Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Triple Nickels" Army's First Black Paratroopers on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Join Living Your Best Life  as we celebrate our military heroes' journeys before and after their service to our country throughout the year. Hear from men and women who are sons and daughters; husbands and wives; fathers and mothers; grandparents; siblings; and loyal friends. Hear members of the Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy share personal stories and highlights from their military careers. All have roles that made them the "first" in many endeavors throughout their lives and in the military. We will hear about their rarely discussed acts of courage and sacrifice that embody servant leadership that will empower, inspire, and motivate listeners.


On Saturday, February 22, 2014 join us as we hear from surviving members of the 555th Infantry, Triple Nickels, America's first Black Paratroopers. Members of the 555th Infantry were activated 70 years ago this month. The Triple Nickels were also known as the Smoke Jumpers.

Tune in to hear the Triple Nickels share how they were trained in a segregated Army and how their skills were used to help fight World War 2 on the home front. Many of the Triple Nickels also fought in the Korean War. Hear them share their lives before and after being in the the Army. Listen as they share how these courageous men who broke color barriers in the military became the foundation of the 50s and 60s Civil Rights movement which is often not history books.
Genma Holmes with Triple Nickels at Fort Campbell
In the studio to share their HIStory, will be Lawrence Douglas, Fred Otey, Fred Dale, Sidney Brown, and Joe Garrett.

Tune into 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In, on streaming live online at UStream.TV, and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am CST.

 More About The Triple Nickels, 555th Infantry
(excerpt from Black America Web)


In Camp Mackall, North Carolina the first all-black parachute Infantry platoon was activated on November 25,1944. They would be called the 555th Battalion, a.k.a. “The Triple Nickles.” They were called the Triple Nickles because 17 of 20 soldiers selected from the Buffalo Soldiers 92nd Infantry in Arizona made it through the test platoon at Fort Benning. The unit's name came from the old English spelling and identified with three buffalo nickels joined in a triangle or pyramid.

The Triple Nickles served in more airborne units during both war and peacetime than any other parachute group in history. The Triple Nickles smoke jumped into burning forests of the American northwest, searching for Japanese balloon bombs. In 1945, Private First Class Malvin L. Brown was the first smoke jumper to perish on a fire jump.

In the Georgia winters of 1943 and 1944, soldiers could stare into the sky and see a blanket of white parachutes belonging to the 555th infantry battalion. Among the troopers were former university students and professional athletes. Their unit was entirely black, from commanding officer down to the private level. Their skills would be tested throughout World War II. The 555th were trained to use biological agents that could destroy the burning woods for wartime purposes. The brave men of this infantry found themselves smoke jumping into burning forests of the American northwest searching for Japanese balloon bombs.

After being transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1945, the 555th became attached to the elite 82nd Airborne Division. In 1950, the Parachute Battalion was disbanded. Its former members would later fight in the Korean War. Specifically, one of the battalion's former officers, Harry Sutton, died while leading a rearguard action during the Hungnam Evacuation and was decorated posthumously with the Silver Star.

A new monument has been constructed to honor the Triple Nickles at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center's Memorial Walk of Honor. A ceremony was held on the unit’s 33rd reunion in a crowd of over 200 soldiers.

