Veterans – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu Mon, 09 Aug 2021 17:57:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://today.citadel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citadel-Favion-new-150x150.png Veterans – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu 32 32 144096890 The Fount: news from The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences https://today.citadel.edu/the-fount-news-from-the-citadel-school-of-humanities-and-social-sciences/ Mon, 09 Aug 2021 15:25:22 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25618 cover photo of new Capers Hall rendering from The Fount newslettercover photo of new Capers Hall rendering from The Fount newsletterThe past year has strengthened my belief that the path to principled leadership goes through the humanities and social sciences.]]> cover photo of new Capers Hall rendering from The Fount newslettercover photo of new Capers Hall rendering from The Fount newsletter

By any measure the last academic year has been the
most challenging in recent memory. Despite the
disruption, I am pleased to present this Summer 2021
Newsletter for the School of Humanities and Social
Sciences at The Citadel and share the good news that
this School and this College has persisted through the
pandemic and emerged stronger, more experienced,
and even more committed to the mission to train
leaders who are both principled and resilient…

The past year has strengthened my belief that the path to
principled leadership goes through the humanities and
social sciences. Although science has provided a vaccine, our
art, literature, music, history, and culture provided context,
comfort, and peace to a sick world. Our disciplines have
helped us understand how humanity survived and thrived in
the past despite the worst the planet could throw at us. The
humanities and social sciences teach us how to live in a
multicultural and interconnected society, how to appreciate
our differences, how to understand each other’s languages,
how to care for our fellow man and woman, how to learn
from our past, how to bring justice, and how to build a better
world one citizen at a time. Despite the pandemic, we
pressed forward to advance our mission.

Brian M. Jones, Ph.D., Dean for The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Read the full newsletter here.

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Parades are back at The Citadel https://today.citadel.edu/parades-are-back-at-the-citadel/ Mon, 02 Aug 2021 20:15:30 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25540 South Carolina Corps of Cadets military review parade on September 28, 2018South Carolina Corps of Cadets military review parade on September 28, 2018"We look forward to showcasing the discipline, professionalism, and Espirit de Corps that defines The Citadel when the South Carolina Corps of Cadets resumes the parade schedule in September."]]> South Carolina Corps of Cadets military review parade on September 28, 2018South Carolina Corps of Cadets military review parade on September 28, 2018

The South Carolina Corps of Cadets to resume traditional Friday parades

Photo above: South Carolina Corps of Cadets military review parade on Summerall Field, September 28, 2018.

The Citadel military review parade, a patriotic display performed by members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, is often described as a “must see” event for those visiting or living in the Lowcountry. And during the 2021-22 academic year, the iconic parades will be back following a hiatus the previous year because of pandemic. (There was an abridged Long Gray Line Parade for The Citadel Class of 2021 in May for seniors and freshmen.)

The parades will be a conditions-based, outdoor activity, as the college continues assessing safety related to the pandemic.

“Everyone loves a parade. Dress parades have been pulling together proud parents, alumni and visitors from around the country to the perimeter of Summerall Field on The Citadel since 1922,” said The Citadel Commandant of Cadets, Col. Tom Gordon, USMC (Retired), ’91. “We look forward to showcasing the discipline, professionalism and Esprit de Corps that defines The Citadel when the South Carolina Corps of Cadets resumes the parade schedule in September.”

The full, traditional parades will resume beginning at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, September 3, marking Gordon’s first parade since joining the Military College of South Carolina as its new commandant July 1.

The purpose of military review parades

The Citadel Corps of Cadets parade on King Street, 1981. Photo credit: The Citadel Archives and Museum.

The tradition of parading military troops can be traced back to the time of Alexander the Great. U.S. military reviews and parades began at Valley Forge in the late 18th century during the Revolutionary War.

According to the college’s archivist, The Citadel’s parades were written into the regulations in 1845, and specifically mentioned as being held on Friday afternoons in 1849, thus this tradition for the Corps dates back about 180 years.

The Citadel’s parades are conducted to inspect the Corps, render honors, preserve tradition and foster a sense of unity among cadets. Some of the college’s parades also include award presentations and recognitions for alumni and other honored guests.

The Citadel Retreat Parade script excerpt:

A ceremonial parade, impeccably performed, can never fail to be a source of inspiration to those who watch it or take part in it. It is the noblest and proudest form of drill. Based on the ‘blunt whetstone’ of drill instruction to recruits, it was for many hundreds of years the foundation of battle discipline in all Armies . . .

