Bulldog Battalion celebrates 60 years of military service to nation

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

13 SC State graduates have achieved the rank of General Officer in the United States Armed ForcesORANGEBURG – South Carolina State University military alumni and government officials will gather on the campus this weekend, April 19 and 20, to celebrate the 60 years that the University has provided quality leadership to the United States Armed Forces.

Established in 1947, SC State’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) has commissioned nearly 2,000 officers for the armed forces, making it one of the leading producers of minority officers for the United States Army.

The two-day anniversary celebration includes a spouse recognition luncheon, golf tournament, military alumni meeting, hall of fame induction ceremony and a formal ball.

Celebratory activities begin on Thursday, April 19, with a Military Spouse Recognition Luncheon to honor military spouses for their significant contribution to the success of the ROTC program and the officers that it graduates. The luncheon will be held at 11 a.m. in the Garnet & Blue Room in the Kirkland W. Green Student Center.

The “Best Ball” Golf Tournament will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Hillcrest Golf Course, 1280 Saint Matthews Road, Orangeburg, S.C. For tournament registration information, please contact Fredrick Auston at (803) 536-7234, or Master Sergeant Bradley Schneier at (803) 536-8881.

Activities for Friday, April 20, will begin at 6 a.m. with PT and a Bulldog Run/Walk on the SC State campus.

At 8:30 a.m., active and retired military graduates will gather in Staley Hall Auditorium for the spring meeting of the South Carolina State University Military Alumni Association (SCSUMAA).

Three of SC State’s military alumni will be inducted into SC State’s ROTC Hall of Fame at 11 a.m. in the Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Center. The 2007 Hall of fame inductees are Colonel (Retired) Phillip Smiley, ‘54, Colonel (Retired) Charles Keller, ‘79, and Colonel Nicholas J. Anderson, ‘79.

A tour of the ROTC Hall of Fame will follow at 12:30 p.m. in Soldiers’ Hall, home to SC State’s Department of Military Science. For additional information on the induction ceremony and the ROTC Hall of Fame, please contact Major Washington at (803) 536-3604.

The two-day anniversary celebration will conclude with an annual formal event, the ROTC Spring Ball. The receiving line opens at 6:30 p.m. and the gala event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Garnet & Blue Room. For additional information on the ROTC Spring Ball, please contact Capt. Juan Cobbs at (803) 536-8955.

“From the Korean War, to Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm and Somalia and our current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, SC State alumni have been there and continue to serve with pride and distinction,” said SC State President Andrew Hugine Jr.

“When this nation calls, the graduates of our ROTC program have always responded,” he said.

And, many of those graduates have held some fairly prestigious assignments.

Major General Abraham Turner, ‘76, served as the Commanding Officer of Fort Jackson, the largest Army Training Base. In 1983, Second Lieutenant Jerrette Lee, ‘83, was chosen as the winner of the coveted Hughes Award and became the first African American and first graduate of an Historically Black College or University to receive the honor. Colonel Stephen Twitty led an infantry battalion into Iraq during the early stages of the war on August 18, 2003. For his efforts, Twitty was awarded the Silver Star medal for valor.

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 producers of minority officers for the United States Army.