Commandant of Cadets – The Citadel Today Mon, 06 Dec 2021 19:10:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Commandant of Cadets – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Leadership in fifty principles: a review of book written by The Citadel Commandant of Cadets Mon, 06 Dec 2021 19:10:43 +0000 Gordon’s insight is to have produced a work that offers principles but also allows readers to drill down as much or as little as they want into a topic and documents where one can devote further study.]]>

Photo: Col. Thomas Gordon, USMC (Ret.), leading the South Carolina Corps of Cadets on a spirit run on The Citadel campus

As seen in Modern War Institute at West Point

Thomas J. Gordon, Marine Maxims: Turning Leadership Principles into Practice (US Naval Institute Press, 2021)

Retired US Marine Corps Col. Thomas Gordon provides a readily accessible and thoughtful handbook for leaders at all levels based on fifty leadership principles, often hard-won, he has learned over thirty years—first as a cadet at The Citadel and then throughout his career as a Marine armor officer and senior leader. I will admit my bias at the outset, and note that I had the privilege of getting to know Tom Gordon as a leader and mentor, and the author’s voice in the book is as genuine as he is in person. Early in the book Gordon describes how he kept scores of green notebooks that he scribbled notes in over the decades, including about both extraordinary leaders he sought to emulate and those whose example he wanted to avoid. It is evident that he has deeply and thoroughly struggled with questions about not only what makes a good leader, but what the purpose of leadership is—not only how you unlock the potential of your subordinates, but why they would follow you in the first place.

Wisdom is often wasted on the young, who may question whether they have anything to learn from old warhorses who have gone before them. Those who perhaps have the most to gain from Gordon’s observations may be put off by a title that suggests it may be a dry list. It is no such thing. Gordon’s insight is to have produced a work that offers principles but also allows readers to drill down as much or as little as they want into a topic and documents where one can devote further study. The book is organized by functional areas, like “Personal Development,” and then subdivided into chapters on individual principles, such as “Find Your Blind Spots.” After illustrating these principles, frequently with examples describing how he applied or improved his understanding of the principle being discussed in the chapter during his career, Gordon offers bullet-point summaries of the key points of the chapter. Each chapter concludes with a lists of recommended books that provide relevant background for those looking to explore the chapter’s themes in greater depth. Gordon clearly agrees with the importance of developing a five-thousand-year-old mind, as well as with retired Gen. James Mattis’s exhortation that a leader who does not read widely and study the thoughts of those that came before is “functionally illiterate.” Gordon’s erudition is evident by the breadth of the sources he has gathered together in the recommended reading list. Though an obvious fan of business leadership and management gurus such as Simon Sinek and popularizers of big ideas such as Malcolm Gladwell, his readings range widely and eclectically from military fiction and nonfiction to the American founders, the Greek and Roman stoics, and the Bible.

Already from the title, it is clear that Gordon’s primary audience are Marine officers and noncommissioned officers. This is both a strength (because it speaks to a specific target set that much of the hundreds of general business management philosophy books that are produced ignore or address only incompletely) and a limitation (as it may be off-putting to a wider audience). This is unfortunate, because many in the civilian world could benefit from his lessons if they can move past unfamiliar terms, like “deck,” “hatch,” and “third point of contact.”

One insight I found particularly noteworthy was set out early in the book when Gordon wrote that leaders set the conditions to grow other leaders. An illustrative example he uses is that of Buck Bedard. As a colonel, Bedard’s subordinate battalion commanders included Lieutenant Colonel Mattis (later secretary of defense) and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neller (later Marine Corps commandant). As a major general all but one of his regimental commanders became three-stars themselves; and his assistant division commander, Brigadier General John Kelly, achieved four-star rank and became secretary of homeland security and White House chief of staff. Clearly, Bedard saw one of his primary roles was that of developing leaders.