Photo Credit: US Army Archives and Lt. Otis Touissant
“So many black Soldiers wanted to be paratroopers; there was too many people to simply establish a company, so the 555th quickly became a battalion,” Fowles said. There were not enough officers to handle the rapid growth of the Triple Nickles, so Morris was sent to officer candidate school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Shortly after, the battalion received its first set of orders.
The 555th expected to be assigned somewhere in Europe, supporting their fellow Soldiers in the fight against Hitler, but the Army thought black paratroopers and white paratroopers would fight with one another if they were deployed in the same area. That turned out to be completely untrue, Murchison said, but the misconceptions of the time led the 555th to be loaned out to the United States Forest Service in April of 1945.
The Triple Nickles were assigned as a 300-man smokejumper, or airborne, firefighting component.
“Smoke jumping is a position that is used on the fire line,” Deidra McGee, Forest Service public affairs officer, explained. People jump out of planes and into rugged terrain to establish a fire line. The 555th was assigned to the Forest Service as part of Operation Firefly, which was a joint military-civilian effort to combat wildfire threats from Japanese incendiary bombs.
“Balloons were landing in Canada, all the way down to Mexico, and as far east as Boise, Idaho,” Murchison said, “and they were responsible for some fires on the West Coast and the Forest Service needed fire fighters. There were no road networks like we have now, and there was no way to get people into place in a hurry, so they asked the Army if they could lend them some paratroopers.”
The 555th participated in fire training conducted by the Forest Service at Camp Pendleton, Ore., learning the best ways to put out fires and how to land among the trees — something paratroopers are told to avoid. They were also given demolition training so they could disable any unexploded bombs.
“They started wearing football helmets and made face masks out of chicken wire in order to protect their faces,” Murchison said.  The men were also given 50-foot long ropes to repel down if they became stuck in trees. The government kept Firefly a secret at the time, Fowles explained, because it didn’t want the American people to know the country had been attacked in any way, and it also wanted to keep the enemy from thinking their line of attack had been successful.
The Japanese sent balloon bombs with incendiary or explosive capabilities across the ocean and into the Pacific Northwest from November 1944 through April of 1945. They were paper balloons, designed to drop four incendiaries, one at a time, as they blew eastward. After all the weapons had been dropped, an explosive charge would go off to destroy the balloon, leaving almost no evidence of its presence. More than 9,000 of these balloons were launched, but only 342 were reported in North America, according to the Forest Service.
All in all, the 555th had 36 fire missions, which included 1,200 individual jumps.
“By the time the Triple Nickles got involved with it, the (smokejumping) program was only about five or six years old, so they were some of the earlier smoke jumpers to be involved … and they were some of the first (black) smokejumpers — pioneers — to be involved in the profession,” McGee said.
The operation came to a close in August of 1945 and the battalion returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where they continued on as regular paratroopers.
- See more at: http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/2014/02/jumping-into-history-the-armys-first-african-american-paratroopers/#sthash.oUEymkqZ.OdJuhEMB.dpuf
“So many black Soldiers wanted to be paratroopers; there was too many people to simply establish a company, so the 555th quickly became a battalion,” Fowles said. There were not enough officers to handle the rapid growth of the Triple Nickles, so Morris was sent to officer candidate school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Shortly after, the battalion received its first set of orders.
The 555th expected to be assigned somewhere in Europe, supporting their fellow Soldiers in the fight against Hitler, but the Army thought black paratroopers and white paratroopers would fight with one another if they were deployed in the same area. That turned out to be completely untrue, Murchison said, but the misconceptions of the time led the 555th to be loaned out to the United States Forest Service in April of 1945.
The Triple Nickles were assigned as a 300-man smokejumper, or airborne, firefighting component.
“Smoke jumping is a position that is used on the fire line,” Deidra McGee, Forest Service public affairs officer, explained. People jump out of planes and into rugged terrain to establish a fire line. The 555th was assigned to the Forest Service as part of Operation Firefly, which was a joint military-civilian effort to combat wildfire threats from Japanese incendiary bombs.
“Balloons were landing in Canada, all the way down to Mexico, and as far east as Boise, Idaho,” Murchison said, “and they were responsible for some fires on the West Coast and the Forest Service needed fire fighters. There were no road networks like we have now, and there was no way to get people into place in a hurry, so they asked the Army if they could lend them some paratroopers.”
The 555th participated in fire training conducted by the Forest Service at Camp Pendleton, Ore., learning the best ways to put out fires and how to land among the trees — something paratroopers are told to avoid. They were also given demolition training so they could disable any unexploded bombs.
“They started wearing football helmets and made face masks out of chicken wire in order to protect their faces,” Murchison said.  The men were also given 50-foot long ropes to repel down if they became stuck in trees. The government kept Firefly a secret at the time, Fowles explained, because it didn’t want the American people to know the country had been attacked in any way, and it also wanted to keep the enemy from thinking their line of attack had been successful.
