Alumni – The Citadel Today Tue, 30 Jun 2020 19:06:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alumni – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Passing the Trident: 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Change of Command from Col. Robert Brodie to Col. Michael Nakonieczny Fri, 03 Jul 2020 10:00:15 +0000 Col. Robert Brodie is a member of The Citadel Class of 1994 and the departing commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.]]>

Photo: Col. Robert Brodie, right, a member of The Citadel Class of 1994 and the departing commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Col. Michael Nakonieczny, the oncoming commanding officer of the 31st MEU stand in front of the U.S. and unit colors at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, June 25, 2020.

As seen on Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, by Capt. George McArthur

The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit passage of command from Col. Robert Brodie to Col. Michael Nakonieczny took place at a private event due to COVID-19 force health protection measures, here, June 25. Brodie, a career F/A-18 Hornet Naval Aviator, is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and attended The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Nakonieczny, a career Light Armored Reconnaissance Officer is from Buena Park, California, and attended the University of California at Davis.

Over Brodie’s two years in command of the 31st MEU, the unit completed four full unit-deployment cycles including training, exercises, and real-world operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The 31st MEU continuously operated with combined forces throughout Japan, in the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of the Philippines, Australia, and other allied nations often with the Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11 aboard ships of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS America (LHA 6) Amphibious Ready Groups. Additionally, the 31st MEU trained as far east as Hawaii, and provided Defense Support of Civil Authorities in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Rota and Tinian in the wake of Typhoons Mangkhut and Yutu, September through November 2018.

Before he passed responsibility of command, Brodie thanked all members of the unit and reflected on his experiences at the only continuously forward-deployed MEU in the Marine Corps.

“We have done a lot of innovative things, I think it has prepared this MEU to respond to crises whether high-end or helping people out,” said Brodie. “I have watched and been inspired by our young Marines – I have seen the best that they have to offer. They have absolute pride, spirit, dignity, and what I have seen out of them and their leadership is overwhelming in accomplishments and achievements. That is where I’m most proud: to be part of an organization which I believe is based in respect and dignity, and inspiring others to be great. I personally believe that the best weapon system that the Marine Corps has is not a rifle, not a tank or airplane, but a United States Marine. Every one of those Marines is a lethal weapon ready to deploy and stand up at a moment’s notice. I could not be happier to turn this great organization to such a great man and his family, to Col. Nakonieczny.”

At the conclusion of the change of command, Nakonieczny expressed appreciation to all Marines that he has worked with throughout his career, while welcoming the challenges to come.

“To the Marines of the 31st MEU, I have watched you with great enthusiasm and I am so eager to join your team,” said Nakonieczny. “Colonel Brodie, I have watched you take it to the next level. I vow to you that I will do my best to exploit the initiative that you have set for this MEU, and I will love these Marines like my family. To those of you in attendance, it is my honor to be here today, and to the team that I am joining, I am so excited and I cannot wait to earn my spot on your team; I will. Semper Fidelis.”

Former Citadel students look to make 3D printing accessible Fri, 26 Jun 2020 10:00:14 +0000 Ethan Warner and Benjamin Scott founded Evolve 3D to streamline 3D printing and make an otherwise expensive printer more affordable and accessible.]]>

Photo: Ethan Warner and Benjamin Scott, who founded Evolve 3D, were biology majors at The Citadel who participated in the Baker Business Bowl VI

As seen in The Index-Journal and Stars & Stripes, by Jonathan Limehouse

Ethan Warner and Benjamin Scott founded Evolve 3D to streamline 3D printing and make an otherwise expensive printer more affordable and accessible.

“A lot of people right now don’t think of the 3D printer as something they can have in their home,” Warner said. “They see it as something very complicated, but we can simplify the process and bring it into the home.”

Warner, 22, and Scott, 21, were biology majors at The Citadel, and they bonded over the amount of fun they weren’t having in one of their biology classes together. Warner did not anticipate even working with 3D printers, while Scott’s uncle’s interest in 3D printing influenced him to research more about it.

“The ability to make anything with a 3D printer really amazed me,” he said.

It took Scott a while to buy a 3D printer because one can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $100,000, but he managed to get one for his 21st birthday. After a while, he decided to tinker and ultimately upgrade it because he wanted to print using different types of filaments, which are slender threadlike materials that 3D printers use to create three-dimensional objects. Filaments have separate properties that vary in abrasiveness, so 3D printers use different nozzles to print various types of filaments.

“I wanted a system where I could switch out between nozzles,” he said. “I also wanted a system where if wanted to put a laser on the 3D printer then I could, so I could do laser engraving too.”

Scott’s idea began with him duct taping a laser to the extruder head on the printer, and it would move in an XYZ direction. Since he lived with college friends last summer who smoked JUULs, he decided to laser engrave their pods for them.

“They thought it was awesome until the duct tape holding the laser failed and it started shooting around the room,” he said.

