Army – The Citadel Today Fri, 10 Dec 2021 15:19:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Army – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Biden reportedly preparing to award Medal of Honor to SC Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan Fri, 10 Dec 2021 15:18:59 +0000 Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz attended The Citadel from 2004 – 2006 before leaving the college in good standing to enlist in the Army.]]>

Note: Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz attended The Citadel from 2004 – 2006 before leaving the college in good standing and enlisting in the Army in 2007. His name is included on The Citadel War Memorial, a monument on campus honoring former members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets who sacrificed their lives for their nation.

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Thomas Novelly

President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing to award the Medal of Honor posthumously to a Citadel cadet-turned-Army Ranger from Summerville whose death at the hands of enemy gunfire in Afghanistan helped save his fellow soldiers. 

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz, 32, was believed to be a part of a CIA effort to capture or kill militant targets at a time when the broader U.S. military mission was geared toward training and supporting Afghan defense forces.

A Dec. 8 report from The Washington Post said the South Carolinian is among two other soldiers, Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee and Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq that could be awarded the military’s highest honor for valor as soon as next week. 

Celiz, a Summerville native, died July 12, 2018, from wounds suffered as a result of enemy small-arms fire in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktiya province.

The combat engineer with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment exposed himself to enemy gunfire to protect a helicopter that was carrying out a medical evacuation, per an Army report about the incident.

The pilot, Capt. Ben Krzeczowski, said he would have died if it weren’t for the actions of the Summerville native.

“My aircraft would have been critically damaged if it weren’t for Chris, and we owed him our lives.” Krzeczowski told the Army.

Celiz’s wife, Katherine, told The Post and Courier she didn’t want to comment until the White House made an official statement.

White House and Pentagon personnel did not respond to questions from The Post and Courier on Dec. 9. 

The Post reported the medals could be delivered as soon as Dec. 16, basing its story on comments from four current and former U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of an expected White House announcement.

Celiz’s roots in the Palmetto State run deep. He attended Summerville High School and later The Citadel, where he was enrolled for two years before enlisting in 2007. At the time of his death, he was on his fifth deployment as an Army Ranger.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-Charleston, praised Celiz’s courage and said the Citadel cadet’s dedication to the country wouldn’t be forgotten. 

“Because of his heroic deeds, Sgt. First Class Celiz will be posthumously awarded the congressional Medal of Honor,” said Mace, a Citadel graduate. “Today, and every day, our hearts are with Sgt. First Class Celiz and his family.”

To be considered for the Medal of Honor, a deed performed by the service member must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life.

By law, Medals of Honor must be awarded within five years of the combat action recognized, but in legislation passed early this year, Congress made additional consideration for Cashe, Plumlee and two other soldiers. Celiz’s death fell within the half-decade time frame.

The White House’s anticipated announcement comes as Biden faces criticism for harried withdrawal from Afghanistan that left at least 13 service members dead as well as some American and Afghan partners stranded under Taliban rule.

In the nearly 20 years America spent in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11, an estimated 101 service members from South Carolina died, according to a review of data from the Military Times and

Nearly 20 graduates from The Citadel died overseas during the wars, according to the school’s website.

Read more on ArmyTimes

The Citadel and service members: united by a flag Thu, 01 Jul 2021 19:47:50 +0000 There are two new flags in the Veteran Student Success Center that highlight the college’s strong support and connection with the military.]]>

There are two new flags in The Citadel’s Veteran Student Success Center that highlight the college’s strong support and connection with the military.

It started with a simple overseas request in late 2020.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Powell was based in Old Camp Vance in Afghanistan when he realized that he wasn’t the only person with a Citadel connection.

Powell, a student in The Citadel’s College Transfer Program, enrolled in 2019 after completing three deployments. He studied criminal justice for a year before taking a break to go on his fourth deployment.

While stationed at Old Camp Vance, Powell met six Citadel alumni, as well as many supporters of the college. With the strong Citadel presence in mind, he reached out to Sally Levitt, assistant director for veteran services, to ask for a Citadel flag for the service members to sign and return.

