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HomeNEWSFrom Small Town to Greatness: NC Native Rises Through The Army Ranks

From Small Town to Greatness: NC Native Rises Through The Army Ranks

Few of us live lives in such a way that we’re known nationwide, and even fewer are globally known. That’s not to say greatness isn’t in us all, however only a few step into those shoes. Lumberton, North Carolina has a way of birthing game-changers; from activists like Afeni Shakur and Anna Benjamin Crump, to athletes and composers like Vonta Leach, Betty Rose Wishart and a pilot named Ida Van Smith. Some might say it’s that small town upbringing that fuels the desire to make a difference. For today, read about a Lumberton native who has just made history.

CWO5 Robert J. Grice is one of those few to accomplish being the first at something. Grice had an upbringing many of us are familiar with in the South—treat others the way you want to be treated, and put others before yourself. So there was no surprise when he graduated high school with a desire to live a life of service to his country. He entered the U.S. Army in 1992, and his occupational specialty was being a petroleum supply specialist. Grice’s work required him to ensure the Army was in a constant state of readiness with fuel supply. In classic service-member fashion, Grice worked his way up through the ranks, starting out as a private before entering the officer ranks in 2006 as a warrant officer.

For many, an officer is an officer, however, there’s a difference. Officer Candidate School (for my fellow Navy shipmates, Officer Training School) is a rigorous training program designed for preparing members of the military for leadership positions in their respective military branches. In the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, to enter the warrant officer program, a high level of expertise in a specific field of duty is necessary. In that regard, CW5 Grice has achieved something phenomenal. In 29 years of service to his country, his hard work and dedication to his various petroleum supply and combat service support units has afforded him the distinction of CW5-the rarest rank to achieve in the Army. 

CW5 Grice is an example for us all to look up to as an expert in his field, the first African-American expert in his field, and the first to achieve the most rare rank in the U.S. Army. We can all take his words to heart: “All I have ever known was hard work and dedication to duty.” He carries that mindset with him each day he serves in the Army. Leading by example to show others the way up and the path forward is what we can take from his journey from small town North Carolina to greatness.

Thank you, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert J. Grice, for your mentorship, guidance, and service to our country. Using you as an example of excellence, I hope we can all strive to be experts in our respective field as well. 



Kim Cross | Kim is the owner and Happy Skin Formulator at Zhi Bath & Body, a natural skincare shop based in Charlotte, NC.  She has been in the beauty industry for the last 30 years; working both as a stylist and skincare formulator.  Having dealt with severe psoriasis for over 20 years, she knows the hardship of finding products that are gentle, good for the skin, and smell amazing. 16 years of research and formulating has resulted in a goat milk skincare and soy candle line that is simply amazing. Helping you love you…naturally.





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