Black History Month: four key points of education and success

By Sgt. Christopher Bigelow | 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | March 1, 2017

February 22, 2017 — African American-Black History Month is a time for recognizing the roles contributions African American’s have made to our history. This year’s Camp Arifjan, Kuwait observance was hosted by the 1st Theater Sustainment Command on Feb. 22, 2017.

The theme of this year’s observance was “Success always leaves footprints,” a quote by Booker T. Washington, the first African-American to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.
One of the keynote speakers for the observance was Col. Jeffery Carter, Deputy Commanding Officer of the 1st TSC / 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The 316th ESC is an U.S. Army Reserve unit from Coraopolis, Pa. currently deployed to Camp Arifjan in support of the 1st TSC mission of providing logistics support throughout the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of operations.

In his speech, Carter focused on the importance of education and how the pursuit of knowledge can better an individual’s life. Citing quotes from famous leaders and educators from America’s past, Carter highlighted that education is the best gift an individual can provide themselves and explained how education could alter a person's behavior and make them a better citizen.

“All these things that I learned in college applied to my 20 plus years in the army. I have never stopped learning. I have found that my successes as a company grade officer only got me so far. I had to acquire new skills to become a successful major and lieutenant colonel. I had to learn even more to be a successful colonel and brigade commander,” said Carter.

Carter cited Mariam Wright Edelman, an African American activist for the rights of children, stating “Education can make you a better citizen. Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and the world better than you found it."

“Education forces you to see yourself and how much you contribute to society. It makes you want to reach back and help as many of your kind as possible, so that all boats rise and everyone has the opportunity to be better, fathers, wives, sons, and sisters in your community,” said Carter.

In his speech, Carter emphasized the gifts an education and training can give to Soldiers of all races, creeds and color, to better themselves as well as strengthen the force.
“Each year the Army takes time to reflect on the contributions African-American men and women have had in the fight for our nation. The significance of this year’s theme “success always leaves footprints,” shows the path of the footsteps of not where we’ve been but where we are going,” said Maj. Julius Penn, the Public Affairs Officer with the 316th ESC.

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