Archive for the ‘Misc. military/drill’ Category

State’s first military aviator &(Citadel Grad) was buried in Simpsonville

November 13, 2015
Lt. Col. Willis Class of 1908

Lt. Col. Willis Class of 1908

By: Scott Keeler

Photos by: MYKAL McELDOWNEY/Greenville News staff)

November 11, 2015
(Blog editor’s note: Lt. Col. Willis was the 1st honor graduate of The Citadel class of 1908)

Like every Veterans Day, there will be U.S. flags flying at cemeteries today to honor those who served in the military. Each year in Simpsonville (SC) prior to Veterans Day, the local VFW Post 1845 installs flags at Simpsonville City Cemetery, Cannon Memorial Cemetery and Graceland East Memorial Park. But one flag at the historic City Cemetery flies next to a tombstone that is shining a bit brighter than usual this year.

It’s the tombstone of World War I veteran Robert Henry Willis Jr., and it’s recently received some upkeep from Bill Skroch, an 86-year old veteran who was born years after Willis passed away. After six years of research, Skroch says the 125-mile drive from his Sumter home to Willis’ resting place was well worth it. Skroch’s research has shown him that Willis is the first military aviator in South Carolina history.

“This guy was one of the first 25 guys to ever wear what’s officially called an aviation badge,” Skroch said. “Everybody says ‘he’s got wings,’ not ‘hey, he’s got an aviation badge.” Skroch said the badges were issued in 1913 and were a reward for those who survived flying school. In those early days of aviation, Skroch said, many did not. “They only made 25 because the guy in charge of the whole operation said, ‘hell, we’re never going to have more than 25 airplanes anyway,'” Skroch said.

Like most, Simpsonville Judge Leslie Sharff was unaware of Willis’ story but marveled at the work of the early aviators. Sharff, who’s the senior vice commander of Simpsonville VFW Post 1845, earned a Purple Heart as a combat medic with an Infantry unit in Vietnam. “That (flying) must have taken a lot of guts,” Sharff said. “There weren’t any parachutes back then. “Can you imagine trying to throw a small bomb about the size of a mortar round out while you’re flying a plane?”

Skroch’s research all started after he looking for a project to do as part of his work with a group of retired military pilots out of Shaw Air Force Base, where Skroch retired. In that first project he learned that one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous group of African-American military pilots who served in World War II, hailed from Sumter. After writing a narrative about the first black military pilot from South Carolina, Skroch was determined to find the first military pilot of any race from South Carolina.

Searches around archives in the state came up empty. Then Skroch got a break at a military museum in Washington, D.C. “I met this lady, whose grandfather was a World War I pilot. She turned me on to a book that told about these first 25 guys,” Skroch said. Willis’ name was in there. “When I saw that, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.” After getting a name, Skroch thought his research would get easier, but it did not. According to Skroch, all of Willis’ records were burned during a 1973 fire at a repository in St. Louis. Skroch said he was able to contact distant relatives of Willis, but they didn’t know much about him either. “The repository gave me some clues about alternate places to find some pieces of information, but you’re never going to find everything,” Skroch said. “So it took about six years to get enough to write a narrative about the guy.

Under Gen. John J. Pershing, Willis served in the Philippines, and in Mexico where he helped search for Pancho Villa, and in France during World War I. Willis began flight training at Signal Corps Aviation School in San Diego in July of 1913. On Dec. 26, 1913, he and 24 others earned their Military Aviator Certificate and Badge. “In early 1914, he was awarded the ‘expert’ aviator certificate by the Aero Club of America,” Skroch wrote in the narrative. “It was reported by the San Diego Union that Willis set a world speed record by flying 140 miles in 132 minutes.”

Willis’ life ended tragically on Sept. 13, 1918, when he accidently shot himself while working on a malfunction with his gun. He died six days after his 32nd birthday and less than two months before the end of World War I.

On Aug. 17, 1920, Pershing wrote a letter to the Willis’ home farm in Simpsonville.
“I first knew this young officer as a member of the small group of aviators on duty with the American Punitive Expedition in Mexico, where I had ample opportunity to observe his work,” Pershing wrote. “Being imbued with the ideals of a true soldier, his service was in keeping with the high standards of our army, and I was pleased to have him as a member of the flying corps in France. “Colonel Willis was a man of pleasing personality and an officer in whose ability I had the greatest confidence, and I was deeply grieved to learn of his untimely death.”

