February 2015

Black History Month
History of African
Americans in the Military
Celebrities in the
February marks the monthlong celebration of Black
History. See the crucial
roles that African
Americans have played in
the military on page 2.
From fame to fight, and
vice versa! See page 3 for
information on celebrities
who served in our military.
Monthly Military Meme (MMM):
Not much needs to be said in addition to this comic. However, this is
why Military Student Services is here to help you!
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MSS Workers
month we willBack
Adam and
Melissa! See page 4 to take
a peek into their lives!
Have a suggestion for a funny
meme/ cartoon? Email your
suggestions to [email protected] with
the subject “newsletter”.
African Americans
in the Military
“The freedom to do your best
means nothing if you are not
willing to do your best”
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (retired)
Colin L. Powell
Black History Month: Honoring
African Americans in the Military
The history of African Americans in the military is just as
long as the presence of African Americans in North
America. From the first recorded visit to what is now
the United States, African Americans, slave and nonslave, have participated in military or quasi-military
actions. Such participation has not received extensive
coverage in general history books, nor was such
participation undertaken without difficulty. With
February being Black History Month, MSS would like to
take this as an opportunity to recognize the African
American troops that have served our great nation
throughout history.
Historical Events of African Americans
in the Military:
It’s estimated that 5,000 African Americans
fought on the patriot side against the British
during the American Revolutionary War,
fought 1775-1783.
About 180,000 African Americans wore Union
blue and earned praise for their military skill
during the American Civil War, fought 18611865. Twenty-five African Americans received 
the Medal of Honor for bravery during the war.
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The U.S. Congress passes legislation creating the 9th and 10th U.S.
Cavalry Regiments for service on the American frontier. The units were
comprised of African American enlisted soldiers and noncommissioned
officers under the command of mostly white commissioned officers. The
African American cavalrymen gained the respect of the Indians they
fought on the plains and in the southwest. The Indians called the African
American cavalrymen “Buffalo Soldiers” for their toughness and bravery.
During the course of the Indian Wars fought from 1866 to the early
1890s, 13 enlisted men and six officers from the 9th and 10th U.S.
Cavalry Regiments and two African American infantry units earned the
Medal of Honor.
Aug. 1, 1941: Benjamin O. Davis Sr. is promoted to brigadier general,
becoming the first African American general officer in the regular Army
and the U.S. armed forces.
March 7, 1942: The first group of African Americans to graduate from
military flight school at the Tuskegee Institute, in Tuskegee, Ala., was
inducted into the Army Air Corps.
Sept. 1, 1975: Air Force Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James becomes the first
four-star African American general in the U.S. armed forces.
Oct. 1, 1989: Army Gen. Colin L. Powell becomes chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff and the most-senior African American military officer in
U.S. history. During his tenure as chairman Powell managed military
participation in the Gulf War (1990-91). Powell served as JCS chairman
until Sept. 30, 1993. Powell later served as Secretary of State in
President George W. Bush’s administration.
Jan. 20, 2009: President Barack H. Obama assumes the role as the 44th
President of the U.S. and the Commander in Chief, the first African
American to assume both roles.
Celebrities in the Military
Jimi Hendrix (top left): Jimi Hendrix is a well-recognized
name in our culture, mostly for being known as one of the
greatest guitar players in the history of rock 'n' roll. What he
may not be well known for is the fact that he served in the
United States Army for a year.
Shaggy (depicted holding a football): formerly known as
Orville Richard Burrell, the Jamaican-born American reggae
singer and d-jay, quickly gave face to the reggae style music
when he moved to America. After he spent a year trying to find
work in the U.S., he joined the Marine Corps and served as an
artillery gunman during the Gulf War. The experience sobered
him, and Shaggy decided to commit himself even more fully to
his music. It was due to his military service that he had gotten
the idea for his hit single “Boombastic”.
Dr. Seuss (second from the right): you probably know him
for creating the wacky characters such as Thing 1 and Thing 2, or
the even more famous Cat in the Hat. Theodor Seuss Geisel’s
creative and imaginative abilities, along with his political support
for US involvement in WWII, did not go unrecognized by the
United States Military. He contributed to the war effort as a
Captain in the U.S. Army and was given command of the
Animations Department. He developed training films and
illustrations for the military. He worked with the Warner Bros. in
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making the training film known as “Private Snafu”.
