Army ROTC – The Citadel Today Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:26:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Army ROTC – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Valor & Value: Veterans talk about their business traits Thu, 10 Jun 2021 10:00:00 +0000 Brown attended The Citadel on an Army ROTC scholarship. He was an Army captain for six years and served in Special Forces as a Green Beret.]]>

Note: Dave Brown, photo above, earned a degree in Civil Engineering from The Citadel in 1996. The college recently asked him to reflect on the value of his education from the Military College of South Carolina.

“The Citadel prepared me very well by instilling leadership skills and a solid understanding of how to build a ‘team first’ culture. The organizational leadership skills I learned as a cadet at The Citadel have significantly contributed to my ability to lead both military and civilian organizations through challenging times.”

Dave Brown, Citadel Class of 1996, founder and CEO of ROVE

As seen in the Charlotte Business Journal

After a year of dynamic changes in the workplace and marketplace, hiring managers are looking for employees ready to react and respond.

Veterans are likely to lead the pack in understanding how to gain situational awareness and flex to the situation.

“Sometimes you just have to work out of your Humvee,” says Bernie Funck, president and founder of Ranger Construction. “Veterans are not scared to exit the moving aircraft,” Funck says. “They are not afraid of change. They just adapt to the situation. And they can command from anywhere.”

Funck spent 21 years in the Army as an artillery officer, 6 years active duty and 15 in the National Guard, and he values the leadership and decision-making skills he sees in the veterans he hires.

Funck made his comments as part of a panel discussion sponsored by Veterans Bridge Home and presented by the Charlotte Business Journal. Joining Funck on the panel discussion veterans in the workplace were Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of ROVE, a technology systems integrator, and Arnold Evans, enterprise ethics officer for Truist Financial.

Blake Bourne, executive director of Veterans Bridge Home and a former captain in the US Army, moderated the event. The discussion was held at Veterans Bridge Home’s new office at 5260 Parkway Plaza Boulevard, near the South Charlotte VA Center. The new location offers more space for the transition center, training and operations.

On joining and exiting the military

A family history of military service was common among the panelists.

Funck’s grandfather served in World War I and his father in World War II. While they were both Navy veterans, Funck joined the Army after joining ROTC in college. His service included a tour in South Korea/DMZ, the 82nd Airborne Division and command of a Field Artillery Battalion. Today he is a Lt. Colonel in the Inactive Ready Reserve.

Evans grew up in north Georgia and then attended West Point, where he hoped to continue his family’s strong military legacy and distinguish himself by serving others. Evans was on active duty from 1988 to 1993, serving in Air Defense Artillery and earning the rank of Captain. His service took him to El Paso, Texas, Germany and Saudi Arabia. After his service, Evans attended both law and business schools at the University of Virginia before pursuing a career in investment banking. He has been with SunTrust – now Truist – since 2005 and serves as the bank’s enterprise ethics officer.

Brown is a fifth generation military officer who knew from a young age that he would serve in the military. Brown attended The Citadel on an Army ROTC scholarship. He was an Army captain for six years, served in Special Forces as a Green Beret. Brown transitioned into the civilian marketplace selling technology on Wall Street. He started ROVE, a systems integrator, in 2016.

On what experience translates to business

While all the panelists have college degrees, their path from college to the military to business was not direct. Brown majored in engineering but leads a technology company. Evans majored in engineering and then earned multiple graduate degrees before entering finance. And Funck majored in communications and later an MBA when he left active duty.

“Basic organizational leadership skills are really what helped me transition fairly well into the civilian workforce,” Brown says. He was initially in sales and business development so while he did not have people working for him, he had to be able to craft campaigns and lead people through the sales process. He eventually moved up into sales leadership roles and executive management roles.

“I look back to my time in the military, and I’ve applied the basic leadership skills that I learned as a brand new Lieutenant in Army, to the more strategic skills I honed as a Special Forces Captain, that have assisted me in founding, growing and thriving in entrepreneurial business endeavors.” said Brown.

Funck says his role in artillery direct support meant he was always supporting others, and that experience providing support taught him how to serve customers.

“We work for developers and do everything from construction, mechanical, electrical and plumbing. It’s shoot, move, communicate and survive,” Funck says. “We still do those same things.”

As the ethics officer for Truist, Evans focuses on ensuring that the bank’s operating practices and processes are fully aligned with the company’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. While it may sound straightforward, converting that description into practical activities has been more complex.

“My newly created role was a bit amorphous when I first took it on at SunTrust,” Evans says. “The most critical success factor has been my ability to shrug off failures, reset based on experience and then guide my team forward until we achieved our objectives. I learned persistence in the Army and believe every successful veteran brings some version of that drive to the table.”

On military skills valued in private sector

Even the disruption of a pandemic didn’t derail veteran employees who understand how to adapt quickly to change, panelist say.

Evans says the skills he gained around situational awareness have also served him well in a large, global corporation.

“You have to understand the facts on the ground, then plan properly and execute,” Evans says. “If the facts change, the sooner you pick up on that, the greater the chance of success. We pick up a high level of attentiveness in the military that helps us execute successfully in the private sector.”

On roles where veterans succeed

At ROVE, 30% of the employees are veterans from different branches of the military, a rate four times what is typical in a company. Some have come directly from military service and others were in the private sector before joining ROVE.

Brown says veterans have the communications skills needed to serve clients. All of ROVE’s project managers are former Army Captains.

Because the business is so heavily veteran, Brown says the culture of the company is very patriotic and mission driven.

“The accountability level for everyone is increased because it is built into our culture now,” Brown says.

At Truist, Evans says veterans are valued for their trustworthiness.

“You know they are going to get it done the right way,” Evans says.

Veterans with technical cyber security skills easily translate those skills to the private sector. Veterans serve in a number of client-facing roles, from retail banking, private wealth, commercial banking and investment banking.

“They are valued because they just know how to get things done,” Evans says.

On negative perceptions of hiring veterans

Evans says he has previously heard that some organizations may have concerns about hiring veterans, given the potential of stress-related disorders.

“As a practical matter, we know suicide rates for veterans are materially higher than for non-veterans, given the amount of trauma they have experienced—whether it’s a result of serving in long-term wars, being separated from families, experiencing isolation, or not having access to health care,” Evans says.

However, Evans also points out that veterans are no different from broad swaths of society that dealt with stress, anxiety and depression—especially during the global pandemic.

“Employers need to understand that while veterans may seem to need unique assistance, they are a microcosm of our broader society,” he continues. “If anyone does deserve the extra assistance, veterans who served our country are an extremely important focus. In exchange, you benefit from extraordinarily loyal and hardworking teammates who are committed to helping you achieve your organization’s objectives.”

On balancing National Guard duty

National Guard duty or Reserves is widely advertised as a commitment of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Veterans know the reality is a much larger commitment.

“You have to support them and their family,” Funck says. “People don’t realize that the National Guard deploys to hurricanes and floods. You can be gone for three months on a hurricane. In the National Guard, you have to literally keep your bags packed.”

In return, Funck says, those service members have an obligation to minimize the impact of their service on their employer as much as possible.

“There are benefits of having National Guard and Reserve members on your team, and if you don’t support them, they will leave if the job is not compatible with their service,” Funck says.