The duct tape failing might have been for the best because it led to him trying to create a system, which turned out to be a 3D printer adapter that allows him to switch between nozzles and laser engraving. The universal adapter is currently patent-pending, and it will let the 3D printer print in virtually any type of material, and they can also adjust the resolution of the print by adjusting the diameter of the extruding nozzle. When Scott returned to college after the summer, a friend of his suggested he start a company, and that’s how Evolve 3D began.

From there, Warner joined Scott and the two entered the Baker Business Bowl at The Citadel and were the youngest people ever to be accepted into the Harbor Accelerator program in Charleston. Scott credits their time in the accelerator program — they finished in third place — with teaching them the ins and outs of business and how to develop a concept and make it into something real.

“The product has kind of just evolved more and more until we are where we are today,” he said.

Their concept is now real and working, and the team’s end goal is to bring the 3D printing manufacturing process into the home. Scott said the U.S. sees a lot of reliance in China to import 3D printing parts, and it’s not necessarily because they are good parts, but it’s because they are cheap.

“I believe if you’re able to make these parts yourself then that would lessen the reliance on China,” he said. “Right now, you can print soft plastics, but the issue is getting it to the level where you’re printing abrasive plastics.”

“Right now if you wanted to print in every single type of filament then that’s going to be like 10 different printers. Instead, it would make a lot more sense if you could have one machine that can print in any material and allows you to make anything from your desktop from your house. That’s the vision.”

To make their vision a reality, Scott moved in with Warner’s family in Greenwood so they could work on their company together. Scott said it’s been cool living with Warners, and he even thinks they treat him like he’s their favorite child. Warner’s father got the two a workspace at Emerald Ink and Stitches after he spoke with the owner, Steven Riley. They initially were going to move into a little house and “rough it,” but Riley offered his old office space in the back of the shop to them.

To expand on their vision, the two hope to start a YouTube channel that will consist of tutorials and cool experiments that they believe will inspire others to get into 3D printing.

“We’re passionate about 3D printing and we want to share that passion with everyone else,” Scott said. “Hopefully we will capture the imagination of the next, or current generations, and encourage them to get into the awesome world of 3D printing.”

A select group of people that the two hope to interest are soon to be Citadel graduates because they want to do all their manufacturing in house. Scott said the beauty of being a 3D printing company is that they can print the majority of their 3D printers. All these components are designed and printed in house by them. They manufacture their own parts, assemble their own machines and test their own machines.

“Bringing that manufacturing system would probably bring a lot of jobs as we grow, so it will help Greenwood’s economy in the long run,” Warner said.

Even though they will be able to manufacture their own printers, Scott said they will need builders, customer support operators, inventors and engineers to function as a full-fledged company.

The two put in for the patent for the universal adapter two months ago, but in the meantime, they will continue to work on their printers with the anticipation of a soft launch on Sept. 1. The printer will cost about $2,750, and they hope to sell them on their website and through word of mouth.

“The hope is that we’re going to have such an awesome 3D printer that people are going to be recommending it to other people,” Scott said.

The two were also involved with MUSC and The Citadel when they printed 3D masks for health care professionals. Scott thought the whole experience highlighted a need for easily accessible 3D printing, noting that it could be lifesaving. With Evolve 3D’s printer, he said someone could make a 3D mask with the correct materials and have the best possible mask at their fingertips.

“It could potentially save your life, your kid’s life and your family’s life,” he said.

Warner thinks it is ironic how they got into 3D printing, but he said it’s a passion that they can both get behind.

“Ben and I feel the same way about this,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like work because we’re coming in, just enjoying ourselves and being productive by working on our machines. It doesn’t feel like a job, it feels more like a hobby that we’re building into an empire.”

Remembering Myra Thompson, one of the Emanuel 9 and a double Citadel alumna Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:23:15 +0000 In 2015, The Citadel Graduate College lost a double alumna who was dedicated to giving back and educatinng others -- Rev. Myra Thompson.]]>

On June 17, 2015, Charleston changed forever.

The tragedy of the Emanuel 9 massacre affected all of the Lowcountry, including The Citadel family. In addition to losing nine irreplaceable members of the community, The Citadel Graduate College lost a double alumna who was dedicated to giving back, Rev. Myra Thompson.

Thompson was leading the Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME for the first time, after being re-licensed to preach just hours before the tragedy.

“She was a wonderful mother and was very nurturing. She loved to learn. She would get so excited about learning new things. She was supportive of me and, at an early age, she recognized my talents and enrolled me in after school computer classes and encouraged me to learn everything I could. I did not realize it then, but now I see that my mom was way ahead of her time and somehow knew technology was going to be a major aspect in the world.”

Denise Quarles, daughter of Myra Thompson

During the 1980s and 90s, Thompson was a teacher at Brentwood Middle School — now called Meeting Street Elementary School at Brentwood, in North Charleston.

Her love of learning– and of teaching others — led Thompson to earn her Master of Education in Reading Education in 1994 through The Citadel Graduate College.

“I have wonderful memories of Myra Singleton (Thompson) and will always remember her as a very special graduate student,” said Dan T. Ouzts, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the Zucker Family School of Education. “I was her professor and advisor while she was pursuing the Master of Education in Reading and taught her several reading education courses. Myra was teaching at Brentwood Middle School and I often visited her classes during her internship. She was a very special teacher.”

