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During Tuskegee University’s ROTC Winter Commissioning Ceremony in December, graduating Army ROTC cadet Jaya Granger made university history as the program’s first recipient of the Society of Cincinnati Medal. It is awarded nationally based on a cadet’s quality, history and standing.
Granger, who was commissioned as a second lieutenant, was selected based on achieving the highest average at Advance Camp for among Tuskegee University Army ROTC cadets. In addition, she scored 294 out of 300 on her record Army Physical Fitness Test. During her time with Tuskegee’s Army ROTC battalion, she served as one of its lead cadets and helped execute the program’s first “ROTC Week” in October 2018.
“This award means a great deal to me because I never had any intentions of going to camp trying to win anything,” Granger explained. “It shows me that my family and university leadership team think of me as a quality cadet with high leadership skills.”
In addition to being the first Tuskegee ROTC cadet to receive the award, she is the first cadet at any Alabama university to be honored. Granger said the historical significance is not lost on her.
“Being an African-American female is another reason I’m so proud of this honor,” she noted. “There are young African-American girls who might have dreams of becoming a military officer. When they see what my classmates and I have been able to achieve, hopefully they’ll have a greater sense of hope and determination regarding military opportunities.”
Maj. Melvin Kindle, who serves as the Tuskegee’s Army ROTC commander, noted the university’s rich history and support of ROTC programs are paramount in the experience their cadets have while studying at the university.
“Tuskegee’s legacy is a testament to our tremendous program that teaches self-discipline and pride,” Kindle said. “We prepare our students for their future Army careers and let them know in advance of our high expectations. Cadets like 2LT Granger and her peers are the outcomes of those efforts.”
Granger’s status as a Society of Cincinnati Medal “first” was not the only historic element relating to her recognition. The medal was presented during the commissioning ceremony by retired Air Force Col. Douglas Cairnes, who served with distinguished 1942 Tuskegee graduate Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James. James, the country’s first African-American four-star general, and Cairnes served together in the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, which was responsible for flying missions over North Vietnam.
Granger, who majored in health science and whose family resides in Rochester, New York, was assigned to the Texas National Guard following her commissioning.
The Society of Cincinnati is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army who served during the American Revolution. Its mission is to promote the American Revolution by awarding ROTC medals at top universities. Other institutions where cadets have received this honor include the United States Military Academy (also known as West Point), the United States Naval Academy, Tulane University, The Citadel, University of California, Berkley, and the University of Southern California.
For more information about Tuskegee University’s ROTC programs, visit https://www.tuskegee.edu/discover-tu/extracurricular-activities.
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