|Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems &
ChalleNGe Academy cadets at Fort McCoy had a special
two-course treat in mid-December.
One, they were let loose at the McCoy’s Community Club buffet; two, they
met Buffalo Soldiers local club members who talked about a mentorship
program. Buffalo Soldiers gained fame as the first all-African-American
U.S. Army unit to serve together as one group.
Antonio McDaniel talks to
ChalleNGe Academy cadets during lunch at McCoy’s Community Club.
McDaniel, a member of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, was
one of several club members explaining the club’s activities and
how it may relate to the cadets. McDaniel is a sergeant first
class and a training exercise coordinator with the 181st
Larry Giles, president of the Northwest chapter of the National
Association of Buffalo Soldiers, and club member Brian McGlothan
conducted the majority of the event that included brief profiles from
several club members and a slide presentation about the history of
Buffalo Soldiers through present-day club activities.
The organization started when African-American Soldiers formed into the
9th and 10th Calvary in 1866, serving mostly in the Great Plains and
Rocky Mountain states in the early years, through 1950 when
African-Americans were integrated into the U.S. Armed Forces.
“We are celebrating the past, bridging the future and keeping the legacy
alive,” Giles said.
About a dozen members of the Northwest Wisconsin Buffalo Soldiers
Motorcycle Club hosted the buffet lunch for the cadets and then talked
about club mentorship and partnership with the academy.
Giles is a sergeant first class and an instructor at the Army Reserve
Readiness Training Center (ARRTC).
McGlothan, a major, is the operations officer at the 86th Training
Command. The local club has 18 members, mostly Soldiers or employees at
The club is one of 91 chapters in the U.S., with one each in Canada and
“Starting a mentoring program and partnership with the academy is our
first venture,” McGlothan told the cadets — though the 26 attending
graduated Dec. 18. There were 108 that graduated from the class.
The first class at the academy started in September 1998. Cadets are
16-years-nine-months-old up to 19-years-old. The 22-week classes are
from January to June and July to December.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard administers and conducts the program.
Club members emphasized to the cadets that success in life can be
attained, particularly career goals the teens are working toward, though
it will take hard work and persistence.
They briefly shared some of their Army experiences, and how that has
impacted their careers, with the cadets.
McGlothan has 26 years in the Army, Giles has 25.
Maj. Troy Herman, a finance and budget instructor at the ARRTC, has 16
years, and Capt. Tyron Snell, a logistics officer with the 181st
Infantry Brigade, has 23 years.
They said the day’s program was not an Army recruiting effort, but they
did encourage the youths to consider a military route.
Upon a quick survey of the cadets, a dozen said they are considering a
Other Buffalo Soldiers addressing the cadets were Sgt. 1st Class Antonio
McDaniel, with the 181st, Master Sgt. Darrel Hawkins, with the Unit
Movement Officer Course, and Anthony Reeves and Lamount Robinson of the
Equipment Concentration Site.
Garrison Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Rob Humphrey also spoke to the youth.