Myra Thompson receiving her Master of Education in Reading degree (Courtesy: Denise Quarles)

One Master degree wasn’t enough for Thompson, however. In order to learn more and to be an even better educator, she returned a few years later to earn her Master of Education in Counselor Education in 1999.

“The Zucker Family School of Education is honored to have Myra Thompson as an alumna of our Reading Education and Counselor Education graduate programs,” said Renée Jefferson, Ph.D., interim dean of the Zucker Family School of Education. “Myra Thompson’s legacy as an English teacher and school counselor is one of commitment in educating and supporting all students. Her professional career epitomized the goals we have for our graduates, dedication to service as a principled educational leader.”

Thompson’s Citadel connections didn’t end with her degrees, however. One of her nephews, Anthony Sands, is currently a rising senior in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.

At the time of her passing, Thompson left behind three children, 11 brothers, three sisters, a large extended family, and her loving husband — Rev. Anthony Thompson — who wrote “Called to Forgive: The Charleston Church Shooting, a Victim’s Husband, and the Path to Healing and Peace” in 2019.

Thompson’s passion for education didn’t stop in school or Bible study — it was a part of who she was, and who she raised her children to be.

“My mother grew up in the Civil Rights era and always took time to educate me on what African Americans had to endure — as far as not being treated equally and not having the same opportunities,” continued Quarles. “I still have books that she bought me as a child to teach me about what our ancestors had to endure. She used every opportunity she could to make sure I knew, even though things weren’t perfect, my generation was afforded opportunities hers did not have and that there was more work to be done. If she was still alive, I’m sure she would be dedicating her time working with organizations to help evoke change for how African Americans are treated.”

Hartsville native, Citadel graduate assumes command of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Wed, 10 Jun 2020 19:05:44 +0000 After a change of command ceremony, Brig. Gen. David L. Odom, Citadel Class of 1991, is now the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade's commanding general.]]>

Photo: Sergeant Maj. Don J. Hernandez, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Sergeant Major, passes the colors from Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Neary, outgoing commanding general, to Brig. Gen. David L. Odom, incoming commanding general, during the 2nd MEB change of command ceremony on Camp Legeune, N.C., June 5.

As seen in SC Now, by 1st Lt. Angelico Sposato, U.S. Marine Corps

Major Gen. Stephen M. Neary relinquished command of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade to Brig. Gen. David L. Odom, a Hartsville native and 1991 graduate of The Citadel, during a change of command ceremony Friday at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Lt. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault, commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, opened the ceremony by speaking about the important role the MEB has played in the grand scheme of the Marine Expeditionary Force’s mission.

Beaudreault congratulated Neary on his successful tenure as commanding general of 2nd MEB and attributed to Neary and his staff the success of missions across the globe such as Baltic Operations, Trident Jupiter, Maritime Prepositioning Force Exercise and Atlantic Response.

Major Gen. Stephen M. Neary, outgoing 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade commanding general, addresses Brig. Gen. David L. Odom, incoming 2nd MEB commanding general, during a change of command ceremony

“There have been three things that have been important to the MEF, whether it was command and control, enhancing relationships with allies and partners, and contributing to naval integration. The MEB has been the lead of this formation and making it all come together,” Beaudreault said.

Neary said farewell to his Marines and sailors, reflecting on his two-year tenure as commanding general. He referred back to his 45-day assessment written when he assumed command of 2nd MEB.

“The quality and diligence of the Marines and sailors assigned to 2nd MEB continue to impress me,” Neary said. “They are a great team, and I am honored to be with them. We stand ready to provide a ready MEB command element prepared for crisis and contingency.”

Odom welcomed guests and fellow general officers and sergeants major before his opening remarks as commanding general.

Odom’s prior assignment was as the commanding general of Task Force Southwest during Operation Resolute Support in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. A career infantryman, he has held command at all levels, including 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment during Operation Enduring Freedom, 4th Marine Regiment in Okinawa, Japan, and assistant commander of 2nd Marine Division.

‘You feel like you can’t breathe’: Former Citadel athletes on being black in America Mon, 08 Jun 2020 15:01:03 +0000 The Citadel alumni interviewed range in age from 39 to 51, and their experiences stretch from the near tragic to the absurd. ]]>

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Jeff Hartsell

His feet dangling off the floor, Lamar Sales could feel the officer’s watch digging into his windpipe.

Sales, then 15 and a sophomore at Fort Dorchester High School, was a promising baseball and football player who had just earned his Eagle Scout Award the week before. He was attending a Sunday evening event at a North Charleston teen club when a ruckus broke out.

Sales wasn’t involved, but all of a sudden he found himself in a choke hold applied by a law enforcement officer.

“He’s choking me, and he gets his watch underneath my trachea,” Sales recalled. “Before, he was choking me. Now, he’s cut off my circulation, and my body goes limp. I couldn’t breathe. I start to fade, and I can see people. I go from seeing black to color, and I’m literally fading.

“And then he lets me go and tries to push me down the stairs, and runs back in the place.”