In addition to a Citadel flag, Levitt and other members of the campus community sent care packages to the troops. Then, a few months later, the signed flag returned, accompanied by an American flag that had flown over Old Camp Vance.

“I always want to encourage people that help me and show them support as much as I can,” said Powell.

Both flags are now proudly displayed in the lounge area of the Veteran Student Success Center.

“Being able to provide services, both on campus and abroad, for military connected students is an truly an honor,” said Levitt. “I could not be more proud of our veteran and active duty students. Through their challenges and sacrifices, they epitomize what it means to be a principled leader.”

Powell has completed his fourth deployment and returned to South Carolina. He will resume his studies at The Citadel in the fall.

“I’ve always regretting not going to The Citadel directly after high school – I went in a different direction and joined the Army,” said Powell. “But I’m trying to circle back now and graduate from The Citadel.”

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.   

A Memorial Day message from the First United States Army, narrated by Citadel alumnus Sun, 30 May 2021 14:22:51 +0000 Watch as First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr., Citadel Class of 1985, honors the memory of Cpl. Bryant J. Luxmore.]]>

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

From the First United States Army

Cpl. Bryant J. Luxmore was assigned to 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. He was killed in action by enemy small-arms fire while conducting security operations in and around Panjwai, Afghanistan, June 10, 2012. He is buried at the Hopewell Cemetery in New Windsor, Illinois.

Watch as First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr., honors his memory.

Governor McMaster awards Order of the Palmetto to two pillars of The Citadel Wed, 05 May 2021 21:08:41 +0000 Two lifelong leaders who gave their time and talent to The Citadel are the newest recipients of South Carolina's highest civilian honor.]]>

Two lifelong servant leaders — who have dedicated much of their time to The Citadel — are the newest recipients of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

The Order of the Palmetto is awarded to citizens of South Carolina for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance.

On Wednesday, May 5, Gov. Henry McMaster visited The Citadel to present the award to both Commandant of Cadets Capt. Eugene “Geno” Paluso, USN (Ret.), ’89 and Lt. Col. Pam Barton, USA (Ret.), the Assistant Commandant for Operations and Training.

Both Paluso and Barton will retire from The Citadel this year, after years of service to the Military College of South Carolina.

Read segments from the nomination applications for these two servant leaders below:

Lt. Col. Pam Barton

I hope that I leave here in the thought that I gave it my all, like an athlete on a field, I played my best game — my most important one — and I left it all there.

Lt. Col. Pam Barton, USA (Ret.), after receiving the Order of the Palmetto award.

Lt. Col. Pamela (‘Pam’) S. Barton, USA (Ret.), is a Florence native, graduate of The University of South Carolina, and since her retirement from active Army service after 28 years in 1999, a resident of Folly Beach and integral member of The Citadel staff. Pam will retire from The Citadel in the summer of 2021 after a lifetime of devotion to our nation and South Carolina.

Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1974, Barton commissioned as an Army Officer in a time the military was reeling after Vietnam, and female officers were few and far between. Women were excluded from many branches of the service, and opportunities were few. This did not deter the determined 2nd Lieutenant Barton. Simply put, she was a trailblazer in the Army.

As a Signal Corps Officer, she was one of the first Airborne-qualified female soldiers, amassing over 500 military and sport jumps, and appeared with the 82nd Airborne Division Sport Parachute Demonstration Team. Pam’s Army career was characterized by roles of increasing responsibility in Communications, Logistics and Training throughout the United States and Europe.

Barton joined The Citadel as a TAC (Teach-Advise-Coach) Officer in 1999 and was promoted to her current role as Assistant Commandant for Operations and Training in 2006. Very little occurs on campus without her fingerprint. She supervises all cadet training while acting as the Commandant’s liaison to all campus services including the laundry, bookstore and mess hall. Under her direction, these activities evolved, becoming more systematic and organized each year. The support services she coordinates show a marked increase in quality and reliability for the cadets, making The Citadel a more effective producer of quality graduates.

