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Volume XXXVI, Number 7

April 2009

Governor Dedicates Kilbourne

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (center) admires the portrait of Lt. Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne after unveiling the portrait during the dedication of the newly renovated Kilbourne Hall. Looking on are, (from left), Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent; Thomas G. Slater Jr. ’66, president of the Board of Visitors; and Col. Hal Worrell, professor of military science. Kilbourne Hall is home to VMI’s ROTC programs. Kilbourne, VMI’s sixth superintendent, was a graduate of the Class of 1894 and a Medal of Honor winner. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

Career Services Helps Cadets Cope With Bleak Job Outlook By Wendy Lovell The economic downturn has not escaped the notice of VMI’s Office of Career Services. On Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the months of March and April, Col. Sam Ratcliffe and Lt. Col. David Chase have offered a series of “Lunch and Learn” workshops to strengthen cadets’ job searches during tough economic times. According to a recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers expect to hire 22 percent fewer new graduates from college this spring than they hired from the class of 2008. With fewer

jobs available, not only are recent graduates competing with each other but also with more experienced job applicants. “The market is bleak, but there are still great ways to go out there and get a job,” said Chase. “College graduates have to be creative and go outside of the box in their job searches. That’s what this series of conversations has been all about.” A maximum of eight cadets have taken part in each session, which takes over the lunch hour to accommodate cadets’ schedules. With

conversations on topics such as networking, the advantage of internships, and creating a focused job search plan, Career Services is equipping cadets with the tools to maximize their searches and boosting their confidence in the process. A 1st Class mechanical engineering major, Cadet Laurens Delpech has lunched and learned with Career Services. While he’s interviewed with several companies and has a verbal offer from a company in Paris he interned with earlier in his cadetship, he wants to do everything he can Please see page 6


Page 2, The Institute Report, April 2009

Retirement Parade Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62 presents a VMI Meritorious Service Medals to (left to right) Col. Stewart W. Husted, professor of economics and business; Col. Walter L. Chalkley, chief of staff; and Col. Robert E. Ludt, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry. Peay recognized the three faculty and staff members during the April 10 retirement parade. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

Threat Assessment Team Continues Training By Lori Stevens Members of VMI’s Threat Assessment Team, formed after a state mandate following the April 16, 2007, shootings at Virginia Tech, have continued their own training this semester and have begun reaching out to educate members of the VMI community. “The formation of these teams … reflects the concern of the governor and representatives that we must promote health and safety in college communities,” noted Lt. Col. Amie Manis, director of Cadet Counseling. “We are being very proactive in accessing the latest information about threat assessment and management.” This past November, at the Virginia Student Services Conference, Manis attended an “At-Risk Workshop” held by the Office of the Governor and the state secretary of education, Dr. Thomas R. Morris ’66. Chief of Police Michael Marshall attended training in February led by Dr. Dewey Cornell, a clinical psychologist and education professor at the University of Virginia who is a national expert on K-12 threat assessment and management. In April, the entire team attended another training session, specific to Virginia colleges, led by Cornell. “Dr. Cornell has relied on local

college mental health and law enforcement professionals as resources in developing training for Virginia institutions,” said Manis. “It took quite a bit of coordination to allow all of us to attend this training. It represents the level of commitment we all have.” During March, Cadet Counseling and Human Resources joined to present three training sessions to VMI faculty and staff. The sessions focused on organizational strategies and resources for maintaining health and safety at VMI. “The sessions were all very well attended, and we got very positive feedback,” said Manis. “Most attendees rated the information we provided very useful.” The presentation, including Web links to mental health care resources for employees, is posted on the Cadet Counseling Web site accessible from the “Safety & Health” tab at the bottom of the VMI home page. Manis emphasized that interventions developed by the team are not simply about safety; they are also about linking people to resources for help. When a female cadet reported that she had been the victim of a sexual assault late last month, for instance, the systems and procedures that

