LANSING, MI -- Lieutenant Colonel Shawn A. Harris, of Kentwood, Michigan, is among the chosen few to pursue this dream of elite Soldiers. In August 2010, Harris will report to the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A rare opportunity in itself, it will become even more so when he is joined by older brother, Lieutenant Colonel Keith Harris (P), United States Army, who was also selected to attend the school. The brothers credit their mother, Norma Harris, for the achievements they have attained.
Many Soldiers wonder what it would be like to become a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army. Some go on to attend school to see if they have what it takes to become such a leader. Few graduate with the opportunity to make their goal a reality. However, only the best are selected to attend prestigious training such as the United States Army War College.
The nine-month Senior Level College program focuses on developing strategic-minded military leaders, concentrating on their mastery of strategic leadership, theory and practice. Upon graduation, the Harris brothers will have earned a U.S. Army War College Diploma and Master of Strategic Studies Degree.
Shawn Harris, one of the first Active Guard Reserve Soldier from Michigan to be selected to attend this highly esteemed program, currently serves as the Commander of the Recruiting and Retention Command for the Michigan Army National Guard. He is also a member of the Adjutant General's Special Staff. Shawn has markedly improved Michigan Army National Guard manning by strategically planning and executing recruiting and retention programs to achieve and sustain a viable force; has successfully managed a staff of over 200 full-time Soldiers and contractors while nurturing a climate of high morale and ethical behavior; and ensured superior preparatory instruction for Initial Active Duty Training for over 1400 new warriors in the Recruit Sustainment Battalion.
Shawn hails from Blakely, Georgia, and began his military career in 1984 by attending boot camp with the United States Marine Corps. Four years later, he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama and graduated as a Second Lieutenant with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and minor in Military Science. He went on to attend the Command and Special Staff College, Counterinsurgency Leaders Course and Combat Advisor/Mentor Course. Currently, Shawn is earning his Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University.
Aside from his academic accomplishments, Shawn has also served in several company and field grade positions including Team Chief and Senior Combat Advisor to a Battalion Embedded Training Team assisting the Afghan National Police in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has earned numerous military awards including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Parachute/Airborne Badge.
From 1992 through 1998, Shawn worked for the Lansing School District. In many ways, the opportunity to work in an educational environment helped him identify what really matters when it comes to exhibiting excellent qualities.
Shawn said, “I would like to thank Gardner Middle School teachers and administrators for believing in and encouraging me to follow my dreams. As a former teacher, I realize the impact that positive role models can make on students and those around me.”
Shawn has been married to Dr. Karla Harris for 22 years and has five sons; Shawn L. (Jenny), Bishop, Ayden, Joshua and Ahmon; and one grand-daughter, Abigail Lea. He is the son of Charles (d) and Norma Harris of Blakely, Georgia.
The Harris family continues a proud tradition of military service. Specialist Shawn L. Harris, son of Shawn A. Harris, recently graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia as Second Lieutenant.
This was printed in the July 4, 2010 - July 17, 2010 edition