armed Forces. The distinguished panelists at the ROTC Roundtable included:
- Lt. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, USMC, (Ret.)
Secretary of the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
- Major General David Wilson, Commanding General of the U.S. Army
- Colonel Wendy Rivers, Division Chief
Department of Army Inspector General
- Colonel Michael G. McLendon, Army Professor of Military Science
The Citadel Military College
- BG Arnold N. Gordon-Bray, US Army, (Ret.)
ANBG Consulting LLC, NC Military Affairs Commission
- Command Sergeant Major Robert T. Craven, 26th Command Sergeant Major
US Corps of Cadets, US Military Academy, WestPoint
The event helped to showcase North Carolina's African American service members who broke the color barrier and the glass ceiling, rising high within all branches of the Armed Forces. These American heroes paved the way for African Americans who now serve in some of the most prestigious offices within our Armed Forces including Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) to Forces Command (FORSCOM) commanding officer, as well as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Throughout America's history from the Battle of Lexington to the Battle for Fallujah and today, Black service members have honorably answered the call to duty, serving with great valor and distinction in America's Armed Forces.
The roundtable participants each offered the cadets a glimpse at their own challenges in their careers because of their race and backgrounds, their motivations, and successes, and they imparted great wisdom and inspiration.
“You have what it takes,” Lt. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin said, “Don’t ever doubt yourself because of your skin color or your background. Know what you are doing. Do your job and know that advice is always right.”
“There are two kinds of trust,” said MG David Wilson, “Professional trust is your stars, bars, and resume, but personal trust is the name on your chest, and that’s earned. You can’t build it if you don’t care. C is for community, A is affirmation, R is for recognition, and E is by example.”
“It’s important for you to see who we are,” Col. Wendy Rivers said, “Engage with key leaders. Ask questions. Be open. We didn’t see it, but you have a chance to learn from us. You can be anything you want to be if you focus on your passion. Know the sacrifices people made before you. Dig into the history. You’ve got to know where we’ve been to know where you’re going. We aspire to inspire before we expire.”
“Expect the best, expect greatness,” said BG Arnold N. Gordon-Bray, “You have to put in the work and be humble in your ascension, but expect greatness.”
“Demonstrate empathy and respect for people,” Col. Michael G. McLendon said, “Trust must be earned. Honor your commitments and commit to what you say you’ll do. Show people that you care about them, and you will gain respect.”
“You have to see inspiration to be inspired,” said CSM Robert T. Craven, “When you are inspired, well that’s life changing. Don’t doubt your power because in doing so, you give power to your doubts. You need honest people to keep you honest. Love yourself and keep mentors around.”
The NC DMVA presented St. Augustine’s University’s Falcon Battalion with a framed Proclamation from North Carolina Governor Cooper marking February 9 as “North Carolina African American Military and Veterans Lineage Day” which recognizes the service and sacrifice of the African American military service members gave to our country.
Schools in attendance:
St. Augustine’s University
A &T State University
NC Wesleyan University
William Peace University
Fayetteville State University
Goldsboro High School
Enloe High School
Wake Forest High School
Photos: NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ albums | Flickr
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