On small businesses hiring vets

The number of veteran-owned businesses has declined in recent decades. Only 4.5% of veterans have opened businesses since 9/11, according to a study by the New York Federal Reserve Bank and Small Business Administration. But close to 50% of World War II veterans and 40% of Korean War veterans opened businesses.

Brown says being a certified small business by the Department of Veterans Affairs opens opportunity to ROVE. Larger companies with supplier diversity programs provide business opportunities. ROVE has gained relationships with aerospace, banking and manufacturing companies and grown with those sectors.

“As a small business, getting through the pandemic was tough,” Brown says. “We did some pay reductions and headcount reductions and had to tighten the books. But we survived it. Our team is tighter now than ever having gone through this experience together.”

Funck says Ranger Construction survived the pandemic just fine given that construction was allowed to continue. But he says he looks out for subcontractors who are veteran-owned businesses.

“We have been known to loan money or ‘pay forward’ to those that we know, subcontractors and others, trying to get into the business.”


Dave Brown, CEO, ROVE

As CEO of ROVE, Dave guides the company’s vision to become the fastest growing IT Systems Integrator in the region—with specific expertise in helping clients navigate the changing digital landscape via the strategic deployment of Cloud, Networking, CyberSecurity & Hybrid Workplace solutions.  Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, ROVE is a certified Veteran Owned Small Business, and services Enterprise, Commercial and Public Sector clients across the Southeast region.

Prior to founding ROVE, Dave served as the President of CDI Southeast and Area Vice President at EMC Corporation, where his responsibilities included building and leading sales, solution architecture and professional services teams who delivered virtualized cloud, unified communications and security solutions.

Dave began his career as an officer in the United States Army, where he achieved the rank of Captain in Special Forces (Green Berets). David earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.

Bernie Funck, President, Ranger Construction

Bernie Funck is the owner and President of Ranger Construction Company, a commercial general contractor specializing in industrial, office and healthcare upfits in North and South Carolina. Bernie started Ranger Construction 21 years ago and the company has grown to over 40 employees.  Ranger Construction is a trusted partner for many developers and businesses in the area. Bernie’s career began over 30 years ago in commercial property management at Trammell Crow, where he later became a partner running the Charlotte construction division. Starting his career in real estate development, management and leasing gave Bernie a uniquely qualified understanding of the business needs of Ranger’s clients. His background in the Army gave him the sense of mission he and his team bring to all of Ranger’s jobs. In 2003, Bernie retired from the Army National Guard as a Lt. Colonel, having served as the Commander of the 1/113th Field Artillery Battalion. His active duty years included service at the DMZ in South Korea, in the 82d Airborne Division, the Ranger Brigade, and certification as Jump Master and Air Assault training. Bernie has an MBA from the University of North Carolina Charlotte, and an undergraduate degree from Indiana University. He serves on the Board of the Carolinas Freedom Foundation, which promotes patriotism and supports soldiers and veterans.  Bernie has also had leadership roles in the community as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster and a youth football and rugby coach.  

Arnold B. Evans, Executive VP / Enterprise Ethics Officer, Truist Financial Corp.

Arnold Evans is the Enterprise Ethics Officer for Truist Financial Corp. He is responsible for ensuring that Truist’s operating practices and risk culture are consistent with the Company’s Purpose, Mission and Values. To do so, he and his team own and provide oversight of a series of programs receiving heightened regulatory scrutiny, including: business/sales practices, client complaints, teammate concerns, incentive compensation and reputational risk. Prior to the merger, Mr. Evans served as the first Enterprise Ethics Officer for SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Arnold’s prior financial services experience includes three years as a Division and Region President for SunTrust, and 17 years as an investment banker at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and J.P. Morgan. He is also a former commissioned officer (Captain) in the US Army.

Arnold earned a BS from The United States Military Academy. He also earned both MBA and JD degrees from The University of Virginia.


Blake Bourne, Executive Director, Veterans Bridge Home

Blake Bourne, a former Army Infantry Officer who is passionate about the opportunity to strengthen local communities by engaging and empowering our veterans.  Blake joined Veterans Bridge Home (VBH) in 2013 and was named the Executive Director in 2016.  Leaving at the rank of Captain, he served from 2006-2012, was Airborne and Ranger qualified with two deployments to Iraq.  Prior to his military service, Blake worked on Capitol Hill. In addition to administrative oversight, strategy, and sustainability, Blake has been directly involved with the design and implementation of VBH’s programs.  In 2019 Blake was recognized as one of Charlotte’s 40 Under 40 by the CLT Business Journal.  Founded in 2011, VBH was a small Charlotte based non-profit organization connecting military & veteran families to community-based resources to assist them in achieving their unique goals.  VBH is now a regional leader in Veteran services, operating across NC & SC, and a model nationally of Veteran Community Integration.  Focused on achieving outcomes which build “A Stronger Community, one Veteran at a time.”  VBH has demonstrated impact, leadership and advocacy on how to empower communities to collectively identify, engage and support Veterans where they live, work and play.   

From cadet to commission: Members of the Class of 2021 become officers in the U.S. Armed Forces Fri, 07 May 2021 17:19:00 +0000 In a joint commissioning ceremony, members of the Class of 2021 accepted commissions into the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.]]>

More than 150 Citadel cadets accept commissions during joint ceremony

The United States Armed Forces now have more than 150 new officers.

In a joint commissioning ceremony — held on Friday, May 7 — approximately 27% of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2021 accepted commissions into the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

Though ceremonies are usually held in different locations and at different times on campus, this year’s joint ceremony was held in McAlister Field House.

The joint ceremony included the now-officers reciting their oath, as well as having gold bars pinned on their uniforms by their sponsors.

Immediately following the ceremony, the commissionees gathered on Summerall Field where they received their first salutes as officers.

The Class of 2021 has 116 cadets accepting Army commissions, 28 accepting Air Force commissions, 15 accepting Navy commissions and 12 accepting Marine Corps commissions.

The commencement ceremony for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets is held the day after the commissioning ceremonies.

The 116 cadets accepting Army commissions include:

Carson AdamsHarrison Hemminghaus
D’Andre AdamsLiam Henderson
Jenna AdcockCatherine Hill
Allyson AnsellMichael Hocutt
Heath BakerMatthew Hurtt
Michelle BanzonJonathan Jarrett
Andrew BarnesPatrick Johnson
Jack BeehlerJacob Josepher
Christian BentWesley Kelley
Adam BlankenshipTanner Kennaw
Brian BolchozJeffrey Kidner
Ruby BoldenJohn Kidner
Robert BrabstonJacob Knapp
Donald BrechtelJames Kober
Louis BulnesJoseph Lucarelli
Tamia BurchJames Maddox
Patrick CamatchoJames Maddray
Andrew CaronWilliam Martin
Garrett ChristieHunter Mills
William ClementsHunter Neeley
Micah CohenHouston Osborne
Keegan ConnollyKenslee Padgett
Darien CooperWilliam Peeler
Theodore CoppolaWilliam Rathke
Delson CowardBenjamin Richardson
Jesse CrookDerrick Robertson
William CurtisJonathan Robinson
Michael CurtisKrishawn Royal
Christian DejongAdam Russell
Matthew DevinePedro Sharpe
Parker DicksonJames Shields
Matthew DixonDouglas Smith
John EggersHalston Smith
Tyler EllisonZion Smith
Aaron FanninEthan Stanley
Robert FenneyIan Stephan
Miles FilippisYudai Stout
Robert FisherClifford Swindel
Samuel FohnConnor Thomas
Etienne FonteneauEvan Timpner
Nicholas FricchioneCody Turner
Christopher FrickeRobert Tywater
Christopher FurmanickBenjamin Walker
Timothy GilletteMatthew Wall
William GrantCorey Watson
Alfred GreggColton Webster
Thomas HammerstoneChase Wengerd
Joshua HardestyJonathan Westmoreland
Hamilton HardmanRyan Williams
Bryce HarringtonJustice Woods
Conner HaysRonald Zappendorf