are in place to address the safety of all cadets and to provide support were immediately placed into operation. In that case, VMI Police investigated the report, consulted with the commonwealth’s attorney, and obtained an arrest warrant. In many cases, however, the appropriate response may be much less visible. Often, the community may not notice as the team operates actively on Post. “When a behavior is brought to our attention, we collect data and make an assessment. To the best of our ability we want to make sure the response is appropriate to the level of the threat. We don’t want to over or under respond,” Manis emphasized. “We will look to the guidance that is coming out. There are a number of models a college may choose to adopt to determine at what level a threat should be assessed.” For instance, team members are reviewing The Handbook for Campus Threat Assessment & Management Teams by Gene Deisinger and others. “We want to make sure the community knows they can report an incident of concern to any member of the threat assessment team,” Manis continued. “The

advantage of having several points of contact is that it allows multiple avenues of raising a concern.” The team, which is chaired by Brig. Gen. Robert Green, deputy superintendent for finance, administration and support, includes Col. Robert Spore, director of human resources; Manis and Maj. Clarissa Griffin, cadet counselors; Capt. Kevin Faust, assistant commandant; Marshall; and Dr. David Copeland, Institute physician.

Institute Report Office of Communications and Marketing Lt. Col. Stewart MacInnis Acting Director Sherri Tombarge Editor Burton Floyd Publications Coordinator Contributors: Wendy Lovell, Lori Stevens, Brittany Tombarge, and Kevin Remington. Printing – McClung Printing,Waynesboro, Va. Eight issues are printed during the academic year. Inquiries, suggestions, news items, or address changes should be directed to: Editor, The Institute Report, VMI Communications and Marketing, Lexington, Virginia 24450-0304, Telephone 540-464-7207, Fax 540-464-7443


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 3

Gray ’46 Receives Byrd Award

Elmon T. Gray ’46 receives VMI’s Harry F. Byrd Jr. ’35 Public Service Award during the March 27 parade. Gray was recognized for a distinguished career of public service that includes 20 years in the state Senate. Gray is a past president of the VMI Alumni Association, a past president of the VMI Board of Visitors, and a member of the Board of Governors of the Keydet Club. Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, VMI Superintendent, looks on as Thomas G. Slater Jr. ’66, president of the Board of Visitors, presents the award. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

Improvements to Field Training Grounds Move Ahead By Lori Stevens Upgrades to the North Post area of VMI’s Military and Leadership Field Training Grounds may be completed by the fall of 2010. “Design is proceeding,” said Lt. Col. Dale Brown, director of construction. “We believe the funding has been procured by the state to go ahead with the project.” The state, however, does have a new approval process that requires VMI to demonstrate that the project will be finished on time and within budget. By April 20, the design should be 65 percent complete, at which time the construction manager, Branch & Associates, will prepare a guaranteed maximum price, which VMI will receive in June. “The architect in charge of designing the project, Clark-Nexsen, will also complete the design by then, and we plan to award the contract by the end of June,” Brown continued. “Construction should proceed by early fall.” According the current design, VMI will upgrade the existing firing range to be a fully baffled outdoor range. Initially, in the feasibility

study, the range was to have been moved to McKethan Park. “However, when the architect recommended it be a fully baffled range, it turned out we’d be better off leaving it where it is,” Brown explained. “That way, cadets will have easier access to the firing range, and we will maintain McKethan Park in a more undeveloped state, which the ROTC prefers.” The team has briefed Brig. Gen. Robert Green ’67, deputy superintendent for finance, administration and support, who made technical changes in order to reduce costs. On April 6, the team met with Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, VMI superintendent, who made the final choices, keeping the project within budget. VMI must stay within budget based on the feasibility study, completed several years ago. “Now the financial picture has changed,” said Brown. “Some things that were included in that study may have to wait until a later date and be slated for future work. We have to look at the master plan and put a price tag on each item. There may be the opportunity to return to certain

items later and create them with alternative means and methods.” VMI is now focusing on the four items that have risen to the top of the list. “Additional drill fields will improve safety on the Parade Ground, and the fully baffled firing range will also address safety issues,” Brown explained. The updated obstacle course will complete the improvements to the ROTC program. “They have the new building – this is the other component. Most injuries occur on the pathways between the obstacles, so we will put in new paths. The course will be upgraded to be professional and safe,” said Brown. “Improvements will be made to McKethan Park, and of course environmental improvements to Woods Creek are an important part of our commitment to the overall community,” he added. VMI plans to complete construction by the fall of 2010. “We are hoping the current market conditions will allow us to get good pricing. We have a great team in place,” added Brown.