Originally outlined in General Friedrich Wilhelm Baron Von Steuben’s Blue Book and practiced by revolutionary soldiers, the term “parade” had various meanings to Continental Army troops camped at Valley Forge. Present day parade procedures originate from those daily activities conducted then to form, organize, instruct and issue orders to the various guards on duty. Early parades also enabled commanders to give special instructions to subordinate leaders and to make command announcements. A parade today remains much the same, retaining its original intent — a method whereby unit commanders could inspect troops, present awards and issue orders.

Mid-twentieth century parade films from The Citadel

View the fall 2021 South Carolina Corps of Cadets parade schedule below, and at this link.

DateTimeType
3-Sep1545Awards Review
10-Sep1545Awards Review
11-Sep11002020 Homecoming Jeep Review
17-Sep1545Retreat
24-Sep1545Retreat
2-Oct1100Parents Day Jeep Review
15-Oct1545Retreat
22-Oct1545Retreat
29-Oct1545Retreat
5-Nov1545Retreat
12-Nov1710Twilight Parade
13-Nov1100Homecoming Jeep Review
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Better to give than to receive? Yes. https://today.citadel.edu/better-to-give-than-to-receive-yes/ Sat, 17 Jul 2021 10:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25244 South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presenting award to Citadel Board of Visitors member Bill ConnorSouth Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presenting award to Citadel Board of Visitors member Bill ConnorThe Order was presented by Gov. Henry McMaster during ceremonies at the S.C. State House, in the historic foyer just beyond the Governor’s suite of offices]]> South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presenting award to Citadel Board of Visitors member Bill ConnorSouth Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presenting award to Citadel Board of Visitors member Bill Connor

As seen on Midlandsbiz.com

Photo above: South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presenting Order of the Palmetto to The Citadel Board of Visitors member, Col. William M. (Bill) Connor V, USA (Ret.), Citadel Class of 1990

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

I love singing the praises of great men and women achieving great things, especially when those achievers are family or friends. The achievement of others is a personal blessing of which I’m frequently a recipient. I know that may sound a bit syrupy and insincere. But it’s neither. It’s true. Here’s why.

As a boy I remember adults saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” I thought to myself, “They are only saying that so I won’t be selfish, but there’s no logical way giving anyone anything is better than receiving something.” Right? Getting is ALWAYS better than giving. To sincerely, deeply believe otherwise is impossible. Or so it was to my selfish juvenile mind.

As I grew a little older and continued hearing the “better to give” phrase, I began to believe it was made-up, sort of like “God helps those who help themselves.” But I also simultaneously began to realize there might indeed be something to this idea of giving, though I wasn’t sure what, why, or how. Today I know the giving experience is unquestionably and immeasurably better than receiving. The Apostle Paul confirms this in Acts 20:35: “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Jesus knows best, and in it the transcendental truth and tangible blessings are remarkably experienced in a way I cannot quite put my finger on. But I do know what the experience of being a collateral recipient is like, and it is much more than simply being “happy” for the actual recipient.

I think I first began to experience this in the Marine Corps when one man being decorated was quite literally a laurel for every single rifleman in the battalion.

Which brings me to my good friend of many years, retired U.S. Army Infantry Colonel William Mellard “Bill” Connor V.

On July 8, Bill received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest award. It’s officially said to be “S.C. highest civilian honor,” but it actually outranks every other award in the state. The Order was presented by Gov. Henry McMaster during ceremonies at the S.C. State House, in the historic foyer just beyond the Governor’s suite of offices.

Many mutual friends were in attendance. I’ll get to them momentarily.

First, the how and why of the award: Following a lengthy nomination process and the requisite screening which included letters of recommendation from U.S. Congressmen Joe Wilson and Jeff Duncan, Bill received the award based on his distinguished service to both the state and nation.

“This is an award that cannot be bought nor applied for,” said Gov. McMaster as he made the presentation. “This is reserved for those who statewide, nationally or beyond have distinguished themselves in service to the people of South Carolina. Bill Connor is one of those people.”

McMaster then explained how S.C. is a culturally vibrant state with its lifeblood being a strong Judeo-Christian tradition combined with a strong military tradition. That, and the fact that South Carolinians are a people who have come to and assimilated into this society uniquely imbued with those two traditions, and that these people have, according to McMaster, “over the centuries faced every obstacle known to man in a place that is [otherwise] paradise.”