The 28 cadets accepting commissions into the Air Force include:

Conrad BornemanJohn Kreisler
Kevin BrownLillian Layden
Taurus BrownMichael Lopouchanskiy
Robert CrawfordCharles Marsh
Riley DavisMarshall Mckee
Simon de OleoCaleb Moseley
James DixonTimiebi Ogobri
Owen DunneOlivia Rentz
William FenlaysonChristian Seidler
Justin FriedlanderCameron Thomas
Noah HammondJames Walker
Daniel HaydelJoanna Winborn
Garry HaywoodBrian Wise
Karl Knizek

The 15 cadets accepting Navy commissions include:

Isaac Al-TamimiNick Piacentini
Andrew BrabazonEthan Powers
Daniel EstebanLogan Scronce
Aaron GilbertoGarrett Sebold
Joshua GorczynskiPeter Tillman
Ulysses GrisetteJacob True
Katryn HollingsworthPhillip Wellons
Roman Kokowsky

The 12 cadets accepting commissions into the Marine Corps include:

Andrew DesjardinsRegina Miles
Samantha EngelSamuel Poulin
Joseph FieldSean Reen
Jeremy GentleGunnery Sgt. Ronald Reid
John LassiterAlexei Severnyak
Brock MehlCharles Thorne
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A dad, a grad, a daughter and a knob: The Citadel tradition for the Banzon family Tue, 04 May 2021 17:26:29 +0000 The South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2021 receives their class rings during a presentation ceremony adjusted for COVID-19 conditions in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)The South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2021 receives their class rings during a presentation ceremony adjusted for COVID-19 conditions in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)"I listened to my dad who said to enjoy the small things at The Citadel because when we look back those are going to be the big things. The past four years will be hard to beat."]]> The South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2021 receives their class rings during a presentation ceremony adjusted for COVID-19 conditions in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)The South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2021 receives their class rings during a presentation ceremony adjusted for COVID-19 conditions in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)

Plus: 70 Class of 2021 legacy cadets

Photo above: Cadet Michelle Banzon, seen third from the left, running across Summerall Field with classmates in September, 2020 after receiving their Citadel bands of gold.

Michelle Banzon, graduating as a member of The Citadel Class of 2021, isn’t the first, nor the last, member of her family to be a part of the college’s Long Gray Line.

Her father, Col. Roy Banzon, USA, preceded her in 1991, her older brother, Romar, graduated in 2020, and her younger brother, Nicasio (Nic), follows as a member of The Citadel Class of 2024.

Banzon family photo
Left to right: Nic, Roy, Rumar and Michelle Banzon at The Citadel vs. University of South Carolina football game in Columbia, South Carolina.

Michelle was so happy about following in her dad’s footsteps as a cadet that, during her knob year, she took some of her favorite photos of her dad as a cadet and restaged them with her classmates.

Top: Roy Banzon on left with Class of 1991 cadets in front of the Echo Company “E” in the barracks. Bottom: Michelle Banzon on left with Class of 2021 cadets mimicking the older photo.

Michelle is a high achiever, attending The Citadel on a U.S. Army scholarship and earning Dean’s List and President’s List awards, while keeping a watchful eye on Nic.

“I only helped my little brother if he asked. I did not want him to feel like he was in my shadow because he has always been very independent,” Michelle said. “I watched him from a distance and gave him tips, much like my dad did for me.”

Left: Roy Banzon and his freshman year roommate, Rob Bohm. Right: Michelle and her brother Nic reenacting their dad’s photo.

“The most compelling thing was probably getting the opportunity to go through a similar experience as my father. It may not be exactly the same because of the time periods, but we could share stories and have that understanding with the same emotions and feelings about it,” Michelle said. “It is hard to start fresh/new if you have a dad that has accomplish so much in his life, I wanted to make him proud during my time at the Citadel.”

Left to right: Nic, Roy and Michelle Banzon “Army rucking.”

The Criminal Justice major spent part of her childhood living in South Korea where her father was stationed as an officer in the U.S. Army and where she has fond family memories. Roy, who was born in the Philippines and became a U.S. Citizen almost 40 years ago, is now stationed at Shaw Airforce Base in South Carolina, less than two hours from his children at The Citadel in Charleston. He is the executive officer for U.S. Army Central’s oversight, regulatory, issue resolution, and continuous improvement functions. 

“It is truly amazing how much I enjoy seeing the success my children are experiencing at The Citadel,” Col. Roy Banzon, ’91, said. “I went to The Citadel 30 years ago, in 1987-1991, when there were different challenges. The academic success my children had, where I struggled as a cadet, is truly a testimonial to my late wife Marlyn’s focus on academics when they were in elementary and high school.”

When Michelle was a young teen, Marlyn and Roy expanded their family of four to eight, adopting four siblings from the Philippines, including Romar.

The Banzon family in the Philippines
The expanded Banzon family in the Philippines, with Michelle seen far right.

And then after an extended illness in 2018, during Michelle’s knob year, Marlyn died. Though the pain of the loss of her mother lingers, Michelle says her father keeps them strong and focused.

The Banzon family
Roy, Michelle, and Marlyn Banzon

“The advice I gave Michelle is to enjoy the moment and always put in 100% effort when it comes to being a cadet. I would always tell them at dinner time that the way to success is not meeting the standard, but exceeding it. If you want to reach the moon, you have to aim for the stars. Because if you aim for the moon, you may come short and miss. Always strive higher than your goal and you will never be disappointed in yourself.”

Col. Roy Banzon, USA, The Citadel Class of 1991
Cadet Nicasio Banzon, The Citadel Class of 2024.

In considering his son, Nic’s recent recognition as a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, Col. Banzon continued, saying:

“The Citadel was my first introduction to a military way of life, besides being a U.S. Navy dependent. I still recall the anxiety and challenges of being a “knob” placed on my shoulders straight out of high school. It was intense, but it taught me that I was not alone in my journey. And I could not accomplish anything by myself. The friends I made in Echo Company Class of 1991 were my brothers forged by shared hardships. The things we endured, we did it together. Being a Citadel graduate allowed me to understand that challenges and failure aren’t negative. It only means that we took a road less travelled and it has made all the difference in our lives, to include the success I have today with my U.S. Army career and my family.

Nic, a business administration major, is already achieving Dean’s List grades.

“To be honest I considered everything else but The Citadel…that was until I saw my dad’s face when we received the acceptance letter,” Nic said. “Having a sister at The Citadel, especially as a senior, has pushed me to work harder for what I want in my cadet career, to live in the moment, and enjoy making and sharing memories.”

Michelle orders her brother Nic to do pushups “for calling me sir” and does them with him in 2020.

