Six SC State ROTC cadets to receive U.S. Army commissions

Saturday, May 10, 2008

For 61 years, the South Carolina State University ROTC Program has commissioned more than 2,000 second lieutenants in the United States Army, including eleven who have achieved the rank of General Officer.

Six “Bulldog Battalion” cadets will soon join those ranks.

The Spring 2008 SC State Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2009, at 2 p.m. in the Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building on the SC State campus. Lieutenant Colonel (Promotable) Lentfort Mitchell Sr., ‘86, will serve as the distinguished speaker.

Six cadets are scheduled to be commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army, including Ronnie Bush, Transportation Corps; Thomas Matthews, Field Artillery Corps: Arfraja Mcleod, Aviation Corps; Tamarrow Meminger, Adjutant General Corps; Keronica Richardson, Quartermaster Corps; Tiffany Thrower, Transportation Corps.

For additional information on the Commissioning Ceremony, please contact Lt. Col. Heyward Stackhouse at (803) 536-8878.

Lieutenant Colonel (Promotable) Lentfort Mitchell Sr., ‘86, is currently attending the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

LTC (P) Mitchell is a native of Wando, S.C. He is a ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate from SC State University and has earned a masters of science (MS) in Security Management from Webster University and a MS in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He has served in a variety of operational and command assignments. The majority of his career has been spent in the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility.

Commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1986, his initial assignments included the 2nd Infantry Division, Korea and the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Battalion Adjutant. His company and field grade experiences also included numerous operational deployments throughout Latin America, short overseas tours with the Multinational Forces and Observers, Sinai, Egypt, and participated in Operation Desert Storm and Shield.

In 1992, LTC (P) Mitchell attended the Special Forces Qualification and Spanish Language Courses and branch transferred to Special Forces. His Special Forces assignments includes: two command tours in the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the United States Army Special Operations Command, the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In Jan 2001-2003, LTC (P) Mitchell completed his first of three joint assignments with Special Operations Command South (Airborne), a sub-unified command of U.S. Southern Command based in Homestead, Florida. In 2004-2006, he commanded the Detachment Two, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s forward operational base in Hanoi, Vietnam.

His military qualifications include Master Parachutist, Air Assault, Spanish Language, Ranger, and Special Forces. He is a graduate of the Infantry Basic and Advance Courses, Command and General Staff College, the former School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga, and the Joint Professional Military Education Course, National Defense University, Norfolk, Va.

LTC (P) Mitchell has numerous joint and army awards and peace and wartime decorations. He is married to the former Cheryl J. Smith (Bulldog ‘87) of Manning, S.C. The Mitchell’s have three children: sons Lentfort Jr. and Jordan, and a daughter, Logan.

The Department of Military Science was established at South Carolina State University (formerly South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College) during the 1947-48 academic year. The first graduating class in 1949 consisted of six cadets: five received Regular Army commissions and one received a Reserve commission. Since the establishment of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at SC State, 1,993 students have received commissions in the United States Armed Forces (as of Dec. 31, 2006).

The Army ROTC program was initially branch material, producing only Infantry officers. The program was supplanted in 1954 by the General Military Science Program, enabling graduating cadets to select the branch of the Army in which they were most interested and qualified. From 1947 until 1968, enrollment in the ROTC program was mandatory for able-bodied freshman and sophomore male students.

A cross-enrollment program was initiated in 1968 to permit students from other local institutions without an ROTC program to receive training at SC State and remain at the institution of their choice. To date, SC State has a cross-enrollment agreement with Claflin University, Voorhees College, Denmark Technical College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

During the 1972-73 academic year, the Department of the Army initiated, on a trial basis, a five-year program of enrolling women in ROTC. SC State was one of ten institutions selected nationwide to participate in the pilot program. The first female cadets graduated in 1976. Since that time, SC State has commissioned 254 female officers.

To date, eleven South Carolina State University Army ROTC graduates have achieved the rank of General Officer: Brigadier General (Retired) George B. Price, ‘51; Major General (Retired) James R. Klugh, ‘53; Lieutenant General (Retired) Henry Doctor, Jr., ‘54; Major General George F. Bowman, ‘69, (United States Army National Guard); Brigadier General (Retired) Julius Lawton, ‘69 (United States Army National Guard); Brigadier General Harold L. Mitchell, ‘72 (United States Air Force); Major General Larry Knightner, ‘72 (United States Army Reserves); Major General Abraham J. Turner, ‘76; Brigadier General Nolen V. Bivens, ‘76; and Brigadier General Frederick J. Johnson, ‘76. Brigadier General Amos M. Gailliard, ‘51 (United States Army National Guard), began his distinguished military career at SC State’s Army ROTC program.

In addition, two other SC State graduates have achieved the rank of General Officer in the United States Marine Corps: Major General Arnold Fields, ‘68, and Major General Clifford L. Stanley, ‘69.

The Bulldog Battalion currently averages approximately 100 cadets and is still recognized as one of the largest producer of minority officers for the United States Army.