Sisters climb Army ranks together
When Jennifer Hicks-McGowan, JSU professor of Military Science , and Vanessa Hicks-Callaway were little, their mother used to dress the identical twins alike, but in different colors so people could tell them apart.
Today, the 44-year-olds proudly wear the same colors, those of the U.S. Army with lieutenant colonel insignia on their shoulders. The sisters were promoted to their new rank together in a ceremony Thursday at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. This wasn’t the first time the pair was promoted at the same time – they also received their promotions to captain and to major together.
“To be promoted at the same time, together, is a tremendous blessing for both of us,” said Hicks-Callaway. “It is an indicator that we have not failed those who have played a part in our success along the way. Their efforts, their prayers, their advice, their mentorship has not been in vain.”
Her sister expounded on their relationship.
“We are confidants of each other,” Hicks-McGowan said. “I don’t make a decision, professional or personal, without bouncing it off Vanessa first.We are constantly reminding and encouraging and pushing each other to make it to that next level together. The teamwork has paid off.”
GROWING UP TWINS
The sisters grew up in Victoria, Texas and graduated from Victoria High School in 1985.
“It is a great feeling to have an identical twin. You have this feeling that someone understands you and relates to you,” said Hicks-Callaway. “At the same time, there is a balance. We tried to establish our own identity, our own selves. There are two sides to the coin.”
Hicks-McGowan gave credit to their mother, Viola Hicks, for helping them remain individuals.
“We’d dressed alike, but in different colors, so parents and teachers would not get confused. From the beginning, she tried to help us establish our own identify through that process,” she said.
In high school, they were members of the Victoriadores dance team, the first blacks to make the senior squad in 1985, said Hicks-McGowan……………