April 30, 2004

Young gets historic promotion

By Staff Sgt. Tammy Spence
Staff Writer

Maj. Gen. Claude Williams pins on Col. Janice Young's new rank. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Turney, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

On April 3, 2004, Lt. Col. Janice Barnes Young reached her long time dream of being promoted to colonel. She has been given the new task and title of Deputy Commander of Detachment 3 of the Virginia Army National Guard (VaARNG). Much to her astonishment, Young was also recognized for becoming the first female African American in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia to hold the rank of colonel.


Young always wanted a career in medicine, more specifically; she wanted to be a physician. However during the era she was growing up in this was not a viable option for her to obtain. This didn't discourage this go-getter, though, who decided that the next best choice for pursuing her dream of medicine was to attain it as a nurse.  


Young, who is a native of Goldsboro, N.C., decided to attend an in-state school.   She began her undergraduate education at Winston State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.    Once that was accomplished, she then went on to complete her Masters Degree in Public Health Nursing at the University of North Carolina, which is located in Chapel Hill, N.C


Young married her husband of 30-years, Samuel, in 1974. A few years later, in 1977 Young decided to join the United States Army Reserve where she was commissioned as a first lieutenant. After one year in the reserves, Young decided to go active army and committed to a three-year-tour.   According to Young, she and her husband had thought that joining the army would be a great way to see the world.   Her first duty station as a new Captain in the United States Army was at Ft. Lee, Va. “We made it all the way over the state line,” Young jokingly added.   Half way through her 3-year commitment, Young went on to Ft. Bragg, N.C., where she worked as a head-nurse for a military surgical unit and then with a family practice unit.


In 1988 she decided to continue her education. Young said, “I wanted to explore all that was available to me in learning and advancing in my chosen field.” I wanted to keep learning. She enrolled in graduate school at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville Va.   Knowing the commitment that would be required of her during her pursuit for a PhD, Young decided “Rather then commute from North Carolina for drill, it would be best for me to transfer to the Virginia Army National Guard,” this transfer would allow her to focus on her education.   She succeeded in reaching her educational goal and now holds a doctorate in Nursing.


Young currently works as a civilian instructor at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Clinic at Ft. Meade, MD where she specializes in Education Performance and Improvement for the clinical staff.  


Young who has three children; Sandra, who was in attendance at the promotion ceremony, Samuel Jr. and Jaynard, gives great appreciation and gratitude to her family for her success. “They are very special to me because they have always been very supportive,” said Young. She credits her husband for taking care of the children as well as herself during her military and educational endeavors.   She also gives immense credit to her immediate family including her mother, aunts, cousins, etc. for also being very supportive of her.


When asked how she felt about being the first African-American-Female in the VaARNG to achieve this rank, Young stated that “It is definitely an honor for me. It is something I have always wanted but wasn't' sure it would happen before my mandatory removal date.”  

Young offered some advice to others, “After your reach your goal, set additional goals.”   She added “There are always opportunities and options and you have to reach for them.”

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