Commander Bill Lind is a 1991 graduate of The Citadel and served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years before retiring in 2011. Learn more about Lind and his service to The Citadel.
Number of years in service? Earned a commission in 1991 via The Citadel Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Retired in 2011.
Graduation year and major? Corps of Cadets Class of 1991, International Relations and Military Affairs.
Why did you join the military? It was a lifelong ambition of mine to be a Naval aviator, and I had a desire to serve something larger than myself. The Navy was further alluring (compared to the other armed services), as it promised travel and adventure, which seemed—to a teenager living in the 1980s—the only service regularly deployed away from home. It was the “Join The Navy, See the World” sort of mindset.
What was the most defining moment during your service? I completed combat deployments to Bosnia and Iraq in the 1990s; however, I was in the Middle East five months into my third deployment in 2001 on September 11. My carrier air wing was the first large-scale U.S. aviation unit in combat over Afghanistan in early October 2001. While I would have given anything for 9/11 to not have occurred, it was extremely gratifying to be part of America’s first response.
What does being a veteran mean you? While on my fifth deployment to Iraq in 2005, a serious illness forced me to be medically evacuated off my carrier through Iraq, Germany and later naval hospitals in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan were at their peak. I spent several months in these hospitals on the same wards with grievously wounded men and women. I found their courage, toughness, and often their humor in the face of life-altering injuries simultaneously humbling and uplifting. I am honored to share the title veteran with these folks as well as with the amazing sailors, airmen, soldiers and Marines I saw achieve incredible things throughout my career.
Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? After retirement, I had several interesting and satisfying roles in the defense and consulting industries. Coming to The Citadel is a great chance to serve again, plus it’s exciting to live in Charleston 25 years after my time as a cadet.
What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life?Integrity. You can fool some of the people working for you, or fool the people you work for some of the time, but if you’re not shooting straight, you will be found out and rendered ineffective. I also found after my Navy career the military truly does organize and manage well. We don’t have a monopoly on doing things right, but compared to many industries, we are far ahead in training leaders and managers. Nowhere are young people given the responsibility for lives and property at such a young age as they are in the military. The work ethic, organizational skills and honesty of most military veterans make them extremely well suited for just about anything. While they may or may not have a specific technical skill a company requires, they often possess the leadership and management talents any employer would desire.