Paying Tribute to Black Veterans 


The Voice of the Wildcats is proud to pay tribute to our military veterans on Veterans Day 2020

-by Marvin Isaac

Willie Leroy Givens, Jr., 77, is a Vietnam Veteran.

Willie Leroy Givens
Willie Leroy Givens

Givens joined the U. S. Army after he graduated from the Carver Heights School in Leesburg. He says this was the first thing that he wanted to do other than going to college. He felt like that was the right thing to do and he really enjoyed his time in the military.

Givens, who is my grandfather, was a sergeant in the 7th Battalion 9th Artillery. He says he enjoyed his time in the military and he is really grateful for the experience, traveling, and meeting new people as he traveled around the country doing different jobs in the military and his specialization.

"If I had to do it all over again, I would do it because things are more modern now," he says.
"And things are more up to date than back in the 1970s," he says, adding the military would always be his choice to be able to protect his country and fight for them.

His wife Catherine Givens says she also enjoyed traveling with him as they moved from state to state.

After the Vietnam War, he retired from the military and is now enjoying his retirement and benefits from the military.

-by Mariah Brown

November 11, better known as Veteran's Day, is an important day to honor all of the Veteran's that have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that we have today. Black Veterans have been fighting and making sacrifices in US conflicts since the Revolutionary War.

I had the opportunity to speak with my uncle, Mario Brown, who is enlisted in the Army National Guard.

First Lieutenant, Mario Brown
First Lieutenant, Mario Brown

Brown has been a part of this branch for ten years. His ranking has gone from Private, to Sergeant, to now First Lieutenant.

He values all of the lessons and experiences he has learned from throughout his time in the Army National Guard. It has granted him many opportunities and leadership roles he is thankful for.

Would you recommend the Military?

Yes, everyday! Get that college paid for! On a serious note, it has added more structure to my life, and has strengthened my network outside of my normal career circle. The VA loan, G.I. Bill, and guaranteed monthly pay are a plus. I believe that the military is the ultimate recipe builder.

What do you make of today's Armed Forces?

Today, it is less structured than it was ten to twenty years ago in my opinion. A con is that quantity is more important than quality. A pro is that everyone can take more control of their career today. With the internet, you have easier access to more resources compared to a time when many would enlist with unanswered questions.

by Julian Bacon

Dramoski Franklin, 42, spent 20 years in the Army National Guard.

Dramoski Franklin
Dramoski Franklin

During that time, Franklin was deployed three times.

In 2001, he went to Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission. He also went to Iraq from 2005-2006 and to Afghanistan in 2010 to 2011 on combat missions.

While he recommends the military, he said his preference would be college. He admits that choosing a job wisely is important.

He also feels that today's military is easier in many aspects than what it was when he first enlisted. When he signed up, he said, they could not have any electronic devices in basic training and there were no stress cards.

Also, he said, the military is not as disciplined as it was back then.

Franklin now is an Albany, Georgia, police officer. He also is heavily involved in the community coaching youth football.

By Kayla Traylor

Darvin Traylor Sr., 70, is both my grandfather and my favorite Black military veteran.

Traylor served in the Army from 1970-1972. After one tour of duty, he says, he was done.

He did not answer yes or no when the question of whether the military was a good option was put to him. Instead, he had this to say:

"The army turned me into the man I am today, aside from my mother and grandmother," he said. "If you have some growing up to do and fast, especially as a man, then let's just say that will do the job."

Traylor said the armed forces then are similar to how it is now, with a lot of intense training.

"It is hard to say anything about the military or any branch now without really being in it," he said, 'because we don't know what they might have changed or might not have changed, only someone from the inside can really detect that."


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