ROCKS, Inc. establishes chapter at JBLM

Nonprofit promotes officers’ professional development

By Spc. Richard Carlisi, I Corps on October 12, 2021

Executive board members were sworn in to JBLM Rainier ROCKS, a newly-established chapter of ROCKS, Inc., during a ceremony at the Lewis Army Museum on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

ROCKS, Inc., is a nonprofit organization providing officers and cadets mentorship, scholarship and fellowship in their military careers, while also offering volunteer opportunities, guidance for military and civilian transitions, and a forum for networking.

"This organization is meant to promote officers' professional development," said Maj. Gen. Xavier T. Brunson, commander of America's First Corps and lifetime member of ROCKS, Inc. "Good things will come from this newly-established chapter."

Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Lawrence E. Gillespie, Sr., ROCKS, Inc. chairman, presided over the swearing-in of Maj. Owen Ryckman, chapter president, Maj. Mikhail Jackson, chapter vice president, and executive board members via teleconference.

"We recognize the opportunity to provide professional development and mentorship for officers at JBLM," said Ryckman. "We also acknowledge the assistance from soldiers who have changed duty stations that made this charter possible."

Tracing its roots to Washington, D.C., ROCKS, Inc., was founded by 65 U.S. Army officers in 1974. It is now the largest professional officers' organization extending across all branches of the military, boasting over a dozen affiliations with worldwide membership.

"Networking and mentorship through ROCKS, Inc., has enabled leaders to build friendships and gain mentors they are still in contact with today," said Jackson. "Leadership development is key to our success. Our dedication to mentorship and dedication to officers, warrant officers and civilians through JBLM Rainier ROCKS will enhance not only JBLM, but the Pacific Northwest community."

The JBLM Rainier ROCKS chapter of ROCKS, Inc., began its journey during the summer of 2020, when interested officers got together to discuss the need for starting a JBLM chapter. Coordination and planning were subsequently conducted to establish an interest group and organize a formal structure to obtain chapter status.

The ROCKS, Inc. national board gave approval to the interest group this September, to be chartered as JBLM Rainier ROCKS.

"As we move forward, we ask for help and support to maintain our momentum of providing professional development," said Jackson. "We have a vision for the future, but those things are only possible with active membership and steady participation."

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