Simply put, S.C. is an incubator state that has given rise to a special type of a self-reliant, multi-talented workforce that multinational corporations like BMW, Boeing, Fabrique Nationale, Michelin, SONOCO, and others are drawn to. “That’s what we have, and Bill Connor’s life reflects everything that I’ve just said,” McMaster added.

Men like Bill are not unique in and to the Palmetto State, but they are indeed rare across much of the rest of the country.

An accomplished attorney and a career Army officer, Bill is a former light infantry commander and Ranger training company commander who, among other posts and multiple overseas deployments, later served as the senior U.S. military adviser in Helmand Province, Afghanistan during the height of the war. Prior to his 2020 retirement from the U.S. Army Reserve (also serving in the regular Army and the S.C. Army National Guard), Bill served as the emergency preparedness liaison officer for S.C. As such, he was the ranking representative of ARMY NORTH for the Palmetto State during some of our most disastrous weather events.

In 2019, Bill was elected chair of the National Security Task Force (NSTF), one of 10 mission-specific task forces (or subcommittees) composing the gubernatorially established S.C. Floodwater Commission of which I also serve.

Earlier this month, Bill took a seat on The Citadel’s prestigious Board of Visitors, having been elected to the board in 2020. He is, after all, a graduate of The Citadel as well as the University of South Carolina School of Law, and he is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Army War College.

Presenting Bill with the Order of the Palmetto, last week, McMaster reminded everyone gathered that the honor was being made “on behalf of 5.2-million South Carolinians.”

Accepting the award, Bill said, “I want to first thank God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Bill then recognized and thanked the Governor and those present.

Attending the ceremony were many family-members and friends of Bill, and several friends of mine.

Bill’s wife Dr. Susan Connor was there as were two of their three children and other family-members. Then there was Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, S.C. Army National Guard, who serves as the current S.C. adjutant general; also one of my bosses Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who was recently named National Sheriff of the Year 2021. Then my good friend and retired U.S. Marine Col. Steven B. Vitali, who also serves with Bill and me on the NSTF. Also retired U.S. Army Col. Kevin Shwedo, the SCDMV executive director and Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army; Bill’s fellow members of The Citadel’s Board of Visitors; members of Bill’s law firm staff; and Bill’s fellow graduate of The Citadel, Frank Barron.

Read the full article here.

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Future cadets learn from three Vietnam era Medal of Honor recipients https://today.citadel.edu/future-cadets-learn-from-three-vietnam-era-medal-of-honor-recipients/ Thu, 15 Jul 2021 14:53:16 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25265 Citadel Success Institute students listen to three Vietnam War area Medal of Honor recipients.Citadel Success Institute students listen to three Vietnam War area Medal of Honor recipients."To succeed you've got to lead from the front at all times. You are there to show them the way."]]> Citadel Success Institute students listen to three Vietnam War area Medal of Honor recipients.Citadel Success Institute students listen to three Vietnam War area Medal of Honor recipients.

They all served in Vietnam. They all risked their lives for the sake of others. And all three wear the medal that requires every person in active military service, at any level, to salute them.

Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics representative, Ted Fienning, and Medal of Honor recipients Michael Thornton, Sammy Davis and Harold Fritz address Citadel Success Institute students in Mark Clark Hall’s Buyer Auditorium at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Medal of Honor recipients Michael Thornton, Sammy Davis and Harold Fitz visited with students attending The Citadel Success Institute. The event was part of the students’ freshman year introduction to life at The Citadel, before they matriculate as cadet recruits with the Class of 2025 in August.

Lt. Michael Edwin Thornton, from the Upstate of South Carolina, is the only Medal of Honor recipient in over 100 years to save the life of another recipient, who had also performed heroic, lifesaving actions months earlier. The story of how Sgt. Sammy Lee Davis earned the Medal of Honor in 1967 served as the inspiration for some of the war scenes in “Forrest Gump.” And Lt. Col. Harold Arthur Fritz was a first lieutenant the Army leading his seven-vehicle armored column to escort a truck convoy on January 11, 1969 when they came under attack and he saved the lives of his men.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society hosted two days of events in Charleston for 20 Medal of Honor recipients in Charleston. The presentation at The Citadel by Thornton, Davis and Fritz was one of them.

