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AUGUSTA, Georgia (March 8, 2021) – Cadet Emmanuel Anderson has worn a lot of hats - that of an enlisted Intelligence Analyst, then later as a Satellite Communications Operator and Maintainer, a drill sergeant’s campaign hat, and now that of an Army ROTC Cadet with Augusta University. Anderson is hoping his varied experiences with allow him to better himself, fellow cadets and members of the local community.
Besides all of his other hats, Anderson also interns at SafeHomes of Augusta, Domestic Violence Center, where he spends up to nine hours per day counseling clients that have suffered from domestic violence and post-traumatic stress.
“I counsel domestic violence victims whether they live in the shelter or live out in the community,” he said. “I direct them to resources that can give them a way out. I also help them restructure their way of thinking so that they can possibly avoid being a victim again.”
He added, he hopes that his work at the center provides those needing help with an option to heal from past trauma.
“I try to provide a calm demeanor and also a male perspective. There hasn’t been a male counselor at SafeHomes and many of the clients were worried about how they would talk to a guy about their issues,” Anderson said. “They now appreciate having a male there and it lets them know that all males aren’t bad and that they can talk to males again.”
Anderson, who was selected for the Army Green-to-Gold Program Active-Duty Option in August 2019, is completing the Masters of Counseling program at Augusta University. He said he his prior military experience guided his decision to get a degree in counseling.
“Mental Health is a serious issue in the Army. Yes, there are a lot of suicides, but there are also different issues that Soldiers can receive some relief from through mental health services,” he explained. “I had a Soldier a few years ago that I was directly responsible for and he died in a car accident where they couldn’t prove if he did or did not take his own life. He had been suffering from suicide ideations and mental health issues for some time and had been in and out of the hospital.”
“I did everything right according to the Army where I sent him for services. I checked up on him constantly, and I was there to talk whenever he had an issue,” Anderson went to share. “It just wasn’t enough. I now understand that maybe I couldn’t save him, but I wanted to have the knowledge to save someone else.”
Anderson said he originally saw the Army as a way to see more of the world than his hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi.
“I was married, with a child on the way, I had dropped out of college, and I knew I wanted more for my life. I saw the Army as a way out of Greenwood and an opportunity to advance my kids’ lives,” he said.
He went on to spend 12 years as an enlisted Soldier being stationed in places like Korea and Germany, as well as being deployed to Afghanistan, and serving as a drill sergeant at Fort Gordon, Georgia. With such a diverse background of military experience, Anderson was looking for the next opportunity to build on that.
“I wanted to make a difference and came to the understanding that if I wanted to make a bigger impact on Soldiers, I would have to be in a position of authority. NCOs impact the Soldiers in their immediate area while officers affect the entire organization,” he said.
Anderson said it has definitely been an adjustment going from a senior NCO to Cadet.
“It’s humbling to change over as a sergeant first class. Where I was in charge of like PT or a formation, you are now back at the bottom. You have to know when to provide advice and when to just listen,” he explained.
Even so, he feels his prior experience will allow him to connect with his Soldiers.
“I think I have a better understanding of what the Soldier is going through initially. I’ve been the guy leaving his family for the first time and not knowing what to expect,” Anderson said. “I have gotten into trouble and also understand that there is an underlying issue to whatever the Soldier is presenting. Whether they are late for work consistently or getting into trouble there is an underlying issue.”
Anderson also had some advice for fellow cadets when working with junior Soldiers.
“Talk to your Soldiers – nine times out of 10 they know more about the piece of equipment or combat operation that you are about to conduct. Trust them, but always verify,” he shared.
Anderson said he will commission as a Military Intelligence Officer and plans to retire from the Army before becoming a counselor in his community and hopes to help Soldiers and their families cope with the stressors of the unique life of Soldiers.
Army ROTC at Augusta University is one of the best leadership courses in the country and a part of your college curriculum. During classes and field training, you will learn first-hand what it takes to lead others, motivate groups and how to conduct missions as an Officer in the Army. Upon graduation from Army ROTC, you will earn the bar of a Second Lieutenant and become a leader for life.
Learn more about Army ROTC and the Jaguar Battalion at Augusta University.
About Army ROTC
Army ROTC is one of the best leadership courses in the country and is part of your college curriculum. Through classes and field training, Army ROTC provides you with the tools to become an Army Officer without interfering with your other classes. ROTC also provides you with discipline and money for tuition while enhancing your college experience.
Army ROTC offers pathways to becoming an Army Officer for high school students, current active duty Soldiers, and for current National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers through the Simultaneous Membership Program.