The moment, Sales said, was “the end of my Peter Pan childhood.”

“He controlled me,” said Sales, who went on to play football at and graduate from The Citadel. “My essence was escaping me at the hands of someone else. That moment was when I became a man and knew that people hurt other people.

“After that, I would go to Northwoods Mall and see people walk to the other side of where I was walking. I’d never noticed that before. Walking into Piggly Wiggly, I’d see people lock their car door when I went by. I’d see women clutch their purses when I was near. I never noticed that before because my innocence as a child never let me see that I could be a threat.”

Former Citadel quarterback Alvin “Scooter” Johnson was just 4 years old when his innocence was ended. Young Scooter had two white friends and a black friend that he usually played with, but one day found himself playing alone on the playground in front of his family’s apartment.

He approached a little white girl to see if she wanted to play. The girl’s father was standing nearby.

“Tell him,” the father told the daughter. She said, “I can’t play with you because you are black, and white people and black people aren’t supposed to play together because black people aren’t good people.”

Four-year-old Scooter shrugged and went back to playing with his red fire truck. But looking back, Johnson, now 39, says that incident “set the narrative for my life and introduced me to race.”

“I just remember my mom telling me, ‘Not everyone in the world is nice.’ And that set the stage for me, because now my innocence is gone and I’m fully aware that I’m different, that some people think I’m inferior due to my race.”

And a memory that’s stuck with Johnson: The girl’s father, seated on his porch with a shotgun in his lap, making sure the children did not play together.

In the aftermath of the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis and the nationwide protests that followed, The Post and Courier asked four former Citadel athletes to talk about their experiences, emotions and hopes as young black men growing up in America.

They range in age from 39 to 51, and their experiences stretch from the near tragic — Johnson had guns pulled on him and his friends during traffic stops, then drove away with no ticket issued — to the absurd. Renowned opera singer Morris Robinson, a former Citadel lineman, had just stepped off the stage in a starring role when a white woman asked him if he was the bus driver.

Despite all their successes — Nick Johnson is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, Alvin Johnson a civil engineer, Sales a director at USAA — they’ve had to deal with issues of race all their lives.

Here’s what that has meant for them.

‘You have to adapt’

Sales played linebacker at The Citadel and graduated in 2003. Motivated by 9/11, he joined the Air Force and also served in the Army, earning two Bronze Stars over a 10-year military career, and now lives in San Antonio with his wife.

“9/11 was my junior year, and I took it hard. I felt my country was attacked, so I commissioned in the Air Force, and I was stationed in Texas. My lieutenant school was in Ohio, and on that drive from Texas to Ohio, I got stopped (by police) seven times. After a while, it became routine and I figured they were calling ahead. I actually put my blue hat with my lieutenant bar on the dash so they could see it, and left my driver’s license on my console so I wouldn’t have to reach into the console to get it.

“After I got out of the comfort zone of the football field, of the baseball field, of my coaches and my Citadel group, I knew I had to determine very quickly what kind of person I was dealing with. Most of the time in my professional life, there is not another African American male with me. And that’s one of the hardest things. You look to your left and your right as a grown professional, you don’t see many of us. And you have to adapt. Every single day is a new day that you have to prove yourself.

Former Citadel football player Lamar Sales earned two Bronze Stars during his Air Force and Army careers. Provided photo

“I was choked when I was young, and I couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t that no one could hear my voice or they couldn’t see me. I couldn’t breathe, the essential thing to be alive. I have been in the military, and I’ve seen things happen. But to see someone’s life taken from them like George Floyd’s was, it’s hard. I go back to when I was 15 and my feet were dangling. It was hard to watch.

“I plan to have a family, and I do have hope. Without hope, there is nothing. There are more good people than there are bad, so I do have hope.”

‘Even in the opera house’

Morris Robinson was an All-American lineman at The Citadel, where he was known as “The Singing Knob” and graduated in 1991. Now 51, he’s a world-renowned opera singer and lives in Atlanta.

“There was a stretch between the years 2001 and 2009, I was pulled over by the police 11 times. I never got one ticket. It was always, ‘What are you doing in this neighborhood?’ or ‘That’s a really nice car’ or ‘You look suspicious’ or ‘What do you do for a living?’ Once I got pulled over with my dad, my son and my two nephews in the car. My son said, ‘Dad, were you breaking the law?’ And I said, ‘No son, I’m just black.’

“You eventually recognize that no matter how much you accomplish, how much you play the game by the rules and are a law-abiding citizen, no matter how many people look up to you, by virtue of the color of my skin, I’m looked at in a certain way by certain people.

“Will Smith said it best: Racism in this country isn’t getting worse, it’s just getting filmed. I feel like, finally, the same thing we’ve been preaching for years and years, people are actually seeing it now. I’ve been telling people what it’s like to walk around the earth with a perpetual paranoia because you know someone will judge you for no other reason than I have pigment in my skin. I live that every day; I live it even in the opera house.”

Commencement speaker Morris Robinson, who played football at The Citadel, talks to graduates during the commencement ceremony in McAlister Field House in 2017.

