Updated: Oct 30, 2020
By Maya Jordan,
September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. Fort George C, Meade graciously contributed this article to Arundel Journal highlighting one of its many Hispanic service members and civilian workers,
“This is a dream assignment for me, being here I’ve never had the opportunity be in a place like this,” said Jorge Grajeda, Command Sergeant Major of the 741 st Military Intelligence Battalion, the largest signals intelligence battalion at Fort George G. Meade “Primarily, I’ve been with tactical units with lots of field time and lots of training.”
Have you heard of the saying: ‘Some people were made to do it while others were born to do it?’ The expression rings true for Grajeda.
November 11, Veterans’ Day is a national day where Americans remember and celebrate our military veterans, It also happens to be a day of celebration for Grajeda. It is his birthday.
He is an only child and first generation, Mexican-American.
The name Grajeda originates from Spain which means “noble worker”. The Command Sergeant Major comes from a family of handworkers, self-starters and entrepreneurs. The Grajedas migrated from a border town in Mexico called Ciudad Juaréz to Texas.
In the desert community of El Paso, TX where he grew up, he experienced many interactions with Soldiers. They were assigned nearby at Fort Bliss.
“I would always see Soldiers from Fort Bliss,” said Grajeda. “They would always carry themselves with pride. They were always clean cut. The Gulf War had just started [and] Bliss was home to the Air Defense Center of Excellence.”
His family stressed the importance of school and sports, but two of his uncles served and influenced his decision to join the Army.
Deep down inside, he knew he was the missing puzzle piece connected to a bigger picture.
"In my heart and in the back of my mind I always dreamed about being a Soldier,” Grajeda said.
So, in August 1997, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
“Growing up, I never really heard of [a] Command Sgt. Maj. Grajeda, Avila, Torres or Ramirez,” he said.. “Even going up the ranks I’d see a Hispanic Command Sgt. Maj. once in a while. [And I thought] there’s a chance I can make it one day.”
Many Army values align with Command Sgt. Maj. Grajeda upbringing.
“I look at my Mom and my Dad who I credit for the person that I am,: he said, “They were servants to their families, they were constantly doing things for others. My grandparents were the same way,
“On my Mom’s side, my uncles were professional boxers. So there was a big sense of pride and discipline – if you didn’t do right you were going to get disciplined by both Mom and grandma. And Dad and granddad would do the hard talks. That’s where all these things came from that helped me be successful in the Army and molded me,”
Grajeda believes that taking care of Soldiers is like taking care of his family.
“As kids, there was always a grown-up we could talk to; we were never alone,” said the 23-year Army veteran. “We would take care of each other. My culture, my heritage and the way that I was brought up being Hispanic, ties to my leadership style. I want to know Soldiers. I want to take care of their problems as they arise. “I try to develop all my non-commissioned officers to understand that every Soldier has a Sergeant and we have to know our Soldiers,” said Grajeda.
Prior to his current assignment, Grajeda was assigned to the 2 nd Brigade Combat Team in Iraq. After that he transitioned to leadership roles as a first sergeant in Korea, as an Observer Coach with First Army at Fort Bliss, TX, and then another first sergeant assignment. His last role was as Sgt. Maj. at the ‘crown jewel’ National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
After work, Grajeda enjoys traditional Mexican dishes like flauta - rolled tacos and pinto beans. In his spare time he likes to spend weekends with his wife Yesenia and daughter Ximena visiting monuments in Washington, D.C.-- By Maya Jordan, Fort Meade Public Affairs Office