After discovering that Willis could possibly be buried in Simpsonville, Skroch contacted the Simpsonville VFW and told members of the work he was doing. He got someone from the VFW to go find Willis’ grave, take a picture of it and send it back to him. Skroch noticed that Willis’ tombstone had not been well maintained over the years, so he came to clean it. He’s planning on a return trip to the grave with an engraver to tell more of Willis’ story.


“His gravestone just had his name, his rank, his branch of service, the day he was born and the day he died,” Skroch said. “That was it. “That poor guy deserves more than that.”

Gen. Pershing's letter

Gen. Pershing’s letter

for more information on Lt. Col. Willis go to:


The Citadel Class of 2016 climb the ranks into leadership positions

April 10, 2015
The 2016-17 Corps of Cadets Regimental and Battalion leadership

The 2016-17 Corps of Cadets Regimental and Battalion leadership

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel’s Commandant of Cadets designates commanders, regimental staff, sergeants major and first sergeants for the Class of 2016. Cadets who will assume the nine top-ranking positions were recognized during a private ceremony with The Citadel’s president, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, The Citadel’s Associate Provost, Col. Mark Bebensee, and The Commandant of Cadets, Capt. Geno Paluso. The new officers were provided with the chevrons that will be added to their uniforms to reflect their ranks. They will assume their stations when the fall semester begins.

Regimental Staff

Regimental Commander – James R. Urban
Regimental XO – Spencer E. Lukas
Honor Chairman — Edward J. Kelley
Regimental Academic Officer — James N. McManus
Regimental Adjutant — Matthew M. Ireland,
Regimental Provost Marshall — Lance W. Cook
Regimental Operations Officer — Colin W. Graham
Regimental Supply Officer — Dylan K. Green
Regimental Public Affairs Officer — Brianna J. Young
Regimental ITS Officer — TBD
Honor Vice Chairman-Education — John David Raad
Vice Chair for Investigations — Alex L. Hairfield
Regimental Religious Officer — Robert C. Scarborough
Regt Human Affairs Officer — Rocco W. Consiglio
Regimental Physical Readiness Officer — Dennis P. Crepes
Regimental Activities Officer — Nathan S. Thomas
Regimental Recruiting Officer — Savannah G. Duan
Regimental Sergeant Major — Devin W. Oliver
Regimental Admin NCO — Austin K. McMath
Regimental Operations NCO — Joel P. Neuder
Regimental Supply NCO — Matthew C. Kim
Regimental Provost NCO — Anthony R. Zovich
Regimental Human Affairs NCO — Ryan P. Fallon
Regimental Public Affairs NCO — TBD
Regimental Recruiting NCO — Christopher B. McGee,
Regimental Physical Readiness NCO — Zachary D. Rutherford
Regimental Activities NCO — Alex C. Bear

1st Battalion
Battalion Commander —James A. Jenkins,
Battalion SGM — Benjamin R. Young
A Company Commander — Russell G. Johnson
A Company First Sergeant — Gregory J. Daly
B Company Commander — Emily M. Schwendinger
B Company First Sergeant — Joel R. Smith
C Company Commander — Austin M. Brown
C Company First Sergeant — Jesse Ray N. Nardone
D Company Commander — Brent S. Kiefer
D Company First Sergeant — Collins T. Langley

2nd Battalion

Battalion Commander — George M. Taylor
Battalion SGM — Kaleb R. Martin
E Company Commander — Michael C. Sherrill
E Company First Sergeant — Cody W. Ford
F Company Commander — Luke N. Pittman
F Company First Sergeant — Joshua J. Scaife
G Company Commander — Franklin T. Fox
G Company First Sergeant — Wilson G. Wicker
H Company Commander — Danny M. Bruce
H Company First Sergeant — Jeremy Q. Miller
BD Company Commander — Kane P. McManus
BD Company Fist Sergeant — Hayden D. Fry

