FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (March 18, 2022) – Future U.S. military leaders from across North Carolina gathered for a roundtable event at Fayetteville State University, Friday, March 18. The 2nd North Carolina ROTC Roundtable included keynote speakers Gen. Michael X. Garrett and retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general and N.C. Department of Military and Veteran Affairs Secretary, Walter E. Gaskin.
The topic for this year’s roundtable was a discussion on the generations of African American service members who spearheaded the way for today’s African American service members to serve at all levels, and in the most prestigious positions within the U.S. Army and Department of Defense.
“The ROTC experience has taught countless Americans the value of hard work, dedication and commitment,” said Gaskin. “And it helped the armed forces maintain the status of the most renowned fighting force the world has ever known.”
The all African American panel of U.S military leaders offered a unique perspective on military service. Challenges and struggles were discussed, but also how they overcame, persevered, and ultimately moved boundaries forward for the future fighting force.
“When I got promoted three years ago,” Garrett explained. “Vince Brooks [retired Army four-star general] wrote me a nice little note and the note said congrats number nine. I didn’t know what he meant. I had to think about this. In the history of our Army, I am only the ninth black four-star general. But I hope we have out there today numbers 10, 11, 12, and 13.”
The roundtable provided ROTC cadets an opportunity to talk with and ask questions of senior military leaders and experts in their field. In addition to Garrett and Gaskin; retired Maj. Gen. Rodney Anderson, retired Brig. Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McFowler, completed the panel.
Garrett explained to the future military leaders the importance of balancing their career and family life. Acknowledging the challenges that come with this balance, Garrett shared that presence and communication make it easier. He imparted with them the point that work and family life is not just about their personal balance, but to remember their Soldiers have families too.
Garrett left the Fayetteville State University ROTC cadets with leadership advice to help them as they move forward in their military careers:
“There is only one way to lead,” Garrett asserted. “That’s by personal example and from the front of your formations.”
- Freedom’s Guardian -