Major Generals Barker and Granger Enter National ROTC Hall of Fame
A pair of heralded military Arkansas State University alumni have been inducted into the national Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Hall of Fame in Fort Benning, Ga. The two are Major General George Barker and Major General Elder Granger.
A 1955 graduate of A-State with a degree in music, it was Barker’s participation in the ROTC program that led to his outstanding career in the military. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in field artillery upon graduation. He was twice awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
His military education includes the field artillery basic and advanced courses, civil affairs and transportation office advanced courses, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces national security management, and the U.S. Army College. He served his country for 36 years before retiring in 1991.
Barker’s assignments include battery officer, 16th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Armored Division Artillery; aide-de-camp, 77th Infantry Division; and as B Battery commander, 6th Battalion and 31st Field Artillery. He later served as the commander of the 7th Battalion, 9th Field Artillery and commander of the 5th Battalion, 5th Field Artillery.
His next assignment was the deputy chief of staff for personnel and administration of the 77th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM). In September 1982, he became the chief of staff of the 77th, serving in that position until June 1983, when he was selected to command the 353rd Civil Affairs Command. He became a brigadier general in February 1984.
Barker was selected to command the 77th ARCOM in December 1984, and was promoted to major general in August 1986. During this period, he also served as a member of the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee. Completing his command assignment, Barker was appointed to the position of assistant deputy chief of staff Mobilization & Reserve Affairs in Washington, D.C. during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He served in this position until his retirement.
Following his retirement, he was active in humanitarian causes, including serving as a volunteer for Concern Worldwide USA and donating time and money to humanitarian projects in poorer countries around the world. He also worked with the American Cancer Society as national executive vice president for international development.
Among his numerous military assignments, Barker also received many awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 20-year device.
Barker is a founding member of Arkansas State’s Beck Veteran Center and Chancellor’s Cabinet. As a co-founder of the Helping Hands Foundation in his hometown of Rector, the foundation has provided the means to fund five four-year scholarships to Arkansas State. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2010. He is a member of A-State’s ROTC Hall of Heroes.
A native of West Memphis, Granger earned a bachelor of science degree in zoology (cum laude). While in school, his honors included earning a three-year ROTC scholarship, superior freshman cadet, a military history award, distinguished military student, distinguished military graduate and was named as Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
He began his military career in 1971 as a combat medic with the Arkansas National Guard. After receiving his doctor of medicine degree in 1980, he was commissioned as an Army officer and held several leadership positions, including division surgeon of the fourth infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colo.; commander, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany; commander/command surgeon, European Regional Medical Command/7th Army, Heidelberg, Germany; commanding general/command surgeon, 44th Medical Command/XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and commander, Task Force 44th Medical Command and Command Surgeon for Multinational Corps-Iraq, in Baghdad, Iraq.
Granger served as deputy director of TRICARE management activity, a Department of Defense (DoD) field activity responsible for operating the health care provider for the U.S. Military Health System. He was responsible for TRICARE health and medical resources, supervising and administering TRICARE programs, funding and other resources. Granger directed a staff of more than 1,800 people and an annual Defense Health Program budget of $22.5 billion with oversight including the effective provision of high-quality, accessible health care for 9.2 million beneficiaries worldwide.
He received more than 30 military and community service awards including the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity man of the year; named to Outstanding Young Men of America; the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal; U.S. Army Legion of Merit with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, and Bronze Star Medal.
In addition, he was selected as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2008, along with his induction into A-State’s ROTC Hall of Heroes. He was the featured speaker at the 2008 spring commencement and is the namesake for the Major General Elder Granger M.D. Scholarship.
The ROTC Hall of Fame was established in 2016 as part of the ROTC centennial celebration. The Hall of Fame honors graduates of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps who have distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits. It provides a prestigious and tangible means of recognizing and honoring Army ROTC Alumni who have made lasting, significant contributions to the nation, the Army, and the history and traditions of the Army ROTC Program.