Cleveland native proves Army service is best alternative
Major Cassandra Pride-Cobb reflected on growing up in Cleveland on the predominantly African American east side and then being bused to white schools on the west side and thought about just how far she has come since then.
“I moved to Cleveland in 1978. My family was a family from Mississippi and we migrated when I was 10 years old and we lived on 137th and Kinsman and my mom and dad still live there to this day,” the Major told the Call & Post Newspaper.
She described the environment as tough: “It was a totally different environment. It was tough neighborhood, you had to hold your own but at the same time my parents expected me to get my education. School was first.”
Major Pride-Cobb, 49, says her first two years were spent attending schools on the eastside and subsequently the west side when schools were being integrated which she recalls as a good experience for her.
“I think it was a good thing because it added some diversity, from an all black side of town to the west side where there was a mixture, you had the African American children with the white children and other children,” she added.
Major Pride-Cobb says that she didn’t experience racism that affected her directly because of the way she was raised by her parents.
“I was a well behaved good kid so I didn’t meet racism head on that would have affected me in a negative way,” she stated.
Major Pride-Cobb is one of two siblings born to her parents and she went on to graduate from John Marshall High School in 1986, attended Cuyahoga Community College before enlisting with the Army recruiters on Harvard and Lee Road in 1988, "for the adventure."
A week later she arrived in Ft. Jackson, SC for Basic Training and considers that day to be, "the best day of the rest of my life."
She cited her reason for joining the Army were for greater opportunities, and after 29 years she could not have been more accurate.
This daughter of John Ratliff, a truck driver and mechanic for Research Oil for over 30 years and a mother, Abbie Ratliff, a Licensed Practical Nurse, is as good of an example of the Army as there is.
The character, discipline and knowledge gained from her training, leading and deploying to the Middle East and Europe, helped push her ahead of her peers. "I was like a wise older woman in a young person's body."
She earned a BA and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant from Officer Candidate School in 2001. Pride-Cobb used her Army benefits to receive an MA in Logistics Management and send her son, Christian, 27 and daughter, Corey, 21 to college. She says Corey, "wants to like Mom, and serve our country," and will be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant from Virginia State University in December.
She is currently is a Strategic Planner in the Army G-3 War Planning Division, once headed by General Eisenhower prior to WWII.
She couldn't have dreamed of a better life, and profession, she says, "I'm living the dream."