The Japanese sent balloon bombs with incendiary or explosive capabilities across the ocean and into the Pacific Northwest from November 1944 through April of 1945. They were paper balloons, designed to drop four incendiaries, one at a time, as they blew eastward. After all the weapons had been dropped, an explosive charge would go off to destroy the balloon, leaving almost no evidence of its presence. More than 9,000 of these balloons were launched, but only 342 were reported in North America, according to the Forest Service.
All in all, the 555th had 36 fire missions, which included 1,200 individual jumps.
“By the time the Triple Nickles got involved with it, the (smokejumping) program was only about five or six years old, so they were some of the earlier smoke jumpers to be involved … and they were some of the first (black) smokejumpers — pioneers — to be involved in the profession,” McGee said.
The operation came to a close in August of 1945 and the battalion returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where they continued on as regular paratroopers.
- See more at: http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/2014/02/jumping-into-history-the-armys-first-african-american-paratroopers/#sthash.oUEymkqZ.OdJuhEMB.dpuf
“So many black Soldiers wanted to be paratroopers; there was too many people to simply establish a company, so the 555th quickly became a battalion,” Fowles said. There were not enough officers to handle the rapid growth of the Triple Nickles, so Morris was sent to officer candidate school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Shortly after, the battalion received its first set of orders.
The 555th expected to be assigned somewhere in Europe, supporting their fellow Soldiers in the fight against Hitler, but the Army thought black paratroopers and white paratroopers would fight with one another if they were deployed in the same area. That turned out to be completely untrue, Murchison said, but the misconceptions of the time led the 555th to be loaned out to the United States Forest Service in April of 1945.
The Triple Nickles were assigned as a 300-man smokejumper, or airborne, firefighting component.
“Smoke jumping is a position that is used on the fire line,” Deidra McGee, Forest Service public affairs officer, explained. People jump out of planes and into rugged terrain to establish a fire line. The 555th was assigned to the Forest Service as part of Operation Firefly, which was a joint military-civilian effort to combat wildfire threats from Japanese incendiary bombs.
“Balloons were landing in Canada, all the way down to Mexico, and as far east as Boise, Idaho,” Murchison said, “and they were responsible for some fires on the West Coast and the Forest Service needed fire fighters. There were no road networks like we have now, and there was no way to get people into place in a hurry, so they asked the Army if they could lend them some paratroopers.”
The 555th participated in fire training conducted by the Forest Service at Camp Pendleton, Ore., learning the best ways to put out fires and how to land among the trees — something paratroopers are told to avoid. They were also given demolition training so they could disable any unexploded bombs.
“They started wearing football helmets and made face masks out of chicken wire in order to protect their faces,” Murchison said.  The men were also given 50-foot long ropes to repel down if they became stuck in trees. The government kept Firefly a secret at the time, Fowles explained, because it didn’t want the American people to know the country had been attacked in any way, and it also wanted to keep the enemy from thinking their line of attack had been successful.
The Japanese sent balloon bombs with incendiary or explosive capabilities across the ocean and into the Pacific Northwest from November 1944 through April of 1945. They were paper balloons, designed to drop four incendiaries, one at a time, as they blew eastward. After all the weapons had been dropped, an explosive charge would go off to destroy the balloon, leaving almost no evidence of its presence. More than 9,000 of these balloons were launched, but only 342 were reported in North America, according to the Forest Service.
All in all, the 555th had 36 fire missions, which included 1,200 individual jumps.
“By the time the Triple Nickles got involved with it, the (smokejumping) program was only about five or six years old, so they were some of the earlier smoke jumpers to be involved … and they were some of the first (black) smokejumpers — pioneers — to be involved in the profession,” McGee said.
The operation came to a close in August of 1945 and the battalion returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where they continued on as regular paratroopers.
- See more at: http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/2014/02/jumping-into-history-the-armys-first-african-american-paratroopers/#sthash.oUEymkqZ.OdJuhEMB.dpuf
“So many black Soldiers wanted to be paratroopers; there was too many people to simply establish a company, so the 555th quickly became a battalion,” Fowles said. There were not enough officers to handle the rapid growth of the Triple Nickles, so Morris was sent to officer candidate school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Shortly after, the battalion received its first set of orders.
The 555th expected to be assigned somewhere in Europe, supporting their fellow Soldiers in the fight against Hitler, but the Army thought black paratroopers and white paratroopers would fight with one another if they were deployed in the same area. That turned out to be completely untrue, Murchison said, but the misconceptions of the time led the 555th to be loaned out to the United States Forest Service in April of 1945.
The Triple Nickles were assigned as a 300-man smokejumper, or airborne, firefighting component.
“Smoke jumping is a position that is used on the fire line,” Deidra McGee, Forest Service public affairs officer, explained. People jump out of planes and into rugged terrain to establish a fire line. The 555th was assigned to the Forest Service as part of Operation Firefly, which was a joint military-civilian effort to combat wildfire threats from Japanese incendiary bombs.
