People – The Citadel Today Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:02:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 People – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 The Citadel Class of 1979 Leadership Day to be held Oct 20 Mon, 18 Oct 2021 20:25:39 +0000 Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018New this year will be a closing celebration, honoring Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Kyle White, with the entire South Carolina Corps of Cadet.]]> Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018

War on Terror Medal of Honor recipient to participate

Photo above: Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018

The Citadel Class of 1979 Leadership Day is an annual event when more than 1,000 cadets go out into the Lowcountry to help community partners through volunteer service. Others study leadership and ethics with professionals on and off campus. And, each year, a Medal of Honor recipient visits to share their leadership story.

The day is organized by the college’s Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics and is now being funded by The Citadel Class of 1979.

We believe our endowment of The Class of 1979 Leadership Day will have a positive and lasting impact on every cadet, in every class, long after they graduate. It also ensures that the legacy of the Class of 1979 extends well beyond The Citadel’s gates and into the future.

Col. Leo Mercado, USMC (Ret.), former Commandant of Cadets, The Citadel Class of 1979

On this day the regular class schedule is paused and cadets, students and many members of faculty and staff are involved in service learning. Before the pandemic, The Citadel provided an average of 20,000 hours of community service annually. The college hopes to eventually get back to that level of service as more face to face opportunities for volunteers become available.

Honored guest for the day: Sgt. Kyle White, Medal of Honor Recipient

Photo of Sgt. Kyle White courtesy of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007. 

Those are the words from the beginning of White’s Medal of Honor citation on the Congressional Medal of Honor website. White will be at The Citadel on Oct. 20 to share his story personally. He’ll be addressing freshmen at 9:30 a.m. in McAlister Field House, which is open to the public. Later in the day, White will be honored by the South Carolina Corps of Cadets on campus during a closing activity.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, there have been 3,508 recipients total. White is one of 66 living recipients.

What cadets will do

Leadership Day assignments depend on the grade level of the cadets, as listed below.

Freshmen are led by trained upperclassmen and normally visit elementary schools, engaging the students in an activity to increase their awareness of heroism and service to others. Due to the pandemic, the freshmen will stay on campus this year and create packages and materials for teachers to provide the lesson on heroism at a later date.

Cadets volunteering at Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston for Leadership Day in 2019

Sophomores choose from a variety of service projects on and off campus. Below are some of the places they will be volunteering.

  • Bicycles for Humanity at Porter-Gaud School
  • Bulls Island, Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge
  • Keep Charleston Beautiful cleanup locations: Gadsden Green Housing Authority, Food Lion (King St.), South Carolina Aquarium, Sanders Clyde Elementary School
  • Learn Horse Rescue, Awendaw
  • Lowcountry Orphan Relief
  • Sea Island Habitat for Humanity in Ravenel
  • The Green Heart Project

Juniors The Junior Ethics Enrichment Experience is a one-day seminar on ethical decision making and character development designed to promote ethical culture. Cadets will learn how to recognize the moral dimensions of complex cases, make ethical decisions using well-developed theories and develop their character using virtue ethics.

Seniors The LDRS 411 Senior Leadership Integration Seminar is typically an off-campus, full-day professional development seminar. Cadets engage with career professionals to learn about their leadership and ethics practices, then faculty facilitators aid cadets in planning how to apply their four-year, Citadel Leader Development Program education to their lives their lives after graduation based on their field of study.

New this year will be a closing celebration, honoring Sgt. White, with the entire South Carolina Corps of Cadets on Summerall Field beginning at 5:15 p.m.

Citadel cadets, joined by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, volunteer with Hope to Home, the Krause Center’s community partner of the year in 2020.
Citadel cadet takes oath before taking the field Mon, 18 Oct 2021 15:58:42 +0000 Cadet -- and Bulldog soccer player -- Ryleigh Jenkins is joining a long family line of serving our country.]]>

Cadet — and Bulldog soccer player — Ryleigh Jenkins is joining a long family line of serving our country. Her grandfather was a Navy Seal; her dad, a Marine.

Before her nine-win Citadel soccer team hit the road for Mercer, she had her own ceremony as part of her process of becoming a Navy Midshipman.

As seen on WCIV – ABC News 4, by Scott Eisberg

My Ring Story: Remember your “why” Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:11:21 +0000 Meet Jerry Eugene Higgins III, Class of 2022 Jerry Higgins is a cadet-athlete from Cleveland, Ohio, who is majoring in Biology. He is a basketball player and has received gold]]>

Meet Jerry Eugene Higgins III, Class of 2022

Jerry Higgins is a cadet-athlete from Cleveland, Ohio, who is majoring in Biology. He is a basketball player and has received gold stars for academic achievement. After graduation Higgens plans to attend medical school and become a physician.

