This past December, GSPIA graduate Col. Geoffrey Heiple (MPPM ‘11), Director of U.S. Army Japan Reserve Affairs, observed the dedication of Quarters 1000—the home of the Commanding General for the U.S. Army Japan—as The General Roscoe Robinson Jr Quarters.
Gen. Roscoe Robinson Jr. was the first African American to earn the rank of four-star general in the U.S. Army, as well as a distinguished alumnus of GSPIA for his extraordinary contributions to diversity in public service. He earned his Master of Public and International Affairs degree at GSPIA in 1964.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Robinson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1951. During his year of combat during the Korean War, he earned the Bronze Star Medal for his service as a platoon leader, rifle company commander, and battalion intelligence officer.
Robinson served two years with the 82nd Airborne Division and returned to this famous group in 1976 as its first African American commander.
Promoted to Lieutenant General in 1980, Robinson served as the commanding general of U.S. Army Japan and IX Corps. In 1982, he was named the U.S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee.
After 34 years of service, Robinson retired in 1985, but continued to work on committees devoted to recognizing the service of Black Army units during the Korean War.
"Throughout a military career that took him to the pinnacle of his profession, he overcame diversity with courage and an enduring dedication to duty," according to the U.S. Military Academy's Distinguished Graduate Award.
In his honor, GSPIA hosts the Roscoe Robinson Jr. Memorial Lecture Series to foster discussion and understanding of key issues related to diversity in public service. Last year, the lecture was delivered by Jake Wheatley (MPA ‘00), Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh’s Mayor Ed Gainey.
The next Roscoe Robinson Jr. Memorial Lecture event will soon be announced and held in February 2023.