A Citadel Success Institute student asks a question of Medal of Honor recipients Michael Thornton, Sammy Davis and Harold Fritz at The Citadel in Charleston on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

The CSI students asked the men questions during the visit. One student from Ohio asked about the relationship between bravery and leadership.

“Bravery covers all soldiers who risk their lives for their country. They are all brave just by showing up. But leadership is different. To succeed you’ve got to lead from the front at all times. You are there to show them the way. When I was 18 or 19 in Vietnam I had 81 troops. I tried to earn their respect by putting myself in their place and by helping take care of their families.”

Lt. Michael Edwin Thornton, USN (Ret.) Medal of Honor recipient

Each man took a turn at answering every question.

“Being a brave leader means standing alone if you must take the tough decision. That is what a leader does,” said Fritz.

Medal of Honor recipient speaking at The Citadel
Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis addresses Citadel Success Institute (CSI) students at The Citadel on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Davis answered after considering the event that led to his Medal of Honor recognition.

“Looking back at that day, I was shot 30 times when I kept going to get my brothers. That’s not being brave. That’s love and it makes you do things beyond what seems humanly possible sometimes. I loved all of those men. I knew in my heart I was doing for them what they would do for me,” Davis said.

A student from Kentucky asked the men about the most “influential mistakes leaders can make that can impact their character.”

Medal of Honor recipient Harold Fritz stands to address Citadel Success Institute students in Mark Clark Hall’s Buyer Auditorium at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Fritz responded, “Quitting. You don’t lose until you quit trying. You give it all that you have every day and correct your course as you go along.”

Davis responded to that question with an anecdote about a mistake he made early on while in Vietnam. “I spotted a guy, the enemy, a distance away. I crawled through the brush to try to get close to him. When I got there I froze. All I could think of was a John Wayne movie, so I stood up and yelled, ‘stick em up.’ I came out okay – but knew from then on to always have a plan and don’t do it alone.”

A detail of Sammy Davis’ Medal of Honor before an address to Citadel Success Institute students at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
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Vietnam POW, Col. Quincy Collins turns 90 years old on the Fourth of July https://today.citadel.edu/vietnam-pow-col-quincy-collins-turns-90-years-old-on-the-fourth-of-july/ Tue, 06 Jul 2021 14:00:01 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25154 After graduating The Citadel in 1953, he went into active duty in the Air Force for 21 years.]]>

As seen on Spectrum News 1, by Trish Christakes

On this year’s Independence Day, one Charlotte man is celebrating his love for his country, and his 90th birthday. 

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Quincy Collins said he’s an American through and through. 

He said it’s even more special that his birthday is on the Fourth of July. 

“Ninety! I never thought I’d reach 90,” Collins said. 

After graduating The Citadel in 1953, he went into active duty in the Air Force for 21 years. 

During the Vietnam War, Collins was captured and held as a prisoner of war for 7 and a half years. 

“Being in prison with pretty hard treatment, I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of there alive,” Collins said. 

During that time, he shared a cell with the late U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. 

“John and I sort of became the … entertainment,” Collins said. 

Collins said music was a way to get through the years as a prisoner.  

“This is me in prison, I formed a choir. I was singing ‘Oh Holy Night,’ but I was singing it to give a message to the 150 guys who were sitting there in front of me,” Collins said. 

He said it was his way to communicate to the others how much they were struggling. He was hoping to get through to them, praying to be released. 

“Communication is the most important thing as a POW,” Collins said. 

Despite all his hardships, Collins said being in the Air Force as a fighter pilot was simply great. 

“This is the one I was shot down in, the F-105. I was the wings weapon officer for my three squadron group.”  

These past few years, Collins has been reflecting on his life as he approaches another birthday, and he’s even written a memoir. 

“God just gave me too interesting a life to let go, so I said, ‘OK, let’s put it down on paper and see what it looks like’… it’s called ‘Out of the Blue,’” Collins said. 

He ended his long career with two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts and several other gallantr-type metals. 

Collins’ father was in the Civil Air Patrol, which is where his love for planes started and why he eventually ended up choosing Air Force. 

On Sunday, Collins was surrounded by his wife, family and 70 of his closest friends to celebrate turning 90. 

Click here to watch the on-air coverage.