“Balloons were landing in Canada, all the way down to Mexico, and as far east as Boise, Idaho,” Murchison said, “and they were responsible for some fires on the West Coast and the Forest Service needed fire fighters. There were no road networks like we have now, and there was no way to get people into place in a hurry, so they asked the Army if they could lend them some paratroopers.”
The 555th participated in fire training conducted by the Forest Service at Camp Pendleton, Ore., learning the best ways to put out fires and how to land among the trees — something paratroopers are told to avoid. They were also given demolition training so they could disable any unexploded bombs.
“They started wearing football helmets and made face masks out of chicken wire in order to protect their faces,” Murchison said.  The men were also given 50-foot long ropes to repel down if they became stuck in trees. The government kept Firefly a secret at the time, Fowles explained, because it didn’t want the American people to know the country had been attacked in any way, and it also wanted to keep the enemy from thinking their line of attack had been successful.
The Japanese sent balloon bombs with incendiary or explosive capabilities across the ocean and into the Pacific Northwest from November 1944 through April of 1945. They were paper balloons, designed to drop four incendiaries, one at a time, as they blew eastward. After all the weapons had been dropped, an explosive charge would go off to destroy the balloon, leaving almost no evidence of its presence. More than 9,000 of these balloons were launched, but only 342 were reported in North America, according to the Forest Service.
All in all, the 555th had 36 fire missions, which included 1,200 individual jumps.
“By the time the Triple Nickles got involved with it, the (smokejumping) program was only about five or six years old, so they were some of the earlier smoke jumpers to be involved … and they were some of the first (black) smokejumpers — pioneers — to be involved in the profession,” McGee said.
The operation came to a close in August of 1945 and the battalion returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where they continued on as regular paratroopers.
- See more at: http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/2014/02/jumping-into-history-the-armys-first-african-american-paratroopers/#sthash.oUEymkqZ.OdJuhEMB.dpuf
“So many black Soldiers wanted to be paratroopers; there was too many people to simply establish a company, so the 555th quickly became a battalion,” Fowles said. There were not enough officers to handle the rapid growth of the Triple Nickles, so Morris was sent to officer candidate school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Shortly after, the battalion received its first set of orders.
The 555th expected to be assigned somewhere in Europe, supporting their fellow Soldiers in the fight against Hitler, but the Army thought black paratroopers and white paratroopers would fight with one another if they were deployed in the same area. That turned out to be completely untrue, Murchison said, but the misconceptions of the time led the 555th to be loaned out to the United States Forest Service in April of 1945.
The Triple Nickles were assigned as a 300-man smokejumper, or airborne, firefighting component.
“Smoke jumping is a position that is used on the fire line,” Deidra McGee, Forest Service public affairs officer, explained. People jump out of planes and into rugged terrain to establish a fire line. The 555th was assigned to the Forest Service as part of Operation Firefly, which was a joint military-civilian effort to combat wildfire threats from Japanese incendiary bombs.
“Balloons were landing in Canada, all the way down to Mexico, and as far east as Boise, Idaho,” Murchison said, “and they were responsible for some fires on the West Coast and the Forest Service needed fire fighters. There were no road networks like we have now, and there was no way to get people into place in a hurry, so they asked the Army if they could lend them some paratroopers.”
The 555th participated in fire training conducted by the Forest Service at Camp Pendleton, Ore., learning the best ways to put out fires and how to land among the trees — something paratroopers are told to avoid. They were also given demolition training so they could disable any unexploded bombs.
“They started wearing football helmets and made face masks out of chicken wire in order to protect their faces,” Murchison said.  The men were also given 50-foot long ropes to repel down if they became stuck in trees. The government kept Firefly a secret at the time, Fowles explained, because it didn’t want the American people to know the country had been attacked in any way, and it also wanted to keep the enemy from thinking their line of attack had been successful.
The Japanese sent balloon bombs with incendiary or explosive capabilities across the ocean and into the Pacific Northwest from November 1944 through April of 1945. They were paper balloons, designed to drop four incendiaries, one at a time, as they blew eastward. After all the weapons had been dropped, an explosive charge would go off to destroy the balloon, leaving almost no evidence of its presence. More than 9,000 of these balloons were launched, but only 342 were reported in North America, according to the Forest Service.
All in all, the 555th had 36 fire missions, which included 1,200 individual jumps.
“By the time the Triple Nickles got involved with it, the (smokejumping) program was only about five or six years old, so they were some of the earlier smoke jumpers to be involved … and they were some of the first (black) smokejumpers — pioneers — to be involved in the profession,” McGee said.
The operation came to a close in August of 1945 and the battalion returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where they continued on as regular paratroopers.
- See more at: http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/2014/02/jumping-into-history-the-armys-first-african-american-paratroopers/#sthash.oUEymkqZ.OdJuhEMB.dpuf