Elvis Presley (top right): You may or may not have known
that the King of rock 'n' roll was inducted into the United States
Army through the selective service system. Being already famous
by the time he was drafted, several branches offered special
treatment to Elvis if he joined them. Elvis refused special
treatment, got his regulation haircut like everyone else, and after
boot camp was assigned to the Third Armored “Spearhead”
Division stationed in Germany. He was promoted through the
ranks up to E5 and then was honorably discharged. In the end,
he told interviewers that he just wanted to prove that he could
rise to the challenge of being in the Armed Forces.
Pat Tillman (bottom left): Patrick Tillman served as an Army
Ranger in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After the 9/11 attack and
the U.S. declaring war, Tillman had left behind a professional
career in the NFL and turned down a $3.6 million contract offer
from the Arizona Cardinals to enlist and serve his country. He
took part in the initial invasion of OIF in 2003 and was sent to
Afghanistan in 2004 where he was killed in combat. In honor of
his death, the Cardinals retired his number, no. 40.
What’s the craziest dream you’ve ever
had? –Was once confronted by a large
robotic T-Rex, he later shrunk and became
my pet
In one word, what describes your time in
the military?
What’s your all-time favorite food? –My
wife’s homemade chili
“I like numbers”
Are camel spiders as scary as people say
they are? – Yes, but their size is overexaggerated
Adam Zobrist
Adam is currently progressing towards a
B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering here
at NIU. He started his degree at Bradley
University, his wife's alma mater, before
being deployed in 2011. Currently, he
is serving in the Marine Corps Reserves
and has been for the past five years. He
has enjoyed his time in the Marine Corps
and looks forward to taking that
experience on to a future electrical
engineering career after receiving his
degree. Adam enjoys his time working
here at MSS providing service to those
veterans also seeking to further their
education and help them transition into
the civilian community. In his off time,
he likes to spend time with family and
being outdoors playing with his two
Q&A with Adam:
What’s your most memorable
experience in the military? – Coming
home from deployment and seeing
family again
What made you join the military? – For
the challenge and the brotherhood
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If you could bring three people back to life
to help you fight in a zombie apocalypse,
who would it be? – “Chesty” at his
prime…and I guess Einstein and Da Vinci to
help restart civilization
If you could have one super power, what
would it be? – Super-speed
Melissa Robinson
Melissa Robinson was originally from
Yorkville, Ill. She was a student-athlete at
Aurora University and is now a junior
transfer student at NIU in the pursuit of
Bachelor of Science degree in Health
Sciences, emphasis in Physical
Therapy. After completion, she plans on
attending graduate school at NIU in order to
receive a doctorate in Physical
Therapy. After she completes school, she
plans on joining the Navy as a medical
officer. In November 2014, Melissa and her
husband welcomed a newborn son.
Q&A with Melissa:
What’s your most memorable life
experience? –Childbirth
What’s your favorite exercise? -Deadlifts, I
can do over twice my body weight
What makes you want to join the Navy
and become a medical officer? -My
husband is a veteran and I want to give
back to those who serve our country, plus
it’d be more exciting to work with the
military than in an outpatient center in
the civilian sector
What’s your all-time favorite food? -Born
and raised in Chicagoland, so deep dish
If you had to pick one song to represent
your college experience, what would it
be? –With all the craziness of last year,
“don’t stop believing”
If you could bring three people back to
life to help you fight in a zombie
apocalypse, who would it be? –General
Patton, Andre the Giant, and Genghis
Would you rather get woken up by a
taser every morning or get punched in
the face every time you go to bed? –
Punched in the face, I don’t sleep well so
that would help me
Melissa is more than just
the voice on the other
end when you call MSS,
she’s also now the
strongest student worker
since Andrew has
departed. When it comes
to cross fit, she makes
even her fitness-fanatic
husband, Chris, appear to
have the strength of their
two-month old newborn.