Alumni – The Citadel Today Mon, 14 Sep 2020 15:48:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alumni – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Commentary: Goldfinch’s power play hurt Citadel, all SC colleges Tue, 15 Sep 2020 10:00:00 +0000 "As a Citadel graduate who served as a state senator from Charleston for 12 years and a member of the Citadel Board of Visitors for eight years, I find the whole situation extremely troubling."]]>

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Thomas Dewey Wise

The core values of The Citadel are honor, duty and respect. Unfortunately, state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch Jr., a 2004 graduate, exhibited none of those values recently when he publicly harassed and bullied Board of Visitors Chairman Fred Price into resigning.

As a Citadel graduate who served as a state senator from Charleston for 12 years and a member of the Citadel Board of Visitors for eight years, I find the whole situation extremely troubling.

Underpinning South Carolina’s three branches of government are thousands of local men and women who serve on boards and commissions overseeing the daily operations of school boards, state commissions and state boards, without which state government could not operate. These selfless men and women serve largely without pay, devote countless hours to the task and frequently go unrecognized.

Fred Price is one of those who serve in this capacity. Fred is a successful businessman from Columbia and a 1975 graduate of The Citadel. He certainly did not need a job, especially one that required a lot of time and did not pay anything. Those who know him appreciate the fact that he is a true gentleman who devoted countless hours sharing his business knowledge and advice for the benefit of the state and The Citadel. Testimony to his reputation lies in the fact that he was unopposed for reelection to the Board of Visitors.

I understand from my service under three different Citadel presidents that there can be differences of opinion between board members, alumni and the administration. These differences are debated internally, and once decided, everyone moves forward in a united fashion. This is very important for an institution of higher education such as The Citadel because of national accreditation requirements. Having individual politicians harass and bully individual board members on internal policy matters is unheard of. It’s a disturbing development.

The issue is not whether it is correct to move cadets among the cadet companies through a “sophomore shuffle” to achieve leadership goals. Nor is it about the Confederate Naval Jack, whose removal is currently against state law. The issue is: Do Sen. Goldfinch’s crude tactics create a chilling effect on getting good, competent citizens to serve on these important boards? Chairman Price chose to resign rather than endure the harassing tactics of a disgruntled politician. Knowing the possible fate that awaits them if they vote in opposition to Sen. Goldfinch’s wishes, who in their right mind would step forward in the future to serve in this important position? Sen. Goldfinch has done his school and the state of South Carolina a great disservice.

College and university accreditation agencies will be looking carefully at this case. Is The Citadel going to be managed by an independent board and administration or by the changing whims of individual, local politicians?

Sen. Goldfinch fortunately is only one of 170 members of the General Assembly. He has only one vote. He knew if the General Assembly voted, Chairman Price would be reelected overwhelmingly. Instead of letting the 169 other legislators vote, he bullied and threatened Chairman Price into resigning. The members of the General Assembly with whom I have spoken are appalled and embarrassed at his tactics.

For the sake of encouraging and attracting good men and women to serve on these critical boards and commissions, the tactics and micromanaging involvement of Sen. Goldfinch should be condemned by everyone.

Statement from Col. Myron Harrington, USMC (Ret.), ’60, Chair, The Citadel Board of Visitors Sat, 12 Sep 2020 15:08:16 +0000 Bond Hall Eagle at The CitadeBond Hall Eagle at The CitadeThe Citadel has made great progress during the tenure of Fred Price Jr., ’75, on the board and as board chair. That progress will continue.]]> Bond Hall Eagle at The CitadeBond Hall Eagle at The Citade

On behalf of our Citadel community, I want to thank Fred L. Price, Jr. ’75, for his decades of faithful, honorable volunteer service to our college. The Citadel has made great progress during his tenure on the board and as board chair. That progress will continue.

As our Board continues its oversight role, we will continue to do so “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protect the institution from such influence,” as prescribed in the Board of Visitors Commitment to Excellence and Ethics, which all board members sign. 