3rd Battalion
Battalion Commander — Walter D. Bryson
Battalion SGM — William D. Hooker
I Company Commander — Louis K. Boyd
I Company First Sergeant — Jacob T. Van Horn
K Company Commander — Thomas M. Brown
K Company First Sergeant — David M. Salter
L Company Commander — Wilson R. Hope
L Company First Sergeant — William C. Ferguson
M Company Commander — Luis M. Parrado
M Company First Sergeant — James R. Batzer

4th Battalion
Battalion Commander — Jared D. Brown
Battalion SGM — Kevin M. MacDonald
N Company Commander — John W. Hope
N Company First Sergeant — Gregory A. Krueger
O Company Commander — Taylor M. Scott
O Company First Sergeant — Andrew C. Griles
R Company Commander — Eric J. Dompkowski
R Company First Sergeant — William S. Thies
T Company Commander — Matthew Bungarden
T Company First Sergeant — Logan M. Moran

5th Battalion
Battalion Commander — Justine C. Zukowski
Battalion SGM — Bret H. Seidler
P Company Commander — Kevyn D. McNeil
P Company First Sergeant — Brett H. Albertson
PB Commander — Anthony Milani
PB First Sergeant — Gregory N. Williamson
S Company Commander — Jacob N. Robbins
S Company First Sergeant — Peyton W. McCarter
V Company Commander — Alexander G. MacDonald
V Company First Sergeant — Angelica L. McNerny

– See more at:

Recognition Day 2015: the most important day of the year for Citadel freshmen

April 9, 2015
The march to "Citadel Green" is the longest parade of the year.

The march to “Citadel Green” is the longest parade of the year for Knobs.

Support newest members of the S.C. Corps of Cadets during iconic march to Marion Square

Young men and women who entered The Citadel as freshmen last fall are counting down the hours until their fourth class status ends and they are officially sworn in as members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. That will happen on Saturday, April 11, Recognition Day 2015. For freshmen, known on campus as knobs, Recognition Day marks the end of the highly regimented way of life that is The Citadel’s Fourth Class System, recognized as one of the toughest college military-training systems in the country.

The day begins at sunrise and includes hours of rigorous physical training tests and drills which are overseen by the regimental staff and the Commandant of Cadets. Those activities include an obstacle course nicknamed The Gauntlet, which will be set up on Summerall Field and will get underway at 10:30 a.m. It will be followed by one of the most iconic sights in Charleston – the Recognition Day March to Marion Square. The march begins at 3 p.m. at the college’s main gate. The freshmen will proceed in formation down Moultrie St., turning right on King St. to Marion Square, which was the college’s original parade ground in the mid-1800s.


“They will be very tired but very proud as they march through the city,” said Cadet Logan Hester, Regimental Public Affairs Officer and member of the Citadel Class of 2015. Recognition Day is one of the two most important days in any cadet’s career at The Citadel, along with Ring Day. “Freshman year here is a lot like boot camp in the military, but with the addition of what can be a grueling academic and leadership studies schedule. The thought of Recognition Day, when the upperclassmen truly accept the knobs as cadets, is what gets many through the nine-month long, fourth-class training.”

Hundreds of Charlestonians, visitors, alumni, family and friends line the streets to cheer for the knobs as they march, dressed in their brilliant, white uniforms, to attend “The Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green” which will get underway at about 3:30 p.m. The day’s events follow three weeks of Transition to Recognition Training during which the knobs take classes examining their leadership and ethics skills, as well as their knowledge of The Citadel Honor Code. They also undergo inspections and drills training.

Visitors and parents are not permitted on the field during The Gauntlet, but may stay behind the roped-off areas on the perimeter of the field. Also, parents and visitors are not allowed in the barracks at any time on this day.
The Recognition Day March to Marion Square has been carried out in some fashion for more than 100 years.


February 3, 2015



The Bulldog Challenge, known nationally as one of the most punishing tests of fitness and endurance, will be hosted again in 2015 by The Citadel’s Naval ROTC Unit. It is a 10k (6.2 mile), team-oriented race that runs through The Citadel campus and the surrounding Charleston area. Included within the race are various obstacles and challenges, such as the Marine Corps combat fitness test, a Marine Corps obstacle course, a simulated casualty evacuation using stretchers, and maneuvers through the thick pluff mud of the Lowcountry marshes. The Bulldog Challenge is designed to test mental toughness, the ability to work within a team and physical endurance.