“We’ve seen some bad stuff. We’ve seen Walter Scott get shot in the back, we’ve seen Dylann Roof go into a church and kill nine people. But this one was a slow, methodical murder of George Floyd that we witnessed. Is this a tipping point? I think the difference now is, we are calling people out. Big corporations are speaking out and saying enough is enough, and Colin Kaepernick tried a few years ago and people gave him crap because he took a knee.”

‘I’ve cried’  

Nick Johnson, 41, played tight end at The Citadel and graduated in 2001. He’s a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, the father of three sons and a daughter, and lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

“Being from Georgia, I remember that every time I saw a Confederate flag, maybe on a car or a truck, it would kind of take my breath away. I’d kind of get into a panic, because to me it represented a kind of racism.

Citadel graduate Nick Johnson is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. (Photo provided)

“At The Citadel, I can remember guys like Maurice Drayton and Dary Myricks and Lorenzo Jackson pulling me aside and telling me, ‘Never let them marginalize you. Never let them feel like you are less of a human being because of your skin color.’ And those words stuck with me. 

“One of my sons is my size, and I call him the gentle giant. But I tell my kids, people will look at you different until you open your mouth and talk to them, and then you can break down barriers.

“I’ve cried at least three times since the George Floyd incident occurred. That really hurt to the core. But when I look at my kids, I can’t stop. I can’t give up hope, because then they won’t have a bright future. I’ve always been a minority in the school I went to, in my job, and sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe yourself.”

‘I must be wrong’

Scooter Johnson played receiver and quarterback at The Citadel, graduating in 2003. Now 39, he’s been married for eight years and has two daughters, and he works as a civil engineer in Charleston. As a Citadel cadet, he was twice in cars that got pulled over by police, the first time as a passenger and the second as a driver.

“The first time, the K-9 unit pulled up. I told my friend, ‘Don’t make eye contact with the dog.’ But he looked at the dog, and it jumped and barked at him, and that’s when all hell broke loose. There were guns drawn, and ‘Put your hands out of the car.’ They put us against the back of the car and asked permission to search the vehicle. I asked the officer, ‘Sir, is all this warranted for a failure to signal a lane change?’ And he said, ‘Do you have a problem with blue lights?’ And when he said it, he put his hand on his gun. So I decided I better be quiet. And we got no warning ticket, no citation, nothing.

Alvin “Scooter” Johnson played quarterback and receiver at The Citadel. (Provided photo)

“The second incident, I was driving with three of my teammates in the car. We pull over, and I was asked to get out of my car, and again I’m walking backwards with my hands in the air. Something must have happened in the back of the car, and the second officer pulls his gun out and is like, ’Put your hands in your lap!” And I’m standing there petrified. And that ended the same way as the first, no ticket, no warning, no nothing.

“That was during the summer, when we had voluntary workouts. We went into the locker room, and we wouldn’t even talk about it. I guess this is what our fathers and parents were preparing us for. And we didn’t want to introduce any potential angst or divisiveness into the locker room. We were all brothers who hung out together and bled together and went to battle together, but we never really talked about it.

“I remember my dad would say, ‘Put The Citadel sticker on the back of your car,’ and I’d try to figure out why. But it was, anything that could give you a chance, that could separate you from the stereotype and give you a chance of surviving, you need to do. The frustration of it was, we were never told what we did wrong. So you are left with, ‘I must be wrong.’

“I’m kind of hoping that (George Floyd) is something that my grandchildren will one day want to talk to me about, about the year 2020. Not because of COVID-19, but because this is the event that started making real change about how systemic racism affects a group of people in this country.”

Words of encouragement from Rev. Karen Lewis Crawford, a Citadel alumna minister Tue, 02 Jun 2020 19:00:13 +0000 Rev. Karen Lewis Crawford, CGC Class of 2004, became the first African American woman ordained in the South Carolina Wesleyan Church last fall.]]>

Note: Rev. Karen Lewis Crawford, The Citadel Graduate College Class of 2004, became the first African American woman ordained in the South Carolina Wesleyan Church last fall.

This past week has been unlike any I have ever witnessed in American history. 

I witnessed the death of an African American brother whose last words were “I can’t breathe.” 

Breathing is one of those abilities that God has given to us that we have taken for granted—at times. It is beautiful to breathe fresh air or the smell of a beautiful gardenia. If we think about it for a minute, breathing is a fundamental right. 

As I watched the evening news, I saw people respond through protest that a man lost his life because his right to breathe was taken from him. I also watched my husband be dismayed, hurt, and angered by the sight of George Floyd’s death.

My husband, who now feels that something so basic, God-given, could be taken away from him because he is black. I felt a spiritual heaviness in my heart as I watched my husband grieve for a man he didn’t know, and I, as a wife and pastor, grieved for both men—the one who is alive and the one who is dead.

I told a friend, if the heaviness that I felt this week is anything like how Jesus felt on the cross, then I understand the burden of sin that He carried as He was hung high. Just as Jesus had died, he also rose. The resurrection and ascension of Christ are our reminders that there is hope. 

