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BG Roscoe C. Cartwright



by Col.(Ret.) Frank Francois, III
The ROCKS National Board of Directors, Historian

During the mid 1960’s a small group of African American officers assigned to the Regular Course Class of 1965 at the United States Army Commanding General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas met in their homes to enhance their knowledge of the course work assignments that were passed out each evening in the form of a document printed on a blue sheet of paper jokingly dubbed “A Blue Goose.”  The study group called itself the “Blue Geese” study group because if a member of the group received one of the special assignments to brief the class on the next day on the strategies that would be used to arrived at a military acceptable solution, each member of the study group participated in helping the selected member receiving the blue goose by providing their expertise in such areas as combat, combat services, combat service support and logistics.

They dubbed themselves “The Blue Geese” and through the study group, the members became life-long friends and vowed to keep in touch.  Several members of the study group, who were later assigned to the Washington, D.C. area, resumed their relationship by meeting in the home of then LTC and Mrs. Robert B. “Bobbie” Burke in Suitland, MD.  During 1973, several African American officers that were assigned to the Washington, DC area gave prominent parties which invited many of the same people.   Because of this, Colonel Burke held a meeting at his home and invited many of the officers assigned to the Washington, DC area to meet MG Frederick E. Davison and other senior officers. At one of the meetings it was decided to form a social group in order to network, mentor and socialize together.
At a later gathering called by Colonel Burke to plan a networking social at the Cameron Station Officers Club, BG Roscoe Cartwright was the invited as the key note speaker.  He challenged those in attendance to continue to get to know each other, help to mentor junior officers, and help each other whenever possible.  At a later meeting, the assembled group could not agree upon a permanent name. In the interest of having an identity, they called themselves “The No Name Club.” 

During the planning for the group’s first New Year’s Eve Party and at a special planning meeting held at the home of Col (Ret.) Travis Gafford on December 1, 1974, word was received that BG (Ret.) Roscoe Cartwright and his wife, Gloria, were both killed in an airplane crash near Dulles Airport, as they were returning from a Thanksgiving holiday visit with their daughter.  Before the meeting adjourned, it was agreed that the organization should be named after General “ROCK” Cartwright and be known as “The ROCKS.”  This name was voted upon and it was unanimously agreed that the “No Name Club” rename itself “The ROCKS, Inc.”  It was also agreed that a scholarship fund be established within “The ROCKS” and be named the Roscoe C. Cartwright Scholarship Fund.

At this time, since the ROCKS organization was physically located in the Washington, DC area it became known as the DC Chapter of The ROCKS.  The original group grew from 34 members, who were known as the charter members of the ROCKS, into a worldwide organization of over 1100 members, 14 chapters and 2 interest groups.  The DC Chapter is the largest chapter in the ROCKS and today has 200 active members. It has conducted all of the ROCKS’ social functions in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  The DC Chapter sponsors several major ROCK activities: including an annual golf tournament, an annual 5-miler race / 2-miler walk, the Annual Spring Gala and the Awards Gala, the West Hamilton Dinner and monthly meetings to discuss chapter business and programs and to invite guest speakers to give informative and inspirational talks on leadership and military career development topics.

In 1994, The ROCKS were incorporated and today has become non-profit 501c(3) organization, comprised of active duty, reserve, retired, ROTC cadets,  and former commissioned officers of the U.S. Armed Forces, widows and widowers of deceased members, and other uniformed services.  In 2009, the DC Chapter applied for and received the Combined Fund Campaign designation. Its CFC # code, used for making designations is: 76674.  Since receiving the CFC designation, the DC Chapter has received $2,500.00.

After the formation of the National Board of Directors of “The ROCKS, Inc.” and the spread of chapters throughout the world, the DC Chapter continued to support the national goals and objectives and its president was appointed as vice chairman on the national board of directors. 

There have been 11 Presidents of “The ROCKS” DC Chapter. They are COL (Ret.) Robert B. Burke, Jr.; COL (Ret.) Harry W. Townsend; COL (Ret.) Harvey G. Dickerson; COL (Ret.) Clarence Barrens; BG George Price; COL (Ret.) Tommy T. Osborne; COL (Ret.) James M. Bosley; MG (Ret.) Fredric H. Leigh; BG (Ret.) Clara L. Adams-Ender; BG Velma L. Richardson; and COL Conrado B. Morgan.

The DC Chapter has grown in membership and in recognition.  The meetings are well attended and the members work hard to achieve the Chapter goals and objectives.  A web page has been designed and setup and is located at  The ROCKS live by its core competencies which are mentorship and professional development, leadership outreach in ROTC enhancement, scholarship, community involvement and networking. 



 DC ROCKS By-Laws (For Members Only - You must be logged in to view.)




Theodore A. Adams 

Otrie Barett, Jr.

Talmadge Barte1

Julius W. Becton, Jr.

Leon D. Bressant

Ananias Brooks

Harry W. Brooks

Dalls C. Brown

Luther J. Brown

Melvin F. Brown

Robert B. Burke

Roscoe C. Cartwright

Alfred J. Cade

Richard L. Carey

Andrew P. Chambers

Vernon Coffey

Harold F. Collins

Jerry Davis

Thomas Davis

Frederic E. Davison

Robert W. Dews

Harvey G. Dickerson

 Oliver W. Dillard 

Robert E. Fitzgerald

Frank Francois, III

Travis Gafford

Edward Greer

James Guyton, Jr.

John M. Hamilton

Oscar J. Harrison

John F. Hazelwood

Leroy Hedgepeth

Arthur Holmes, Jr.

Edward Honor

Eli P. (Tim) Howard, Jr.

Charles Ingraham, Jr.

Cornell Johnson

Marion Johnson

John E. Mann, Sr.

James L. Marshall

Milford L. Marshall

John Martin

John McDaniels

John S. McLeod, Sr.


Clarence A. Miller

Julius Parker, Jr.

James Payne

Andrew W. Perkins, Jr.

Homer Petit, Jr.

George E. Pitts

George B. Price

Hugh G. Robinson

Roscoe Robinson, Jr.

Richard Saxton

Otto B. Smith

Donald A. Tapscott

Harry W. Townsend

Milford A. Vaughn

Ben L. Walton

James White

James E. Wyatt

Clarence L. Williams

Clifford Young

Ralph W. Young