Page 4, The Institute Report, April 2009

VMI Foundation Video Wins Advertising Award By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation On March 7, the Advertising Federation of Roanoke Valley presented a Silver Spike to Prototype Advertising Inc. of Forest, Va., for its production of the video associated with the VMI Foundation’s most recent marketing effort, entitled “Did You Know?” The second-place award was in the category of Video Sales Presentation and was presented as part of a nationwide competition that recognizes excellence in advertising. The work on the video, sent to alumni via an electronic-mail message from the VMI Foundation’s president, Walter C. Perrin II ’62, and accompanied by an electronic survey, began last summer. “Working with Dennis Hackemeyer ’80 of

Denmar IT, we developed an initial concept for the video and survey, essentially bringing to light some of the recent accomplishments of VMI as well as some important facts related to private financial support,” said Patrick Webb, vice president of alumni and reunion giving. “As soon as Mr. Hackemeyer and I were comfortable with it, we met with Mark Davis of Prototype Advertising and began discussions on how to turn the concept into an attention-getting video.” Much of the filming for the video was performed during the visit of Vice President Richard Cheney to Post on Nov. 8, 2008. “During the filming,” recounted Webb, “John J. Wranek III ’85, the assistant director of alumni and reunion giving, did an excellent job of

ensuring that all went smoothly. Afterward, Dennis Hackemeyer did most of the day-to-day work with Prototype; however, we at the Foundation were consulted every step of the way. “When it came to the final touches,” continued Webb, “all of us – Prototype, Mr. Hackemeyer, and the Foundation staff – examined the video and survey very closely to ensure it would make the best impression possible on our alumni and convey the messages as effectively as possible.” “The final product – the entire package of which the video was a central piece – is an impressive bit of work,” continued Webb. “The evidence is this well-deserved award and the strongly positive reaction to the video and survey from alumni.”

Governor Visits Post, Addresses Symposium He outlined the Academy’s recent and An address by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine future efforts to provide scientific and opened the 20th annual Environment technical advice for the United States’ Virginia Symposium, which took place response to climate change. He said March 31-April 2 at VMI’s Center for energy and transportation management Leadership and Ethics. The conference are among the focuses of studies on theme was “Sustainability: The Nexus of steps to prepare for and limit future Economic Prosperity and Environmental climate change. Stewardship.” While on Post, Kaine also addressed Other speakers included Amory the Corps of Cadets and took part in Lovins, co-founder, chairman, and the dedication of the recently renovated chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain and enlarged Kilbourne Hall, home Institute, who spoke about profitable of VMI’s ROTC programs. Kaine and solutions to climate change, oil Col. Hal Worrell, professor of military dependence, and nuclear proliferation; science and the senior leader of the Verna E. Harrison, executive director of Gov. Tim Kaine addresses the opening session of the Keith Campbell Foundation for the ROTC departments, unveiled a portrait Virginia th of Lt. Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne in the the 20 annual Environment Virginia Symposium in Jackson Environment, who spoke on restoring Memorial Hall April 1. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. entrance foyer to the facility. and sustaining the Chesapeake Bay; “It is fitting that VMI now has the Preston Bryant Jr., Virginia secretary nation’s finest facility for ROTC training,” Kaine said. for natural resources, who spoke on Governor Kaine’s Renew Virginia Also during the symposium, Ann F. Jennings, Virginia executive director program; Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, was presented the 2009 Erchul of the National Academies, who discussed human health and the Environmental Leadership Award. The award is named for retired VMI Civil environment; and Andrew Bacevich, professor of international relations and Environmental Engineering Professor Ronald A. Erchul, the founder and history at Boston University, who addressed climate change as a of the Environment Virginia Symposium. strategic priority. During his talk at the symposium’s opening session, Kaine discussed More than 600 symposium participants had access to more than 65 energy, water, and transportation issues addressed by his Renew Virginia exhibit booths and breakout sessions that explored the areas of water, initiative, as well as state land conservation goals. He said more than energy, climate change, land, the Chesapeake Bay, and regulatory 329,000 acres of land had been preserved during his term and more updates. than $1 billion had been allocated to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup with Hosts of the symposium were VMI, Virginia Military Institute Research bipartisan support in the state legislature. Laboratories Inc., the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, An address by Dr. Warren Muir, director of the National Academy of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Sciences Division of Earth and Life Sciences, followed Kaine’s speech. Environmental Endowment.