Michelle leaves The Citadel as an Army 2nd Lieutenant, soon beginning her training as Quartermaster before leaving for her first duty station in South Korea.

cadet Michelle Banzon class of 2021

“I have made so friends and many memories that I would not trade for the world. I know for a fact that wherever I go in life, my classmates and I will have each others backs. I listened to my dad who said to enjoy the small things at The Citadel because when we look back those are going to be the big things. The past four years are going to be a chapter of my life that will be hard to beat.”

Michelle Banzon, The Citadel Class of 2021

Announcing the Class of 2021 cadet legacies

All of the cadets listed below will accept their diplomas from their alumni fathers or in some cases grandfathers and uncles named below in the righthand column.

Graduate NameAlumni Name on Program
Barnes, WilliamMr. James Timothy Barnes, ’84
Crawford, BraxtonCOL Cardon Brice Crawford, USA, Retired, ’83
Crook, JesseMr. Jimmy Byrnes Crook, ’88
Crosby, JonahMr. Joe Michael Crosby, ’91
Curtis, WilliamCOL Garth Thomas Bloxham, USA, Retired, ’74
Fortner, RayMr. Robert Ray Fortner Jr., ’85
Freeman, RobertMr. Robert Dane Freeman Jr., ’90
Hammerstone, ThomasMr. Todd Hammerstone, ’93
Harrington, BryceMr. Edward Jackson Harrington Jr., ’86
Heidt, CalahanDr. Harold Mitchell Heidt, ’75
Herring, Buddy Garrett IIDr. Robert Eugene Herring ’90
James, WarnerMr. Gregory Kendrick James, ’94
Jenkins, CliffordMr. Clifford Abbott Jenkins, ’88
Kreisler, JohnMr. John Christoper Kreisler, ’89
Massey, AidanMr. Scott Derek Massey, ’92
Mills, HunterLTC Harry Lewis Mills Sr., USA, ’58
Moorman, WilliamMr. William Talley Moorman Sr., ’86
Pappas, NicholasMr. Paul Arthur Pappas, ’92
Rathke, WilliamMr. Eric Thomas Rathke, ’93
LTC Daniel Arthur Raymond Jr., USA, Retired, ’65
Robards, FrankMr. Frank Benjamin Robards III, ’81
Shealy, CharlesMr. Gregory Gerald Shealy, ’90
Starnes, MylesMr. William David Starnes, ’76
Thomas, SethCOL Scott David Thomas, USA, Retired, ’82
Walker, JohnnyDr. Robert Hasselle Bowles, Sr. 
Webster, ColtonMr. David Richard Webster, ’90
Adams, CarsonMr. Brock Christopher Adams, ’85
Bachelor, BrentMr. Donald Hall Bachelor, ’90
Bailey, NathanMr. Donal Charles Bailey, ’83
Baker, HeathMr. Thomas Randall Baker, ’82
Banzon, MichelleCOL Roy Dominquez Banzon, USA, ’91
Bennett, CadeMr. Robert Gordon Bennett III, ’93
Brown, DrewMr. Coy Brown, ’92
Chapman, CharlesMr. Lee Chapman, ’86
Chastain, CareyPastor C. Michael Chastain, ’74
Cherry, CodyMr. Frank Thornton Cherry, ’92
Mr. Jim Marion Cherry Jr., ’61
Conrad, GraysonMr. Frederick Marshall Conrad, ’90
Curtis, MichaelMr. Joseph Curtis Sr., ’95
Diggs, TaylorMr. Lenny Diggs, ’87
Dunne, OwenCOL Charles Michael Dunne, USMC, Retired, ’90
Elmore, JacksonMr. Fred Wendell Elmore, ’84
Esteban, DanielMr. Daniel Anthony Esteban, ’93
Fuhrman, DavisMr. Michael Thomas Fuhrman, ’91
Goodwin, MichaelMr. Michael David Goodwin Sr., ’89
Hanna, JohnMr. Joseph Harrison Hanna Jr., ’79
Hill, CatherineLTC Ruston LeBarre Hill, USA, ’90
Hooks, MichaelMr. Michael David Hooks, ’88
Houser, Charles DavisMr. Shaler Philips Houser, ’91
Hudson, WilliamMr. David Knox Hudson, ’84
Johnson, DillonMr. David Douglas Johnson, ’87
Kress, PatrickMr. Adrian Christopher Kress, ’89
Mr. James Dawson Smith Jr., ’59
Maddray, James (Ian)Mr. Justin Bryce Maddray, ’94
Mr. John Thomas Maddray, ’69
Mrs. Aindrea Bree Maddray ’05
Moore, Brysyn K. Mr. Derek Moore, ’92
Moseley, CalebMr. Robert Daniel Moseley Jr., ’88
Nuttall, RyanMr. Edward Hucks Nuttall, ’91
O’Brien, John B., Jr.Mr. John Brice O’Brien, ’90
Oliver, JeraldLTC Jerald Gordon Oliver Sr., USAF, Retired, ’86
Pantsari, AnsleyCOL Matthew William Pantsari, USA, Retired, ’96
Price, CampbellMr. J. Scott Price, ’88
Rogers, ThomasHon. Thomas Edward Rogers III, ’87
Rowe, WilliamMr. Howard Hampton Wright Jr., ’84
Russell, AdamMr. William Stephen Russell, ’92
Sands, AnthonyMr. Anthony Bernard Sands Sr., ’97
Saulnier, GeorgeMr. George Irwin Saulnier Jr., ’89
Skole, AnthonyMr. Tony Skole, ’91
Smithdeal, ThomasMr. Joseph Collins Smithdeal, ’89
Swain, MatthewDr. Christopher Curtis Swain, ’81
Thompson, JasonMr. Jason Randall Thompson, ’93
Wilson, KevinCOL Thomas Graham Wilson Sr., USA, Retired, ’68
COL Thomas Graham Wilson Jr., USA, ’96
Young, GreysonMr. William Jeffrey Young, ’77
Left: Cadets Michelle Banzon, ’21, and Michael Brunet, ’22. Right side: Michelle and Michael together as young children with their fathers, Roy Banzon and Will Burnet, Class of 1991.
Citadel’s top ROTC cadets recognized for excellence Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:18:04 +0000 ROTC Awards Ceremony April 8, 2021, McAlister Field HouseROTC Awards Ceremony April 8, 2021, McAlister Field HousePhoto above: ROTC cadets at The Citadel gather for the 2020-2021 awards ceremony in McAlister Field House on April 8, 2021. The ROTC detachments at The Citadel provide cadets with leadership]]> ROTC Awards Ceremony April 8, 2021, McAlister Field HouseROTC Awards Ceremony April 8, 2021, McAlister Field House

Photo above: ROTC cadets at The Citadel gather for the 2020-2021 awards ceremony in McAlister Field House on April 8, 2021.

The ROTC detachments at The Citadel provide cadets with leadership training, to prepare them to begin their military careers as officers after graduation. About 30% of each South Carolina Corps of Cadets graduating class earn commissions into all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Through the departments, which include Air Force/Space Force ROTC, Army ROTC, Marine Corps ROTC and Navy ROTC, The Citadel is one of the nation’s proven producers of top military leaders.

Annually, the departments nominate their finest cadets and active duty students for awards. The award recipients are normally honored as a group in McAlister Field House.

This year’s award winners are as follows:

Air Force Association Cadet Medal

Presented a junior cadet in recognition of outstanding achievement in leadership and academic standing in the Air Force ROTC.