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The Citadel and service members: united by a flag https://today.citadel.edu/the-citadel-and-service-members-united-by-a-flag/ Thu, 01 Jul 2021 19:47:50 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25132 There are two new flags in the Veteran Student Success Center that highlight the college’s strong support and connection with the military.]]>

There are two new flags in The Citadel’s Veteran Student Success Center that highlight the college’s strong support and connection with the military.

It started with a simple overseas request in late 2020.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Powell was based in Old Camp Vance in Afghanistan when he realized that he wasn’t the only person with a Citadel connection.

Powell, a student in The Citadel’s College Transfer Program, enrolled in 2019 after completing three deployments. He studied criminal justice for a year before taking a break to go on his fourth deployment.

While stationed at Old Camp Vance, Powell met six Citadel alumni, as well as many supporters of the college. With the strong Citadel presence in mind, he reached out to Sally Levitt, assistant director for veteran services, to ask for a Citadel flag for the service members to sign and return.

In addition to a Citadel flag, Levitt and other members of the campus community sent care packages to the troops. Then, a few months later, the signed flag returned, accompanied by an American flag that had flown over Old Camp Vance.

“I always want to encourage people that help me and show them support as much as I can,” said Powell.

Both flags are now proudly displayed in the lounge area of the Veteran Student Success Center.

“Being able to provide services, both on campus and abroad, for military connected students is an truly an honor,” said Levitt. “I could not be more proud of our veteran and active duty students. Through their challenges and sacrifices, they epitomize what it means to be a principled leader.”

Powell has completed his fourth deployment and returned to South Carolina. He will resume his studies at The Citadel in the fall.

“I’ve always regretting not going to The Citadel directly after high school – I went in a different direction and joined the Army,” said Powell. “But I’m trying to circle back now and graduate from The Citadel.”

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The Citadel Board of Visitors welcomes new member, Bill Connor https://today.citadel.edu/the-citadel-board-of-visitors-welcomes-new-member-bill-connor/ Wed, 30 Jun 2021 18:53:59 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25034 Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret), ’90Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret), ’90Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret.), ’90, will join The Citadel Board of Visitors as its newest member on July 1, 2021.]]> Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret), ’90Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret), ’90

Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret.), ’90, will join The Citadel Board of Visitors as its newest member on July 1, 2021. Connor is a retired Army officer, an attorney and the owner/founder of Bill Connor Law Firm, LLC, headquartered in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

For over 30 years, Connor served as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army, then South Carolina National Guard, and then Army Reserve, beginning after graduating from The Citadel in 1990. He deployed to the Central Command Area multiple times, including service as the Senior U.S. Military advisor to Afghan National Security Forces in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Connor’s decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Ranger tab and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Connor currently serves as Chairman of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission’s National Security Task Force. He has also served as Chairman of the Board for Orangeburg Christian Academy and Chairman of the Republican Party’s 6th Congressional District, among multiple club presidencies and board memberships. In addition to a B.A. in History from The Citadel, Connor graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 2018 as a Distinguished Graduate with a Master of Science in Strategic Studies. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina in 2005.

Connor lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. He is married to his Citadel sweetheart, Dr. Susan Connor, and is the father of three and grandfather of two; his son Will is a rising junior at The Citadel.

Connor’s term on the Board of Visitors runs from July 1, 2021-June 30, 2027.

The Citadel Board of Visitors as of July 1, 2021

(Listed in order of seniority)

  • Colonel Dylan W. Goff, ’02, Chair
  • Colonel Peter M. McCoy, Sr., ’74, Vice Chair
  • Colonel Allison Dean Love, CGC, ’93
  • Colonel L. E. “Gene” Pinson, ’72
  • Colonel Stanley L. Myers, Sr., ’98
  • Colonel John C. Dominick, USAF (Ret.), ’71
  • Colonel James E. Nicholson, Jr., ’85
  • Colonel F. G. “Greg” Delleney, Jr., ’74
  • Colonel Robert E. Lyon, Jr., ’71
  • Colonel William M. (Bill) Connor, V, USA (Ret.), ’90
  • Vacant – Governor’s Appointee

Ex-Officio Voting Members

  • The Honorable Henry D. McMaster, Governor of the State of South Carolina
  • Major General R. Van McCarty, SCNG, ’82, Adjutant General of South Carolina
  • The Honorable Molly M. Spearman, State Superintendent of Education