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 5

URS 2009 Extends Beyond Research, to Arts By Wendy Lovell Coordinators of VMI’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium always hope for new and innovative projects. This year, they got their wish and more with the addition of the VMI Exhibition of the Arts, which was held on April 2 in conjunction with URS. “Not only did this year’s event showcase the scholarly work of our cadets but also the artistic talents of our faculty, staff, and students,” said Patricia Hardin, operations officer for the annual symposium. “We were pleased with the response – about 40 pieces of art were on display and 12 artists took part in the afternoon performance.” Traditionally URS has celebrated the intellectual accomplishments of cadets in the research arena, but this year, Lt. Col. Jay Sullivan, URS director, wanted the event to address the creative endeavors of the VMI community in the areas of art, music, and literature. Two members of the faculty and staff and 10 cadets read their poetry, sang, and played the guitar, violin, and bagpipes during an afternoon concert and poetry reading. The artwork on display in Jackson Memorial Hall included sculpture, photography, paintings, drawings, and origami. Despite the addition of the arts exhibition, scholarly research was the main event of URS, with oral presentations taking place in classrooms across Post, as well as a poster session in the Center for Leadership and Ethics. “More than 130 cadets representing all disciplines presented their work, and all oral presentations took part in the classroom,” said Hardin. “The poster session was held in the Center for Leadership and Ethics during the Environment Virginia conference, which gave those in attendance the chance to see the work our students are doing, too.” Hardin added that the classroom venues worked well in providing a larger audience for the cadet presenters. Their peers asked good questions about the projects and benefited from exposure to the undergraduate research taking place across Post. Project topics ranged from the effect of caffeine on college students to wireless security and achieving diplomacy with Iran to energy usage and alternative heating systems. A variety of scientific, design, and engineering projects were presented, as well. URS projects were evaluated by judges, and the following cadets received cash prizes for their projects: Engineering oral presentations: Andrew Craig, Austin Keller and Stephen Russell, first prize; Christopher Leach, second; and Douglas Trask, third. Science oral presentations: Jonathan Brown, first; Alexander Houser, second; and Andrew Zyra, third. Liberal arts oral presentations: Tanner Sewell, first; Charles Range, second; and Daniel Johnson, third. Engineering poster presentations: Andrew Fleenor, first; and Joseph Johnson, second. Science poster presentations: Frank Powell, first; Christina Stalnaker, second; and Albert Young, third. Liberal arts poster presentations: Jacki Briski, first; Benjamin Kimsey, second; and Alex Oliver, third.

Cadet Kuan-Chih Wang ’10, a computer science major, performs during the first VMI Exhibition of the Arts April 2 as part of the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. – Photo courtesy of Patricia Hardin.

35 Proposals Accepted for SURI By Wendy Lovell The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute selection committee has accepted 35 proposals for VMI’s 2009 program, which will run from May 19 to July 24. The projects are funded by the Jackson-Hope Fund, VMI Research Laboratories, and the department of chemistry. They represent nearly all disciplines and will support faculty in various stages of their careers and students in different years of their cadetships. The committee, which was led by Col. Rick Kilroy, professor of international studies and political science, and Patricia Hardin of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, considered 49 applications. The following cadet-mentor pairs will pursue research in biology: Maj. Paul Moosman and cadets Karsten Bloomstrom and Marlena Hawes and Maj. Anne Alerding and Cadet Roy Hunter. In chemistry, Lt. Col. Daren Timmons will mentor Cadet Jerry Hickey, and Col. Henry Schreiber, Cadet Taylor Godsey. Capt. Ned Riester and Cadet Elizabeth Carlos will work together on a civil engineering project. In electrical engineering, Col. Jim Squire will work with cadets Joseph Johnson and Timothy Graziano. Maj. Wilbur Dale will mentor cadets Thomas Carnes and Andrew Woloshuk, and Col. Shawn Addington will partner with Cadet Christopher Mayberry. In mechanical engineering, Col. Joe Blandino will work with cadets Justin Brinkman and James Bost, Maj. Ryan Taylor with Cadet Travis Travis, and Col. Howard Arthur with cadets Conard Knight and Christopher Leach. In international studies, Kilroy will mentor Cadet Saif Vazquez, and Maj. Dennis Foster, Cadet Adam Green. In economics and business, Maj. Sam Allen will work with Cadet Stephen Cary. Please see page 11