Kathryn Christmas

American Legion Military Excellence Award

Presented to Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force cadets who have demonstrated military excellence.

Carson Adams – Army
Christian Seidler – Air Force
Regina Miles – Marine Corps
Ethan Powers – Navy

Cadet Regina Miles accepts and award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award

Presented to Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force cadets who have demonstrated scholastic excellence.

Matthew Wall – Army
Caleb Moseley – Air Force
Robert Clement – Marine Corps
Aaron Gilberto – Navy

American Veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam Award

Presented to ROTC cadets for diligence, discharge of duty and willingness to serve God and country.

Harrison Hemminghaus – Army
Josiah Schainblatt – Air Force
Antonio Carbajal – Marine Corps
Logan Scronce- Navy

Cadet Harrison Hemminghouse is presented with an award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA)

Recognizes ROTC students who have demonstrated good moral character, academic excellence and potential to serve as officers in the United States Armed Forces.

Josefino Lubang– Army
Harrison R. Martin– Air Force
Jennings Woods– Marine Corps
William M. Jensen–Navy

Association of the United States Army Award

Presented to the ROTC cadet who best exemplifies leadership, is in the 1op 10% for ROTC courses, and top 25% for all cadets academically.

Alex Hart

Association of the United States Army Military History Award

Presented to a cadet who has demonstrated a strong interest in and acumen regarding the study of military history. The award is a joint project of the Association of the U.S. Army, in conjunction with the US Army Center of Military History.

Nicholas Fricchione

AT&T Veterans University ROTC Leadership Award

Presented to ROTC cadets who have displayed the ability to solve problems outside the box by using innovative thinking and carrying it through to execution.

Hunter Mills – Army
Conor Deans – Air Force
Jeremy Walker – Marine Corps
Colin Gleco – Navy

Daughters of the American Revolution Award (DAR)

Presented to one outstanding cadet from each ROTC unit who demonstrates the qualities of dependability and good character, leadership ability and a fundamental and patriotic understanding of the importance of ROTC training.

Allyson Ansell – Army
Noah Hammond – Navy
Samuel Poulin – Marine Corps
Isaac Al-Tamimi– Air Force

Chief of Naval Operations Distinguished Midshipmen Graduate Award

Honors one graduating midshipman at each NROTC Unit and midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy who demonstrate the highest standards of leadership, academic and military performance. 

Nick Piacentini

Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America Award

Recognizes outstanding upperclassmen who have demonstrated the qualities of leadership and high scholastic average, and who are highly active in student affairs.

Dante Rovere – Army
Tyler A Duben – Air Force
Ashley Coplo – Marine Corps
Alexandria Carter – Navy

Cadet Ashley Coplo accepts award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Department of the Army Superior Cadet Award

The Department of the Army provides this award annually to the outstanding ROTC cadet in each year of military science at The Citadel that is in the top 25 percent of their ROTC class and academic class.

Meth Ranaweera
Madelyn Wojciechowski
Jaret Price
William Rathke

Cadet Meth Ranaweera accepts an award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Major General Robert Frederick Leadership Award

Presented to a cadet who successfully graduates from the Leader Development and Assessment Course, is compliant with the Army ROTC contract and exhibits exceptional leadership ability and potential.

Ian Stephan

Marine Corps Association Award

Presented to a Marine option midshipman in recognition of high endeavor and superior accomplishment during four years of study at The Citadel as a Marine option student.

Joseph M. Field – Marine Corps

Marine Corps League Leadership Award

Presented to outstanding Marine and Navy seniors that have excelled in the areas of leadership, academics and military performance.

Joseph F. Field – Marine Corps
GySgt Cade Adams – Marine Corps
Andrew Brabazon – Navy
Kyle Smith – Navy

GySgt. Cade Adams accepts award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Military Officer Association of America ROTC Medal (MOAA)

Presented to outstanding cadets or midshipmen in their next-to-last year in the program who has demonstrated exceptional potential for military leadership.

Luke Meetze– Army
Luke Eafano – Air Force
Benjamin W. Stephens– Marine Corps
Austin Buttle – Navy

Military Order of the World Wars Award (MOWW)

Presented to one member in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th class from each branch of service for their diligence in demonstrating military excellence and outstanding accomplishments during the year.

Brendan Lugibuhl – Army
Hampton Rea – Army
Grant Speer – Army
Desmin Jones – Air Force
Avery Lollis – Air Force
Robert DeMarre – Air Force
Noah Plunkett – Marine Corps
Austin Miles-Curtsinger – Marine Corps
Bryce Hearsey – Marine Corps
Faith Kimpell – Navy
Dylan Wood – Navy
Paul Oelkers – Navy

Cadet Desmon Jones accepts an award at the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021. (Photo by Russ Pace for The Citadel)

National Defense Transportation Association Award (NDTA)

Recognizes a senior cadet who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities, academic achievement, and aptitude for military service.

Ronald Zappendorf – Army
Marshall Mckee – Air Force
Sgt. Ryan Skibicki – Marine Corps
Garrett Sebold – Navy

Cadet Ronald Zappendorf accepts award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

National Defense Industrial Association Award (NDIA)

Presented to a cadet who has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities.

Thomas Hammerstone – Army
James Walker – Air Force
Ryan Harper – Marine Corps
Joshua Gorczynski – Navy

National Sojourners Award

Recognizes cadets in each ROTC department who have a potential for outstanding leadership and have encouraged and demonstrated the ideals of Americanism by deed and conduct.

Malcom Jackson – Army
Lane Johnson – Air Force
Jayden Bossian – Marine Corps
Trevor Compton– Navy

Naval Submarine League Award

Presented to the top Navy ROTC graduate volunteering for the Submarine Force.

Phillip Wellons

Navy League Honors Award

Presented to the top academic performers of the personnel within the Enlisted Commissioning Programs of the Navy ROTC department.

Ssgt. John M. East – Marine Corps
Roman Kokwsky – Navy

Pallas Athene Award

Presented to a female Army cadet who showcases scholastic excellence and is outstanding in her class.

Lydia Cook – Army

Reserve Officers Association Award

Presented to cadets who have demonstrated outstanding competence in the arts and sciences of national defense.

Marcus Duncan – Army
Angela Lance – Army
Tanner Kennaw – Army
Blayne Pennartz – Air Force
James Jeffcoat – Air Force
Caleb Mosley – Air Force
Tyler Miller – Marine Corps
Cody Green – Marine Corps
Alexei Severnyak – Marine Corps
Ernest James – Navy
Sebastian Collazo – Navy
Ulysses Grisette – Navy

Society of the Daughters of the War of 1812

Presented to cadets who have significantly demonstrated and encouraged the ideals of Americanism by both deed and conduct.

Shannon Curtis – Army
Jessica Newton – Air Force
Isaac Patterson – Marine Corps
Emily Perkins – Navy

Society of the War of 1812 Award

Presented to cadets in the 3rd class who have done the most to demonstrate and encourage the ideals of Americanism by both deed and conduct.

Marie Le Gallo – Army
Emily Lund – Air Force
Christian Checkroun – Marine Corps
Jacob Ingoe – Navy

Sons of the American Revolution Award (SAR)

Presented to the outstanding Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force cadets based on military excellence and scholarship in their ROTC studies and activities.