Emeritus Members

  • Colonel Leonard C. Fulghum Jr., ’51, Chairman Emeritus
  • Colonel William E. Jenkinson III, ’68
  • Colonel Douglas A. Snyder, ’82

Non-Voting Representatives

  • Dr. Christopher C. Swain, ’81, Chairman, The Citadel Foundation
  • Commander Drury C. “Chip” Nimmich Jr., USN (Ret.), ’76, President, The Citadel Alumni Association
  • Colonel John A. Olshefski, USA (Ret.), ’80, President, The Citadel Brigadier Foundation

The Citadel BOV has 14 voting members. Ex-officio members include the governor, the adjutant general and the state superintendent of education; the other 11 members are graduates of The Citadel. Members serve six-year terms. There is no limit to the number of terms that a board member may serve and no age limit. Board members have the honorary rank of colonel in the Unorganized Militia of South Carolina. (If members have earned a higher rank in U.S. military service, they may retain that rank.)

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Spokesman for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, NATO Resolute Support to join The Citadel as Vice President for Communications and Marketing https://today.citadel.edu/spokesman-for-operation-freedoms-sentinel-nato-resolute-support-to-join-the-citadel-as-vice-president-for-communications-and-marketing/ Mon, 28 Jun 2021 21:01:59 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25057 It is exciting to welcome Col. Sonny Leggett to The Citadel’s leadership team as Vice President for Communications and Marketing.]]>

The communications strategist working on behalf of the United States and more than 50 countries will join his alma matter as vice president for Communications and Marketing. Col. William (Sonny) Leggett, USA, Citadel Class of 1996, will join the college after he retires from 25 years of military service later this summer.

Currently, Leggett is the director of strategic communications for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the NATO Resolute Support Mission, Afghanistan. In the position since 2019, Leggett synchronizes all communications, communications assets and capabilities across the theater while serving as principal advisor to the operational commander. He also serves as theater spokesperson engaging 1.9 million people daily across the social media platforms in support of campaign objectives.

“It is exciting to welcome Col. Sonny Leggett to The Citadel’s leadership team,” said The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret). “His experiences and accomplishments as a strategic communicator in numerous high-level positions for the United States Armed Forces will greatly benefit our mission to educate and develop principled leaders.”

Before his deployment to Afghanistan, Leggett served as director of strategic communications for the National Security Council for three years. In that role he provided direct counsel to the President of the United States on efforts to counter terrorist and state-actor communications. Leggett also led the White House engagements with Silicon Valley enterprises, informing tech companies on how their platforms were being exploited by terrorists, including ISIS.

From 2009-2014, Leggett was the principal public affairs advisor to the Commander of Joint Special Operations Command. There he developed comprehensive, inter-agency strategic communications plans in support of military operations producing global interest and directly impacting U.S. Foreign Policy.

Earlier in his Army career, Leggett was the director of public affairs for Joint Special Operations Task Force, Afghanistan, and for the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. He also served in The Citadel Army ROTC detachment as a recruiting officer, an assistant professor of military science and an active-duty cadet company tactical officer.

Leggett earned a B.A. in Political Science from The Citadel, an M.A. in Public Relations/Corporate Communications from Georgetown University and an M.S. in National Security Strategy with a concentration in Emerging Technologies from the National War College. Additionally, he completed U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, as well as the Defense Information School’s Public Affairs Officers Course.

Leggett replaces Col. John Dorrian, ’90, who left the college in May after accepting a position with Lockheed Martin.

Col. William (Sonny) Leggett, USA, Citadel Class of 1996, to join The Citadel as Vice President of Marketing and Communications
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Congratulations to The Citadel’s 2021 veteran student graduates https://today.citadel.edu/congratulations-to-the-citadels-2021-veteran-student-graduates/ Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:00:42 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=24843 First, to all of The Citadel’s veteran students, thank you for your service to the United States of America. The college would also like to congratulate our veteran students who]]>

First, to all of The Citadel’s veteran students, thank you for your service to the United States of America.

The college would also like to congratulate our veteran students who graduated as part of The Citadel Class of 2021.

Veteran students at The Citadel (named one of the Top Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report, and other ranking sources), can study at the undergraduate and graduate levels, either on campus, or online depending on the degree.

The veteran student Class of 2021 graduates studied in the programs and settings that best fit their career goals and personal needs, including as cadet veterans, day veterans attending with the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, evening undergraduate veterans, graduate school veterans, or as active duty students.