Page 6, The Institute Report, April 2009

Lithuanian Exchange Benefits Cadets By Sherri Tombarge wanted to “get a look” at the way other Cmdr. Tim McElhannon, VMI militaries operate. director of international programs, “Their military is more geared toward traveled last month to Lithuania and a defensive style of fighting, but they use met face to face with someone he many American manuals and tactics,” had met from a great distance many observed Mahaffey. years before. “This is my first abroad experience, The year was 1988. and it has really opened my eyes to how McElhannon was a U.S. Navy pilot different the world around us really flying SH-60B “Seahawk” helicopters is,” said Mahaffey, who has traveled off Navy ships in the Sea of Japan. to Auschwitz, Krakow, Warsaw, and Lithuanian Air Force Brig. Gen. Zamosc in Poland, as well as Riga Edvardas Mazeikis was also a pilot, in Latvia and Berlin, Germany. “The flying MIG 23s out of Vladivostok for Lithuanians are great. They really the Soviet air force. like Americans, and everyone is very “We would sit in international waters and watch the Soviet subs,” Cmdr. Tim McElhannon (right), VMI director of international friendly.” said McElhannon. “Their job was programs, greets Lithuanian Air Force Brig. Gen. Edvardas Cadet Tomas Syvokas, on the other to take off anytime our helicopters Mazeikis during McElhannon’s recent visit to the Military Academy hand, is struck by how similar Lithuania is to western countries like the U.S. launched.” of Lithuania. –Photo courtesy of the Military Academy of Lithuania. “Lithuania is a small country, and it McElhannon and Mazeikis met at a little closer range March 18, when McElhannon visited the Military became independent in 1990,” said Syvokas, who is at VMI this semester. Academy of Lithuania, which has been a partner with VMI in a student and “It’s an independent country for almost 20 years, but for a country that is not a very long time. I think Lithuania did a great job during these years faculty exchange program since 1991. Each spring, a third-year cadet from the Lithuanian academy spends of independence: we became members of the European Union and we a semester at VMI while a VMI cadet spends a semester living at the became members of NATO, and we did this quite fast.” Lithuanian academy and taking courses at Vilnius University, where many Syvokas was pleased to be offered the opportunity to study in the United classes are offered in English. And Gedaminus Vitkus, a professor of States because only one cadet at the Military Academy of Lithuania is international studies at the Lithuanian academy, taught at VMI during the selected each year and proficiency in English is required for officers in the Lithuanian military. fall semester 2004. The exchange program offers improved cultural understanding to cadets “English is one of two NATO languages,” Syvokas pointed out. “We usually send our troops to NATO missions. We had a mission who participate. “We recognize that many Americans don’t get much exposure to people to Iraq; now we have a mission to Afghanistan. We send officers to from other cultures, so they don’t understand them,” said McElhannon. international courses in NATO countries. Officers have to be able to “When we’re in the process of preparing cadets to go out into the world, we speak English.” want them to be comfortable working with people from other cultures. VMI has a larger student body than the Military Academy of Lithuania “They learn to operate in an environment that’s different. At VMI, they and has more extracurricular activities, he said. Syvokas attends extra know how to operate because they know the system. [Abroad], they learn leadership classes at VMI and has enjoyed public lectures and concerts to deal with ambiguity. They learn problem-solving.” both on Post and at Washington and Lee University. VMI cadet Daniel Mahaffey, who is in Lithuania this semester, said he

