USAREUR Soldier honored by NAACP for commitment to people

July 27, 2011

Spc. Adam P. Garlington, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

U.S. Army Europe

Photo credit U.S. Army

Master Sgt. Mark Jordan, the U.S. Army Europe equal opportunity senior enlisted advisor

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Master Sgt. Mark Jordan, the U.S. Army Europe equal opportunity senior enlisted advisor, received the Roy Wilkins Renowned Service Award July 26 during the 102nd Annual National Association for the Advancement of Colored People conference held in the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Roy Wilkins was a prominent civil rights activist in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s and leader of the NAACP for more than 20 years. In 1969, he created the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Division of the NAACP to support African Americans in the military. The Wilkins award is presented annually by the Department of Defense and the NAACP to military service members who make significant contributions in civil rights, race relations, equal opportunity, human resources and public service over a two-year period.

"I'm very proud of Master Sergeant Jordan, and proud to be part of his Army" said Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, USAREUR commanding general. "He has clearly made the Army values his values, and his service is a great example of what right looks like."

Jordan reached the pinnacle of the Army equal opportunity program by being selected as the Roy Wilkins winner, but he waited more than a decade of his military service to start his ascent in the EO field.

In 1997, about 11 years into his Army career, he was managing inventory in a warehouse as an automated logistical specialist when his battalion needed an equal opportunity leader. Needing points to help get himself promoted, Jordan accepted the EOL position.

“While I was at the EOL school, the training started lining up with my values and principles of equality and treating people with dignity and respect,” said Jordan. “It confirmed what I was doing as a person. That is why I fell in love with the EO program, because it mirrored my lifestyle.

“I have a strong religious background, but the EO program isn’t about religion. The tenets of my religion value people, so it was a win-win situation for me. My best tool is to be able to value people in a way that matches the Army policy.”

Jordan fell in love with his part-time EOL additional duty, and he decided that he wanted to make a career out of valuing people and advising commanders about EO policy. The only way he could work in the Army EO program full-time was to become an equal opportunity advisor.

Jordan worked diligently toward his goal for eight years, and he was selected to go to the EOA school in 2008.

“It was the highlight of my career,” said Jordan of his selection to become an EOA.

Two years later, Jordan became the USAREUR equal opportunity senior enlisted advisor, and he said that his responsibilities are to coach, mentor, train, educate and advise more than 25 EOAs in the USAREUR community. He has planned, organized and executed numerous symposiums and training conferences that have equipped his team of EOAs with the newest diversity tools for advising their commanders and serving Soldiers throughout the command.

“I consider the position of an EOA to be a force multiplier and the greatest opportunity to enhance mission readiness,” said Jordan. “Equality is important to me because people are important to me. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. When dignity and respect are compromised, the mission suffers.

“The opportunity to empower, educate and teach people will be here until the end of time,” said Jordan. “Winning the Roy Wilkins Renowned Service Award is a culmination of empowering and recognizing people. Since becoming an EOL in 1997, I’ve always wanted people to operate at a greater capacity.”