The Citadel Class of 2021 veteran students are as follows (day program):

Ian Earl Adams
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Joseph Peter Arnold
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Katelyn Marie Arnold
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Wayland Ray Baker
Master of Business Administration

Curtis Michael Baynes
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Matthew Stephen Bonham
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Steven Buckwalter
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Corey Matthew Byrd
Master of Business Administration

Jennifer Lynne Byrd
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Stephanie Rose Clinevell
Master of Business Administration

Christian Edward Cochran
Master of Business Administration

Brittney Marie Deckard
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Joseph Raymond Demelis
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Nicholas Erickson
Master of Business Administration

Margaret Chandler Fowler
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Jose Daniel Garcia
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Luis Humberto Garcia
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Nathan Jamar Haggwood
Master of Business Administration

Alden Moinet Hathaway III
Master of Business Administration

Carlo Michael Hodil
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Timothy Douglas Jones
Master of Business Administration

Blake Cody Mallett-Fuina
Master of Science Project Management

Matthew Shawn Mullinax II
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Andrew Robert Nyser
Master of Science Project Management

Dennis Brian O’Connor
Master of Science Project Management

William Bradley Pond
Master of Business Administration

Matthew Edward Rushing
Master of Science Project Management

John Paul Semones
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Michael Sharpe
Master of Business Administration

Trevor Raymond Speelman
Master of Business Administration

Jonathan Meyer Workman
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Evening program graduates

Christian Edward Cochran
Master of Business Administration

Brittney Marie Deckard
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Joseph Raymond Demelis
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Nicholas Erickson
Master of Business Administration

Margaret Chandler Fowler
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Jose Daniel Garcia
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Luis Humberto Garcia
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Nathan Jamar Haggwood
Master of Business Administration

Alden Moinet Hathaway III
Master of Business Administration

Carlo Michael Hodil
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Timothy Douglas Jones
Master of Business Administration

Blake Cody Mallett-Fuina
Master of Science

Matthew Shawn Mullinax II
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Andrew Robert Nyser
Master of Science

Dennis Brian O’Connor
Master of Science

William Bradley Pond
Master of Business Administration

Matthew Edward Rushing
Master of Science

John Paul Semones
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Michael Sharpe
Master of Business Administration

Trevor Raymond Speelman
Master of Business Administration

Jonathan Meyer Workman
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Support for veterans studying with The Citadel

Veteran Student Success Center

The Citadel proudly offers veterans the opportunity to complete or advance their education in an environment that understands and appreciates military service. There is a special building on campus dedicated to veteran students for their use only. Read more here about the Veteran Student Success Center , how to apply to The Citadel and how to get assistance with your G.I. Bill funding.

The Citadel Student Veterans Association

The Citadel Student Veterans Association Chapter is a direct portal from the U.S. Armed Forces to the proud and respected traditions of the higher education our country is known for. It is run by the college’s veteran students with the help of The Citadel’s Veterans Services Coordinator.

“At The Citadel we find the likeminded brotherhood that drew us each to our respective branches of service.” 

The Citadel Student Veterans Association

For more information, please email citadelveterans@citadel.edu.

The Tommy Baker Veteran Fellowship Program

The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.) congratulating a veteran student who earned an award in January of 2020
The Baker Veteran Fellowship Awards Ceremony and Veteran Student Gold Star Certificate Presentations take place at Johnson Hagood Stadium at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

The Tommy Baker Veteran Fellowship is a unique and rewarding experience for veteran students intended to help meet the immediate set of needs of veteran students at The Citadel, while positioning the fellows for future success. With the support from Tommy Baker, (namesake for the Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business), selected Citadel veterans studying in all areas are given a significant advantage over students at other institutions.

The program includes 10 fellowships each academic year and includes a $5,000 stipend for tuition and educational expenses and an individualized internship experience overseen by The Citadel Career Services division, which offers academic credit as well as a customized educational experience. One component of the internship experience is a research project, where students complete an assessment of an organizational issue with recommended strategies and solutions.  To learn more, or to apply, please visit this webpage.