Each team is composed of four individuals. Creative costumes are highly encouraged. Proceeds from the event contribute to scholarships for students to attend The Citadel. The registration fee is $200 per team. Individuals are permitted to register for a fee of $50. Citadel cadet teams receive a discount of $60 if registering before Feb. 1. To register click here. Registration ends Feb. 26.

Female Citadel cadets donate hair to Locks of Love

August 15, 2014

From The Associated Press
Posted: Aug 14, 2014 9:45 AM EDT

CHARLESTON, SC – Four incoming female Citadel cadets are getting their military haircuts and donating their locks to a good cause. The cadets who report to the Charleston military college on Saturday are getting haircuts on Thursday along with their recruiter at a Charleston salon.

The college says in a release that all are donating their hair to Locks of Love, which provides wigs for children who lose their hair during cancer treatment. The media is being invited Thursday. Reporters are not allowed in the Citadel barbershop when freshmen get their haircuts.

Female cadets must have hair three inches long on top and two inches long on the sides when they report. First-year cadets are often called knobs because of their short haircuts.

The Citadel names new director of alumni affairs

June 17, 2014
Col. Laurence Hutto

Col. Laurence Hutto

Citadel alumnus and professor of military science moves to the head of alumni relations

Col. J. Laurence Hutto, Jr., U.S. Army, will be The Citadel’s new director of alumni affairs, as well as executive director of The Citadel Alumni Association. Hutto retires from active service when he assumes his new role at the college in July. He graduated from The Citadel in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and after serving in numerous Army leadership roles, returned to the college in 2010 as a professor of military science and head of The Citadel’s Army ROTC unit.

One highlight of Hutto’s achievements at the college includes operational improvements leading to a 40 percent increase in the number of Army commissioned officers since 2010, making The Citadel the largest producer of commissioned officers out of all of the nation’s ROTC programs.

“Laurence’s experience, integrity and passion for The Citadel put him in the ideal position to lead our alumni association,” said Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, The Citadel’s president. “His familiarity with the campus culture and supporting organizations, such as The Citadel Foundation and The Citadel Brigadier Foundation, will allow the Association to take on an even greater role in the future success of the college.”

Upon graduating from The Citadel, Hutto was awarded a commission in the Army as a second lieutenant in field artillery in the 3rd Armored Division. During combat in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he held various duty positions, including company fire support, battery fire direction officer and firing battery platoon leader. Early in his career Hutto served as assistant battalion operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and the targeting officer for the 327th Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division there. In 1995 he was reassigned to Ft. Bragg, N.C., and the 82nd Airborne Division as the division artillery assistant operations officer; division artillery adjutant; battalion fire support officer for the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment; division assistant fire support coordinator; and the division artillery headquarters and headquarters battery commander.

Hutto’s work within an academic community began in 2000 when he became an assistant professor of military science at the University of Hawaii and aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the U.S. Army, Pacific. Hutto transitioned from there to Ft. Hood, Texas, with the 4th Infantry Division and the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, serving as the battalion executive officer during combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to hold numerous other leadership roles that included a combat deployment to Afghanistan as a battalion commander with the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment during Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2010 Hutto was named professor of military science at The Citadel.

Hutto’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (4th Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Saudi Arabia Medal, Kuwait Liberation Kuwait Medal, Southwest Asia, Iraq, and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, NATO ISAF Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Senior Parachutist and Air Assault Badges.

In addition to The Citadel, Hutto attended U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Hutto replaces Michael F. Rogers who is retiring after serving 13 years in the alumni affairs roles.

“While we’re sorry to see Mike Rogers go, we recognize that he has earned some well-deserved time with his family after serving his alma mater, the FBI and the U.S. Air Force,” said Scott Tucker, president, The Citadel Alumni Association. “We look forward to welcoming Col. Hutto who is an active alumnus, and has served as the Army’s representative with The Citadel Alumni Association for four years. He’s the right person to build relationships with our contingent of more than 12-thousand Association members across the nation.”

