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NEWS | June 22, 2023

Army Reserve Officer receives honor during Chicago Sky WNBA Juneteenth game

By Capt. Michael Ariola 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command

The Chicago Sky Women's National Basketball Association team honored U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Tiesha Stephens for her military service during their Juneteenth observance home game verses the Indiana Fever at Wintrust Arena, June 15, 2023, in Chicago.

Stephens, who serves as a human resources officer for the 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command, received a plaque by the team mascot “Sky Guy” during the “Military Moment of the Game” for her outstanding commitment and service to the country.

Following her on-court recognition in front of thousands of roaring spectators, Stephens reflected on being publicly honored at the game.

“It was a great honor to be recognized during the Chicago Sky’s Juneteenth Game with my daughter present,” said Stephens. “Representing the Army during this holiday was a heartfelt privilege, and we truly enjoyed the experience.”

Juneteenth National Independence Day commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. While the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln, legally freed slaves throughout the Confederate States on January 1, 1863, Texas resisted for two years until U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger led an advance force of 1,800 men from the XIII Corps to the port city of Galveston, Texas.

Granger assumed command over the Military District of Texas, and issued General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865, formally enforcing provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas for the first time. Juneteenth is celebrated on the anniversary of the order and derives its name from combining June and nineteenth. Juneteenth officially became the eleventh United States federal holiday in 2021.

Stephens, joined the Army in 1997 and received her commission through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. She has mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Stephens’ awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal, among many other awards, throughout her years of service.