We will also remain dedicated to the principles of honor, duty and respect. These are the core values of our college, and they will guide our actions as we move forward together. 

Our mission is “to educate and develop our students to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling the core values of The Citadel in a disciplined and intellectually challenging environment.” Rest assured, we will continue the mission.

Two former cadets, both now Army chaplains, continue to take the road less traveled together Thu, 03 Sep 2020 18:46:35 +0000 A photo more than a decade in the making — two '11 alumni, standing together at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, holding a Citadel flag.]]>

It’s a photo more than a decade in the making — two members of the Class of 2011, standing together at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, holding a Citadel flag between them.

It was made possible when, earlier this month, Chaplain Zachary Honeycutt arrived to replace his fellow alumnus, Chaplain Daniel Biegger.

“As a chaplain, you’re constantly taking the initiative to train your team and increase your ability to plan and provide religious support during necessary operations,” said Biegger.

It is not uncommon for Citadel graduates to seek out leadership positions, where they can demonstrate the servant leadership they learned while in the Corps of Cadets.

“It’s always great to see how many Citadel graduates go on to join the ministry,” said Joe Molina, USN (Ret.), Chaplain to the Corps of Cadets. “Given our military college’s dedication to educating principled leaders, it’s only fitting that two Citadel alumni would consecutively serve in this position to guide American soldiers along their spiritual journeys.”

I sincerely felt a call to become a Chaplain.  I had originally wanted to be a pilot; however, following my freshman year when I became a Christian, I felt the call to be a Chaplain grow. I was part of a campus ministry called Campus Outreach and had a desire to go to seminary and do full-time ministry.

Chaplain Daniel Biegger, Citadel Class of 2011

Shortly after Honeycutt left his North Carolina home to deploy to Kuwait, Biegger returned to the Tar Heel State where he’s serving as the Brigade Chaplain for the 518th Sustainment Brigade.

“Being able to carry on a mission that Danny helped build in an honor,” said Honeycutt. “Having an established friendship also simplified our transition phase. When I meet someone from The Citadel, there is already an element of deep trust that exists, even if I do not know the person.”

In addition to chaplain duties, Honeycutt also assumed responsibility for one of his former Citadel roommate’s projects, called the Bean of Life

“My Unit Ministry Team and I developed the “Bean of Life” Resiliency Center to assist in providing religious support and increasing morale,” said Biegger. “The Bean of Life is a coffee shop and recreation area that has a room with a TV, DVD Player, etc. Before, it was a trailer that had not been used in over two years, which we cleaned up, reorganized and repurposed into what it is today.”

Army Chaplain Daniel Biegger, center, sharing a care package, sent by Citadel alumni in Maine, with soldiers in the Bean of Life

In some ways, Honeycutt’s new role is why he began ministry in the first place. “I wanted to be able to serve and care for soldiers that were feeling the burdens that sometimes comes as a cost of war and military service,” he said.

When Biegger and Honeycutt were cadets at The Citadel, their friendship was solidified at the beginning of their junior year, when they first became roommates. They would go on to be roommates in their senior year, too. In addition, they were both Summerall Guards and both graduated from The Citadel as commissioned Army officers.

But their parallel paths continued, long after commencement.

“Zach and I are pretty much the brothers we never had,” said Biegger. “After graduating from The Citadel, we were roommates at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We both worked at the same jobs together. We both served as Battalion Chaplains together in the same Battalion. We got married roughly a monthly apart from each other. We were each other’s best man. We both have a set of twins.”

Just like a traditional family, this brotherhood extends beyond their professional lives.

“We currently live not too far from one another,” said Honeycutt in an email. “As I write this Danny, his wife and their twin boys are spending time with my wife and our twin boys. I count it a blessing to have friends that help take care of family in our absence.”

It’s this dedication to others, part of the servant leadership learned at The Citadel, that Honeycutt values most.