Hutto is married to the former Carrie Konitzer of Colorado, and they have three children—John, Lauren, and Meghan. He was born and raised in the Providence community near Holly Hill, S.C., between Charleston and Columbia.

Paluso named Commandant

May 6, 2014
Our new Commandant is one of "the Boys" from T Co.

Our new Commandant is one of “the Boys” from T Co.

Citadel News Service

29 Apr 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. – U.S. Navy Captain Eugene F. Paluso, will be the new commandant for the S.C. Corps of Cadets at The Citadel.

Captain Eugene Paluso, USN
The commandant of cadets is a vice presidential position responsible for the command and oversight of the 2,300-member Corps of Cadets. Paluso graduated from The Citadel in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He is currently a U.S. Navy SEAL officer on active duty as the commander of the Naval Special Warfare Group Three at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The group consists of 700 specialized SEAL and fleet personnel. Paluso will retire from the Navy after serving for approximately 25 years, before taking his post as Commandant at The Citadel.

During his career, Paluso has held leadership roles commanding special operations forces in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has led men and women in combat at all levels. His service awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Joint Commendation Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (5), Joint Achievement Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.

The position of commandant reports directly to The Citadel’s President, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa.

“I am confident that Captain Gene Paluso will be successful as the new Commandant of the Corps of Cadets. As a highly decorated officer in the U.S. Navy, he brings a wealth of experience that will help shape our young men and women into principled leaders for all walks of life,” said Rosa.

Paluso, who will start late-summer, will replace Col. Leo A. Mercado, USMC, (Ret.), who is a member of The Citadel Class of 1979. Mercado, who joined The Citadel as commandant in 2009, is retiring from the college. His tenure is marked by the implementation of a single standard for all cadets that stresses the school’s core values of honor, duty and respect.

’79 grad gets a second star

April 22, 2014
Glenn Bramhall is one of a slew of '79 grads who wear stars.

Glenn Bramhall is one of a slew of ’79 grads who wear stars.

The Spartanburg Herald Journal Staff Reports
April 21, 2014

Glenn A. Bramhall, a resident of Spartanburg, was promoted to the rank of Major General, US Army, in a ceremony held March 9, 2014, in Anderson. Bramhall, a member of the SC Army National Guard, has resided in Spartanburg with his wife, the former Faith Cox, since 1982. He is a 1979 graduate of The Citadel in Charleston, where he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Infantry and then served on active duty for three years in the 24th Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, GA. In 1985 he joined the S.C. Army National Guard in Newberry, where he has served in a variety of leadership positions, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003-2004 as the commander, 3rd Embedded Training Team. While serving as deputy commander of the 263rd Army Air Missile Defense Command in Anderson, SC, he also served as Deputy Commanding General, Air Defense/National Guard, at Ft. Sill, OK, Fires Center of Excellence. His most recent assignment was assuming command of the 263rd AAMDC in March 2014. As the 263rd AAMDC’s commanding general, he also serves as the Deputy Area Air Defense Commander for both the Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command — NORAD (CONR) and the Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR).

Among the many accomplishments and awards, Bramhall has accumulated throughout his decorated military career, he earned two Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal for his service during Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as the Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist BaBramhall graduated from Penn Manor High School in Lancaster, PA, in 1975 and The Citadel in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He earned a Master’s degree from the United States War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, in Strategic Studies in 2006

Class of 2015 rising leadership announced

April 11, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel’s Commandant of Cadets has designated commanders, regimental staff, sergeants major and first sergeants for the Class of 2015. Cadets who will assume the nine top-ranking positions were recognized during a private ceremony with The Citadel’s president, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, The Citadel’s Provost, Gen. Samuel Hines, Ph.D., and The Commandant of Cadets, Col. Leo Mercado. The new officers were provided with the chevrons that will be added to their uniforms to reflect their ranks. They will assume their stations when the fall semester begins.


