News: Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier dons 10th rank during Army career
By Capt. Kathryn Briney
Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier who has served in the Army for 14 years was promoted to first lieutenant at Camp Taji Oct. 20, 2008, which marks the tenth rank he has served in throughout his career.
First Lt. Joseph Black, shops platoon leader and maintenance test pilot with 3rd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, who hails from Peoria, Ariz., has been promoted through the Soldier, non-commissioned officer, warrant officer and now commissioned officer ranks.
"In my 24 years of service, I have known no one more professional or anyone more driven than Joe Black," said Lt. Col. Steven Palmer, his battalion commander, who hails from Las Vegas. "Joe is simply superb at all of the tasks you ask a young leader to do, and he pushes his NCOs and enlisted team members to achieve excellence as well. Joe has a bright future ahead of him, and this team is proud to work alongside such a superb role model."
Black graduated Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in English at the age of 22. He began his military career when he graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced individual training for air traffic control specialist at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he was the honor graduate.
He graduated from the Primary Leadership Development Course at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1997 and earned honors by making the Commandant's List.
After PLDC, Black was promoted to sergeant, his fourth promotion, in the NCO Corps and was selected to the Warrant Officer Flight Training School in 1998. He graduated from flight school in 1999 and was assigned to the 1st Bn., 214th Avn. Regt., out of Heidelberg, Germany, as a Warrant Officer 1 – promotion number five.
In September 2000, Black was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2, promotion number six, and became a pilot in command. While stationed in Germany, he flew missions in Kosovo, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, France, Hungary, Turkey, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Bosnia.
In March 2006, Black was selected for Officer Candidate School after being promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 3 – promotion number seven. He was once again named the honor graduate for his class at Fort Benning, Ga.
After graduating from OCS, as a second lieutenant – promotion number eight, Black was assigned to the 3rd Bn., 4th Avn. Regt., out of Fort Hood, Texas.
While assigned to the "Comanche's," Black has held the position of shops platoon leader and maintenance test pilot. He is currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he received his ninth promotion – and his tenth rank – as a first lieutenant.
"The decisions we make dictate the lives that we lead," said Black. "The promotion I was most excited about was being promoted to Warrant Officer 3. Although, being promoted to second lieutenant is a promotion, technically, it was a hard pill to swallow.
"For me, going through the ranks is a personal challenge," he added. "I'm trying to see how far I can go in the military."