Military Alumni Spotlight (June ’17)
The Coast Guard was formally established in 1915, and since that time there has only been 39 African Americans selected to wear the rank of Captain. Captain Jason Merriweather, HU Class of 1992, was the 32nd of the 39 that have been selected. The first to wear that rank in the Coast Guard only occurred in 1977, just 40 years ago. I am totally amazed of the progress the Coast Guard is making when you consider how much time in service is required to become eligible to be considered for the rank. All that said, Captain Merriweather has done a remarkable for the Coast Guard, and he is now in the Military History of Hampton University as the senior ranking Coast Guard officer. On the banks of the Potomac River at FT McNair was the location for the retirement service. Vice Admiral Stosz characterized his service as selfless and he had a positive impact on people. She is well aware of his service having known him 15 years, and in his final assignment as the Chief of Office of Military Personnel at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, he directed. developed and implemented all military personnel policy and standards defining workforce shape, size, accession, administration, pay and compensation, transportation and travel, and housing administration. How powerful is that?
The theme of Captain Merriweather’s was simply THANK YOU! He had a member of his first grade class in attendance at the ceremony, and a fellow Officer Candidate School classmate who spoke of how people used to get them mixed up, even his classmates father made the mistake upon their graduation. He had some of his Kappa Alpha Psi line brothers in attendance, along with fellow members of the National Naval Officers Association. Most notably RADM (R) Stephen Rochon was in attendance, and for your knowledge he is one of four African Americans to reach Flag Officer Status in the Coast Guard. He was selected by President Obama to run the logistics of the White House. So you can see Captain Merriweather was mentored by one of the Coast Guard’s most respected leaders.
I am sure you have heard the phrase people come into your life for a reason, or a season, or a life time. I began contemplating the phrase and came to the conclusion why Captain Merriweather has met those gates for me were; REASON – Hampton University, SEASON- I was an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Hampton during the time of his graduation, LIFE TIME- Captain Merriweather has joined me into the retired ranks. I am sure you may draw your on conclusions. I met other Hamptonians at the ceremony but we were unable to take a group shot, Nikka Grant 2006, Mark Willis 1987, Joe Parran 1992, Kim Green 1992, myself 1977, and Richard East a retired Coastie on the Hampton University police department.
I will close by saying this was worth the traffic headache of driving to DC.