William L. Roberts, III, was promoted to the rank of colonel in the United States Army in an Aug. 3 in a ceremony at Fort Meade in Jessup.

After an introduction by his childhood friend, Kevin J. Jones, Roberts’ wife Ersella, pinned the eagle on his uniform jacket, and his identical twin daughters, Adrienne and Jessica, pinned his uniform shirt.

Roberts thanked family and friends in brief remarks that focused on stepping out on faith and honoring God, family, community and country.

Roberts has spent more than 27 years in the Army in active and reserve duty. After completing basic training in 1984, at Fort Dix in New Jersey, he went on to Officer Candidate School and, in 1987, was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and joined the Infantry Officer Branch.

Accomplishment started early for Roberts, who was the first African-American male to win the Scholar Athlete Award at Catonsville High School. He attended Towson State University on an academic scholarship and graduated in 1979, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. As a civilian, he worked for more than 25 years for the Anne Arundel County Department of Corrections, starting as a correctional officer, and retiring in 2008 as the assistant correctional facility administrator, in command of all inmate services for the agency.

Throughout his military career, Roberts rose through the ranks to officer candidate school instructor with the Mid-Atlantic Training Leadership Brigade and with the 1/70th Regiment (Officer Candidate School); a logistic officer and battalion commander with the HQ 70th Regiment (Officer Candidate School); personal representative with the Task Force Protector, Joint Task Force-435, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan and the present operation deputy branch chief for the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants, in Arlington, Va.

Roberts also earned a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in 2008.

His awards and decorations include: the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terror Service Medal. Roberts comes from a military family. His father, the late William L. Roberts Jr., was a decorated Navy veteran of the Korean War. His brother Eric is a decorated Marine, while brothers Kenneth and Kirk are retired Army. His sister Gina did not serve in the military, but she was born at Fort Meade.