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Genma Holmes Shares Highlights from Fort Campbell's Black History Program

It was an honor to be the keynote speaker at Fort Campbell's Black History Month Program. The room was packed with not only men and women in uniform but there was a large number of veterans and many members from the Clarksville Area community.


I was met at the door by a number of soldiers who expressed their thanks for keeping their family and the life of an enlisted member in the public eye through my broadcasts on Living Your Best Life Radio. Not only was I surprised by their heartfelt words but deeply humbled.


I heard the wonderful sounds of the Fort Campbell Band before I saw them! The lively music set the tone that we were assembled to celebrate the accomplishments of Americans whose contributions help make our country great. We were there to shine the spotlight on well known as well as unsung heroes, like my grandparents, who gave their all for the betterment of mankind.



We were warmly welcomed by the staff of Fort Campbell's EEO and EO office. After a beautiful opening prayer, we watched a brief film that was made by the US Army in 1944.  The film recognized the many contributions of African Americans prior to the film's debut. To see the Army, which at the time was dealing with the executive order to desegregate, produced a film that not only profiled the many pioneers from the African American community but also showed Army's appreciation of the "Negro Solider" was truly inspiring. The film was truly ahead of its time and one I highly recommend everyone to watch.


I was introduced by my dear friend, Dr. Gregory P. Stallwork, who I met several years ago in Leadership Middle TN. The introduction made me feel as if  I had won an Oscar and had me choked up before I even said one word.

I shared with the packed room at Commons Park about my life growing up in rural Mississippi and not seeing the division that I see today in our country. I remember two kinds of people: "poor and po". The economic plights of the poorest county in the country, Jefferson County, united Blacks and Whites, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants. Working together for the greater good of all was the mantra of my grandfather's politics that still influences me today.