Q. What is engraved on the inside of your ring and what is its significance?

A. I put two phrases inside my ring. The first is “Remember Your Why.” That will be a constant reminder to strive for greatness in everything I do. Your “why” is the reason you get out of bed in the morning and do all that you do. Your “why” is what you believe you are meant to do here. Some of us know our “why.” Some of us do not. And, for some of us it changes over the course of a lifetime. Knowing your purpose is crucial because it gives you direction. My “why” is focused on my family and the people close to me that have made me the man I am today; I truly don’t know where I would be without them.

The second engraving is “God’s Speed.” This will remind me that things will happen when they are meant to occur. Like being in the wonderful place right now of getting my band of gold. Through the journey of life, having God by my side eases my worries because I know In the end I will be alright.

Q. Who inspired you to begin your journey here at The Citadel?

A. My father has definitely inspired me to not only make the choice to come here, but to push through the hard times to success. When deciding to attend as a cadet-athlete, I was skeptical about whether I could handle sports plus the military requirements, on top of academics. I did my best to set an example of how an athlete at The Citadel should balance academics, athletics and our military requirements – all of them – like everyone else.

Left to right: Me, my father, Jerry Higgins Jr., my brother Cameron, my stepmother Svetlana, and my sister Sasha, in July when we all attended my brother’s preschool graduation.

My father assured me that he raised me to be able to endure any environment, and this was very true. His strength powers me through every day!

Q. Do you feel that you will have any special obligations now that you wear the ring?

A. Yes. Many. The ring represents everyone that has come before my class and that will come after. The same principles that I learned here will be with me as I wear the ring.

For me, wearing the ring is also showing appreciation for the people who were here in the Corps of Cadets before me. I know there have been many African American cadets that have attended this college that have paved the way for minorities to be accepted here.

Additionally, I think that it’s important that people realize that our ring isn’t your typical class ring. The ring bonds everyone that has successfully come through the gates of this school and represents sacrifices they made to be here.

Q. What are three specific things The Citadel taught you?

A. 1. Be grateful for everything. 2. Struggle is necessary for growth. 3. The importance of accountability.

Cadets Jerry Higgins and Douglas Karam, accompanied by Dr. John Weinstein, Biology, deploy an experiment to measure how face masks, rubber gloves and hand wipes decompose in the salt marsh behind Inouye Hall on Thursday, October 14, 2021.  Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel
Cadet Jerry Higgins III in the marsh near The Citadel campus, setting up a biology research project to measure the environmental impacts of discarded facemasks, gloves and anti-bacterial wipes in coastal areas.

Remembering Sean Robert Kelley, VP for The Citadel Family Association Fri, 15 Oct 2021 17:50:36 +0000 One single red candleOne single red candle"Sean was always willing to serve others, was a person you could call on any time, and had an infectious smile."]]> One single red candleOne single red candle

Note: Mr. Kelly, the father of two current cadets, Jack and Brian, served as the vice president for The Citadel Family Association. The Citadel family is deeply sorry for this terrible loss.

“Sean stepped up and volunteered last year when we needed someone to take on the role of vice president and was always happy to help,” said Shannon Hime-Bizzarro, the chair of The Citadel Family Association while speaking to association members on Parents’ Weekend. “That was Sean. When we needed something he got it done with great gusto and a big smile. But his biggest joy was being with his sons and family.”

As seen on

It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Sean Robert Kelley on September 27, 2021. Sean died doing one of the things he loved – walking his giant joy of a dog, Francis, in Beaufort, SC where he had recently moved. Sean was 56 years old. Sean is survived by his wife of 22 years, Stacey McLean Kelley, and their incredible sons, Jack and Brian, students at The Citadel, as well as scores of friends and family members who are mourning his passing by remembering Sean’s love for people, for his devotion to his family, and for his incredible humor and joy.

Sean was born in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, November 7, 1964 to the late Francis Robert Kelley and Jacqueline “Jackie” Doody Kelley.  He spent his youth in New Jersey and New York, moving to Atlanta in the 1990s where he met Stacey and many of his lifelong friends. The family moved to New Jersey in 2001 and then to Fort Mill, SC, where they lived for 18 years and were actively involved with school sports, the recovery community, and all things dog rescue. Sean was an avid volunteer with CSCMP, the Fort Mill Wrestling Foundation, the Fort Mill Gridiron Club, Lucky Labs Rescue and most recently, the Citadel Family Association. He was passionate about his involvement with F3 and his 12 step recovery program.

In addition to Stacey, Jack and Brian, Sean has many other family members who are carrying his memory in their hearts, including his sister, Geraldine “Gerry” Maikath, her husband Bruce and their children Kyle (Annie) Maikath and Allison Maikath of Massachusetts and Kevin (Sarah) Maikath of Maine, his in-laws Ed and Judy McLean of Davidson, North Carolina and his sister-in-law, Kristin Allen (John Allen) and their children, Sophie and Ben of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sean was always willing to serve others, was a person you could call on any time, had an infectious smile, and was persistently convincing in providing welcomed bear hugs to anyone needing one, whether they knew it or not. Despite the tragedy of his untimely death, Sean would want us to celebrate his life and honor his memory by embracing his infectious approach to life filled with the love he showered on his wife, children, and all who knew him. A memorial service will be held at the Palmetto Funeral Home in Fort Mill, South Carolina on Saturday, November 6, visitation from 1-2PM and service at 2. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Sean’s memory to one of the causes he supported, or to the GoFundMe account set up to support the educational goals of his sons.