“The day in the life of an Army chaplain is really a day spent with the soldiers,” he continued. “We call it ‘muddy boot ministry’ and it simply means going where the soldiers are. Being present is one of the best ways to build trust, which is needed for effective ministry.”

In some ways, not much has changed since, just before graduation nearly ten years ago, Honeycutt received the John O. Willson Ring — awarded annually since 1911 to a senior elected by his or her peers as the finest, purest and most courteous member of the class.

“Our mission is to provide religious support to all the soldiers who transition through Camp Arifjan,” continued Honeycutt. “Being able to care for these soldiers as they come and go, as well as provide a place that helps build morale and resilience, has truly been an honor of mine.”

Citadel Engineering faculty; alumnus leaders making news with top awards Tue, 28 Jul 2020 23:00:54 +0000 Faculty and an alumnus from The Citadel School of Engineering are the proud recipients of awards from the 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers.]]>

Photo above: Award-winning Volvo interchange engineering project led by Citadel School of Engineering alumnus

The Citadel School of Engineering, consistently ranked as one of the top engineering schools in the country, could not achieve that status time and again without prominent industry faculty leading the way. The results of the 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awards for the state of South Carolina underscore that point. 

Announced in July, the awardees include two faculty leaders, an alumnus, and a project that alumnus helped lead. 

Le Tellier Cup winner for outstanding lifetime achievement

Col. Ron Welch, USA (Ret.), Ph.D., PE, dean for The Citadel School of Engineering 

Dean of The Citadel School of Engineering, Dr. Ron Welch, accepting Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award in 2018

“Dr. Welch has accumulated a highly regarded national reputation for academic excellence continues to play an instrumental role in direction of ASCE’s Project ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education), and is a recognized leader in ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education) Civil Engineering Division.  He has served in academic appointments in higher education over 29 years including faculty and leadership positions at U.S. Military Academy, University of Texas at Tyler, and The Citadel.  His career includes 25 years of service as an Officer in U.S. Army rising to the rank of Colonel, prior to his retirement from the Corps of Engineers in 2007.   

His career includes 25 years of service as an Officer in U.S. Army rising to the rank of Colonel, prior to his retirement from the Corps of Engineers in 2007.  Since his arrival at The Citadel in 2011, Dean Welch has served as a forward-thinking leader of higher education in our state. As a testament to his vision, two new undergraduate degrees were added to The Citadel School of Engineering including Mechanical Engineering and Construction Engineering.  Additionally, he led creation of Master of Science degree programs in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.  Through Dean Welch’s strategic leadership, The Citadel’s School of Engineering enrollment has risen to 700 students, comprising approximately one-third of the college’s degree seeking students.”

William J. Davis, Ph.D., P.E., Dept. Head and D. Graham Copeland Professor of Civil Engineering, The Citadel 

In addition to leading the The Citadel School of Engineering, and continuing to teach Civil Engineering cadets and students, Welch has worked as a servant leader in numerous voluntary leadership positions throughout his career. Examples include serving a board member for Engineers Without Boarders and serving ASCE in leadership roles for more than 20 years, including as a program developer and mentor.  

Some of Welch’s other awards include: 

  • ASCE Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award, 2018 
  • Bliss Medal, Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), 2018 
  • Pillar of the College, College of Engineering, University of Texas at Tyler, 2017 
  • American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE Fellow, 2016 
  • Engineer of The Year, Charleston Engineer’s Joint Council, 2015 
  • Society of American Military Engineers, SAME Fellow, 2015 
  • American Society of Engineering Education, ASEE Fellow, 2015 

Educator of the Year

Kweku Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Kweku Brown teaching cadets out in the field during a Civil Engineering course in 2019

“Dr. Kweku Brown is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel. His well-founded educational approaches and effective teaching methods are benefiting students, contributing to the quality of our Department’s learning environment, and embodying the highest ideals of The Citadel’s mission, as a teaching institution.  

His ability to create and support productive student-learning environments is phenomenal. Through his great work ethic and collaboration, he exemplifies how engineers can work together to strive for the highest standards of excellence. He passed his PE exam in 2020 and is in the process of submitting his application.” 