Joshua McKinley – Army
Kenyaz Boston – Air Force
Vincent Massaro – Marine Corps
Connor Erwin – Navy

Society of American Military Engineers (SAME)

Recognizes outstanding engineering students of the Military Reserve Officers Training Corps.

Clifford Swindel – Army
JoAnna Windborn – Air Force
Alexei Severnyak – Marine Corps
Kathryn Hollingsworth – Navy

Kathryn Hollingsworth accepts an award during the 2021 Citadel ROTC Awards Ceremony in McAlister Field House on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Special Forces Association Medal of Excellence

Presented to a standout freshman or sophomore cadet who has shown scholastic excellence and military proficiency in keeping with the ideals of U.S. Special Forces.

Wilhelm Birkholz – Army
Ethan McKenzie – Air Force
Sgt. Cody Martin – Marine Corps
Jordan Kish– Navy

Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Award

Presented to outstanding cadets who have made significant contributions to demonstrate and encourage patriotism through participation in activities on campus or in the community.

John Simone – Army
Zachary Young – Air Force
Jeremy Walker – Marine Corps
Hayes Pruitt – Navy

USAA Spirit Award

Presented to students in each ROTC department that best display the traits and characteristics that embody the spirit of service to others.

Ethan Goswick – Army
Colton Parcell – Air Force
GySgt. DAnielle Beck – Marine Corps
Matthew Weaver– Navy

Col. Benjamin Vandervoort 82nd Airborne Award

Presented to an Airborne qualified MS IV.  Receives a paratrooper trophy and monetary award from the COL Benjamin Vandervoort Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association..

Jonathan Westmoreland – Army

Veterans of Foreign Wars Award (VFW)

Presented annually to seniors or juniors in each ROTC department who has achieved an outstanding academic record.

Chase Wengerd – Army
Dallas Shreeve– Air Force
Jeremy Gentle– Marine Corps
Joseph Roland– Navy

ROTC training photos from the 2020-2021 academic year

Recognizing the women ROTC leaders helping train America’s next military officers Tue, 02 Mar 2021 17:34:25 +0000 Women are -- and for decades have been -- an integral part of the team that helps the Military College of South Carolina produce so many future leaders]]>

Women’s History Month is March 1 – 31, 2021

The 40th anniversary of the formal celebration of women in the United States is March 7, 2021. According to, Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28, which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.”

At The Citadel, approximately 200 graduates accept commissions every year in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces to become officers. Women are — and for decades have been — an integral part of the team that helps the Military College of South Carolina produce so many future leaders.

U.S. Air Force/Space Force Detachment 765

The Air Force/Space Force ROTC Detachment at The Citadel is one of the largest in the nation with more than 500 cadets. The department supports The Citadel’s mission of educating and developing principled leaders, providing select cadets with the opportunity to earn a commission in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation.

There are six women in the detachment that work as professors of military science or staff. They include:

The women of The Citadel’s Air Force ROTC detachment. (Left to right: Ms. Cheryl Oliver, Maj. Kathleen Thurber, Capt. Jessica Specht, Capt. Rachel Loomis, Capt. Julie Dewey and Capt. Heather Verner)

U.S. Army ROTC Palmetto Battalion

The Citadel’s Army ROTC detachment, known as Palmetto Battalion, is the second largest of the 275 detachments across the United States Army Cadet Command.

It is comprised of cadets from The Citadel, as well as the College of Charleston, Charleston Southern University, and the Medical University of South Carolina.

The detachment supports the U.S. Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserves. There are five women in the detachment working as professors of military science or staff. They include:

  • Cpt. Laura Alvarez, professor of Military Science
  • Michelle Brown, administrative assistant
  • Sgt. Quamar Crapps
  • 1st Lt. Natalie Thompson, recruiting operations officer
The women of The Citadel Army ROTC department. (Left to right: 1st Lt. Natalie Thompson, Sgt. Quamar Crapps, Sgt. Kellin Varela and Cpt. Laura Alvarez. Not pictured: Michelle Brown)

The Citadel would like to thank all of the women working in ROTC detachments at the college for their dedication and leadership.

Women’s History Month events and resources

Feature stories and highlights honor powerful female voices in the App Store and Apple TV app, on Apple Music and Apple Arcade, and in curated collections for Apple News, Apple Podcasts, and Apple Books. Learn more here.

Classrooms without borders: Film and Discussion about Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Free public event, with preregistration required. March 7, 2021 Film and Discussion “RBG” with Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht, litigator Ann-Marie Ahern, and Prof. Jonathan Entin- moderated by attorney Courtney Cardin. Sign up here: on Spotify
Women’s History Month playlist featuring the nominees from the 2020 Grammy Awards Show. The link to the playlist is here.
Every March marks women’s history month by recognizing the contributions made and the glass ceilings broken each day by women in the U.S. ArmyNavyAir ForceMarine Corps and Coast Guard. Read a selection of featured stories here.

During the month of March, NASA celebrates and pays tribute to the many women who have played an essential role in shaping the history of the  Agency. From astronauts to specialists in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as professionals in communications, human resources, and more, women are helping NASA fulfill its mission to explore our universe for the benefit of all. Learn more here.

Naval History and Heritage Command
On 7 March 1994, the Navy issued the first orders for women to be assigned aboard a combatant ship, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Today, women serve in every rank from seaman to admiral and in every job from naval aviator to deep-sea diver. Read more here.
A collection of stories by and about women for March 2021. See the list here.

Smithsonian and National Portrait Gallery
What does a leader do? Together with educators from the National Air and Space Museum and the National Women’s History Museum, we will explore this key question in relationship to portraits of activists Sojourner Truth and Sylvia Rivera, and pilot Bessie Coleman. Register for this free event here.

Society of Women Engineers
SWE celebrates some historical figures in the field of engineering who “built American, fought for civil rights, and who were pioneers in their field.” Learn more here.

Army cadets learn leadership from one of The Citadel’s highest-ranking active duty officers Fri, 19 Feb 2021 16:41:47 +0000 Maj. Gen. David Wilson, '91, was -- virtually -- back on his old stomping grounds, teaching senior Army cadets about leadership.]]>

Photo: (top left) Maj. Gen. David Wilson, Class of 1991, speaking with Citadel cadets virtually

“If you don’t like what you do, you won’t do it well or do it long.”

A history-making graduate of The Citadel recently returned to Jenkins Hall, one of the campus locations where his Army career began many years ago.

Though Maj. Gen. David Wilson, USA, was back on his old stomping grounds, he didn’t get to stroll down memory lane. That’s because Wilson, a member of the Class of 1991, visited campus virtually via Microsoft Teams.

Wilson, the first African American Citadel graduate to become a two-star general, was participating in a day-long, virtual leadership development event, hosted by Fort Jackson.

Twelve senior Citadel cadets participated in the opportunity, which brought together senior Army ROTC cadets from nearly 20 colleges and universities. The annual Leader Professional Development Symposium — in its fourth year — included a panel discussion with junior officers and well as speed mentoring with various Army generals, including Wilson.

“Taking care of people is more than making sure that they have the means and resources to care of themselves and their families,” said Wilson during his Citadel speed session. “It’s about making sure they’re empowered and equipped to do the missions that they’re going to embark upon.”

Cadets were also given the chance to ask Wilson questions about his time in the Army, his Citadel experience and more.