May his memory be a blessing and comfort to all who knew him.

Citadel cadets, professor launch investigation into impacts of PPE on Charleston marshes Fri, 15 Oct 2021 13:37:16 +0000 Photograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TVPhotograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TV“It feels like you can have an impact on something you’re going through right now."]]> Photograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TVPhotograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TV

As seen on WCBD-TV, by Forrest Tucker

Photo above by Forrest Tucker, News 2, WCBD-TV

Armed with boots to trench through muddy banks near the Citadel’s campus, senior cadets Douglas Karam and Jerry Higgins installed a project that the pair have been working on for much of the semester.

“The planning and the process of putting it together actually took about six to seven weeks,” said Karam.

The goal of their experiment is to see how face masks, rubber gloves and hand wipes decompose in a salt marsh environment over the next eight months. The personal protective equipment, or PPE, is screwed down on boards that will become submerged during high tides.

“It feels like you can have an impact on something you’re going through right now,” said Karam.

Photograph by Forrest Tucker, News 2, WCBD-TV

The COVID-19 pandemic created a large need for items like masks and wipes and not all of them have been disposed of properly.

According to research from Ocean Asia, an estimated 1.5 billion facemasks may have entered the ocean as plastic litter in 2020.

“There’s a myth that plastic items take decades to centuries to degrade. What we’re finding in the salt marsh environment is that it’s happening a lot quicker,” said Citadel Professor of Biology Dr. John Weinstein.

With the Lowcountry’s environment mostly made up of saltwater marshes, Dr. Weinstein and the cadets think that the PPE will start to degrade into thousands of microplastics in a much shorter amount of time.

“We believe that it will degrade in four weeks. But over time we are going to check it out at four weeks, eight weeks, sixteen weeks, and thirty-two weeks,” said Higgins. “So we will see how it degrades over time, the rate of how it degrades, and how much each product degrades.”

The research will help them gauge the impact PPE pollution has on aquatic life, including seafood caught to be served in restaurants, and humans.

“As far as their life processes and what they ingest (the aquatic life) are surrounded in water. Not only does it affect the aquatic animals, but also the people who are living in this environment,” said Higgins.

A 1,000-year-old battle sparks a fresh war among academics, amateurs Thu, 14 Oct 2021 12:02:32 +0000 Battle recommenced this year when Mr. Livingston, a professor at The Citadel, South Carolina’s military college, released a book pinpointing Brunanburh as happening on the Wirral Peninsula, near Liverpool.]]>

Brunanburh is ancient history. Yet fighting has intensified about where, exactly, it happened

Note: Michael Livingston, Ph.D., holds degrees in history, medieval studies and English. Two of his books have won Distinguished Book Prizes from the Society for Military History. He is also a novelist. Livingston serves as the Secretary General to the U.S. Commission on Military History. He joined The Citadel as a professor in 2006.

As seen in the Wall Street Journal, by Alistair MacDonald

BARNSDALE, England—Over 1,000 years ago, vast armies from what are now Scotland and Ireland swept into a field here to be defeated by soldiers from the emerging nation of England.

No they didn’t, says Michael Livingston, an American historian, who argues that the battle known as Brunanburh happened some 100 miles west, near Liverpool. Mr. Livingston, though, is flat out wrong, says Damo Bullen, a British music festival organizer turned bookseller, who like many others says the battle happened somewhere else entirely.

In Britain, historians love to fight over battle sites, but few elicit such stridence and obsession as Brunanburh. There are more than 30 proposed locations for the battle, which took place in 937, and helped shape what would become England.

Brunanburh’s important historic role, and a dearth of contemporary sources describing where it happened, have led people to war over its location for centuries, making it one of the fiercest battle battles.

Traditionally the realm of bickering academics, the issue has grown more heated as the internet and social media give a platform for amateur archaeologists and have-a-go historians.

Michael Livingston

Battle recommenced this year when Mr. Livingston, a professor at The Citadel, South Carolina’s military college, released a book pinpointing Brunanburh as happening on the Wirral Peninsula, near Liverpool. Mr. Livingston started delving into Brunanburh over a decade ago and has suffered vitriol for his views ever since, he said, including receiving a death threat.

“I started getting these communications that were strident and extremely angry,” he said. “It was: How dare you Yank, get involved in ‘our history,’ ” he said.

Tensions are clear in polarized online reviews of the book, “Never Greater Slaughter,” where those critical talk of “shoddy research” and a “so-called historian.”

“It’s simple to say that social media and the internet have changed everything, but it’s also simply true,” said Mr. Livingston, who believes the opening up of academic debate is overall a good thing, even if he could do without the nastiness.