Pictured left to right: Col. Leo Mercado, Commandant of Cadets, Kyle M. Wise, Honor Chairman, Ryan A. Cass, 5th Battalion Commander, Grace C. Raines, Regimental Academic Officer, Kevin T. Lowring, 4th Battalion Commander, Zach E. Taylor, 3rd Battalion Commander, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, President of The Citadel, Drew A. DeBruhl, 2nd Battalion Commander, Savannah Emmrich, 1st Battalion Commander,,Keith T. Lemay, Regimental Executive Officer, John C. Brosch, Regimental Commander, Brig. Gen. Samuel M. Hines, Jr., Provost and Dean of the College.

Romeo Company Commander is Cadet Alex Worner of Copley, Ohio
Romeo Company 1st Sgt is Cadet Payton Cavanaugh of Fayetteville, Georgia & son of Brian Cavanaugh, Romeo’87.
4th Battalion Commander is Romeo’s own Kevin Lowery of Bogart, Georgia.

Cadet Miguel Parrado, son of Carlos Parrado, Romeo’79 will be the Regimental Operations NCO

And congratulations to our new Regimental Commander, Cadet John Brosch of Ann Arbor, Michigan

Here’s all Cadet Leadership for 2014 – 2015

Regimental Commander – John C. Brosch
Regimental XO – Keith T. Lemay
Honor Chairman – Kyle M. Wise
Regimental Academic Officer– Grace C. Raines
Regimental Adjutant – Nicholas C Ruggiere
Regimental Provost Marshall – Tyler J. Mitchell
Regimental Operations Officer – YounGun Kim
Regimental Supply officer – Jacob H. Faulke
Regimental Public Affairs Officer – Logan H. Hester
Regimental ITS officer – Ting W. Liang
Honor Vice Chairman-Education – Nolan K. Bradley
Vice Chair for Investigations – Cory A. Yslas
Regimental Religious Officer – Jason P. Phmow
Regimental Human Affairs Officer – Tanner C. Jameson
Regimental Athletic Officer – Richard J. Hicks
Regimental Activities Officer – Evin Fowler
Regimental Recruiting Officer – Ethan W. Kindwall
Regimental Sergeant Major – Carlos I. Ramos
Regimental Admin NCO – Ross G. Evatt
Regimental Operations – NCO Miguel Parrado
Regimental Supply NCO – Louis K. Boyd
Regimental Provost NCO – Lance W. Cook
Regimental Human Affairs NCO – Rocco W. Consiglio
Regimental Public Affairs NCO – James N. McManus
Regimental Recruiting NCO – Savannah G. Duan
Regimental Athletic NCO – Alexander H. Ghaffari
Regimental Activities NCO – Nathan S. Thomas

1st Battalion
Battalion Commander – Savannah Emmrich
Battalion SGM – James R Urban
A Company Commander – Kevin L. Gess
A Company First Sergeant – Jeffrey S. Benedict
B Company Commander – Charles L. Nause
B Company First Sergeant – Luke N. Pittman
C Company Commander – Chance R. Baker
C Company First Sergeant – Alexander G. MacDonald
D Company Commander – Ryan C. Branch
D Company First Sergeant – Thomas M. Brown

2nd Battalion
Battalion Commander – Drew A. DeBruhl
Battalion SGM – Sean T. Broyles
E Company Commander – Daniel L. Phillips
E Company First Sergeant – Joseph E. Benson
F Company Commander – Jacob T. Pues
F Company First Sergeant – Timothy A. Gaddis
G Company Commander – Brian R. Griffin
G Company First Sergeant – Russell G. Johnson
H Company Commander – Hayden D. Lancaster
H Company First Sergeant – Zachariah S. Salamone
BD Company Commander – David P. Cunningham
BD Company First Sergeant – Kane P. McManus

3rd Battalion
Battalion Commander – Zachary E. Taylor
Battalion SGM – Anthony Milani
I Company Commander – Brittany K. Crocker
I Company First Sergeant – Mattison R. Wilbanks
L Company Commander – Rhett D. Oliver
L Company First Sergeant – Brent S. Keifer
M Company Commander – Scott A. Benton
M Company First Sergeant – John Hope