We may not see hope in the burning rubble of a convenient store, but there is still hope. We may not see hope in angry protests, but there is hope. We may not see hope in death, but there is. In Acts 1:9-10, as Jesus ascended into heaven, this is what occurred: “They (apostles) were looking intently up into the sky as he was going.” We must continue to look up to Christ. He is our glorious example of hope, love, and peace in these troubling times.

Rev. Karen Lewis Crawford, M.A.Ed., Citadel Graduate College Class of 2004

Karen Crawford at her ordination with Rev. Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church
The cybersecurity effects of coronavirus Sun, 31 May 2020 15:31:59 +0000 Lieutenant Derek Bernsen, a member of The Citadel Class of 2013, is a Naval officer with an expertise in cyberspace operations.]]>

Note: Lieutenant Derek Bernsen, a member of The Citadel Class of 2013, is a Naval officer with an expertise in cyberspace operations. He currently leads capability research & development and operations for multiple Naval and Joint units. He and his team’s work are actively changing the face of cyber warfare.

Bernsen has served previous tours at various commands and task forces leading each in the development of capabilities and cyberspace operations. He has been selected for elite programs and units and has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

As seen in the New Atlanticist, by Derek Bernsen

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrown the average American’s way of life into chaos: “Flattening the curve” has led to panic buying, mandatory work from home policies, and other issues leaving both individuals and businesses vulnerable. In the cybersecurity space specifically, this pandemic has both aggravated old issues plaguing the United States, as well as surfacing some new ones.

For one, the long-standing cyber insecurity of the healthcare industry puts patient safety at risk, now more than ever. A place where Internet-of-Things devices and Windows XP legacy systems live side by side, the increased strain and attention on hospitals has left healthcare organizations vulnerable to internet scams and cyberattacks. Interpol released a warning that cyber criminals are targeting hospitals with ransomware, and a study done by RiskIQ suggested that small-to-medium sized providers are more likely to be targeted. With hospitals nationwide struggling to keep up with new cases, a disruptive cyberattack could leave hospitals unable to access patient records or key services. As organizations race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, a disruption may even cause key delays similar to the worldwide NotPetya campaign, which disrupted vaccine production at a US pharmaceutical company in 2017. 

In addition, the panic caused by this crisis has created a ripe environment for rumors and disinformation. On the internet, especially when information is lacking, rumors can become viral and take root before reputable sources can spread genuine information. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created an entire portal dedicated to tracking and countering rumors, most of these having already reached a large portion of the US population, and been taken advantage of by cyber criminals seeking to monetize COVID-19 related scams. In addition, the lack of credible information or source promotion has allowed conspiracy theories to permeate celebrity twitter accounts and even reputable news sources (some of which have since taken the stories down). These conspiracy theories, ranging from bioweaponry labs and 5G connectivity, to Bill Gates and bat soup, have resulted in real world actions by panic-stricken individuals. Some of which are relatively benign, like mass-purchasing toilet paper. Others, like burning down UK 5G cell towers, are far more dangerous.

The crisis has also brought along new privacy issues. By attempting to do work while sheltering-in-place, US companies and individuals are handing over Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other sensitive information to organizations that do not have a good track record with privacy. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Department of Health and Human Services to waive certain HIPAA restrictions. This allows doctors to use technologies like Zoom or Skype to talk to patients remotely. While this enables doctors to help more patients without repercussion, conversations over video conferencing technologies are not necessarily private. Zoom-bombing, the act of an unwanted guest harassing a zoom conference call that is not password protected, has impacted multiple sensitive calls, including a US House Oversight Committee meeting in April. Uninvited guests on conference calls can result in unwanted leaks of sensitive information, be it related to US government actions, or personal health data. It is notable, however, that most US solutions to either continue work during the pandemic or combat COVID-19’s spread have emerged from the private sector. Many government-originated initiatives to do so in other countries have resulted in flagrant violations of personal privacy

Underpinning all of this is a fundamental issue within the cybersecurity field––the availability of the internet itself. During a crisis that requires physical isolation, the internet is the primary method through which Americans go to work, continue their education, or communicate with others. This effectively keeps businesses and academic institutions afloat while providing the fundamental human need of social contact. However, 42 million Americans (approximately 12.7% of the population) do not have access to high speed internet, and the US networks are seeing a massive and sustained surge of internet traffic from shelter-in-place policies. This is exacerbated as more businesses and institutions are moving to online video conferencing platforms, which require high levels of upload speeds to function effectively. Surges in traffic and poor connectivity will likely cause internet outages and delays at the detriment of the US economy, as American workers and students will be unable to work productively or at all. To make matters worse, additional infrastructure loads may cause internet service providers (ISPs) to take advantage of the lack of US net neutrality regulation. This would allow the ISPs to prioritize traffic from certain services over others, effectively allowing them to choose what parts of the US economy can function. 