His website asks that if people need to contact him: “Please send him a friendly email.”

One non-abusive adversary is Michael Wood. The lauded British historian and TV presenter thinks Mr. Livingston and others arguing for the same battle location are absolutely wrong, and says he’s been subject to hostility from “the Wirral lot” for saying that.

“The whole thing is based on the interpretation of a single place name,” said Mr. Wood, referring to the town of Bromborough in the Wirral.

Mr. Wood first got interested in Brunanburh over 50 years ago, when as a teenager he read a book on the battle. He has a long list of reasons why he believes it most likely happened in the area around Barnsdale, near the northern English town of Doncaster, including its location on a north-to-south thoroughfare and a nearby fort and spring, two things referenced in an account from the time.

Nonsense, says Mr. Livingston. The Wirral fits the logistics and politics of the battle, and is backed up by old sources and artifacts.

Those artifacts are being dug up by Wirral Archaeology, a group of local history enthusiasts, who have found the remains of a belt-strap, weapons and other treasures on what they reckon is the Brunanburh battlefield. These have been sent to a university for testing that could show their age and where they originated.

One member, Peter Jenkins, blames “keyboard warriors” for the attacks against Mr. Livingston and others.

Historians, amateurs and professionals alike, largely agree on this much: The battle happened when Ireland-based Vikings and two kingdoms from around what is now northwest England and Scotland came to destroy Æthelstan, a king who had consolidated his control of much of what became England. They were routed in a blood-drenched fight in which there were “never yet as many people killed before this with sword’s edge,” according to one contemporary account.

But where?

Mr. Bullen, the former music-festival organizer who now runs a bookstore in Scotland, says he often contacts supporters of the Wirral argument. “I said, ‘guys, I am sorry, but you are wrong,’ ” he said of heated discussions. The 45-year-old accuses his adversaries of arrogance.

Mr. Bullen’s interest in archaeology was inspired by watching Mr. Wood’s TV programs as a child. But he dismisses the historian’s theory on Brunanburh as having no depth. “He is a good historian, but he is not a detective,” he said.

Mr. Bullen believes the battle happened near the northern English town of Burnley, pointing to a local hill fort and grave from that era among other evidence. He has written a poem to highlight his claims.

Fathers & princes, kings & sons,

All mingled for the fray,

Death dips & darts, for many hearts

This was their final day.

Britain is pockmarked with battle sites given its long, violent history but pinpointing where any fight happened hundreds of years ago is hard because accounts don’t dwell on location. Place names and topographies can also change, while battlefields were stripped of abandoned weaponry at the time.

Historic England, a government-financed heritage body, has just 47 battlefields in its national register, which requires a site’s provenance to be “securely established.” Brunanburh is not one of them.

For decades historians were convinced where the Battle of Bosworth Field settled a bloody dynastic struggle in 1485, and a large heritage center was built at the site in England’s Midlands region. A recent, more comprehensive study suggests it took place elsewhere.

Mr. Wood says that local pride and the potential for tourism means everyone wants a battle to happen near them.

At Barnsdale, Ashley Tabor was cleaning the gas station he works at when he learned that thousands may have fought and died nearby.

“I’d love it to be local, yes,” he said, looking out across the area, where a busy highway, deserted motel and adult video store now stand.

My Ring Story: a lifelong dream Wed, 13 Oct 2021 16:28:51 +0000 picture-with-the-cadets-from-left-to-right-is-Avery-Canady-me-Porter-Beal-Tim-Toomer-Marie-Le-Gallo-Blake-Durden-Evan-Lambrecht-George-Mock-and-Colby-Bennett.-scaled.jpegpicture-with-the-cadets-from-left-to-right-is-Avery-Canady-me-Porter-Beal-Tim-Toomer-Marie-Le-Gallo-Blake-Durden-Evan-Lambrecht-George-Mock-and-Colby-Bennett.-scaled.jpeg"I have honestly envisioned this moment all my life."]]> picture-with-the-cadets-from-left-to-right-is-Avery-Canady-me-Porter-Beal-Tim-Toomer-Marie-Le-Gallo-Blake-Durden-Evan-Lambrecht-George-Mock-and-Colby-Bennett.-scaled.jpegpicture-with-the-cadets-from-left-to-right-is-Avery-Canady-me-Porter-Beal-Tim-Toomer-Marie-Le-Gallo-Blake-Durden-Evan-Lambrecht-George-Mock-and-Colby-Bennett.-scaled.jpeg

Meet Jacob Lane Rush, Class of 2022

Photo above from left to right: Avery Canady, Jacob, Porter Beal, Tim Toomer, Marie Le Gallo, Blake Durden, Evan Lambrecht, George Mock and Colby Bennett.

MSG Jacob Lane Rush is from Concord, North Carolina, is majoring in Business Administration. and has earned gold stars for academic achievement. After graduation he plans to attend law school to eventually become a corporate attorney.