The book is filled with useful tenets for leaders in their capacity as managers, such as “position yourself where the conditions are the worst or the friction is the greatest.” Others are as widely applicable as they are timeless. As I was reflected on the book during a long run, I thought about Gordon’s discussion of Thucydides’ account of the Thebans beating the numerically superior and legendary Spartan warriors through a commitment to their mantra of “one more, one more time.” Though it helped me push a little further in my workout, it serves the same purpose for almost anybody facing almost any challenge and speaks to the importance of developing the determination in subordinates to contribute to completing any difficult assignment, from finalizing a key business proposal before meeting with investors to grinding out the final few yards to push into the end zone. Still other reinforce Gordon’s consistent emphasis on leadership accountability, such as his suggestion that an officer should focus on those failing to enforce discipline rather than those who are lacking discipline.

Bookstore shelves are lined with too many offerings that look like Gordon’s, but are haphazardly thrown together by someone looking to cash in. Gordon’s list of principles make the book easy to organize, but the depth of thought he has given to each is apparent as he works to pass along hard-earned lessons to others coming up behind him. Gordon is, fundamentally, a teacher. His last assignment was as the director of the Command and Staff College at Marine Corps University, which gave him an opportunity to lecture, develop the curriculum, and set an example primarily to mid-level field-grade Marine officers. Upon retiring, he took on a new position as commandant of cadets at The Citadel. For those readers not in a position to learn directly from Gordon, however, Marine Maxims is a worthy substitute.

Christopher D. Booth is a career national security professional and served on active duty as a commissioned US Army armor and cavalry officer. He has extensive experience abroad, including assignments in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. He is a distinguished graduate of the Command and Staff College at Marine Corps University. He graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School and received a BA from the College of William and Mary.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

Upcoming News from The Citadel – November and December 2021 Fri, 29 Oct 2021 16:44:42 +0000 Russ Pace-The CitadelRuss Pace-The CitadelA look at some of the events happening on The Citadel’s campus, including Homecoming 2021, the Christmas Candlelight Service and more.]]> Russ Pace-The CitadelRuss Pace-The Citadel

Photo: Gen. Walters, USMC (Ret.), ’79, president of The Citadel, with the South Carolina Corps of Cadets during the Homecoming Review parade in 2019

Day of the Dead celebration

Friday, Oct. 29 – Friday, Nov. 5
Daniel Library
Free, open to the public

Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated in Latin America, when people honor their loved ones who have passed on.

The Department of History’s Day of the Dead alter in 2019

The solemn celebration of life and death is held annually on campus by the Department of History, in the Daniel Library.

A traditional “Dia de los Muertos” altar will be on display in Daniel Library from Friday, Oct. 29 – Friday, Nov. 5. Photos provided by members of the Corps of Cadets, students, faculty and staff will be included on the alter to memorialize their loved ones.

Cadets and the Witting Tree

Monday, Nov. 1 – Thursday, Nov. 11
Outside Summerall Chapel
Free, open to the public

Throughout the first 11 days of November, cadets from Lutheran Campus Ministry will hang 242 blank dog tags on the tree next to Summerall Chapel.

The cadets will hang 22 of the dog tags each day on the Witting Tree. The purpose of that number is to raise awareness that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide daily in the U.S.

This is the third year that the Chapel and members of the Corps of Cadets have participated in the national veteran suicide awareness program.

At 12 p.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Chapel will hold a brief blessing ceremony. Veteran cadets attending will be invited to remove the dog tags from the tree on that day.

Citadel nursing students hold blood pressure screening

Tuesday, Nov. 2
5 – 7 p.m.
In front of Coward Hall, The Citadel campus
Free, open to the public

Evening undergraduate nursing students from The Citadel’s Swain Department of Nursing will be using their educations to help members of the local community on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

High blood pressure, a known contributor to heart disease and stroke, led to the death of more than a half million Americans in 2019. According to the CDC, South Carolina has been identified as one of the top ten states for high blood pressure.

That’s why the nursing students will hold a blood pressure screening, from 5 – 7 p.m. in front of Coward Hall, to identify each individual’s risk factors for high blood pressure, check their blood pressure and provide education on high blood pressure prevention.  

Blood pressure screenings, early identification and intervention, and lifestyle modifications can increase health and longevity. 

Cadets’ works of art on display in Daniel Library

Friday, Nov. 5
Daniel Library, The Citadel campus
Free, open to the public

Beginning on Friday, Nov. 5, art created by sophomore cadets enrolled in The Citadel’s “Literature of War” class will be on display in Daniel Library.