William J. Davis, Ph.D., P.E., Dept. Head and D. Graham Copeland Professor of Civil Engineering, The Citadel 

In 2019, Brown taught 12 sections of 8 Civil Engineering Courses, was selected as a national delegate for the Minority Faculty Development Workshop at Harvard University, and participated in 27 Citadel events and initiatives including Leadership Day and Student Excellence Day. In addition, Brown currently serves as a faculty Advisory for the student chapters of ASCE, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.  

Brown’s most recent research appointments and recognition include: 

  • Member, Geographic Information Science and Applications, Standing Committee, Transportation Research Board, National Academies of Sciences, 2014-present
  • Member, Statewide Transportation Data and Information Systems, Standing Committee, Transportation Research Board, National Academies of Sciences, 2014-present
  • National Committee Member: American Association for State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Geographic Information systems for Transportation (GIS-T), Vice Chair of Student Paper Award Committee 

Brown received his Civil Engineering Bachelor’s degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. His Master’s degree and Doctoral degree were obtained from the University of Connecticut and Clemson University, respectively. Brown is a member of both the National and South Carolina Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). 

Engineer of the Year

Jim O’Connor, The Citadel Class of 1989, JMT engineering, Charleston

Project of the Year 

I-26/Volvo Car Interchange, Jim O’Connor, chief engineer 

Jim O’Connor

Charleston area JMT executive, and a JMT project, have been honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) South Carolina Section. Jim O’Connor, PE, CEng MIEI was named Civil Engineer of the Year, and JMT’s I-26/Volvo interchange design-build project was selected as Project of the Year. 

Jim O’Connor is a 1989 Citadel graduate and Vice President in JMT’s Charleston office who is both responsible for the firm’s South Carolina operations and actively participates in complex projects. He also holds an MS from Rutgers University and is a professional engineer in several states, including being a Chartered Engineer in the Republic of Ireland. As an active ASCE member, he serves as a Practitioner Adviser at The Citadel and is a member of the Civil Engineering Department’s Advisory Board. 

As an accomplished structural engineer, O’Connor contributed to the success of several key projects that are helping reshape the infrastructure in South Carolina’s Lowcountry including the award-winning I-26/Volvo interchange, the Port Access Road/I-26 interchange, the historic Low Battery reconstruction, and the Nexans Marine Terminal in the Goose Creek Bushy Park complex. 

Delivered to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) in 2019, the new I-26/Volvo Interchange provides critical access from a regional Charleston interstate highway to Camp Hall Commerce Park and the Volvo manufacturing facility. As the lead design firm on this project, JMT provided overall project management along with bridge and roadway design, and environmental services in support of the contractor, Conti Enterprises, Inc. The successful delivery of this project has added substantial value to the greater Charleston coastal community and the state of South Carolina. (Provided by JMT) 

Citadel grad from Indianapolis mobilizes to USTRANSCOM in support of COVID-19 operations Mon, 20 Jul 2020 21:03:34 +0000 CDR Eric Chitwood, who earned a Master of Science in Leadership from The Citadel in 2018, is currently mobilized to United States Transportation Command.]]>

Note: CDR Eric Chitwood earned a Master of Science in Leadership from The Citadel in 2018

From U.S. Transportation Command Public Affairs

A U.S. Navy reservist from Indianapolis, Indiana, is currently mobilized to United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) in support of COVID-19 operations.

U.S. Navy Commander Eric L. Chitwood is playing a critical role in the U.S. Government’s response to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in his part helping to sustain USTRANSCOM’s mission through the current force health condition measures. He also serves as aide-de-camp to Navy Rear Admiral Robert T. Clark, deputy commander, Military Sealift Command, and Major General Michael C. Wehr, Army Corps of Engineers, in this role at USTRANSCOM.