My only views of the world growing up were the ones my grandparents and parents showed me. They showed me that everyone mattered and that we all have something in common if we take time to get to know our neighbors and fellowman. Of course, as a child you really do not understand what is being taught to you but the foundation that was given to me by my family was paved with Godly intentions and that took root in my life. It is my guiding source today that allow me to lead from behind and to not rush to judge others, what I may not know, or understand.

Sharing pest control stories usually gets me a few laughs and this day was no different. I shared with the audience who were beginning to feel like family half way through my talk that being in the pest control industry was not an easy endeavor. But I have no regrets. I have learned more about people by being in industry that is not glamorous or sought after but is very much needed. My customers are friends who have been with us through the good, bad, and ugly. The Holmes Pest Control has allowed my family to raise our kids, has funded several other ventures and gives me an opportunity to give back to many worthwhile endeavors.

I also shared how much I enjoyed working in the media representing clients as well writing and allowing Living Your Best Life to bring to the airwaves stories like the Montford Point Marines and men like USMC Vietnam Veteran Bert Watkins who received a Purple Heart for his heroism in the Battle of Operation Swift.

I challenged the audience to take a moment to spend time with someone who do not look like them. I asked them to deposit a few words of kindness in that person's life and find a way to make our world a better place. The service of the men and women in uniform unites our country not to divide it. We can show our appreciation for the many firsts made by Americans by being a united country. Instead of focusing on what divides us, let us become more determined to find common ground. I ended sharing about my son, Lance Corporal Roger Cornelius Holmes, II, who became a Marines was a hard pill to swallow at first but because of him, I too. serve my country, proudly, as the mother of one of "The Few, The Proud, The Marines."

 For more photos of my wonderful day at Fort Campbell click here.

Photo credits: Otis Toussaint

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Genma Holmes Black History Month Keynote Speaker at Fort Campbell



Fort Campbell EEO & EO Offices will hold its Annual Black History Month Special Emphasis Program Observance Luncheon, on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, from 11:00-12:30 at Cole Park Commons with Genma Stringer Holmes as the keynote speaker. This year's theme is:

"Civil Rights in America with Liberty and Justice for All!"

Holmes will share how her childhood experiences in rural Mississippi have enriched not hindered her worldview. She will discuss how her grandfather's Civil Right activism molded her volunteer work in the community and her grandmother's influence that led to her love of the arts. Holmes credits her childhood experiences as one of the reasons why she has held her own in an industry that is not known for attracting minorities or women.

Holmes will also discuss her personal motto "Others 'no' should not shape your destiny in life." She will share the challenges of being at the helm of two companies; the lessons she has learned from the demands of producing a weekly radio program, Living Your Best Life Radio; and her journey as a proud mother of a Marine.

Marine Ball 2013



Friday, February 7, 2014

Alpha Phi Alpha's General President Mark S. Tillman on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes




On Saturday, February 8, 2014, tune in to hear Mark S. Tillman, the General President of the first Black Greek Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Listen as Mr. Tillman shares his journey from Dillard University to becoming the 34th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha. Hear him share the rich history of the fraternity and how the organization is building on the foundation that was started at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1906.


Mr. Tillman will discuss Alpha Phi Alpha's role in the building of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s National Memorial and the legacy of Dr. King to not only Alpha Phi Alpha but to the world. Hear him share about many notable Alpha men who helped shaped the Civil Rights Movement. He also honors the many unknown chapter members who were tireless foot soldiers who helped ignite the fire of the movement and kept it going.


Mr. Tillman will also discuss national partnerships and initiatives of Alpha Phi Alpha and share his vision for Alpha Phi Alpha under his leadership. Mr.Tillman stresses the importance of Black men mentoring young men and boys. He will also address our military who are serving our country and give thanks to them and their numerous sacrifices.

This interview promises to empower, inspire, and motivate you to live your best life!

Living Your Best Life Radio can be heard on 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In Radio, streamed live on the web at UStream.TV and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10am CST.


