Service to celebrate new rank

As the flags were drawn and the national anthem harmonized across the Florida A&M University campus, honor was given to Lt. Col. Jeffery N. Williams on Monday.

Williams, who has served in the Army for more than 17 years, was promoted from Major to Lieutenant Colonel at the ceremony held on campus.

Currently serving as the FAMU professor of military sciences with Army ROTC, Williams is praised among many students and faculty members who know him not only as a professor but also a companion.

Retired Col. Ronald M. Joe said Williams is more than qualified for this position.

The U.S. Strategic Command also honored him as the 2006 “Strategic Officer Of The Year” for performance, community service endeavors and other additional criteria.

“This has to be a major event for The Rattler Battalion and a significant milestone for the Battalion program as a whole,” Joe said. “He’s capable of performing an outstanding job as lieutenant and I know he will be great at what he will do, and I’m very proud of him.”

President James Ammons said he has high hopes for Williams.

“I know that Lieutenant Colonel Williams will continue to provide the leadership necessary to continue this legacy here at FAMU,” Ammons said.

Army ROTC Chaplain, Franco Gennaro, said Williams’ promotion is a blessing.

“Promotion doesn’t come from east or west but it comes from God,” Gennaro said. “This great man of God, Lieutenant Colonel Williams possesses this sort of pureness that when encountered by him you are bound to fall in love with his presence.”

Rev. Floyd J. Sullivan of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, further spoke about Williams’ spirituality.

“He loves God, his country and his family,” said Sullivan, who is also a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. “Whatever he touches turns to gold, he is not just promoted for his past but what he is about to do in his future;” Sullivan said.

The ROTC program was recently celebrated in part of the 60th anniversary of the military program.

Floyd also said he has been Williams’ friend from the first day they met in a barbershop.

“He had God written all over him,” Williams said.

Cyrah Hawkins, 24, a senior criminal justice student from Decatur, Ga., and a member of ROTC said Williams is a good leader.

“Williams is definitely the Ammons of ROTC,” he said.

Hawkins also said he thought the ceremony was a mixture between glorious and magnificent.

“The main thing that stuck out in my mind was when Williams said he cares too much about people and I can truly vouch for that,” Hawkins said. “He has an open door policy and when I entered the program in fall ’03 I came across many other professors, but when I first met him I clung to him ever since. I wish he was here when I first entered the program, he is truly an amazing guy.”