Oldest regimental commander at 102 to meet the youngest at homecoming
Photo by Courtney Vinopal
Nov 9-10 includes two homecoming parades, reunions, eagle sculpture dedication and game
The pageantry and celebrations during The Citadel Homecoming 2018 will include a meeting between the oldest living Regimental Commander of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets who is 102, and the youngest, who is 21. Ambassador Marion “Joe” Smoak, will make his way from Washington D.C. to visit campus during what would be his 80th reunion since graduating. Just before the Homecoming Review Parade, Smoak, and Cadet Col. Sarah Zorn will meet to shake hands before the Corps.
After graduating from The Citadel with an English degree, and then from the University of South Carolina School of Law, Smoak served in the U.S. Army as an officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1961. During those years, he was a Judge Advocate Officer in both the Pacific and European theaters during World War II. That was followed by tours with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions during which Smoak accumulated 58 jumps earning master parachutist status.
Smoak then entered politics in South Carolina helping organize the state’s Republican Party working his way onto the national stage. From 1969-1974, he was Chief of Protocol for President Richard Nixon, retiring from the Department of State in 1974 with the grade of Ambassador. He later served as part of Ronald Regan’s campaign and transition team.
“We are truly honored that Ambassador Smoak can join us at The Citadel Homecoming 2018 as a representative of the Class of 1938,” said Thomas McAlister, interim executive director for The Citadel Alumni Association. “His zest is inspiring to all of us and we wish him the best at his 80th reunion.”
Smoak, a native of Aiken, South Carolina, has homes in Washington and Palm Beach, Florida and “enjoys a daily martini” according to his family, and the Washingtonian.
The parade is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 and is open to the public.
The Citadel’s new guardian to be dedicated
The original eagle often referred to as the college’s guardian sat atop Bond Hall as a sentinel overlooking campus for more than 86 years until it was removed due to deterioration caused by the elements related to a campus on the marsh.
The eagle was an original part of Bond Hall’s design, included in this 1930 blueprint for the building. That concrete and wire eagle was repaired repeatedly over the years until it was determined in 2012 that it was no longer salvageable.
The Class of 1983 raised $200,000 to have a new one made and to endow the maintenance of the new eagle. The class commissioned sculptor Scott Penegar to create the new eagle, which he developed as a model. It was then sent to a foundry for scanning and casting in bronze.
The 4 ft. by 6 ft. bronze eagle was finally hoisted into place Oct. 24. The steel flagpole situation directly behind the eagle had also deteriorated and needed replacing. The Class of 2006 raised the funds for a new aluminum pole.
The new Bond Hall Eagle and flagpole will be dedicated during a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Homecoming parades and Bulldogs vs. Samford
Homecoming weekend kicks off Friday, Nov. 9 with an alumni memorial service, academic open houses and a memorial parade at 5:10 p.m. On Saturday, barracks are open for visitors from 8:30 – 10 a.m. and the nationally renowned Summerall Guards precision drill troupe performs at 8:50 on Summerall Field. Kelly is the National Citadel Volunteer Recruiters Chairman.
The Citadel Alumnus of the Year, Lt. Col. Doug Kelley, U.S. Army (Ret.), a member of the Class of 1982, will be honored during the 11 a.m. parade.
Kickoff time for The Citadel Bulldogs vs. the Samford Bulldogs is at 2 p.m.
The full homecoming schedule is here.