By Capt. Shkeila Milford-Glover
For over a century, African Americans have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and have contributed greatly to each branch of the U.S. military.
This Black History Month, the USO is highlighting members of our military community such as Ebakoliane “Eba” Obiomon and Ejakhian “Jackie” Obiomon, two siblings whose lives and careers have been positively impacted by their service in the military.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ebakoliane “Eba” Obiomon and 1st Lt. Ejakhian “Jackie” Obiomon are both graduates of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, and later began their careers in the Army at Fort Hood, Texas.
Eba and Jackie were born and raised in Cypress, Texas, by their father, a Nigerian immigrant, and their mother, an electrical engineer and current dean of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering at Prairie View A&M University.
Though the sisters are in different branches – Eba a field artillery officer, and Jackie an engineering officer – they are bonded by their passion to serve the nation, and inspired by their brother’s similar call to service.
Eba, a platoon leader in King Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment, remembers watching her brother, Capt. Egbezien Obiomon, transform while attending the academy.
Just after her brother’s his freshmen year at the academy, Eba fondly remembers “he stood up straight! Held his head a little higher!”
After graduating from the academy in 2018, Egbezien is now an infantry officer in the 75th Ranger Battalion.
Eba initially had plans to attend medical school, but after consulting her JROTC instructor and alleviating her initial trepidation toward not seeing many women officers in the Army, Eba decided to follow in her brother’s footsteps, and graduated from the academy in 2020.
Hoping to be branched infantry like her brother, Eba ultimately branched field artillery and found opportunity in her career path.
“I wanted to grow wherever I was planted,” Eba said.
Jackie, an assistant operations officer in the 36th Engineer Brigade, also followed her brother’s example and enrolled in the academy as well.
“I saw the discipline [the academy] instilled in my brother and the opportunities the military could provide for my family,” Jackie said.
Serving her country is one of Jackie’s highest honors and protecting her family fuels her commitment as an Army officer.
“This is the only country where you see children of an immigrant father and a first-generation college graduate mother truly excel, and that is worth protecting,” she said.
Both Jackie and Eba are committed to being examples in their communities and embody what it means to selflessly serve, which is an Army core value.
“The Army will surround you with good people and it’s easy to lead them when you are doing the right thing,” Jackie said.
How the USO is Supporting Service Members in Texas
Eba and Jackie can find support throughout their Army careers in Texas with the help of the USO. The USO has several centers throughout the state of Texas, including USO Fort Hood, which opened in 2001.
Here, as in most other 250+ USO locations around the world, service members and their families can take advantage of all the free amenities that USO centers have to offer, including Wi-Fi, snacks, coffee, games and couches to crash on during their downtime.
For soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, having a place to unwind and relax in their downtime after a long day of high-pressure and stressful work can be essential for their mental health and wellbeing, and can have a significant impact on the daily lives and duties of service members.
Regardless of where their military careers take them, service members like Eba and Jackie can always rely on the USO. Thanks to our generous supporters and USO volunteers, we will always do whatever it takes to have their backs, through every step of their military journey.
-This story was originally published on DVIDS.hub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
More Stories Like This
5 Black Service Members Shaping Contemporary Military History
Following in the courageous footsteps of those who came before them, here are five contemporary Black service members shaping today’s military landscape.
Three Airmen in Florida Commemorate Black History Month with Historical All-African American Flight
Three Airmen recently flew a mission to commemorate Black History Month and the Black aviators who paved the way before them.
Finding a Path to Purpose: A Service Member's Journey from Nigeria to the U.S. Air Force
An airman shares his journey - from a childhood in Nigeria, to the U.S. Air Force, to a deployment in Niger - and how it has affected his military servic
More from the USO
Dec 7, 2023
5 Ways Americans Can Deliver a Piece of Home to Troops During the Holidays
Every holiday season, service members stationed around the world are making sacrifices on behalf of their country while far from loved ones. If you are asking yourself how you can deliver the holiday spirit to the people who serve thousands of miles away, here are five ways you can deliver a piece of home to service members during the holidays.
Nov 21, 2023
Is the USO a Nonprofit? Yes!
At the USO, we talk a lot about the people who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces because they are the ones in need of support, and they are the ones who deserve the spotlight. However, we sometimes don’t talk enough about who we are as an organization, and whether or not the USO is a nonprofit. Yes - the USO is, in fact, a nonprofit, non-government organization and we rely on generous donors like you to fuel our support of the nation’s military.