Black History Month Feb. 2015 History of African Americans in the Military Celebrities in the Military 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! Page | 1 MSS Workers (Welcome This month we willBack be featuringAdam! 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 MSS@niu.edu 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. Page | 2 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 Page | 3 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? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 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 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 dogs. 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 Page | 4 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 pizza 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 Khan 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.
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