Q. What quote is engraved inside your ring and what is its significance?

A. Inside my ring I have the Bible verse Colossians 3:23 which says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” This is a hugely significant verse to me because I believe that everything we do must be done to the best of our ability to glorify God, and my Citadel experience was no different.

Q. Did you ever envision the day you’d earn your ring?

A. I have honestly envisioned this moment all my life. I have dreamt about earning the ring since I was very young, and it has always been a goal of mine.

Q. Who inspired you to begin/continue your journey here at The Citadel?

A. I would definitely say that my parents were a huge inspiration to me. They were the ones that introduced me to the school from a very young age, and they always said I had what it took to make it at The Citadel. My mom was especially inspirational. She always told me that she thought I was “born to go to The Citadel,” and that simple statement carried me through many ups and downs during my experience.

“This is my family on my first Parents Weekend, Oct 4, 2019. From left to right you’ll see my brother, Jackson, mom, Tamara and dad, Jeff.”

Q. What is a song that describes your emotions leading up to this time in your college career?

A. The song that runs through my head the most often is Country Roads by John Denver. Not only does this song make me think about my late grandfather, who serves as an inspiration and role model, but it also makes me think about the journey that I’ve been on.

Q. What are three things The Citadel taught you that you wouldn’t have learned at another college?

A. One of the main things that I have learned is how much I have to be thankful for. Knob year was a huge eye opener about how lucky I am, and it has seriously changed my views when I return home. Additionally, I’ve learned that you always have a little more to give than what your mind tells you. More times than I can count I have been in situations here when I thought I was was giving 100 percent, but then when needing to dig even deeper, The Citadel taught me how to summon the energy I needed to get through the challenge. Finally, and most importantly, The Citadel taught me how to let go and trust God in my life. It goes without saying that every day is filled with challenges, and I learned that I couldn’t deal with all these on my own and that I needed to tell my troubles to God and he would get me through them.

Q. What will you miss most about your time here?

A. I am already beginning to realize that what I will miss the most is the friendships. It hit me recently that while we will be lifelong friends, in a few short months, we will never be able to joke around on the galleries or go to mess together again. There will be no more marching in parades or staying up all night to clean for an inspection. I think I will miss that more than anything in the world.

About The Citadel Class of 2022 Ring Stories

Left to right: MSG Olivia Hime, Regimental Public Affairs NCO, and MAJ Samantha Walton, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Class of 2022

The Class of 2022 Ring Presentation Ceremony was held on Friday, Oct. 1. The stories presented here are the result of the leadership of Regimental Public Affairs officer, Major Samantha Walton, and Regimental Public Affairs Non Commissioned Officer, Cadet Olivia Hime. Both women will also receive their rings and will graduate in May.

Walton, who is from Macon, Georgia, attends The Citadel on an U.S. Army scholarship and will accept a commission to become an officer upon graduating. She is majoring in Political Science and holds the Charles Foster Scholarship.

Hime, who is from Holly Springs, North Carolina, is a junior and a member of The Citadel Honors Program. She is majoring in Biology, has repeatedly earned gold stars and President’s List positions for academic excellence. Hime will graduate in May, a year early, and plans to attend medical school to become a physician.

After Citadel grad’s death, bill in Congress aims to stop military vehicle rollovers Tue, 12 Oct 2021 21:00:06 +0000 The new aims to improve the safety and effectiveness of military tactical vehicles in honor of Conor McDowell, Class of 2017. ]]>

Note: Marine 1st Lt. Conor McDowell is a member of The Citadel Class of 2017.

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Thomas Novelly

WASHINGTON — In 2019, Conor McDowell, a Citadel graduate and first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, died instantly when his light-armored vehicle flipped over during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

In the months since, the 24-year-old Marine’s family has lobbied Congress to investigate their son’s death, asking them to hold the military accountable for hundreds of vehicle rollovers that have killed dozens of service members in the last decade. 

Now, a new bill in Congress titled the “1st Lt. Hugh Conor McDowell Safety in Armed Forces Equipment Act of 2021” aims to improve the safety and effectiveness of military tactical vehicles in his honor. 

Michael McDowell, Conor’s father, said the proposal is one of five bills in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act related to rollover deaths, but the only one named for the former Citadel cadet. 

“We don’t want this just to be about Conor,” McDowell told The Post and Courier. “We want a deep- dive investigation.”

The legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both Maryland Democrats. If passed it “would help supervisors mitigate and prevent fatal training accidents and develop performance criteria and measurable standards for driver training programs,” the senators said in a news release. 

The main part of the program involves installing equipment on vehicles that would record potential hazards, near-accidents and rollovers so the military can have updated data to use during training. The legislation would:

  • Create a pilot program which would record data on Army and Marine Corps tactical vehicles.
  • Identify near-miss accidents and potential hazards that would otherwise go undetected without the data recorder.
  • Assess individual driver proficiency to allow for tailored training.
  • Establish a database for more consistent implementation of safety programs across installations and units.
  • Require commanders to incorporate the latest data sets and statistics into safety programs.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., and Rob Wittman, R-Va.