Because of his special skills and experience, Chitwood was hand-selected from the Joint Transportation Reserve Unit (JTRU) for this mission. He is one of approximately 40 JTRU members who will augment their active duty counterparts inside USTRANSCOM’s 24/7 Global Operations Center. Chitwood has a total of 16 years of uniformed service.

“Our nation’s response effort requires a true whole-government approach, and USTRANSCOM’s role is to coordinate and oversee the operations and transport of personnel, critical supplies and protective gear worldwide,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Kenneth Council, commander of the JTRU. “Without our reservists like Cmdr. Chitwood, we would not be able to accomplish our mission.”

The JTRU augments USTRANSCOM as a warfighting combatant command to project and sustain military power at a time and place of the nation’s choosing. Powered by dedicated men and women, USTRANSCOM underwrites the lethality of the Joint Force, advances American interests around the globe, and provides the nation’s leaders with strategic flexibility to select from multiple options, while creating multiple dilemmas for our adversaries.

You’ve got this: Dedicated alumni support for African American cadet recruits Tue, 14 Jul 2020 20:52:17 +0000 Cades with Bruce Alexander marking in MLK Day ParadeCades with Bruce Alexander marking in MLK Day ParadeBruce Alexander, '82, and other dedicated CA4 members mentored African American cadets since the organization was formed in 2016.]]> Cades with Bruce Alexander marking in MLK Day ParadeCades with Bruce Alexander marking in MLK Day Parade

Photo above: Bruce Alexander, ’82, with Cadets Tromaine Cobbs and Tatayana Green marching in Charleston’s 2020 MLK Day Parade

It started in the fall of 2019.

“Dr. Kelly Brennan, the college’s associate provost for enrollment, contacted me about the possibility of The Citadel African American Alumni Association, which we call CA4, helping with a recruit retention project,” said Lt. Col. Bruce Alexander, USAF (Ret.), Citadel Class of 1982.

Alexander, who lives in Clinton, Maryland, serves in numerous roles for the Citadel including as president of CA4. Professionally, he previously served as  the vice president of communications for Operation Homefront which supports America’s military families in need. Prior to that he was a top-level communications director for eight years with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. And, among his many positions while serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years, Alexander directed communications for Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland providing direct support to the President and Vice President, Cabinet, Congress, Department of Defense, and U.S. Air Force leaders, in addition to commanding a 330-person Services Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina.

Bruce Alexander, ’82, with mentee, Aaron Brawley, ’20, and others at reception

Alexander and other dedicated CA4 members mentored African American cadets since the organization was formed in 2016, during the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of Charles Foster – who broke the color barrier, becoming the college’s first African American cadet. Additionally, CA4 hosts an annual reception for African American cadet recruits at matriculation and participates in activities with cadets such as the Martin Luther King Day parade in Charleston.

But the approach suggested by Brennan was new.

The idea was for African American alumni to work with accepted high school seniors who are also African American, to keep them interested and engaged in attending The Citadel from the application stage into their knob year.

“As an enrollment professional, I have seen how important it is for students considering college to know that there is a supportive network of alumni who have faced many of the same transitions they will,” Brennan said. “For parents, providing an additional resource, a CA4 member they can get to know and trust, helps them understand how best to support their future cadet.” 

Class of 2023 cadet, Joshua Desmore, and his mother, at CA4 welcome event during matriculation weekend in August 2019

“Dr. Brennan said the college was great at identifying and recruiting excellent high school candidates. The problem was retaining their interest until they successfully enrolled and matriculated,” Alexander explained. “The mission of the CA4 is, first, to facilitate the mentoring of cadets and young alumni; second, to develop and fund African American cadet scholarships; and third, to support the school’s diversity efforts at every echelon associated with The Citadel’s endeavors,” Alexander said. “Helping retain African American recruits was a natural fit.”

Bruce Alexander, ’82, and Alvin Perkins, ‘79

CA4 agreed; Alexander, Alvin Perkins of the Class of 1979, and others began working with recruits in the early part of 2020.  

