Military career leads to JROTC teaching position

The Magnet Tribune: Addy Melgar
Lt. Col. Bennie Feagin (ret.) takes a selfie with some cadets at the WBCA parade.

Addy Melgar, Staff Writer

Lt. Col. Bennie Feagin (ret.) is a military officer who has really impacted many people’s lives including the ones of his cadets at J.W Nixon High School.

“He really helped me get out of my shell,” Alexia Garcia, a sophomore cadet said.

Feagin on his 28 years of deployed has visited countries all over the world.

“I was deployed in a lot of places,” Feagin said.

He has lived in many countries including Afghanistan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

“I think I lived in Saudi Arabia for the longest period of time,” Feagin said.

Feagin had wanted to join the military since he was eight years old.

“It’s just something I always wanted to do,” Feagin said.

Feagin decided to skip basic training and went to college for ROTC to become an officer.

“I went to college to obtain an officer rank,” Feagin said.

It makes you, really appreciate being in America.”

— Lt. Col. Bennie Feagin (ret.)

His plan was to join the Marines, but in the college he went to there were no Marines branches.

“They didn’t have an ROTC Marine branch, they only had an ROTC Army branch,” Feagin said.

Feagin jumped a few ranks by attending ROTC college classes and instantly became a sergeant.

“I got promoted to sergeant when I was in my third year of ROTC,” Feagin said.

When he graduated from college he went directly to the real battlefield in Afghanistan.

“I started off as a tanker,” Feagin said.

His Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) was a tanker, which means he was on the crew of an M1 Abrams tank (A American third-generation main battle tank.)

A tank is a tracked armored fighting vehicle, designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities.

Being in the military really affected Feagin’s life by opening his eyes to other things and tragedies also happening around the world.

“It makes you, really appreciate being in America,” Feagin said.

The military not only changed his way of seeing things, it also got him to develop long-lasting friendships.

“There was this soldier, we went to war together in some dangerous times, but he was always a good soldier,” Feagin said.

Feagin and this soldier were in camp together as well as on the battle field for most of Feagin’s deployment.

Feagin as well has some precious memories while being deployed.

“It was Christmas in Afghanistan. I was passing out candy to all the children and gifts that all the people from the United States had sent them. When I got to the last gift, it was a big teddy bear with candy and all this pretty stuff and all the kids were so excited, screaming and jumping. I was standing on top of my vehicle passing it out and this one little girl was holding her baby sister. The little girls wanted it so bad but they were scared, they probably had never seen an African American man in their life. I reached down and told the little girl to pass me the baby, so she passed me the baby and I took hold of her but she was scared and crying but when I gave the bear to the baby, her eyes just lit up. It was amazing, it was the best moment of my life,” Feagin said, “I will never forget it.”

Feagin said he has always been a man who loves to be a very active and progressive person. After his deployment he decided to start instructing ROTC at a college but eventually decided to move to J.W Nixon High School.

He is now is an instructor for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) where he is loved by many of the cadets.

“He is a person I can aspire to be,” Garcia said.

Feagin has his own team, the Raiders Team, which goes out on marches along Loop 20, practices tying knots, and participates in other fun events.

“The team is mainly a way to work out and get a better physical condition,” Feagin said.

He said he has always inspired his cadets by motivating them and pushing them past their mental walls.

“Winning is a habit, but losing is too,” Feagin said. “Winning is not everything, but losing sucks.”