Since COVID-19 began to spread within the United States in January of this year, the United States has been concentrating its efforts on mitigating the crisis at both a state and federal level. However, all efforts at containing the growing cybersecurity problems have been surface level and reactive at best. Instead of having FEMA create a rumor debunking portal for rumors that have already gotten out of hand, the government should actively engage with the public on social media and partner with social media firms already working to promote factual content on their platforms to drown out the noise. Instead of relying on private sector streaming services lowering their streaming quality or hoping that ISPs will not use the lack of net neutrality laws in their favor, reinstituting net neutrality during the crisis and issuing contracts for new internet infrastructure construction would be far more beneficial for Americans struggling to work remotely. Proactively disseminating a “best practice” list for video conferencing security among government employees and healthcare professionals, if not publicly, would help prevent Zoom bombing. Finally, updating data backup methods in hospitals within high-risk cities would ensure that data does not get lost during an attack, rather than hoping that an attack will not occur. With each crisis comes new risks—if the difference between proactive solutions and reactive stop-gaps could prevent panic, keep the economy running, ensure American privacy and save lives, proactive action is a no-brainer. 

At 91, Citadel’s first woman graduate celebrates 50th commencement anniversary Fri, 29 May 2020 14:45:42 +0000 Maxine Hudson speaking on phone and via zoom about being the first woman graduate at the citadel in 1970Maxine Hudson speaking on phone and via zoom about being the first woman graduate at the citadel in 1970The first woman to graduate from The Citadel walked the stage to accept her diploma for a master’s degree, 50 years ago, on May 29, 1970.]]> Maxine Hudson speaking on phone and via zoom about being the first woman graduate at the citadel in 1970Maxine Hudson speaking on phone and via zoom about being the first woman graduate at the citadel in 1970

Maxine Hudson among the first nine to graduate from The Citadel Graduate College in 1970

The first woman to graduate from The Citadel walked the stage to accept her diploma for a master’s degree, 50 years ago, on May 30, 1970.

At commencement they didn’t know what to do with this bunch of women. We were sort of like aliens.

Maxine Hudson, Citadel Graduate College Class of 1970, first woman to graduate from The Citadel

Maxine Hudson was with eight others who earned Master of Art in Teaching degrees in the first graduating class of what is now The Citadel Graduate College. Hudson was the “first” because she completed her course work in December 1969, and then participated with the others in the May commencement ceremony that included them and the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.

Provided by The Citadel Archives

During the week of her 50th commencement anniversary, Hudson, now 91 years old, shared memories of her time on campus. She spoke with Tessa Updike, the director of The Citadel Archives, via Zoom and a mobile phone.

“Our president, Gen. Harris, was very warm. He was approachable and friendly. He really supported us,” Hudson said.

The Citadel President at the time, Gen. Hugh P. Harris, addressed the master’s degree candidates during commencement, awarding their diplomas just prior to the cadets’. The archive’s original copy of his speech reads:

“In September 1968, The Citadel started an accredited Master of Arts in Teaching Program. The program has been most successful in that we have more than 300 proceeding toward this degree. At this time, we have the first nine graduates…which will be conferred diplomas at this time.” 

Hudson, who taught history for years at North Charleston High School, first started taking undergraduate courses on The Citadel campus in the summers of the 1950s when cadets were not present. She says the University of South Carolina had an extension program for teachers at The Citadel. 

She met the man she would marry then, Dr. Herschel Hudson, a former cadet who volunteered to serve during World War II in the Marine Corps. He eventually earned his Ph.D. and returned to The Citadel as a professor.

Provided by The Citadel Archives

When the first evening master’s degree program started, The Citadel was an all-male college. It was during an era when women from outside, co-ed colleges, competed to be Miss Citadel for the all-male military college, back when the cadets’ yearbook had “centerfolds.”

Miss Citadel fold out in The South Carolina Corps of Cadets 1970 yearbook, The Spinx

Hudson was recruited by the college to attend the evening master’s program and was happy for women to be seen as scholars by the cadets who were on campus 24/7.

Maxine Hudson, first woman graduate of the Citadel speaking to the college's archivist via telephone and Zoom at 91 years old

“Everyone handled it with grace and dignity and in a manner that was acceptable. The way they handled it was beautiful. They did not make me feel like I was intruding or if I was breaking their tradition. Rather than making me feel like I was tearing something down, they made me feel like I was building it up. That certainty took a lot of acceptance. It made me feel proud.”

It was not until the 1970 commencement that women studying on campus became “news” with a small article in The News and Courier about The Citadel “going co-ed,” naming Hudson’s classmate, Suzanne Cross Butler, as the first woman to physically accept a diploma from The Citadel. It would not be until the 1990s when women would be admitted as undergraduate members of the Corps of Cadets.

Provided by The Citadel Archives

The list of the first graduating class of The Citadel Graduate college is as follows:

  • Suzanne Cross Butler
  • Jonnie Garren Harvey
  • Elizabeth Shriver Hoffman
  • Maxine Taylor Hudson
  • James Bernard Machen
  • Mary Ann Parsons
  • John Carlisle Smiley, Jr.
  • Mary Edna Stocks
  • Sara Owens Vale

Click on the photo below to view the original 1970 commencement program.

Provided by The Citadel Archives

Hudson’s full interview will be available on The Citadel Archives website in the future.