“The safety of our young men and women in uniform, particularly during training, must be our top priority,” Brown said. “Tactical vehicle accidents are preventable if we improve our training and ensure a culture of safety within the ranks.”

The legislation follows a 103-page report from the Government Accountability Office, the independent investigative arm of Congress, on such rollovers. Sweeping data was released July 14 revealing that training inconsistency and overconfidence led to the service deaths, as well as a lack of safety personnel who can identify hazards during exercises. 

From 2010 to 2019, the services reported 3,753 noncombat accidents resulting in 123 service member deaths, the report stated. Rollovers were the most deadly accidents, accounting for 63 percent of the fatalities.

One of those occurred on May 9, 2019, when Conor found himself leading a light-armored vehicle training patrol at Pendleton. The rocky terrain was difficult to navigate during the 10-day training exercise. Despite using all the intelligence at their disposal, the eight-wheeled vehicle began tipping into an 18-foot hole covered by tall grass. As the 12-ton machine slowly turned belly up, Conor pushed a lance corporal who was positioned in the machine gun turret back inside at the last minute, according to his family.

He saved his comrade’s life but the newly commissioned first lieutenant was crushed instantly.

Nearly three years after his son’s death, Conor’s father said he’s glad to finally see serious attention being paid to training reform and rollover investigations. He said there is bipartisan support for many of the rollover bills in the NDAA, and said he’s eager to see them pass this year. 

“There are several powerful new measures to accompany this one,” Michael McDowell wrote on Facebook. “Conor has truly been honored.” 

“Surfing” barnacles research earning Citadel scientist international attention Fri, 08 Oct 2021 21:11:22 +0000 Sea turtle's head with barnacles on itSea turtle's head with barnacles on it"We thought, ‘Ah, these guys are moving around so that they can get close together for reproduction.’"]]> Sea turtle's head with barnacles on itSea turtle's head with barnacles on it

Barnacles can move? Seriously who knew? Apparently not many people.

Research by a marine biologist at The Citadel is popping up science news outlets after his work was published by The Royal Society Publishing. The academic piece is entitled “Five hundred million years to mobility: directed locomotion and its ecological function in a turtle barnacle.”

The abstract states that Professor John Zardus, Ph.D., and his co-authors “confirm that the epizoic sea turtle barnacle, Chelonibia testudinaria, has evolved the capacity for self-directed locomotion as adults.” 

Yes, the barnacles that spend their lives attached to sea turtles actually move around on the turtle, they are not stagnant. And, according to the research, they often leave behind a little trail of their sticky “cement.”

Recorded Chelonibia testudinaria barnacle movement on plexiglass plate
Courtesy of Benny K.K. Chan and JRI-Chi Lin

“The goal of movement ecology is to determine how, why, where and when organisms move,” said Zardus. “And that’s what we set out to discover with barnacles.”

Here’s a look at two popular magazine articles about the findings.

Some Barnacles Can Move Around to Improve Feeding Position

The Scientist spoke with marine biologist and barnacle researcher John Zardus about why turtle barnacles—previously thought to be immobile—in fact slowly travel. He thinks the answer is food

As seen in The Scientist, by Chloe Tenn

Almost by definition, barnacles are immobile: these crustaceans cluster on surfaces such as whale heads, sea turtle shells, coastal rocks, and ship hulls. Once barnacle larvae mature, they travel on ocean currents in search of an anchoring place, preferentially settling in locations with good water flow, which often happen to be moving marine animals. Barnacles stick to host locations by secreting an adhesive cement, typically from a rigid plate on their undersides, that glues them to the surface. The general consensus has long been that barnacles then remain permanently cemented to their chosen surfaces, never to move again.

But a 2008 paper described an exception in barnacle immobility in the turtle barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria. This unexpected observation inspired John Zardus, a marine biologist and professor at The Citadel in South Carolina, and his colleagues to investigate barnacle locomotion on turtle shells. In a study published October 6 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they report that not only is Chelonibia testudinaria mobile, but it navigates purposefully toward locations of high water flow where the barnacles can more easily feed.

Barnacles are classified as filter feeders, extending a small fiber-like fan appendage that captures particles and miniscule organisms from the surrounding seawater. They may be able to feed more effectively if they are positioned so that currents push food particles into their fan. Zardus and colleagues hypothesized that Chelonibia testudinaria position themselves to capture more food, and tested this idea in multiple aquarium tanks around the world. The researchers observed that the barnacles moved up to 78.6 mm over the course of a year and could change directions. They also found that the barnacles situated on turtle shells tended to move toward the turtle’s head, against the flow of water that passes as the turtle swims, which would give them access to stronger currents and thus more food.

The Scientist spoke with Zardus about why it matters that these barnacles can move around, and how these slow-moving animals travel over turtle shells.

