Photo above: The Citadel Regimental Commanding Officer, Cadet Col. Kathryn Christmas, ’22, front left, and VMI’s Regimental Commanding Officer, Cadet First Captain Kasey Meredith, ’22, front right, leading their respective Corps of Cadets in a salute on the football field during a military fly over at Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina, when the two Senior Military Colleges played the Military Classic of the South football game, Oct. 2, 2021.
This year marks the first time both Corps of Cadets from The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute (VMI) are led by regimental commanders who are women.
The Senior Military Colleges took time to recognize this moment in history on Oct. 2 at two events held on The Citadel campus in Charleston, South Carolina. During Parents’ Weekend at The Citadel the college also hosted VMI for the annual Military Classic of the South football game. The confluence of events provided the opportunity for the regimental commanders of both institutions to meet in person.
“As the nation’s military culture continues to evolve with more and more women in commanding roles, so to should the country’s Senior Military Colleges,” said The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.), ’79. “We are pleased to welcome Cadet First Captain Kasey Meredith, Virginia Military Institute’s first female regimental commander, to The Citadel as she joins Cadet Col. Kathryn Christmas for this historic moment when for the first time, the Corps of Cadets of both colleges are being commanded by women.”
The second woman to command the South Carolina Corps of Cadets at The Citadel is Cadet Col. Kathryn Christmas. Christmas is from Easley, South Carolina and is a Mechanical Engineering major attending with a U.S. Air Force contract. The Citadel’s first woman regimental commander was Cadet Col. Sarah Zorn in 2018. VMI’s Cadet First Captain, Kasey Meredith, is that institution’s first woman commander. The Johnstown, Pennsylvania native is majoring in International Studies and will accept a commission into the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduating in May.
“I am honored to serve alongside the first female Regimental Commander of VMI. We do not compete as rivals; we are equals, facing a common challenge,” said the Christmas, ’22.
The regimental commanders at both colleges are responsible for the success and well-being of all cadets in their Corps, most of whom are 18 – 21 years old, and all are undergraduate students. The commanders are supported by regimental staffs, cadet officers and cadet non-commissioned officers. The Citadel has approximately 2,300 cadets. VMI’s Corps is comprised of about 1,700 cadets.
The regimental commanders were formally introduced to the audience watching the Parents’ Weekend military review parade on Summerall Field by the parade announcer. The women greeted each other and exchanged uniform covers (hats).
“Today was another historic day in the history of the Virginia Military Institute. The meeting between the two regimental commanders, Ms. Meredith and Ms. Christmas, is one that many believed would never be possible,” said the VMI Superintendent, Maj. Gen, Cedric T. Wins, USA (Ret.), ’85. “I am proud of these two young leaders and look forward to being amazed at what they are able to accomplish in the future.”
Additionally, the two commanders were introduced to people in the stands at Johnson Hagood Stadium watching the football game. After the first quarter, the women were called onto the field to be recognized by the cadets they lead, many of whom were in attendance.
“It was a pleasure meeting The Citadel’s Regimental Commander, Ms. Christmas. We are alike in a noticeable way, being both females,” said Meredith, ‘22. “However, what is truly important and pivotal is the relationship we are growing with each other as leaders, not as rivals. We are both leading our respective corps and through our successes and failures and we have each other to lean on and to learn from.”
The U.S. has six, federally designated Senior Military Colleges providing a combination of higher education and military training. Unlike the service academies, however, the cadets attending Senior Military Colleges are not required to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, though many do, graduating as military officers.
THIS YEAR IS THE FIRST TIME BOTH CORPS’ OF CADETS FROM THE CITADEL AND VIRGINIA MILITARY INSISTUTE ARE LED BY REGIMENTAL COMMANDERS WHO ARE WOMEN.
CADET FIRST CAPTAIN MEREDITH, THE REGIMENAL COMMANDER FOR THE VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE NOW MOVES TO THE REVIEWIING AREA TO MEET WITH CADET COLONEL CHRISTMAS AND EXCHANGE COLLEGE MEMENTOS.The Citadel Parents’ Weekend dress parade announcer, Cadet Shiloh Smiles