Her legacy at The Citadel is indelible…Most critically, Pam shows everyone ‘what right looks like.’ This is a powerful message in an environment historically dominated by male cadets and staff. The impression on two-plus decades of cadets and alumni cannot be overstated. Her retirement this summer is a loss, but well-deserved. We built better leaders and citizens for South Carolina as a result of Pam’s efforts.

A segment of the letter of recommendation from Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.), ’79, president of The Citadel

Click here to learn more about Barton’s career and read more from the letters of recommendation.

Capt. Eugene “Geno” Paluso, Class of 1989

Nobody gets here by themselves, and I’ve got some old teammates in the back of the room from the past, and I’ve got a lot of teammates from the present…this is your award just as much as it is my family’s award.

Capt. Geno Paluso, USN (Ret.), after receiving the Order of the Palmetto award.

In June 2021, Capt. Eugene (“Geno”) F. Paluso, USN (Ret.), concludes seven years of service as The Citadel’s Commandant of Cadets. Prior to his time at The Citadel, he completed 25 years as a Naval Officer and SEAL (SEa, Air, Land) Special Operations warrior, and four years as a Citadel cadet.

Captain Paluso deployed 11 times into combat, undertaking some of the most secretive and challenging tasks given to our military. He then returned to South Carolina to serve The Citadel and its young men and women.

The importance of the Commandant to The Citadel lifestyle and cadet experience cannot be overstated­. He oversees the very things making The Citadel a unique place. The Commandant controls cadet life outside academics and NCAA athletics. The military system, discipline, barracks life, clubs, intramurals and other activities are all part of his portfolio. In this effort, the Commandant leads a 100 person department, and serves as a college Vice President.

With The Citadel core values Honor, Duty and Respect as the foundation, Captain Paluso put in place not just disciplinary measures but training emphasizing servant leadership and teamwork. He understood while The Citadel prided itself on an ‘adversarial’ system designed to challenge new cadets, the school was missing opportunities to build truly effective leaders. The focus was not just on the challenges of freshman year — he built a continuum of leadership development over all four years a cadet spends in the barracks. Cadet life was no longer merely about enduring freshman year followed by simply adhering to regulations the following three — everyone was expected to play a part, serve those they led and train those in their charge.

His impact on our 2,300 cadets far exceeds this brief description. Captain Paluso is on duty 24/7 any time cadets are on campus, including holiday and summer breaks. He is a leader, and in spite of being the head disciplinarian, the greatest mentor, advocate and friend to every cadet entering our gates. A planned retirement in June 2021 leaves a great gap at The Citadel.

A segment of the letter of recommendation from Col. Myron Harrington, USMC (Ret.), ’60, chairman of The Citadel Board of Visitors

Click here to learn more about Paluso’s career and read more from the letters of recommendation.

News 2 honors 2021 Remarkable Women of the Lowcountry, including Lt. Col. Pam Barton Fri, 02 Apr 2021 20:32:52 +0000 21 years of service at The Citadel, 28 years in the military: Lt. Col. Pam Barton is a trailblazer and role model for women.]]>

As seen on WCBD – Count on 2

Four women were honored for being remarkable leaders in the community during a celebration Friday aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum on News 2 Today.

News 2 and parent company, Nexstar Media Group, wanted to acknowledge the great contributions that women have made to our nation and local communities in honor of International Women’s Month.

For weeks back in December, members of the community were invited to nominate women who inspire, lead, and forge the way for others – not just one day or month, but day-in and day-out – to be considered for our Remarkable Women initiative.

All essay submissions were judged and ranked by a special panel leading to our four finalists.’

During News 2 Today, one winner of the four finalists was selected to be named the Lowcountry’s most Remarkable Woman for 2021 and received a $1,000 donation to the charity of her choice.

This year’s nominees included Lt. Col. Pamela Barton, Dr. Romina Ilic, Ragina Saunders, and Pat Walker – four women, all positive role models.

