By Jennifer L. Warren
HIGHLAND – Jamie Hickman always knew she wanted to join the Army. A spark was ignited when she was a little girl and saw her father putting on his military uniform. It then became ignited a little earlier than she had planned on September 11, 2001.
“She is a true patriot, who decided to join after September 11,” Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, who is the first to hold the position as an African-American in the School’s 216 year history, told a room full of guests. “She ran to the sound of guns, and that’s a very big deal, in and out of combat.”
It’s that commitment to her military passion, along with exceptional leadership and tactical skills that led Hickman to receive an elusive, distinguished honor of Major at a special Promotion Ceremony, held at The Thayer Award Room at Taylor Hall Friday afternoon.
Surrounded by esteemed military personnel, family and friends, Hickman was presented with the title by Williams, who she met in Camp Humphrey’s, South Korea where he was the Deputy Commanding General for Support, and she served as a Commander with Distinction.
Williams would often visit Hickman’s brigade footprint. Referring to this time as one of the most important phases in her military life, Hickman also spoke of another connection she “shared” with Williams…football.
“The first time we formally met, I knew he was a huge football fan, particularly for Army, so I prepped extensively,” said a smiling Hickman, who in actuality knew very little about football. “Luckily, when we met, and he asked me how Army did in the game the day before, I just happened to know they won, so it all went well.”
Williams also spoke of still another thread the two shared: marrying their high school sweethearts. In addition to praising Hickman’s husband, Marc, for all of his support during Jamie’s military venture, Williams also indicated the incredible love of the entire family, including her parents, sister Erica (also in the Army) and highly accomplished, and high school daughter Asia.
After Willliams’ words, Hickman spoke, explaining how the day’s Ceremony was not just about her achievement, rather the support and love of all those in attendance, ones who have assisted her during her 17 year military journey.
“Today is dedicated to family, friends, mentors, soldiers and cadets who I have led and taught, and everyone I have met, even for the briefest moment, that has inspired me to become a better soldier, leader and person.” said Hickman.
After recognizing those in attendance and thanking them for making this day possible, Hickman reflected upon her military career up to this point as well as how it has shaped her outlook for the future.
“In my deepest solitude I have gained a greater sense of self-awareness and gratitude for the opportunities that have come my way and all the wonderful people who have helped make these opportunities a reality,” affirmed Hickman. “As a result, I feel a great deal of responsibility and honor toward my future as servant leader, and I want to promise everyone that has been there along the way that I will do my very best to improve the world and carve a brighter path for those that follow.”