The exhibit will feature around 25 pieces, collected over the last two semesters, inspired by America’s military engagements — from World War I through the Global War of Terror.

The “Literature of War” course centers on mostly veteran-written fiction and journalism, and it covers themes from combat training to PTSD. In addition to writing two formal papers, the class asks students to artistically express a moment in the reading that connects with them.

The Citadel Commandant publishes book on leadership

Wednesday, Nov. 10

A new leader at The Citadel will release a book on leadership and character development on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Drawing from 30 years of experience leading Marines, The Citadel Commandant of Cadets Col. Thomas Gordon, USMC (Ret.), ’91, wrote Marine Maxims: Turning Leadership Principles into Practice.

Col. Thomas J. Gordon, USMC (Ret.), The Citadel’s Commandant of Cadets, during Matriculation Day 2021

The book is a collection of 50 principle-based leadership lessons that Gordon acquired throughout his career, meant to provide future leaders with a professional development plan.

The book will be available at The Citadel Bookstore, Amazon and other retailers.

Baker Business Bowl VIII: Elevator Pitch round

Thursday, Nov. 11
3 p.m.
Bastin Hall Room 105, streamed via Zoom
Free, open to the public

Ten teams — made up of Citadel cadets and students — will compete for a place in the finals of the Baker Business Bowl VIII. To get into the finals, those teams must make it through the Elevator Pitch round, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 11, starting at 3 p.m.

This semi-final round consists of a five-minute summary presentation, where teams explain their potential business ideas to a panel of business experts. After the brief presentation, the judges will hold a ten-minute question and answer session with each team.

The teams competing in the semi-final round are:

  • ACE Aeronautical Engineering Consulting
  • American Drone Delivery
  • Colonic Tattoo
  • HWB Creations
  • Mercurial Fitness – Fitness for Sickness
  • Re-Store Medical Equipment
  • Ryde
  • The Auditory Assistant
  • Trident Jet Nozzle
  • Wound Closure

The top teams will move on to the final round, which will be held in February 2022. The final winning team will earn $10,000 to invest in their proposed business.

The Baker Business Bowl is a program aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs who have an idea for a new product or service, and the desire to turn that idea into a business. It’s open to cadets, evening undergraduate students, and graduate students.

Homecoming 2021

Friday, Nov. 12 – Sunday, Nov. 14
Various times
The Citadel campus
Many events are free and open to the public

Homecoming 2021, honoring the classes that end in ‘1 and ‘6, will be held on Friday, Nov. 12 – Sunday, Nov. 14.

The weekend welcoming graduates of The Citadel back to their alma mater is one of the biggest events of the year on campus.

Notable events include: an open house of Bastin Hall for donors and alumni, the Twilight Parade and Homecoming Review parade on Summerall Field, open barracks for parents and guests, a performance by the Summerall Guard and Bulldogs football versus Wofford.

For a full schedule of events, click here.

The Citadel hosts National Collegiate Rugby tournament games

Friday, Nov. 19 – Sunday, Nov. 21
Various times
The Citadel campus
Free, open to the public

The Citadel will be one of six host locations for the National Collegiate Rugby Men’s Regional Championships over the weekend of November 19-21.

The quarterfinals for the south region of both the Men’s Division II and the Men’s Small College Cohen Cup and Challenge will be held on campus.

Formed in 2020, National Collegiate Rugby evolved from the National Small College Rugby Organization, which was founded in 2007. Originally created to support the growth and development of small college rugby, the organization now serves college rugby programs of all sizes.

2021 Candlelight Service

Friday, Dec. 3 – Sunday, Dec. 5
7:30 p.m.
Summerall Chapel
Free, open to the public

After a pause due to the pandemic, one of Charleston’s longest-running and most memorable holiday traditions will return. The Summerall Chapel’s 2021 Christmas Candlelight Services will be held on Friday, Dec. 3 – Sunday, Dec. 5. at 7:30 p.m. 

Cadets from the Corps, Praise Band, Catholic and Gospel Choirs, together with members of The Citadel Regimental Band will join together to provide the holiday celebration that members of The Citadel family look forward to each year.

