The U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), with support from the Inspector General Office and U.S. Army Cadet Command (USACC) conducted recruiting, awareness, and community partner engagements during the 2022 Cricket Celebration Bowl, at Mercedes-Benz Dome, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Cricket Celebration Bowl, which features conference football champions from The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). MEAC and SWAC are two NCAA Division 1 conferences, entirely made up of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The North Carolina Central University Eagles (MEAC) and the Jackson State University Tigers (SWAC) and faced offed Saturday, December 17th. The final score, 41-34, left the Eagles reigning as the Celebration Bowl Champs for 2022.
Leading up to the event, both USAREC and USACC key leaders, including members from both organizations command teams, the Atlanta Recruiting Battalion (2nd Recruiting Brigade), and Jackson State University admin, participated in multiple activities throughout the week. The activities included interactive Fan Fest events, various leadership receptions and dinners, and a presentation during the football game. The activities were encouraged to engage, inform, and generate interest in the U.S. Army, while also enhancing relationships with various advocates and emphasizing the importance of diversity within the U.S. Army.
Brig. Gen. Amanda Azubuike, Deputy Commanding General of USACC, represented her organization by speaking at the Champions Circle Dinner at the College Football Hall of Fame Exhibit. She was accompanied by various MEAC/SWAC influencers, coaches, and their teams.
The following day, Brig. Gen. Daphne Davis, Deputy Commanding General Support of USAREC, made her appearance at the Cricket Celebration Bowl Fan Fest Event, standing in union with Azubuike. There, the two were accompanied by various JROTC and SROTC cadets. The cadets migrated around the two senior leaders as they shared their stories, wisdom, and truths about serving in the U.S. Army.
During the second quarter break of the football game, Azubuike and Davis along with Lt. Col. Rodgers Brown (Jackson State University Department Chair & Professor of Military Science) and Lt. Col. Adair Cox, (Atlanta Recruiting Battalion Commander) participated in a big check presentation. They awarded an ROTC Cadet and a Future Soldier with a scholarship and enlistment bonus and recognized them both for their outstanding leadership. Cadet Ashlin Martin, a native from Byram, Mississippi, received $60,000 for an ROTC scholarship. Martin is currently a freshman at Jackson State University where she is majoring in business administration and plans to commission as a Second Lieutenant in 2026. Future Soldier, James Lee, received a $40,000 Enlistment Bonus for enlisting in the U.S. Army.
The appearance of both senior leaders represented something bigger than themselves: diversity and inclusion, two dimensions that the U.S. Army strives to implement.
To conclude the weekend’s activities, Azubuike explained why particular events such as these so are important for the U.S. Army to be involved.
“Partnering with HBCUs in particular is important because we are trying to ensure that our office and leadership is diverse and representative of the Army itself,” Azubuike said. “So, these partnerships are great, because we recognize that the scholar-athlete leader that we're looking for are in many of these HBCU students."