Cadets asking Maj. Gen. David Wilson, ’91, questions about leadership and his experiences

“Receiving advice from a Citadel graduate, who is a general in the Army, gives me hope for my future,” said Cadet Pedro Sharpe. “This is true because advice from a graduate is more relatable. They can utilize examples from their experiences at this institution and connect them to real world scenarios.”

Wilson discussed how his time at The Citadel prepared him to operate in a diverse environment and gave him an early lesson in the importance of structure and discipline.

“The Citadel is a leadership laboratory. If you can get a senior private to shine their shoes, get their hair cut — that’s really something,” continued Wilson.

With a hands-on assist from Citadel AROTC Chief Military Science Instructor Sgt. Maj. Willie Murphy, Wilson also presented some of the attending cadets with his Challenge Coin, to honor their achievements.

“Listing to Maj. Gen. Wilson helped me realize that being a leader is about setting the example and putting your people first,” continued Sharpe. “Leadership includes you being the sole individual that is willing to put yourself on the line for your people. It also means being honest with yourself in the Corps and in the Army.”

Wilson wasn’t the only member of The Citadel family to help guide the ROTC cadets across the region. Citadel Military Science professor, Capt. Paul Najarian, sat on a junior officers’ panel, taking questions from cadets with all the participating ROTC units.

Capt. Paul Najarian during the junior officers’ panel

“It was an honor to be able to pass along some lessons that I learned the hard way,” said Najarian. “This is one of the ways in the Profession of Arms that we can continue to grow within our organization, ensuring future leaders learn from our successes and failures. Based on what I saw, and the questions I heard asked during the symposium, it is clear to me that the Army will be getting some fantastic young leaders very soon.”

Najarian also pointed out that all the cadets who participated in the program are less than 100 days away from becoming officers — making the lessons they learned at the event even more vital.

“Life isn’t so much about how much you keep for yourself, it’s about how much energy you pour into other people,” said Wilson. “And you as a leader, pouring into your subordinates, investing in them, is what’s going to allow them to achieve mission success.”

Citadel cadets, virtually joined by hundreds of ROTC cadets at other colleges, standing for the National Anthem
Excellence in Leadership: Lt. Sarah Zorn Tue, 08 Dec 2020 17:19:21 +0000 Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)Army leaders have strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serve as role models. Lt. Zorn has been recognized for her selfless care within the ‘Thunderbolt’ community.]]> Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)

As seen on DVIDSHub
Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington
By Sgt. Casey Hustin, 17th Field Artillery Brigade

Photo above: Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade) 

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — An Army Leader is anyone who by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals— 1st. Lt. Sarah Zorn, who for the past six months has accomplished that and more within the 5th battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, has her own idea of what makes a great Leader.

“You have to be competent; you have to be confident; you have to care—and a little common sense doesn’t hurt,” said 1st Lt. Sarah Zorn, an operations officer with Bravo Battery. “I feel like that philosophy kind of defines my leadership approach and who I want to be as a lieutenant.”

Zorn demonstrated her innate ability to pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization both in and outside the chain of command of the ‘Black Knight’ platoon.

“Lt. Zorn has filled the role as the headquarters platoon leader,” said Capt. Grayson Williams, Company Commander with B-Btry., 5th Bn., 3rd FAR. “She really just wants to see others succeed in her platoon. She just goes the extra mile to make sure that the platoon succeeds. Her ability to provide that insight and always the desire to learn has been instrumental in the success for the battery so far.”

From making history as the first female regimental commander at the Citadel for 2,300 cadets, to becoming a platoon leader of 20 soldiers, Lt. Zorn stays focused on doing the job at hand and doing it right.

“I think that transition from big picture to a little bit smaller picture really fundamentally is all the same,” said Zorn. “So—I come into work every day and I tell myself I’m just going to do the next right thing—whether it be the next right thing for soldiers, the next right thing for the battery—the next right thing for the team.”

Army leaders have strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serve as role models. Lt. Zorn has been recognized for her selfless care within the ‘Thunderbolt’ community.

“I’d like to highlight just how much genuine care she has for soldiers,” said Williams. “I know she has taken time out of her weekends to work on care packages for families with new babies in the battery. Lt. Zorn just wants to see the whole battery succeed, and really she shows this commitment as she volunteers her own time to really provide and deliver what the battery is asking for.”

Zorn said, “I would say to anyone who’s considering this or maybe anyone who is brand new and who is doubting themselves—this (the Army) is one of the most rewarding careers that you could ever have.”

The most successful Army Leaders, like Lt. Zorn, recognize that great organizations are built upon the mutual trust and confidence of our greatest assets—our people—who come together to accomplish peacetime and wartime missions—and so long as we continue to inspire leaders like Lt. Zorn to join us—we cannot fail.

Passing the torch Mon, 12 Oct 2020 23:00:00 +0000 In 2016, AnaMalae Tia walked onto campus at the Citadel in South Carolina with her sights set on an Army commission in 2020.]]>

Photo: U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia (right) and his wife, Mineretta (left) escort their daughter, 2nd Lieutenant AnaMalae Tia, during a ceremony at The Citadel in 2019.

As seen on the U.S. Army webpage, by Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

In 2016 AnaMalae Tia walked onto campus at the Citadel, a prestigious military academy in South Carolina, with her sights set on an Army commission in 2020. A member of a record-setting freshman class of 819 students, and one of the first to take on the rigorous nursing major, she knew the road to graduation would not be easy.

“I was sort of drawn to the challenge of it,” said AnaMalae. “Not a lot of girls go to the Citadel and that’s what drove me to work harder. And I wanted to go somewhere that no one knew my family so I could make a name for myself.”

AnaMalae shares her work ethic and her name with U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia. Most know him as a larger-than-life motivational force to be reckoned with. Anna knows him as “Dad.”

“Growing up it was always amazing to hear my dad’s heart come out when he would talk to his soldiers and motivate them,” said AnaMalae. “It’s one thing to just give an order but he always tries to give them a drive and a purpose. That’s been inspirational to me.”

U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Command Sergeant Toese Tia high fives a participant in the 2020 IMCOM-Europe Best Warrior Soldier Competition. (Courtesy: Jason Daniel Johnston, TSC Stuttgart)

On Oct. 6, Tia relinquishes responsibility as the garrison’s senior enlisted leader. With 31 years of service under his belt, Tia has led thousands of Soldiers around the world while raising a few at home. His daughter was the first in the family to commission in May. His son, Toese Jr. III, was right behind her, graduating from West Point in June.

The two officers are the newest in a long family history of service. AnaMalae believes the deeply rooted warrior ties of the Samoan culture have influenced many she knows to serve, but it’s the strong belief in taking care of others that led her to choose nursing.

“We have a saying, ‘it’s never blood that makes you family, it’s really love’,” she said. “My culture has taught me to respect others and my patients will always come first. I will treat them like family because no one wants to feel like a stranger. In the end it’s all about the relationships you build, no one can succeed alone.”

So far, the newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant has found success in making that name for herself as she made the dean’s list 6 out of 8 semesters. She was recognized by Vice President Mike Pence during a ceremony at the Citadel for her outstanding work.

“It was an honor to hear my name announced,” she said. “Growing up whenever I heard someone say Tia, I knew they were looking at my dad. Now it’s my name, on my uniform and I know they’ll be looking at me. It’s a very proud but humbling feeling.”