First, a letter written by Alexander — with his photo in the signature block — was included in application packets for about 160 African American students and their families. Then those who applied and were accepted were each called by Alexander, about 160 calls.

“That first phone call of congratulations from the president of CA4 was critically important in displaying how much we at The Citadel cared about our incoming students and parents. It reinforced the decision they were about to make,” Alexander said. “The continuous response from almost each and every parent was ‘No other college is reaching out to speak to us. Thank you for taking the time to explain the benefits of a disciplined and principle-driven education.’”

Alexander says once a family secures a slot for their student by making a deposit, he reaches back out to them to ask if they would like to participate in the CA4 mentoring program. If so, a mentor, who will meet the family virtually, is handpicked, based on gender, career goals and geographic proximity. The select CA4 mentor is also provided with a CA4 mentoring handbook, authored and designed by Alexander and Perkins, to help guide the mentor along this journey and provide consistency in the manner each incoming student is mentored.

“At this stage, the CA4 mentors are guiding parents and the mentee through matriculation, answering questions and easing anxiety for the family by keeping them informed,” Alexander explained. “Of course, initially we had no idea this work would become even more important because of the pandemic. At this point, four weeks before matriculation, we are excited to see a substantial increase in retention of African American recruits.”

African American Admissions Population

Act Deposits457553.6%

“Between writing to all African American applicants and calling all who were accepted to the college to congratulate them, the program has already made an impact,” Brennan said. “I look forward to this program continuing to positively impact the growth of diversity at The Citadel, and to finding ways to use it as a model to expand our outreach to other groups of applicants.”

“I continue to receive follow-up conversations from parents and positive discussions associated with this program, which have permeated across the closed Citadel Parent Facebook pages,” Alexander said. “Mentoring builds a bridge of Honor, Duty and Respect back to The Citadel for all alumni!”

Left to right: Aaron Brawley, ’20, with his mentor, Bruce Alexander, ‘82
Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters holds town hall for alumni Thu, 09 Jul 2020 14:54:55 +0000 The Citadel has one of the most engaged alumni populations of any college in America. On July 6, Gen. Walters led a town hall specifically for alumni.]]>

Photo: Citadel alumni salute during Homecoming 2019 parade on Summerall Field

As The Citadel moves forward with Operation Fall Return 2020, an agile, conditions-based plan to return cadets and students to face-to-face instruction, college leadership is communicating regularly to keep all constituents informed.

The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.), with other leadership, is holding virtual town hall meetings, to supplement the other communications channels being used to convey developments and details related to Operation Fall Return 2020 to specific Citadel audiences. The Citadel has one of the most engaged alumni populations of any college in America, thus on Monday, July 6, Walters led a Zoom town hall session specifically for alumni. About 500 Citadel alumni tuned in live to learn about the operation, and the Facebook recorded version of the session has been viewed almost 9,000 times.

Participating with Walters were CAA president, Ed White, Citadel provost and dean, Dr. Sally Selden, and the Commandant of Cadets, Capt. Geno Paulso, USN (Ret.). Alumni submitted questions using the Zoom chat function, many of which the leaders answered directly during the one-hour session. (Please note that the introductory portion with White had a technical complication, making it difficult to hear.)

Have a question?

As the plan progresses, information is added to the Operation Fall Return 2020 website where frequently asked questions can also be read. 

Members of The Citadel Family with questions are encouraged to submit them here.

The next virtual town hall: July 21

The next town hall is for incoming freshmen and their families. The information and link are as follows:

Citadel Class of 2024 Fall Return Town Hall: Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m.

Watch the July 6 Citadel Alumni Fall Return Town Hall below

First Army commanding general, ’85, shares his Independence Day message Sat, 04 Jul 2020 21:42:30 +0000 Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr., Citadel Class of 1985, is the commander of First Army. First Army is the oldest and longest established field army of the branch.]]>

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 United States First Army

At First Army, we are all about History, Mission and People. As we look back on more than one hundred years of service with many significant milestones, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Independence Day in these trying times.

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.”