Dr. Ilic, an anesthesiologist and director of the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Roper St. Francis was named the 2021 winner.

Rep. Nancy Mace, The Citadel Class of 1999, also joined the program to honor this year’s Remarkable Women and discussed her time at The Citadel

Read more about Lt. Col. Pam Barton, by WCBD’s Amaris Jenkins

More than 21 years of service at The Citadel after 28 years in the military, Lieutenant Colonel Pamela Barton is a trailblazer and role model for women.

“When I joined the Army, I joined the Army. So that in itself to me was just the catapult, the keystone for my career,” said Lt. Col. Barton.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Lt. Col. Barton is a native of Florence, South Carolina. A direct commission into the United States Army in 1974, Barton’s strength was tested daily.

“There were a lot of things that were evolving as far as women in the Army, and I was fortunate enough to be engaged in a lot of those opportunities that were being given to women,” she said.

But she enjoyed it. Even making an appearance with the 82nd Airborne Sport Parachute Demonstration Team.

“I ended up in Lugau and started jumping out of airplanes for fun,” she said.

Retiring as a lieutenant colonel, Barton joined The Citadel in 1999 as a TAC officer during a time when being a woman at the military college wasn’t easy.

“They were looking for women to come in and be part of the experience here on the military side of the house, as opposed to they had women faculty,” she stated.

But she was up to the task. Earning rewards, promotions, and even helping execute a plan to keep Cadets safe during the COVID-19 crisis, her work speaks for itself.

“It’s long days. It’s physical training there in the morning, whether it’s with the cadets or personal, because it’s part of who I am.”

A cancer survivor with an impact hard to measure – now set to retire, Barton’s story teaches resilience and compassion.

“It means a lot that I’ve been able to contribute. It means a lot that I’ve been part of the opportunity and the growth of this place,” she said.

On all fronts – both personal and professional – Lt. Col. Pamela Barton is a remarkable woman.

“I guess I’m gonna leave knowing that I had my finger prints on a lot of stuff,” she said.

Engineering professor uses sabbatical to strengthen collaboration between The Citadel and Army Research Lab Mon, 15 Mar 2021 15:21:17 +0000 Mazzaro has been working closely with Army researchers to develop a unique type of radar for detecting deadly hazards.]]>

Electrical engineering professor Gregory Mazzaro, Ph.D., splits time between labs at The Citadel and ARL’s headquarters in Adelphi, MD

Gregory Mazzaro, Ph.D., a professor in The Citadel’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is using his sabbatical, awarded for 2020-21, to focus full-time on research that he’s been conducting with the Army. Since August, Mazzaro has been working closely with Army researchers in Adelphi, MD to develop a unique type of radar as part of a suite of sensors for detecting deadly hazards.

Since joining The Citadel in 2013, Mazzaro has worked part-time as a consultant for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL) on several different technologies, including:

  • Harmonic radar — for detecting electronics such as those used to trigger explosives
  • Acoustic radar — for finding metallic objects such as landmines
  • Passive radar — for locating radio-frequency circuits such as those found in (2-way) communications gear and (1-way) scanner/listening devices

Mazzaro and his colleagues in the Sensors & Electron Devices Directorate at ARL have developed a variety of novel techniques for implementing these radars. This past spring, his team was awarded a pair of patents:

  • Method and Apparatus for Detecting Objects using a Combination of Radio and Acoustic Signals (US patent # 10,564,280)
  • Passive Non-Linear Synthetic Aperture Radar and Method Thereof (US patent # 10,649,080)

To date, Mazzaro is a named inventor on nine radar-related patents.

This year, Mazzaro and his team at ARL’s Adelphi Laboratory Center (ALC) designed, fabricated, programmed and tested a non-linear junction detector (“non-linear radar”) intended to be carried by a mobile platform (e.g. a drone) for detecting explosives. The initial design of the radar was conceived by Mazzaro; specifications were guided by experiments that he conducted on-site during prior summers at ALC. 

