Alcorn State University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program is set to commission three new officers into the United States Army on Friday, December 8. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Oakland Memorial Chapel.
Army ROTC is the largest officer-producing organization with the American military, having over 600,000 men and women have earned a commission through the program.
“The Cadets from the Braves Battalion are prepared for this moment,” said Lt. Col. Jackey Fortenberry, professor of Military Science. “The only advice I would give to them is to trust their training from the Braves Battalion, and their future professional military education they will receive and stay connected to their mentors.”
Cadets who will be commissioned during the winter ceremony are Tiras Jones, Steffon Savage, and James Brown III.
Tiras Jones, an agriculture business management major from St. Louis, Mo., joined the Mississippi Army National Guard during his sophomore year after moving to Mississippi in fall 2019. He became a part of ROTC in spring 2022, aspiring to branch as a Quartermaster. He is involved in various organizations, including the National Society of Leadership and Success, Boxing Club, and the Student Union Board. His military awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Top PT Prospect Medal, Cadet of the Month, and Mr. ROTC.
“I feel invigorated because I know the amount of work I put into this accomplishment,” said Jones. “It’s truly fulfilling knowing that everything I’ve worked towards is coming to fruition. My goal as an officer is to make the rank of Colonel. Considering a great deal of African American officers don’t make it pass Major, I would not only overcome the odds, but I would also be an inspiration to future African American officers.”
Biology graduate student Steffon Savage, originally from Port Gibson, Miss., and a transfer from Mississippi State University, has hopes of becoming an engineer officer. His ROTC achievements include cadet of the week, highest ACFT score, Basic Camp Warriors Spirit Award, Advance Camp Armed Forces Bank Award, and Superior Cadet Award.
“I’m extremely enthusiastic about becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Army,” said Savage. “This opportunity allows me to make a meaningful impact, starting at a smaller scale. My commitment is to serve as an active duty armor officer, as I believe it offers opportunities for my leadership growth.”
James Brown III, born in Baton Rouge, La., and a JROTC member during his high school years, enlisted in the United States Army as a motor transport operator. He quickly excelled in various certifications and assumed multiple leadership roles within the Braves Battalion. James will commission as a second lieutenant with aspirations to branch into the Signal Corps, aiming for a 20 plus-year career with the goal of achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His awards include the Army Service ribbon, National Defense ribbon and medal, as well as the Norwegian Ruck March Bronze Badge.
Reflecting on his journey, James said, “Becoming an Officer has been a goal of mine since I entered 9th grade and joined the JROTC program at Wilkinson County High School. Accomplishing this goal feels surreal, and the Alcorn ROTC program has definitely prepared me for whatever lies ahead.”
The commissioning ceremony on December 8 marks the beginning of these future officers’ journeys, each with unique aspirations and a commitment to serve the nation.