The Scientist: What interested you in studying animal mobility?

John Zardus: I was originally interested in barnacles that live on other animals. My real question was, how did these barnacles find the host that they have to live on? There are some [barnacles] that are specialized for sea turtles, some for whales. It was just by accident that we came across this species that moves. We weren’t the first ones to discover this. There was a paper published in 2008 by Julia Moriarty. She had contacted me and sent me some photographs, asking, ‘Can barnacles that live on turtles move around?’ I answered, ‘No, no, barnacles don’t do that. Once they’re stuck, they’re there.’ She sent these photos of a time series of turtles over time with barnacles on them. She was using the barnacles to keep track of which turtle was which. She realized that the barnacles seemed to be moving. When I looked at her pictures, I was really blown away by it. We’ve been looking at how that phenomenon could happen ever since. We finally were able to conduct some laboratory experiments that completely confirmed it, and then started asking questions about why they do it.

TS: According to the paper, the study finds barnacles have directed movement for feeding purposes. Could you expand on what this means about the current understanding of barnacles?

JZ: You have to understand a little bit about how a barnacle operates. Basically, they’re like a shrimp in a shell, living upside down, with their head pointed down, and they kick their legs out to capture food. They’re filter feeders, feeding on whatever’s in the plankton. When they attach to a turtle, probably the big benefit [of attaching] is feeding currents. If you take a barnacle, and it’s living in still water, it will take its appendages and stroke them through the water very actively. But once you provide some flow, then they’ll just sit there and passively capture their food. It’s much easier for them to do. They don’t have to expend any energy. This species and others that live on mobile hosts are probably taking advantage of the flow for feeding.

The bottom [of a barnacle shell] is very flat. They sit right on the surface. How does it [move around]? It doesn’t have little legs down there. We don’t know how it’s doing it. We just know that it is [moving] very slowly. It takes weeks or months for it to travel any significant distance. Most barnacles, on their bottom, secrete a basal plate that is made of calcium carbonate, and it’s solid. But this one doesn’t. It has a membrane. There’s a few [barnacles] that are like this with a soft bottom. We’re pretty sure that that’s an important component of the movement.

TS: What surprised you about this ability of barnacles?
JZ: We were pretty sure it was reproduction, but we were wrong. It turned out to be for feeding.

Let me tell you a little about reproduction in barnacles. They are mostly hermaphroditic. They have both male and female components, but they can’t fertilize themselves. They need to have a neighbor. It’s very typical for barnacles to live in clusters so that they can fertilize their neighbor next door. They have direct insemination, with the world’s largest penis per body size. They reach out and copulate with their next-door neighbors. We thought, ‘Ah, these guys are moving around so that they can get close together for reproduction.’

We set up some experiments where we put them in different arrangements, tightly clustered together or separated far apart. We figured that in the ones that were separated far apart, that over time, they would move closer together. But they didn’t. They ended up moving randomly. Only when we put flow on them from the jet in the aquarium did they start moving, and they moved towards the flow.

When you looked at them on sea turtles in the wild, they were mostly moving toward the head of the turtle or towards the anterior part of the turtle shell. That’s going to put them in higher flow. It seems to be that they’re really responding to flow, and that is probably more for feeding, and they don’t seem to be doing it so much for reproduction.

I also have another study that’s in press right now with this species demonstrating that it’s the only barnacle we know of that does not do active feeding. If you give them no flow, a barnacle will typically stroke its appendages to get food. If you put this one with no flow, it does nothing. It’ll die. It will never even actively feed. It relies 100 percent on passive feeding, so it really has to be in a high flow environment all the time. Which makes sense if you’re living on a turtle—you’re going to get a lot of flow.

One of the reasons it might not be so concerned about getting close together with other individuals is [this barnacle] has dwarf males that live attached to it. They’re really tiny, only a few millimeters in size, and a single hermaphrodite . . . may have 30 to 40 of what they call complemental males. They’re tiny individuals and they live in these crevices. They specifically settle in there and then they just provide sperm to the central hermaphrodite. If [the hermaphrodites are] carrying their own males, they probably don’t care if they’re near a neighbor or not because they’ve already got what they need. This one has a really cool biology. All sorts of interesting things going on.

TS: When you were observing these barnacles in the aquariums, were there any challenges that arose with the experiments?
JZ: We had to figure out how to get them attached to surfaces in the lab. We tried two approaches in my lab here in South Carolina. I started raising them from the larval stage, and I could get them to attach onto PVC pipe, and then grow them in the lab just fine. But for whatever reason, those that lived on PVC didn’t move.My colleague in Taiwan, Benny Chan, tried a different approach. He found some crabs that this barnacle was living on. He would catch the crabs, bring them into the lab, euthanize the crabs, cut the crab shell around the base of the barnacle, and then let it sit for a few days until the crab shell dissolved. Once it was dissolved, he could take the barnacle that was intact and healthy, put it onto a plexiglass panel, and let it sit for a few days. It would create some new glue and cement itself onto it. That was the real success. Once we got those glued onto glass panels, those were the ones that we could put into flow and move them around from aquarium to aquarium for the different experiments and do time lapse studies on them.