One of Mazzaro’s teammates, technician Khalid Salik of Ideal Innovations Inc., fabricated a prototype transceiver for transmitting very clean high-power probe signals while receiving very low-power radar-target responses. Another of Mazzaro’s teammates, Army electronics engineer Kyle Gallagher, programmed the software-defined-radio controller which generates and captures radar waves through that transceiver. In the fall, Mazzaro traveled to ALC to test the capability of this radar hardware to detect particular targets-of-interest, in different configurations:

  • At different distances away from the radar
  • Behind walls (i.e. inside nearby buildings)
  • Near ground (i.e. at different heights above a dry sandy surface)

Between his trips to ALC, Mazzaro processed the data he collected into actionable information which fed back into multiple redesigns of the radar. The latest incarnation of the radar was successfully tested in a desert environment as part of the Army’s Blood Hound Gang Program

This spring, Mazzaro is using his lab at The Citadel — an anechoic chamber located in the old coin-laundry building behind Letellier Hall — to evaluate his team’s radar against targets placed in different orientations (e.g. tilted, upside-down). Data that he gathers will further refine the radar’s design — widening its capabilities while reducing its size, weight, power and cost.

Despite not teaching, Dr. Mazzaro enjoys staying in-touch with his fellow Electrical & Computer faculty and students. “I bump into my students in Grimsley Hall and they ask me, ‘Aren’t you on sabbatical?’ and I say ‘Yes, of course.’ Then I smile and wait for the inevitable, ‘Hold on, what is a sabbatical?’ to which I reply, ‘I’m excused from teaching, which means I have more time to do real engineering.’”

With three more papers he’s written, expected to be released in conference proceedings this April, Mazzaro will reach a personal milestone: 100 technical publications. “I need to share credit for that accomplishment with my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Michael Steer of North Carolina State University. He emphasized equal importance for both sides of research: advance the state-of-the-art, and communicate your advances to the scientific community.”

Mazzaro looks forward to sharing the latest-and-greatest in radar technology with his students when he returns to teach ELEC 426 Antennas and Propagation in June.

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
Four finalists announced in search for new Commandant of Cadets Fri, 05 Feb 2021 21:34:23 +0000 The Citadel Commandant of Cadets is responsible for the command, leadership development and oversight of the 2,300-member Corps of Cadets.]]>

Finalists to make presentations on campus

There are four finalists in The Citadel’s search for the next Commandant of Cadets.

The Citadel Commandant of Cadets is a vice presidential position that is responsible for the command, leadership development and oversight of the 2,300-member South Carolina Corps of Cadets and is crucial to the success of the Military College of South Carolina.

The finalists include:

Col. Thomas J. Gordon, U.S. Marine Corps

Col Tom Gordon headshot

Gordon graduated from The Citadel in 1991, becoming a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) officer. He retires from military service in May 2021 after 30 years. Gordon is currently the Director of the Command & Staff College at Quantico, Virginia, one of the four Department of Defense Professional Military Education Colleges where he leads the development of future commanders of the joint force with graduate level education. Previously he served as the Chief of Staff to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, supporting the coordination of policy, plans, and decisions governing the manning, training, and resourcing of nearly 200,000 Marines and 13,000 civilian employees with an annual budget of $42 billion. Examples of other positions include serving as a Resident Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and as Commanding Officer for a 4,000 member organization executing world-wide combat operations that provided the communications, intelligence, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, supporting arms integration, and liaison capabilities for the USMC. Gordon holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Webster University and studied as a Fellow of International Relations and National Security with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Col. Michael McDonald Larsen, U.S. Army

Col. Michael McDonald Larsen, U.S. Army

Larsen graduated from The Citadel in 1992 and has served in the U.S. Army as an active duty Infantry Officer for 28 years. Larsen is currently Deputy Commanding Officer for the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson where he is second in command over the Basic Combat Training of 50,000 soldiers annually (1,000 weekly during the coronavirus pandemic). Prior to that, he was Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Africa, supervising 20 colonels and their directorates with responsibility to respond to contingencies and security cooperation activities in 53 countries on the African continent. Larsen also spent time as a Garrison Commander in the Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Island, where operations included a $4 billion test range and leading the community of 2,000 military service people and civilian contractor workers there. Larsen was the Brigade Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer for 1st Brigade 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, with combat service in Iraq. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in History from The Citadel, Larsen holds a Master’s of National Security and Strategic Students from the U.S. Naval War College, and a Master’s of Military Art and Science from the School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth.

