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Nearly 200 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) from high schools across North Carolina learned valuable life lessons from African American military leaders at a recent event in Raleigh.

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According to the press release, the cadets gathered with the Falcon Battalion and schools from around the state at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh as part of the third annual North Carolina ROTC Roundtable and the African American Military and Veterans Lineage Day.

The NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Division of Archives and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, St. Augustine’s University, and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) partnered to teach, coach, and mentor cadets the essential contributions Black military men and women made throughout history, to show how they continue to lead and serve in U.S. armed forces.

The panelists at the ROTC Roundtable included: retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Major General David Wilson, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command 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, U.S. Military Academy, WestPoint. The participants each gave the cadets a glimpse at their own career challenges because of their race and backgrounds, motivations, and successes.

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 were St. Augustine’s University, Shaw University.
A&T State University, NC Wesleyan University, William Peace University, Fayetteville State University, Goldsboro High School, Enloe High School, and Wake Forest High School.

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, including Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) to Forces Command commanding officer and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. (Photo credit: NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs).

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