BG Omar J. Jones IV grew up in Maryland in a family where public service was honored. He applied for admission to both Annapolis and West Point, and had dreams of being a Surface Warfare Officer until tests revealed he had imperfect color vision. He accepted an appointment to West Point and felt that he had picked the right Academy. During his junior year, he was an exchange Cadet for a semester at the Naval Academy, which allowed him to close the chapter on that aspect of his life. During his senior year, he was selected to be the First Captain, the highest ranking Cadet in the Corps. It was a transitional time at the Academy as leadership styles changed from an attritional model to the Cadet Leader Development System, in which development was embraced over all four classes, and as First Captain, he welcomed the change to what was, in his opinion, a more natural leadership model. Upon graduation, he commissioned into the Infantry. His first assignment was with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 82nd Airborne Division, deploying to Panama in support of Operation Safe Haven from December 1994 to February 1995. From August 1998 to March 1999, he deployed D Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment in the 1st Cavalry Division to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Forge, where he gained valuable experience working with local populations and security forces. In 2004, he joined 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, in the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the 25th Infantry Division, serving as Operations Officer and Executive Officer during their deployment to Iraq. Following that deployment, he served in the 2d Cavalry Regiment and returned to Iraq from August 2007 to July 2008. In January 2009, he assumed command of 2d Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, and deployed to Afghanistan from June 2010 to May 2011. Following a year at the War College, he commanded 2d Armored Brigade Combat Team in the 4th Infantry Division and deployed to Kuwait. He then served as the Executive Officer to the Commander of Central Command from July 2014 to June 2017 when Isis expanded their territory into Iraq. Following an assignment as the Deputy Commanding General for Operations in the 7th Infantry Division, he became the Chief of Public Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of the Army.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his decision to attend West Point, and his experiences as a Cadet and First Captain. He describes his operational deployments in detail, and highlights instances in which influential leaders helped shape his career. Finally, he explains what West Point means to him, and how his perspective is different now that two of his sons are attending the Military Academy.