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Lincoln University ROTC helped prepare Eason for career as Army officer

by Jeremy Amick | January 16, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
While in the ROTC program at Lincoln University, Anthonnie Eason was a member of the Ranger Challenge Team and participated in competitions against other university ROTC programs. (Courtesy of Anthonnie Eason)

Leadership, the building of relationships, in addition to both mental and physical fitness, are qualities embraced by Anthonnie Eason in his military career.

His journey toward becoming an officer in the U.S. Army and developing these characteristics began in Junior ROTC in high school and were further refined while attending the ROTC program at Lincoln University.

Raised in Kansas City, Eason attended Northeast High School, which was at the time a magnet school with a specialized structure consisting of a military-style curriculum of education.

"It was a public school, but we had an indoor rifle range and wore military academy-style uniforms," he recalled. "When I entered the school as a freshman, I remember seeing some of the seniors wearing sharp uniforms with shiny medals and cords, and I knew that I wanted to be part of it."

While pursuing his education, Eason also participated in the Junior ROTC drill team and color guard, winning many competitions. When approaching his graduation from high school in the fall of 1996, a couple of his military instructors encouraged him to consider enrolling in the ROTC program at Lincoln University.

He remarked, "I excelled in the program by working hard and wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army. But when your instructors spoke, you listened; and when they encouraged me to consider attending Lincoln University, I visited the campus and decided to try it for one year."

Beginning college in the fall of 1996, his one-year trial turned into four years. In addition to completing his academic requirements, Eason remained active in ROTC activities that included his selection to attend U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, as a sophomore.

As a junior, he attended his advanced camp and learned much from his fellow classmates as a member of the Ranger Challenge Team.

"The Ranger Challenge Team was awesome and consisted of competitions with other college ROTC programs," he said. "There was a one-rope bridge competition, land navigation, timed road marches and rifle competitions. I was fortunate that my classmates had prior Army service, and I learned a lot from them along the way."

In May 2000, he graduated with his bachelor's degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Choosing to specialize in military intelligence, Eason arrived to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to begin his adventure as an active-duty military officer.

Throughout the next several months, he attended training to develop the skillsets necessary to lead intelligence personnel. Then, he received his first duty assignment with an infantry battalion at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

"We spent a lot of time in ground tactics and maneuver training exercises with the Japanese military and ground forces of other countries," he said. "From there, I became platoon leader of a ground surveillance platoon and deployed to Bosnia for six months. We helped oversee surveillance missions directed by our higher headquarters that helped maintain the peace."

After returning to Schofield Barracks, he was selected as the aide-de-camp for a one-star general serving as the assistant division commander of support. A year later, he returned to the infantry battalion and became their senior intelligence officer.

"That was followed by my first deployment to Iraq, which lasted 14 months," he said. "After that deployment, I spent about nine months back at Fort Huachuca for the military intelligence captain career course and then went to the training to become a credentialed counter-intelligence agent."

He would go on to create many interesting career memories by spending 17 months in command of a cyber intelligence company at Fort Meade, Maryland. Then came his second deployment to Iraq in 2008, supporting counter-intelligence missions while responsibilities for military operations were transitioning back to the Iraqi government.

In March 2009, after being selected for the rank of major, he completed professional schooling in Washington, D.C., and Fort Belvoir, Virginia. During the summer of 2010, he received assignment to the 18th Airborne Headquarters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, still serving in a counter-intelligence role.

"Eventually, I moved to an operations role with the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and deployed to Afghanistan," he said. "I was reassigned to Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in 2014 and spent four years gaining valuable experience with other branches of service within an intelligence directorate."

He continued, "In 2017, my last year there, I was promoted to lieutenant colonel and, the following year, was assigned to an intelligence brigade at Fort Sam Houston. I later served 18 months as deputy commanding officer for the 5th Recruiting Brigade.

The next step of his career came in 2021 with his selection as senior intelligence officer and analysis and control element chief with the Army South Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston. Since April 2022, he continues to fulfill that role.

For eight years of his military career, Eason was married and became father to a son and daughter.

He and his son, Devante, returned to Jefferson City earlier this year when Eason, along with seven alumni, received the honor of being inducted into the Lincoln University ROTC Hall of Fame.

"The training and experiences I received at Lincoln University set the stage for the type of officer that I became," he said. "My time as a cadet in the ROTC program also tested me both mentally and physically, setting the tone for how I would lead and prepare soldiers for combat tours."

Pausing, he added, "There were several individuals at Lincoln ROTC who invested in me on a personal level and who worked to prepare all of us for service as Army officers. Between both the military and civilian instructors supporting the program, it really felt like a family environment and helped us be successful in our military careers."

Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.

  photo Anthonnie Eason participated in Junior ROTC while attending high school in Kansas City. After graduation, he attended Lincoln University, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant through their ROTC program. He is now a lieutenant colonel on active duty and stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (Courtesy of Anthonnie Eason)   

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