Career Services Helps Cadets Continued from page 1 Chase said VMI alumni have been a helpful resource to cadets not only to land the right job. “I’ve had interviews with several companies and am now waiting on a in providing them with information but in offering them jobs. Faculty and response from three,” he said. “Norfolk Southern is looking pretty good. staff also are eager to provide cadets with contacts, discuss career options Clark Builders Group has me on their hold list because they want to see and assist with the job search process. how the economy goes; thus, they aren’t currently hiring. And I’ve had “The job forecast for the fall isn’t better and potentially worse,” said an initial interview with Turner Construction. I found [Lunch and Learn] Chase. “We in Career Services will continue to do all that we can to assist helpful in seeing where I can get alumni profiles and other resources to cadets. They can help themselves by starting the process earlier in their cadetships.” help my search.” Delpech thinks the economy is the greatest challenge to his search, but For more information on working with Career Services from a has an alternate plan of going to graduate school, traveling, or finding a cadet or alumnus perspective, call (540) 464-7560 or send e-mail to careerservices@vmi.edu. part-time job.


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 7

Washington Offers Exciting Classroom for Cadets By Wendy Lovell

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas meets with cadets from VMI’s international studies department during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. – Photo courtesy of Cadet Vincent Abruzzese ’09. To teach their course on the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Col. Jim Hentz and Louis Blair took 14 students right to the source. A visit to the National Security Council, the House Armed Services Committee, and the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., brought their class lectures to life and gave their students an invaluable glimpse into how the United States deals with these countries. “We structured the trip to give our students three perspectives,” said Blair, the Mary MoodyNorthen Chair in Arts and Social Sciences. “They got the view from the White House and the National Security Council, where the overall policy for what to do comes together; from the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, where they get a Congressional oversight perspective; and from the Department of Defense, where they see how the military actions are carried out. “They saw just how hard it is to deal not only with the substance of the issue but also with the competing and sometimes conflicting interests or approaches of the various offices and departments involved.” Cadet Jonathan Brown ’09 said the opportunity to be a witness to Washington insiders at work is something that couldn’t be taught in the

classroom. He particularly enjoyed the briefing at the National Security Council and has found the class in general to be good preparation for those who are commissioning. “Now that I’ve been able to experience what the class is all about, I would recommend it for cadets from all different majors, specifically to those thinking about civil service as well as commissioning because it gives great insight to one of the biggest challenges the U.S. faces in foreign policy,” said Brown, who is a biology major. “I have a feeling that many new VMI graduates in the next few years will be involved in the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Blair returned to Washington a week later with 20 cadets and Chris Russell, who advises the Pre-Law Society and is teaching a class on Constitutional law this spring. The VMI delegation met with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and two of his law clerks and toured the court and the U.S. Capitol. “As a lawyer who teaches about the Supreme Court, it was quite inspiring to sit in the courtroom and watch the justices read their decisions, interpreting our rights under the Constitution,” said Russell. “We got to sit in on

a session of the court and hear some decisions announced. One in particular that received a bit of media attention was Bartlett v. Strickland, in which a sharply divided court limited the reach of the Voting Rights Act in a complex dispute about race-conscious electoral redistricting in North Carolina.” Russell added that during the visit with Thomas and his clerks, they shared many insights into life behind the scenes at the Supreme Court: how cases are decided, how the opinions are written, and the role that law clerks play in this process, which is quite significant in terms of drafting the opinions and helping the justices analyze the fine points of law that the court agrees to decide. Russell found Thomas quite generous with his time, as did the cadets who joined him. “The highlight of the trip for me was being able to speak with Justice Thomas in such an informal, small group setting,” said Cadet Jacob Cox ’10. “I loved having such access to one of our nation’s most important men. I learned quite a bit, but one of the most resonant lessons for me was simply the realization that the people who run this country are still exactly that – they’re people.”


Page 8, The Institute Report, April 2009

FTX Project Sees Community Involvement By Sherri Tombarge About 25 of them were VMI cadets. The rest were students from France, students and an instructor from the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, S.C., and professionals and hobbyists from the local community, Virginia, other states, and as far away as England. They joined together for all or part of five days to construct a new picnic shelter at Goshen pass during VMI’s spring FTX. “The idea for the project came from a group of local folks,” said Col. Grigg Mullen, VMI professor of civil engineering and adviser to the VMI timber framing cadets. “They had heard through VDOT that the old shelter at Goshen Pass was to be torn down and not replaced.” Mullen said about 70 people participated in the project, which began Saturday, April 4, with detail work at the workshop on Mullen’s property. The project moved to the Goshen Pass site Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7, for the raising of the frame and the finish work. The achievement was noted by an employee of the Virginia Department of Transportation. “The relative ease of erection, with the assistance of VMI cadets, was indicative of the skill and oversight provided throughout the project by Grigg Mullen and members of the Timber