4th Battalion
Battalion Commander – Kevin T. Lowring
Battalion SGM – Kenny Gonzalez
N Company Commander – William Beaudoin
N Company First Sergeant – Alex J. Hayden
O Company Commander – Peter J. Klimek
O Company First Sergeant – William Z. Long
R Company Commander – Alex M. Worner
R Company First Sergeant – Payton M. Cavanaugh
T Company Commander – Peyton T. Talbott
T Company First Sergeant – Danny M. Bruce

5th Battalion
Battalion Commander – Ryan A. Cass
Battalion SGM – George M. Taylor
P Company Commander – Christopher F. D ‘Esposito
P Company First Sergeant – John Luke Tippetts
PB Company Commander – John P. Lintner
PB Company First Sergeant – Fernando U. Gonzalez
Company Commander – Eric S. Davis
S Company First Sergeant – Matthew Bungarden
V Company Commander – William C. Plummer
V Company First Sergeant – Graham B. Stolte

The Citadel names three finalists for commandant of cadets

April 7, 2014
Col. Mercado inspects a Knob.

Col. Mercado inspects a Knob.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three finalists will be considered for the position of commandant of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets at The Citadel. The commandant of cadets is a vice presidential position responsible for the command and oversight of the 2,300-member Corps of Cadets. The finalists are: Col. John (Jay) C. Kennedy, USMC (Retired); Col. Stephen P. Luxion, USAF; and Capt. Eugene F. Paluso, USN. The new commandant will replace Col. Leo A. Mercado, USMC, (pictured right) who is a member of The Citadel Class of 1979. Mercado, who joined The Citadel as commandant in 2009, is retiring. His tenure is marked by continually working to implement a single standard for all cadets while stressing honor, leadership and positive reinforcement.

Kennedy is currently the commandant of midshipmen for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. There he directs a staff of 50 in providing student and college-wide services, and ensuring the professional development of 1,000 students. Kennedy also worked at the U.S. Naval Academy as director of humanities and social sciences and was a Marine Corps Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as chief of staff for the 3rd Marine Corps Aircraft Wing in Iraq and held other positions of leadership within the U.S. Marine Corps overseas and in the U.S. and flew numerous combat missions in rotary wing aircraft. Kennedy holds a master’s degree in national security affairs from the National War College and in systems management from the University of Denver. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical science from the U.S. Naval Academy. His military awards include the Legion of Merit (3), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2), and the Air Medal.

Luxion has served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 30 years. He is currently a senior U.S. Air Force officer, who for more than 15 years in CEO-level positions, has commanded teams of up to 400 professionals responsible for innovation, strategic planning and worldwide operations. Luxion is the commander of the Air Force ROTC program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. In other positions, he served overseas several times, including as the director of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, leading more than 100 military, government and contract personnel in conducting worldwide Global War On Terror combat operations with armed unmanned aerial vehicle. Luxion holds four master’s degrees, including an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; one in national security strategy from the National War College’s National Defense University; a master’s of airpower arts and science from the School of Advanced Air and Space Power Studies and a master’s of aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science systems from the U.S. Air Force Academy. His service awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross (with Valor), and the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters).

Paluso graduated from The Citadel in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He is currently a U.S. Navy SEAL officer on active duty as the commander of the Naval Special Warfare Group Three at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a group of 700 specialized SEAL and fleet personnel. Paluso has served in the Navy for approximately 25 years and has held leadership roles commanding special operations forces in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. During his career, Paluso has led men and women in combat at all levels. His service awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze star, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Joint Commendation Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (5), Joint Achievement Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Finalists have been invited to campus for interviews after which Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa will make a recommendation to the college’s Board of Visitors.

Finalists for commandant of cadets were selected by a five-person search committee including:
• Col. Ralph Tice, USMC (Retired), Chair
• Col. Katherine Grenier, Professor and Head, Dept. of History
• Brig. Gen. Samuel M. Hines, Provost and Dean of The Citadel
• Col. Tony Lackey, USA (Retired), Former Asst. Commandant
• Col. Gregory Lapointe, Member of the Board of Visitors
• Lt. Col. Robert Pickering, Dir., Multicultural Affairs

The Citadel is expected to announce the new commandant in the next few months. The position of commandant reports directly to Rosa.