First Ever Super, Super Reunion

Written by CPT Marcus Brooks, USMA 2007
Youngest USMA Graduate in Attendance at the Inaugural Black Service Academy Graduates Super Reunion

During 26-28 August 2010 history was made as the “First Ever” gathering of African-American Graduates from all five US military service academies got together for a Super Reunion. The focus for the Reunion was to connect diverse skilled professionals with limitless opportunities for collaborated community service; network on one of Maryland’s finest golf courses, learn how to access the many services available through the Veterans Employment Office, rekindle old relationships and expand their social and professional network. (Photo: LTC (R) Minton Francis '44 and Captain Marcus Brooks '07)

The attendees learned how to best leverage their pool of resources from Herman Bulls '78, CEO, Public Institutions, Jones Lang LaSalle (USMA ’78); William “T” Thompson, CEO, USAF Academy Associates of Graduates (USAFA ’73); Rear Admiral Michelle J. Howard, the first African-American woman to command a ship in the US Navy (USNA ’82); Eugene Campbell, Vice President, Domestic Minority Business Development, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

Invaluable dialog was exchanged with the Military Leadership Diversity Commission with invited panels; Commission Chairman General Lester Lyles (USAF Retired); Lt Gen John Hopper (USAF Retired): and, Brig Gen Rebecca Halstead '81 (US Army Retired). The culmination of the event was the celebration of History in honor of those who first blazed the trail – the “Most Senior Living African-American Graduates” from each of the five service academies and recognizing the “First African-American Female Graduates” from each academy. From West Point LTC(R) Minton Francis USMA Class 1944 and Pat Locke USMA Class 1980 were honored with gold medals and a thunderous standing ovation from the all those in attendance.

The West Point Admissions (represented by Major Michael Burns '00, Captain Marcus Brooks '07, Captain Maurice Hickman '06, and Captain Kirsten Rowe '06) held a 150 min breakout sessions specifically for the West Point graduates to dialog about the State of the Academy, a Minority Admissions update, Field Force opportunities and the expansion of Strategic Partnerships.

The energy was transferred to the Potomac as the graduates sailed along the Potomac during sunset while enjoying great food, a live band and a beautiful ambiance. It was an epic event, a beautiful event, treasuring the past and looking towards the future with a collective positive and opportunistic approach.