Framers Guild,” observed Marc K. Stecker, VDOT assistant district bridge engineer for maintenance. “The days are long and tiring,” noted Charles Lincoln ’09, cadet in charge, “but the work is rewarding because all the projects have been donated to the community.” Lincoln began working in timber framing projects during his 3rd Class year. A “particularly gratifying” aspect of the project, said Mullen, was the involvement of the local community. The staff of Crozet Hall – “Bless them,” said Mullen – provided breakfast and lunch each day. But local community groups and individuals provided dinner each evening. “The efforts of the kitchen crews were just as important as those of the framers in making this project happen,” said Mullen. “The cadets got a lesson in community in a lot of different ways. Another group of cadets planned and participated in VMI’s first 5K Torch Run Saturday, April 4, to raise money for Special Olympics, which took place on Post later that day. Close to $400 was raised in the race, in which 20 cadets ran and in which another 18 served as volunteers in planning and organization. Fifteen members of the community joined cadet runners in the event.

“For our first race, it was a success,” commented Cadet David Lottman ’10, cadet in charge. “We expect only rising numbers in the years to come.” Cadets helping out with the Special Olympics events themselves found it an enriching experience. “Getting involved in Special Olympics really opened my eyes,” said Cadet Ray Kirchner ’10, who helped with the powerlifting event. “The amount of determination and will power presented by these kids, against the odds, proves that nothing can hold you back from achieving your dreams.” “I really love working with kids and giving back through the Special Olympics foundation,” added Cadet Travis Holmes ’09, who helped with basketball. “It is something I look forward to doing every year because some of the athletes there I’ve seen for a few years now, and it’s wonderful to see them compete and have fun each year.” Other FTX activities included Post cleanup on Saturday and trips by 1st and 2nd class noncommissioning cadets to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Langley Air Force Base and Fort Myer in Virginia, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and Arlington, the Pentagon, and Marine Corps Base Quantico on Monday and Tuesday.

Cadet Nate Warner ’09 (left) and Cadet Alexander Snyder ’09 lead a pack of 35 in VMI’s first Torch Run 5K April 4, a fund-raiser for Special Olympics. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 9

Visiting École Polytechnique cadet Léonie Harter uses a circular saw for the first time ever during VMI’s Spring FTX. – Photo courtesy of Cmdr. Tim McElhannon.

Visiting Cadets Find Rich Experience On Post By Sherri Tombarge Timber framing at Goshen Pass was one of many new experiences for 15 cadets visiting Post this month from the École Polytechnique, located just outside Paris, France. “Monday [doing detail work on the timber framing project] was very interesting,” said Cadet Léonie Harter, who used a circular saw, chisel, and other woodworking tools for the first time. “When we saw what we had built, we were really proud,” she added. “We felt useful.” The experience was also a part of the lesson in perspective that international travel offers. “I changed my mind about American people,” said Maxime Verriére, noting that in France there are many stereotypes about Americans. “They told us American food is quite awful, but it’s good. I’m very impressed by the way the American people welcomed us.” “It was quite warm,” added Vincent Gonguet. Though the French cadets had many opportunities to interact during their stay at VMI, the timber framing offered a unique opportunity to develop relationships as they worked closely with cadets and community members. They were surprised at how easy it was.

“There were some Americans who had not seen any foreign people before us,” said Gonguet. “They were very, very friendly.” The French cadets noted that many working at the site made a point of approaching them to talk. The VMI cadets on site also enjoyed the interaction. “Fortunately, their English is much better than my French, so communication went very smoothly,” commented Cadet Charles Lincoln ’09, cadet in charge. “They first arrived at Col. Mullen’s for dinner on Sunday night, which was perfect timing for introductions. So after everyone grabbed a plate of food, both VMI and École cadets sat around some of the larger beams and questions started going back and forth. “After a formal introduction Monday morning, the French cadets fit in very well in the workforce,” continued Lincoln. “This is where the VMI cadets stepped up and became teachers.” The École Polytechnique, the alma mater of the first president of the VMI Board of Visitors, Col. Claudius Crozet, is similar to VMI in that service in the French military is not required after graduation and students are required to