As in the past poinsettias will be used to decorate the chapel; they may be purchased for $12 each, in honor of a loved one, and then picked up on Monday after the last service. To place an order, call Geri Jones, chapel administrative assistant, at 843-953-5049. The Chapel office must receive these requests no later than Friday, Nov. 19. 

Cookies, Cocoa and Coding

Saturday, Dec. 4
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thompson Hall, The Citadel campus
Free, open to the public

The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence has a unique way to help get students into the Christmas spirit. It’s called “Cookies, Cocoa and Coding” and there are plenty of all three!

The event will be from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 in Thompson Hall, on The Citadel’s campus.

Students and parents are invited to come to the event, which features coding tutorials and treats, including cookies, cocoa and coffee. Students will use’s tutorials, in order to practice different concepts and skills within computer science.

The event is free and open to students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

To register, click here.

Events from The Citadel Athletics

Media should contact John Brush Assistant AD for Athletic Communications

The Citadel Wrestling vs. Queens

Wednesday, Nov. 3
7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)
McAlister Field House
Free, open to the public

The Citadel Wrestling Bulldog Open Tournament

Saturday, Nov. 6
9 a.m. (Doors open at 8 a.m.)
McAlister Field House
Tickets starting at $10 for adults and $5 for children

The Citadel Basketball Home Opener & Veterans Day

Friday, Nov. 12
12 p.m. (Doors open at 11 a.m.)
McAlister Field House
Tickets starting at $12

Athletics would like to invite the retired veterans and active-duty military members of The Citadel community to be honored at our halftime ceremony celebrating Veterans Day. A limited number of free tickets will be provided through the Holy City Hero initiative for those participating in the halftime ceremony. If you are interested in participating, please contact with your name, rank and branch.

The Citadel Football Homecoming 

Saturday, Nov. 13
2 p.m. (Main Gates open at 12:30 p.m.)
Johnson Hagood Stadium
Tickets starting at $17

The Citadel Basketball vs. Carver College

Thursday, Nov. 18
7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)
McAlister Field House
Tickets starting at $12

Athletics will be collecting canned food at the doors to help the Charleston Community. Fans can also drop off items at the McAlister Field House Ticket Office the week leading up to the game. 

The Citadel Commandant of Cadets Capt. Geno Paluso retires from post Thu, 01 Jul 2021 14:56:02 +0000 Captain Geno Paluso addressing freshmen in 2018Captain Geno Paluso addressing freshmen in 2018Paluso has served in the position since 2014. He will be replaced by Colonel Thomas J. Gordon, USMC, The Citadel Class of 1991.]]> Captain Geno Paluso addressing freshmen in 2018Captain Geno Paluso addressing freshmen in 2018

As seen on ABC News 4, by Bailey Wright

Wednesday marked the last day of Captain Eugene “Geno” Paluso’s service as the Citadel Commandant of Cadets.

Paluso, USN (Ret.), ’89, has served in the position since 2014. His last day was June 30. He will be replaced by Colonel Thomas J. Gordon, USMC, The Citadel Class of 1991.

A native of Washington, Pennsylvania, Paluso attended college at The Citadel where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics in 1989, according to the college. His military career started in the Navy after being commissioned an ensign upon graduation. He reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in California, where he graduated with Class 164 in 1990.

Paluso served as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer for more than 25 years, before retiring from the Navy in July 2014 and returning to the Citadel as Commandant of Cadets.

His leadership roles include commanding special operations forces in the Balkans, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and leading men and women in combat at varying levels. He holds a Master’s of Military Science from the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College as well as a Master’s of Science in National Security Strategy Resourcing from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Paluso has received numerous service awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Joint Commendation Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (5), Joint Achievement Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal.

Paluso was the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2021 commencement speaker.

The new Commandant of Cadets, Gordon, was announced in March. Gordon is a 1991 graduate of The Citadel and served in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) for 30 years, according to The Citadel.

“Colonel Thomas J. Gordon, USMC, The Citadel Class of 1991, brings a wealth of leadership, operational, and academic experience to the role. I am certain he will build on the strong foundations set by Captain Geno Paluso…The Corps will continue in good hands,” said Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC, (Ret.).

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.

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.