The siblings are entering the Army’s playing field as their father prepares to say goodbye. The Command Sergeant Major will soon hang up his uniform after more than three decades of service. He said just knowing that he’s leaving the Army in capable hands, including a few he had the privilege of shaping at home, makes saying goodbye a little easier.

“They’ve been exposed to the challenges of the military and given a perspective that only a small percentage have,” he said. “They know the stresses that families go through and I hope they use that to their advantage as they make decisions to help folks.”

As a Soldier, Tia said he can’t wait to see what his daughter and son bring to the Army team. As a father, he said he could not be more proud of what they’ve already accomplished.

U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia wears a protective gas mask while leading a physical training session for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s soldiers. (Courtesy: Photo by Becca Castellano, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.)
Remembering Col. J. W. Bradin,’58: His life of service to America and his alma mater Fri, 25 Sep 2020 15:09:42 +0000 On four occasions he was awarded America's third highest military combat medal, the Silver Star, for gallantry in action.]]>

Photo above: Col. J.W. Bradin, USA (Ret.) The Citadel Commandant of Cadets, 1984. Courtesy of The Citadel Archives.

On four occasions he was awarded America’s third highest military combat medal, the Silver Star, for gallantry in action. And among his other commendations: the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism.

For his service to his country, and his many other professional accomplishments and deeds, Col. J.W. Bradin, USA (Ret.), Citadel Class of 1958, is being remembered as a leader who personified the college’s core values of honor, duty, and respect. Bradin passed away in September of 2020, at the age of 85.

Click to read full citation

In addition to his service to America, outlined in his obituary below, Bradin served The Citadel as a Professor of Military Science while still on active duty, and later, as Commandant of Cadets from 1982-84, followed by service as a member of The Citadel Board of Visitors.

Photo of Col. J.W. Bradin, USA, taken in 1981 while he was a Professor of Military Science and head of AROTC at The Citadel. Courtesy of The Citadel Archives

His full obituary, as seen in The Post & Courier, is below.

SUN CITY, FL – It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of James W. Bradin, 85, Colonel, U.S. Army Retired. The family was able to be with him in his final moments and we now reflect on his life. Jim was born in Pinehurst, North Carolina, the son of Benjamin M. Bradin and Anna Bower Bradin.

He moved to post-war Berlin with his parents as a young child, where, among many other adventures, Jim was the first American dependent to become an Eagle Scout in Germany. This led to him taking an active role in the Boy Scouts for many, many years. As Jim grew into a rebellious teenager, his parents thought it best to send him to the Carlisle Military Academy in Bamberg, South Carolina. During his time at Carlisle, he met a girl from Orangeburg (SC) who would forever change his life. Upon graduation from Carlisle, he enrolled in The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jim loved The Citadel and the military program, but he was having a little too much fun and found it difficult to fit in time for studying. In 1958 — by the grace of God –Jim graduated from The Citadel with a degree in history and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Thankfully, he was, by now, well adapted to wearing the limited wardrobe of uniforms! During his time at The Citadel, he began to date that lovely young girl from Orangeburg, our mother, Jervey Gramling. In June of 1958, Jim made the best decision of his life when he married Jervey and they began a journey that would last for 62 years. In his words, “She is a saint. God blessed me so, by talking that lady into sharing my wild and wooly life.”

Over the next 30 years, Jim and Jervey moved to military bases all over the US, as well as Germany. In 1980, as fate would have it, Jim returned to The Citadel. He was assigned as the PMS, Professor of Military Science, followed by Commandant of Cadets. He would later serve on the Board of Visitors. Jim dedicated himself to his military career, but also made time for his family and community. He enjoyed sailing and camping with the family – dragging them along even when they did not want to go…he always encouraged his children to challenge themselves.

Throughout his career, Jim was awarded 4 Silver Stars, 2 Bronze Stars with V device, the Distinguished Flying Cross, 22 Air Medals, the Purple Heart, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, and 2 Legions of Merit.

On 14 September 2020, Jim Bradin was given his final assignment to Fiddler’s Green, where he was reunited with his fellow cavalrymen. His service to his family and nation was one of total commitment – he never did anything halfway.

He was an avid boater, military historian, and published author. He is survived by his wife, Jervey, his three children, James Bradin (Regina), Jr., Stuart Bradin (Kelly), and Michelle Holtzclaw (James), 6 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. Jim will be cremated and, upon the passing of Jervey, they will be buried together in the Beaufort National Cemetery.

Cadet James W. Bradin, The Citadel Class of 1958
Courtesy of The Citadel Archives

Take a walk in my boots at summer Army ROTC training Sat, 12 Sep 2020 10:00:00 +0000 "Due to the pandemic, the traditional training had to be cancelled. But, as their song says, 'The Army goes rolling along.'"]]>

By Cadet Ruby Bolden, 2020-21 Regimental Public Affairs Officer

No matter where they attend college, Army ROTC cadets — myself included — plan to spend the summer before senior year training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. The goal is to train and test us on how well we can lead our peers, our ability to critically think under pressure and, most importantly, how we’ll react in combat situations.

Due to the pandemic, the traditional training that I was expected had to be cancelled. But, as their song says, “The Army goes rolling along,” and that is exactly what we did.

General John R. Evans, the Commanding General of the United States Army Cadet Command, held multiple town hall meetings via Zoom to keep cadets and their cadre informed about what was to come with training. General Evans and his staff soon came up with Operation Agile Leader, to replace the training we were supposed to conduct in Kentucky. Although it was much shorter than Advanced Camp, which is a little over a month long, it was still challenging for me and my classmates.

I knew that this training would be very different from what I’m used to. In the middle of a pandemic, there are a lot of hypotheticals to consider. We were also out of school for about five months, which is more than enough time to forget a lot of things we learned during our junior year.

I can honestly say that our cadre did a wonderful job of making training both safe and possible. Upon arrival, we were issued a mask, hand sanitizer and told to always maintain social distance. Being able to keep us healthy and compile a month’s worth of training into one week shows how agile and efficient the Army really is.

We conducted our training on very familiar grounds at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Within Fort Jackson is Camp McCrady, where we conducted three full days of tactics – conducting a raid, an ambush, movement to contact and attacks. Following those long, tiring days was a day full of weapons qualification, when you must shoot targets that are 50, 150, 200 and 300 meters away.

Cadet Ruby Bolden, center, with classmates before going into the field

We also took a written Land Navigation Test that consisted of basic questions regarding protocols. After that we conducted Day and Night Land Navigation — plotting points and attempting to find those points within a certain time frame.

Not only that, but we attended a First Aid course which taught us the basics and what to do in certain combat situations when a soldier is wounded. Lastly, we ended the week with a long, exhausting 12-mile ruck march. We woke up and 3:30 in the morning and began marching at 4. The sand and high hills made it challenging to complete in four hours, but my classmates and I were determined to get there.

I was tested, both mentally and physically, during that entire week. With it raining every day, and the days running together, it was easy to get discouraged. But the time spent with my classmates made it easier to get through. The arguments about who was going to pull the next hour of guarding the weapons, experiencing artillery simulators, the encouraging words throughout the ruck march and more made it all worthwhile.

Cadet Ruby Bolden is from Augusta, Georgia and serves as a spokesperson for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets as the Regimental Public Affairs Officer. She is a senior majoring in Exercise Science and plans to accept a commission into the U.S. Army upon graduation.

Cadet Ruby Bolden during a Citadel parade in 2019