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Hicks: CAPT Geno Paluso made The Citadel, and the Corps of Cadets, better https://today.citadel.edu/hicks-capt-geno-paluso-made-the-citadel-and-the-corps-of-cadets-better/ Wed, 02 Jun 2021 10:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=24551 CAPT Geno Paluso speaking to Citadel cadets during a training session on Folly Beach in 2018CAPT Geno Paluso speaking to Citadel cadets during a training session on Folly Beach in 2018"This place has to constantly change and get better. That’s what I wanted to do, giving back what I learned in 25 years with the Navy."]]> CAPT Geno Paluso speaking to Citadel cadets during a training session on Folly Beach in 2018CAPT Geno Paluso speaking to Citadel cadets during a training session on Folly Beach in 2018

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Brian Hicks

Capt. Geno Paluso is touring The Citadel campus where he’s served as commandant of cadets since 2014, and he’s amazed by all the changes.

The new Swain Boating Center is a far cry from the shed the school had when he was a cadet. Capers Hall is about to be demolished and rebuilt — the first academic building replaced in more than 20 years.

And the new Bastin Hall is an architectural wonder that perfectly blends into the historic campus. The school is evolving, in part due to generous alumni.

But perhaps the most significant change at The Citadel in recent years has come from Paluso.

The retired Navy SEAL walked through Lesesne Gate seven years ago with a mission to steer his alma mater into modern times, cut down on hazing and focus on the military college’s core mission — creating leaders. When he retires as commandant next month, he can justifiably say mission accomplished.

“It’s a special place,” Paluso says. “But if you had told me in 1989 that I would come back and lead the Corps, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. This place has to constantly change and get better. That’s what I wanted to do, giving back what I learned in 25 years with the Navy.”

Paluso is an easygoing, friendly man, which means it’s easy to miss the fact that he’s also an elite soldier. The veteran SEAL led special forces operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places, earning a Bronze Star and a list of service awards as long as your arm.

He brought that experience to The Citadel, setting up a program to teach professional leadership to cadets. Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters, who’s also done much to eliminate hazing, says Paluso’s courses and training refined the college’s ability to create new leaders and improved cadet operations.

“Capt. Paluso’s innovations give our cadets additional tools to be strong, professional and effective leaders,” President Walters says.

Such change couldn’t have come at a better time. In his first year, Paluso surveyed cadets and was troubled by the volume of hazing reported. He changed that through training, leading by example… and explaining to the Corps that all those old stories, those traditions they felt obligated to uphold, no longer work in the military, or the world.

“One of the first things I tried to do was flip the switch on negative leadership,” he says. “It’s a tough system, and by definition some of it is negative. That’s supposed to make you a better person, but it never does. I knew it was wrong.”

That doesn’t mean the Corps has gone soft or bowed to political correctness. It remains a tough system and isn’t for everyone. Still, a vocal minority of alumni complained about Paluso’s methods. They protested when he changed haircuts to current military standards, and when he allowed cadets to wear camouflage uniforms to football games.

They even groused that cadets didn’t eat family style in the mess hall. Paluso jokes that some alumni wanted the Corps to do things the modern military doesn’t even do, just because … tradition.

Yes, El Cid alum historically resist change.

But in seven years, Paluso has made a difference. On his watch, The Citadel saw its first female regimental commander. When Sarah Zorn was selected to lead the Corps of Cadets in 2018, Paluso told The New York Times he got only one angry call. He diplomatically called the guy a Neanderthal.

“Then I educated him on how there’s no all-male military institutions, there’s no all-male corporations in America — I mean, come on. It’s 2018,” Paluso said at the time. “She’s the best qualified cadet. So get over it.”

Standing outside Mark Clark Hall last week, Paluso mentions running into a recent graduate. He’d gone from regimental commander to being accepted as an ensign in the Navy — the same path Paluso took. He’s full of similar success stories, and his pride is palpable.

This past month, people have lined up to show their appreciation of Paluso’s leadership. Gov. Henry McMaster awarded him the Order of the Palmetto, and he was asked to give the commencement address at graduation. He calls it the hardest, and easiest, speech he ever had to give.

“All you have to do is look at the class of 2021,” Paluso told me. “To watch them step up and lead under these circumstances, in a pandemic. These classes just keep getting better, and I’m so proud of them.”

Paluso explained to graduates that they’ll have other knob years — in the armed forces, in their jobs, even becoming spouses and parents — but they’ll be better prepared for it because of their experience at The Citadel.

And, honestly, they’ll be better prepared because of Geno Paluso.

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