The Citadel would like to thank Indigo Hall, an assisted living community in Charleston, South Carolina, and Kim Bonner, the director of nursing, for facilitating the Zoom interview and phone call with Maxine Hudson.

The Citadel’s oldest alumnus to be remembered fondly Tue, 26 May 2020 22:09:55 +0000 The Citadel is remembering one of its longest-living alumni, a member of the Class of 1938, who dedicated his life to his family and country.]]>

Photo: Marion Smoak recieving a standing ovation during the Homecoming 2018 dress parade

The Honorable Marion Smoak, Class of ’38, dies at 103 years old

The Citadel is remembering one of its longest-living alumni who dedicated his life to his family and country as a veteran, a lawyer, and through a career in politics and international relations. The Hon. Marion “Joe” Smoak, the regimental commander for the Class of 1938, died in May, just two months shy of his 104th birthday.

Smoak was The Citadel’s oldest alumnus and was known for living life to its fullest. In fact, Smoke visited his alma mater — at the age of 102 — for Homecoming 2018, his 80th class reunion.

Marion Smoak, left, meeting Citadel president Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.)

“Whether serving as an Army airborne officer, a South Carolina state senator, or a U.S. Ambassador, Ambassador Smoak embodied The Citadel’s core values of honor, duty and respect,” said Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.), president of The Citadel. “I had the pleasure of seeing Joe at Homecoming 2018, shortly after I took office as president, when he was being celebrated at our dress parade. Then, as always, he was a fine example of a Citadel graduate, and he will be missed.”

During Smoak’s visit, the homecoming crowd gave him a standing ovation. Accompanied by his daughter, Smoak had an afternoon meeting with friends for his daily martini (what he said was the key to a long life). And, as the oldest living regimental commander, Smoak met the youngest regimental commander at the time, Cadet Col. Sarah Zorn.

Then-Regimental Commander Sarah Zorn with Marion Smoak, the regimental commander for the Class of 1938

“Having the honor of meeting Ambassador Smoak during homecoming was one of the highlights of my year as regimental commander,” said Zorn.

A long and colorful life of consequence

Smoak was born in Aiken, South Carolina, in 1918. He earned a degree in business administration from The Citadel and went on to law school at the University of South Carolina, before being commissioned as an officer in the Army during World War II.

Smoak began his military career as an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point and later served as Staff Judge Advocate of the 11th and 82nd Airborne Divisions, for the Berlin Command in Germany and in the International Affairs Division, Department of the Army.

Smoak retired from military service in 1961, entering politics in his home state, helping organize the South Carolina Republican Party. In 1966, he was elected to the state senate, one of only five Republicans to serve in the South Carolina Senate since the Reconstruction era. His work as a senator caught the attention of national party leaders, and in 1969 Smoak was called to Washington and appointed deputy chief of protocol at the State Department under President Richard Nixon.

Smoak retired 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. (Smoak’s political life also led to him being in the same place and same time as John F. Kennedy when he proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier.) In addition, his professional pursuits included a long career as a real estate developer.

Photo by Courtney Vinopol. mbassador Marion Smoak, Citadel Class of 1938
Photo provided by The Washingtonian

While in the Army, Smoak married Mary Frances Meister Higgins. At the time of her death in 2015, they had been married 55 years. The couple had two sons and a daughter. They had homes in Washington D.C. and in Palm Beach, Florida, where Smoak helped lead philanthropic efforts.

“He was our chief of protocol for the 50th anniversary of the International Red Cross Ball,” said Nancy Rollnick, who chaired the gala with her husband Bill. “We called him Twinkle Toes because he could dance anybody under the table. He was 90 years old when we first called him in Washington to ask him to be our chief of protocol. He was somewhat breathless when he got on the phone with Bill and apologized by saying he had just come in from a game of tennis and was somewhat rushed as he was riding with the hounds that afternoon. Tennis and fox hunting the same day at 90. That was Twinkle Toes!”

Smoak will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, with a celebration of his life to take place at a later date, according to his family.

“He was a South Carolinian, a Citadel graduate and Regimental Commander of the Class of 1938, a World War II veteran, a member of the Greatest Generation, a teacher at West Point, a master paratrooper, polo player, fox hunter, horse show rider, tennis player, the world’s best dancer, and the best dad, mentor, and friend anyone could ever be so lucky to have,” his daughter, Mary Frances Walde, wrote in a Facebook post. “Please keep enjoying your evening martini. Rest in Peace. We love you always.”

The Palm Beach Post

Read the full obituary from the Palm Beach Post here.

Citadel alumnus narrates Memorial Day message from First United States Army Sat, 23 May 2020 10:00:31 +0000 Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr., '85, narriates a video from the First United States Army to remember Memorial Day, by highlighting a World War II soldier.]]>

Note: Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr. is a member of The Citadel Class of 1985 and the commander of First Army. First Army is the oldest and longest established field army of the branch.

From the First United States Army

First Army remembers Memorial Day by highlighting a World War II-era Soldier from the Quad Cities who was killed in action during the last days of the war. It is narrated by First Army’s Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr., and filmed in the Rock Island Cemetery located on Rock Island, Illinois.