Commentary: 60 years of ROTC at SC State

Monday, April 16, 2007

13 SC State graduates have achieved the rank of General Officer in the United States Armed ForcesBy Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr.

To provide for the common defense is one of the mandates included in the Constitution of the United States. South Carolina State University through its Reserve Officers’ Training Corp has been providing military leaders for the past 60 years. The Reserve Officers’ Training program, now celebrating its 60th Anniversary, was established at South Carolina State University during the 1947-48 academic year. The first graduating class in 1951 included six cadets, five of whom received Regular commissions and one received a Reserve commission.

 

Today, 60 years later, the University has commissioned over 1,993 through this program. Of the 1,933 commissioned, 254 of them were females. The program traditionally has been one of the leading producers of minority officers for the Army. These officers have been well trained and have represented the University and this nation in gallant fashion. The University is proud of the achievements of all its Army ROTC graduates, but particularly notes the thirteen who have achieved the rank of General Officer. These include:

  • Brigadier General (Retired) George B. Price, ’51, (Army)
  • Major General (Retired) James R. Klugh, ’53, (Army)
  • Lieutenant General (Retired) Henry Doctor, Jr., ’54, (Army)
  • 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, (Army)
  • Brigadier General Nolen V, Bivens, ’76, (Army)
  • Brigadier General Frederick J. Johnson, ’76, (Army)
  • Brigadier General Amos M. Gailliard, ’51, (United States Army National Guard)
  • Major General Arnold Fields, ’68, (United States Marine Corps)
  • Brigadier General Clifford L. Stanley, ’69, (United States Marine Corps)

 

Additionally, some of the graduates have held prestigious assignments. Major General Abraham Turner served as the Commanding Officer of Fort Jackson, the largest Army Training Base; in 1983, Second Lieutenant Jerrette Lee, SCSC ’83, was chosen as the winner of the coveted Hughes Award and became the first African American and first graduate of a Historically Black College to receive this honor; and Colonel Stephen Twitty led an infantry battalion into Iraq during the early stages of the war on August 18, 2003. For his efforts, he was awarded the Silver Star medal for valor.

 

The program has evolved and changed during its 60 years of existence. Initially the program produced only Infantry Officers, but in 1954, the program expanded to allow cadets to select the branch of Army in which they were more interested and qualified. From 1947 until 1968, enrollment in the program was mandatory for all able-bodied freshman and sophomore male students. However, the program was not only limited to South Carolina State University students. Through a cross-enrollment agreement, students from Claflin University, Voorhees College, Denmark Technical College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College were provided the opportunity to pursue Army careers as officers. Because of the outstanding of performance of its graduates, the ROTC program was customarily selected to participate in pilot programs. One such program was the enrolling of women in ROTC in 1972-73. South Carolina State University was one of ten institutions selected nationwide to participate in this pilot program with the first females graduating in 1976.

 

As our country continues to fight the war on global terror, South Carolina State University continues to enhance and expand its ROTC program. Under the current Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel Heyward Stackhouse, the University is witnessing an increased number of students enrolling in the Reserve Officers’ Training program. We ask that you join with the entire South Carolina State University family in recognizing and celebrating 60 years of excellence in the production military leaders at S.C. State. We express our thanks to all the persons serving in the military, defending our country on foreign and domestic soil, particularly Iraq. From World I and II to the Korean War, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm and Somali, our current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bulldogs have been there and continue to serve with pride and distinction. When this nation calls, the graduates of our ROTC program have always responded.

 

Please join us in our observance of this celebration, and for more information please feel free to contact the SCSU ROTC Department at 803-536-7233 or 803-536-8949.