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Lieutenant Colonel (RET.) Bernard Harper


The United States military is a place where young men and women go to gain new skills, discipline, and a career. Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Bernard Harper was a regular college student with a heavy military influence from his Grandfather serving in World War II, Uncle serving during the Vietnam war, and a brother who served during Desert Storm. Harper was having a hard time juggling college assignments, having a job, and maintaining a social life so he visited his local recruiting office to join the army reserves with the Military Occupation Specialty of X-ray technician.

“I looked up to them and admired their uniformed service,” said Harper. “So when I was looking for a career it seemed like the thing to do, so I followed in their footsteps.”

Bernard Harper is the son of Rosa Harper, a retired teacher at the Southside nursing school, and Thomas Harper, an auto mechanic and truck driver.
Harper was a Petersburg High School athlete which means he already had the ability to follow orders and execute to them to the best of his abilities which positively converted over towards his military career.

“After being a high school athlete, it was much like being on a team and following the directions of your coach,” said harper “but you don’t get to go home after practice.”

Basic Military training helped transform Harper into a soldier, better man, and leader. Harper learned the necessary skills to go into combat situations and save either the life of his battle buddies or his own. He took the time to make colleagues and friends and although it was a while ago he can still remember their names.
“It made me more disciplined,” Harper said, “I learned more new skills that could potentially save my life or my buddy’s.”

Harper began his journey as a combat medic and X-ray technician while reaching the rank of Sergeant. In the reserves he earned a scholarship to attend Virginia State University, where he would meet his wife of 30 plus years Trisha Harper, and upon completing college and Officer Candidate School was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After becoming an officer in the army harper began to move up the ranks as a Medical Service Corps Officer, with command and staff assignments and has held key positions in the Pentagon and the office of the Surgeon General.
“My main functions were medical logistics and supply management focusing on modernization and program management,” said Harper.

Since retiring five years ago from the United States Army Harper, who is now 53 years old, has joined the staff of the Defense Health Agency as a Product manager implementing the electronic health record. He uses the values that his military service has strengthened like Education, hard work, and commitment to be a productive citizen out of uniform.
“As a retiree i generally feel well respected by those who understand what it means to serve,” said harper.

Harper has a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing and Industry Management from Virginia State University, Master’s degree in Management Information Systems from Florida institute of Technology, and a Masters degree in Procurement and Acquisition from Webster University.

“the focus that the military put on education, hard work and commitment,” Harper said, “All the skills I learned in the military I use today”.

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