TS: Do you think that your findings could be extended to perhaps other types of barnacles or sessile animal models?
JZ: I think we should certainly look for it. I don’t think we’re going to find it happening very much. Do I think other barnacles are doing this? I doubt it. Maybe under very special circumstances. We would need to look at those. I think some of the prerequisites for this guy to move is it’s got this very flat, broad base with a membranous bottom. There aren’t too many barnacles that are like that. Those would be the candidates that I think we might look at.

Regarding other animals, there was a recent paper that came out about some deep-sea sponges that they found moving. Again, they don’t know how, but they could see tracks in the sediment or on the surface where the sponges had travelled. That was unexpected. I think it would be interesting to look in other places, but I don’t think it’s going to be widespread phenomenon.

Citadel Professor John Zardus, Ph.D. working with a sea turtle during his research on the epizoic sea turtle barnacle.

TS: Where do you see the future of the research going? What would you like to explore next with these barnacles?
JZ: I think the big question people really want to know is, how do they do this? What’s the mechanism? That’s where we’re headed. We don’t have a lot of tangible evidence for how it’s happening right now.

TS: Do you have any ideas or any suspicions of how barnacles could be moving?
JZ: I think it’s got to do with the glue. Barnacles, when they first attach to the substratum—almost all species—they start secreting a glue that permanently fixes them in place, and then they continue to secrete that glue throughout their lifetime as they get larger and larger. This one’s doing the same thing, but it must also be dissolving its glue. We want to look at that and see if somehow the glue is being laid down, then the animal is somehow severing that connection, and then reapplying the glue in periodic intervals.

We also want to examine this glue more carefully. We know that it looks a little different from some of the other glues we’ve seen in barnacles. It gets put down in different layers and the composition is different just looking under the electron microscope. That’s never been reported in barnacle glue before. That’s one part that we think is going to be important to figuring out.

Also reported on

It moves! Supposedly immobile barnacles can ‘surf’ across turtle shells
By Rachel Fritts

Courtesy of Prof. John Zardus, Ph.D., The Citadel Department of Biology

Barnacles are notoriously clingy creatures. The filter-feeding crustaceans—familiar sights on rocky shores or the hulls of boats—were long thought to be completely immobile. But a new study has confirmed that at least one species, which settles on top of sea turtle shells, can slide across surfaces to places where it’s easier to snag a snack.

Chelonibia testudinaria live predominantly on the backs of sea turtles and occasionally hitch rides on other seafaring creatures like manatees and crabs. Whereas their larval forms swim freely, adults cement themselves to a surface, where they were believed to hold fast for life. But in the early 2000s, researchers found there might be a little more wiggle room than previously thought: C. testudinaria barnacles on wild green sea turtles seemed to move around on the turtles’ shells, often against the current, over a period of months.

In 2017, other scientists tracked 15 barnacles’ movements on an acrylic surface in a lab (see video, above). After 1 year of observations, they found the barnacles used incremental secretions of their cement to “surf” to a new position, they report today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. They suspect the barnacles are after food, as they moved toward areas of higher water flow—which carry more food particles—when exposed to a current.   

The barnacles won’t be winning any races—they averaged a distance of about 7 millimeters over 3 months, with one barnacle moving 8 centimeters over 1 year. But scientists say this is still a notable feat for a group of animals once considered incapable of relocating.

The Citadel, VMI Corps of Cadets led by women Thu, 07 Oct 2021 13:50:21 +0000 Attendees of The Citadel’s military review parade on Saturday were witnesses to tradition and a history-making moment.]]>

As seen on WCSC – Live 5 News, by Emilie Zuhowski

Attendees of The Citadel’s military review parade on Saturday were witnesses to tradition and a history-making moment.

For the first time in history, the regimental commanders of the Corps of Cadets from both The Citadel and the Virginia Military Institute are women.

Cadet Colonel Kathryn Christmas is the second woman to command the South Carolina Corps of Cadets at the Citadel.

Christmas was greeted at the parade by Cadet First Captain Kasey Meredith, the first woman in VMI’s history to serve as regimental commander. The two exchanged hats.

“You kinda feel a special bond between each other,” Christmas said.

The regimental commanders are responsible for the success and well-being of all cadets in their Corps. The Citadel has approximately 2,300 cadets, while VMI has about 1,700.

“For all the young ladies out there, when they see two regimental commanders, they can now view themself with that success,” The Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters said.

Olivia Hime, Citadel Regimental Public Affairs NCO, called the moment inspiring.

“I think it’s a big jump for both of the schools being that most are predominately male,” Hime said. “So, I think it’s a big step forward and it’s really inspiring to other females like myself and the classes to come.”

Christmas says she thinks she can help Meredith and her school become acquainted with women in leadership positions.