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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots

By Army Capt. Kyle Key

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Fallen Soldier Honored at GED Plus Program Ceremony
(October 27, 2010)

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Sgt. Jeffrey W. JordanNORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Oct. 25, 2010) -- It was a day for celebration of new beginnings and solemn remembrance of those who gave all during a dedication ceremony for the military's only GED credentialing program and new, state-of-the-art building complex, Thursday, Oct. 21.

Lacey Jordan spoke to a crowd of more than four hundred about her late husband, Sgt. Jeffrey W. Jordan, who graduated from the GED Plus Program after joining the Georgia Army National Guard on Sept. 11, 2006.

“Jeffrey was young, strong, intelligent and extremely determined to build a good life for his family,” said Ms. Jordan. “The GED Plus Program was a chance for him to make a new start. It was an opportunity for Jeffrey to be picked up and placed on a level playing field. In the Army National Guard, Jeffrey found out that it didn't matter what walk of life you came from, he recognized that the only limits were the ones you placed on yourself.”

Sgt. Jordan attended the National Guard GED Plus Program from November 28 through Dec. 13, 2006. He later graduated from basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. and advanced individual training at Fort Gordon, Ga. where became qualified as a Radio Operator Maintainer and Multichannel Transmission System Operator.

In June 2007, Jeffrey and Lacey met at a party and began dating. His family stated that he often referred to her as his “Barbie Doll” and was eager to introduce her. The two fell in love and were married three months later, Sept. 22, 2007. When he learned that he would become a father, Sgt. Jordan cried tears of joy. Their son, Tailor Jeffrey Jordan, was born June 4, 2008.

Not long after Tailor was born, Jordan's unit was alerted for deployment and began pre-mobilization training at Camp Shelby, Miss. and Camp Ripley, Minn. He flew to Afghanistan, April 10, 2009 and was assigned to Task Force Phoenix at Camp Blackhorse with the Georgia Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Calhoun, Ga.

With tears, and no dry eyes in the audience, Ms. Jordan spoke about the man whom she loved and misses every day.

“Jeffrey was a loving husband and a wonderful father, and he is greatly missed,” said Ms. Jordan, glancing at her son asleep in his grandmother's arms. “Jeffrey was killed on his son's first birthday, which makes it very, very hard to ensure that Tailor will know and understand how great his father truly was.”

Jordan, along with two of his crew members, was killed when Taliban militants detonated an improvised explosive device under his Humvee. His team was conducting a patrol in the Kapisa province of Afghanistan.
“This honor that you are bestowing on Jeffrey this morning will serve to show Tailor just how wonderful a man and how great a Soldier his father was,” Ms. Jordan said. “I look forward in time to the day that I can bring Tailor to this place and show him this building named in his father's honor. I know that Tailor would be as proud of his father then as I am now.”

Standing at parade rest with hands locked behind their backs, 311 Warriors stood in the rear of the audience during the dedication ceremony. Army National Guard Acting Director, Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter, hosted the event and stated the program is mutually beneficial to the new recruits, the nation, and greatly needed for today's military.

“The purpose of this program is to give
Ms. Lacey Jordan unveils the new building sign bearing the name of her late husband Sgt. Jeffrey W. Jordan, Oct. 21, 2010 at Camp Robinson In North Little Rock, Ark. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tyson Shields
Ms. Lacey Jordan unveils the new building sign bearing the name of her late husband Sgt. Jeffrey W. Jordan, Oct. 21, 2010 at Camp Robinson In North Little Rock, Ark. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tyson Shields
soldiers, like [these] a second chance,” said Carpenter. “This is not just for the individuals that we have in the back. We are also vitally concerned that these men and women have the opportunity to contribute to our organization, that they have the opportunity to apply their talents to service in this nation's military to protect the citizens of this country. We are looking for bright, intelligent, young patriots to serve in this nation's military.”
Retired Lt. Gen.Clyde A. Vaughn, former director of the Army National Guard, was also honored when the National Guard dedicated the program in his name. The Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn GED Plus Program was a vision of Vaughn which he considered one piece of a larger educational initiative to help solve critical issues facing America. In September 2005, a Department of Defense Directive, and subsequent National Guard Bureau ARH Policy Memo, authorized the establishment of the GED Plus Program. This establishment allowed the ARNG to recruit, train, and retain quality applicants who would otherwise be ineligible for service. This was a new and untapped recruiting source that would also contribute to American Society by putting citizen-Soldiers back in the community with a GED, military training, and a job skill.

Vaughn told the audience that the benefits are real, but so are the sacrifices that each recruit makes when they raise their right hand.

“It's not all a social program because at the end of the day, you ask these people to do what is the most solemn of all things, to pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said Vaughn. “And then we will honor all those and their families who make the supreme sacrifice.”

The GED Plus Program's Commandant, Lt. Col. Mary K. Maguire, said the program continues to grow leaps and bounds showing quantifiable success.

“Our through-put continues to increase,” said Maguire. “We tested 2,791 Warriors with 2,752 passing which is the most in the history of the program for one year. During this last year, we have maintained an astonishing 98.5 percent pass rate.”

Since the beginning of the program, the GED Plus Program has tested 10,182 Warriors with 9,217 passing the GED test. The overall GED Plus success rate is 90.5 percent compared to the 71 percent national average.

Maguire said the success of the program has helped to foster a partnership with the U.S. Army Accessions Command who recently closed the U.S. Army Preparatory School for GED Students at Ft. Jackson, S.C. The Army Preparatory School was a pilot program which began in 2008. Army Accessions Command is scheduled to send recruits to the GED Plus Program during FY 2011.

“This year will bring a new challenge when we increase the through put to 3,000 ARNG Warriors and incorporate 500 Active Army Warriors within our ranks,” Maguire said.

Carpenter told representatives from the U.S. Army Accessions Command that he looked forward to partnering with the active duty Army and Army Reserve components.

“We are going to partner with U.S. Army Accessions Command, and they are going to be a part of the GED Plus Program,” Carpenter said. “That really is a testament to where we have come in the Army.”

The Sgt. Jeffrey W. Jordan GED Plus Complex was completed in June 2010 at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark. The 90,000 square-foot complex was designed to ensure efficiency in time, money, and Warrior movements. As a “green building,” it features efficient building materials, smart lighting, computer regulated temperatures, and water conserving appliances.

The complex features 22 classrooms, 12 barracks, faculty and staff offices, and a dining facility that also converts to an auditorium. The building also houses a small medical clinic with a supervising physician and additional medical staff to provide any necessary medical treatment. Maguire said they will be breaking ground soon on the addition of a physical training dome in the rear of the complex next to the quarter mile track.
By Army Capt. Kyle Key
National Guard Patriot Academy
Copyright 2010

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