More About Mark S. Tillman, 34th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha

Mark S. Tillman has over 20 years of membership in Gamma Lambda chapter in Detroit, Michigan. He continually serves his chapter as a tireless contributor to its programs, service projects, and brotherhood activities. He has represented his chapter as a delegate to conventions, at every level, and has been a chapter officer in six chapter administrations.

Mark. S. Tillman is a key contributor on the Management Information Systems Committee that introduced the fraternity to AlphaNET and has also served as the workshop presenter on its use. He was instrumental in having the Midwestern Region to be the first region to use AlphaNET for regional conventions and has guided its adoption for two other regions. He also dedicated his time to educate chapters and members to utilize this tool to its full capability to streamline chapter operations.

Outside of Alpha Phi Alpha, Tillman has over 20 years of information technology experience and combined service with the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) through an acquisition of Electronic Data Systems (EDS). He is a technology consultant and Lead Offering Engineer where he leads a global team of systems engineers to design, build, and test server platform solutions. He provides leadership in determining technical direction, research, analysis, and implementation plans for new technology standards and processes. Tillman chairs an employee-network group at HP where he promotes and executes programs that enhance professional development and diversity within the IT profession. Tillman is also a member of the Black Data Processing Association (BDPA).

Mark S.Tillman is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He completed his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Dillard University in 1988. To ensure balance with Alpha Phi Alpha and his personal life, Tillman is celebrating over 15 years of marriage to his wife Velicia. He is also a three-time mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for nine (13) years.

As General President of Alpha Phi Alpha, Mr. Tillman encourages all Alpha men to get active with the general organization, and subsequently, with a local chapter. To get active, click here.

(Special thanks to all the Alpha Men in my life who helped make this interview possible. Special thanks to Eddie Francis, Dr. Melvin Johnson, Bryan Kelley, the HBCU Radio Network, Mocha Market and College Crib!


Other Fraternity Interviews: Omega Psi Phi, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Delta Delta, Phi Beta Sigma

Photo Credits: NPS and Alpha Phi Alpha-used with permission.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Celebrating The Year of the Horse with Dr. Ming Wang on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes


Join us on Living Your Best Life Radio with Genma Holmes as well gallop in the Chinese New Year, Year of the Horse, with Dr. Ming Wang, founder of Wang Vision Institute.

On Saturday, February 1, 2014 tune in to hear Dr. Wang discuss local, national, and international observances of the nearly two week celebrations of the Year of the Horse as well as the customs and history behind holiday.

Dr. Wang will discuss Asian Americans and other minority groups becoming more involved in U. S. life and how changing demographics of the country can bring economic opportunities for entrepreneurs who are open to embracing changes.




Dr. Wang will also discuss how we can live to give now and how charities can be the key to closing the health care gap for the medically undeserved. Listen as he shares his passion for serving those who cannot afford medical care and how his faith plays a major role in providing those services.

Living Your Best Life Radio, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life can be heard on 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In Radio, streamed live on the web at UStream.TV  on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am CST and on military bases.

More About Chinese New Year 


The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.

More About Dr. Ming Wang

 Dr. Ming Wang is a uniquely qualified corneal refractive surgeon. He hold a Harvard Medical School and MIT degree (magna cum laude, 1991) as well as a doctoral degree in laser physics. He is both an accomplished scientist and a talented artist.

As the founding director of the renowned Wang Vision Institute in Nashville, TN, he excels in his profession as a compassionate ophthalmologist who cares deeply about his patients and continues to strive to give them the best eye care possible.

As an accomplished research scientist, he has made worthwhile contributions to various areas of molecular biology (see Nature, 360, 606, 1992) and ophthalmology including being a principle investigator of an NIH grant on amniotic contact lenses and the biotech company that he cofounded with Vanderbilt, EyeVU.

As a talented artist, passionate about ballroom dancing and music, he brings to people around him a sense of joy for rhythm and movement, the appreciation for fine art and many romantic and beautiful melodies of life.