Capt. M. T. Meilstrup, U.S. Coast Guard

Meilstrup graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Academy in 1992 and continues to serve the USCG. He is currently Senior Manager, Logistics and Business Operations for the USCG, directing enterprise-level logistics policy, procedures and integrated assessments and business operations for the nearly $2 billion directorate. Meilstrup spent 18 years aboard ships and, thus far, 11 years in command roles. For four years he commanded the Coast Guard’s three-masted EAGLE sail-training ship leading over 2,000 officer trainees through 80 different ports and on four trans-Atlantic voyages. Other assignments included serving as Senior Manager/Adviser in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Chief, External Affairs and Heritage for the USCG. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences from the USCG Academy, Meilstrup holds three master’s degrees: one in Strategic Studies from U.S. Marine Corps University, a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, and a Master of Business Administration from Regis University.

Col. Scott Nahrgang, U.S. Air Force

Nahrgang graduated from The Citadel in 1996 and became an officer in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). He continues to serve almost 25 years after his commission. Nahrgang is currently Chief of Command and Control, Electronic Warfare and Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Strategic Plans and Programs, at the USAF headquarters in the Pentagon. Previously, he led intelligence operations as group commander at Beale AFB for the 548 ISR Group, a 24/7 combat mission entity. Earlier, Nahrgang commanded the Department of Defense’s largest multi-service intelligence training unit, composed of 375 instructors teaching 6,400 joint-service students each year. He was deployed as the executive officer to the Secretary of Defense Representative in Europe and Defense Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and the Defense Intelligence Policy Advisor for the U.S. Mission to NATO. In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in English from The Citadel, Nahrgang holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University and a Government Affairs Institute Legislative Studies Certificate from Georgetown University.

About the search

The search was initiated in November following an announcement by The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters about the upcoming retirement of current commandant, Captain Geno Paluso, USN (Ret.), ‘89, at the end of the current academic year.

Some of the position requirements include:

  • Extensive military background with a minimum of 20 years of service in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and attained the rank of Colonel (O-6)
  • Background in the command of military units (O-6 level) is required in order to provide the senior leadership for the Corps of Cadets
  • The Commandant must also have ONE of the following:
    · Experience at a Senior Military College
    · Experience at a Federal Service Academy
    · Graduated from a Senior Military College or from a Federal Service Academy

The Commandant Search Committee members are as follows:

  • Col. Tom Philipkosky, USAF (Ret.), ’82, senior vice president for Operations and Administration (chair)
  • Col. Pete McCoy, vice chair for The Citadel Board of Visitors
  • Faith Rivers-James, J.D., assistant provost for Leadership
  • Col. Leo Mercado, USMC (Ret.), ’79, former Commandant of Cadets
  • Jay Dowd, Ph.D., president and CEO, The Citadel Foundation

Presentation dates

The finalists will provide presentations on campus at noon on these dates:

  • Col. Tom Gordon – February 22
  • Capt. Matt Meilstrup – February 24
  • Col. Mike Larsen – February 26
  • Col. Scott Nahrgang – March 1

The presentations will take place in the Bond Hall 165 auditorium, with very limited, socially-distanced seating on a first come, first served basis. The presentations will also be shown live via Zoom. The link will be provided to the campus community prior to each presentation via email and advertised via The Citadel’s social media accounts. Zoom participants will be able to send in questions via Zoom’s chat function.

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.)