complete a stage ouvrier, during which they must do manual labor. The École is less oriented toward the military lifestyle than VMI is, however. Though cadets there must serve eight months in the military prior to beginning their studies, they may spend that time in community service if they wish. They wear the uniforms of their branch of service and that only during ceremonies, parades, and other special events. And Barracks was a different – and difficult – experience for them. Rooms at the École are private, with attached private baths. VMI sends one cadet for one semester each year to the École Polytechnique; Cadet William Truscott is there this semester. Because the VMI semester system does not mesh well with the École system, the École usually sends a group of cadets and faculty members to VMI for a week each spring. That week achieved important goals for these cadets, including improving their English. “Now we think in English,” commented Gonguet, laughing. “It’s very strange. But,” he added, “the most important thing is to learn to know other people.”


Page 10, The Institute Report, April 2009

New Department Heads Named By Lt. Col. Stewart MacInnis Capt. John E. Riester Jr. has been named head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering effective April 1 and Lt. Col. Troy Siemers has been appointed as the new head of Department of Mathematics and Computer Science effective April 3, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, announced. Riester replaces Brig. Gen. Wane Schneiter, who has been named VMI’s new Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of Faculty. Capt. John E. Riester Jr. A professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Riester joined the VMI faculty in 1993 after earning his Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering at Old Dominion University.  In 2001-2002, he was a distinguished visiting professor in civil engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy.   A winner of the VMI Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999, he is a popular and effective teacher who enjoys an exceptionally good rapport with cadets both inside and outside the classroom and devotes a great deal of energy to recruiting and retaining CEE majors.   Since 2002, he has served as the Superintendent’s Representative

to the Honor Court, and he has been director of VMI’s Summer Transition Program since 2006. He has organized cadet participation in the Society of Women Engineers annual conferences since 2001. Siemers joined the VMI faculty in 1999 after finishing his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Virginia.   He is under review for promotion to professor and colonel this spring.   A winner of the VMI Distinguished Teaching Award, the Hinman Award for mentorship of Lt. Col. Troy Siemers undergraduate research and the Corps of Cadets Faculty Mentor Award, he is an accomplished member of the faculty and has valuable experience in administrative roles, including service as VMI’s Director of Technology, Teaching, and Learning since 2002.   Peay said these accomplishments combined with the respect he enjoys among his colleagues make him a strong choice to lead the department at this time. Siemers replaces Col. Lee Dewald, who will continue as a professor of mathematics and computer science.

Band Company Has Busy Spring The cadets of the Regimental Band and Pipes have been very busy these past several weeks supporting the VMI community and the Lexington community at large. On April 1, the VMI Commanders Jazz Band performed a combined concert at the Rockbridge County High School with the RCHS Jazz Ensemble, and the following day seven cadets and Col. John Brodie traveled to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, to attend a personal drum major clinic with Staff NCOs of the U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps at their new facility in Washington, D.C. The VMI Pipes and Drums have also been engaged in many performances as well. Led by Capt. Burt Mitchell, the pipe band has performed in concerts at Effinger and Waddell elementary schools, Lexington Friday Night Lights, the Lexington Scots Irish Heritage Festival, and the Jonathan Daniels memorial ceremony. The Pipe Band also marched in the VMI Legacy Day Parade on post. In addition, the VMI Commanders, the

VMI cadets were joined by a VWIL cadet to learn the duties of a drum major at the U.S. Marine Corps Drum Major Clinic. – Photo courtesy of the Regimental Band. Institute Brass, and Herald Trumpets have performed for the Environment Virginia Conference, the Marshall Awards, Class Reunions of 1959 and 1954, the Navy Dining In, the Air Force Dining Out, and at the Hotel Roanoke.


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 11

Military Virtues Topic of Inaugural Class Lecture By Wendy Lovell Members of the VMI Class of 2009 will soon leave Post to commission Sorley advised the Class of 2009 to take inspiration from these leaders in the military, begin jobs in the private sector or pursue further study at and to follow their examples. graduate schools. Their paths will differ, but they all will rely on the military “Make the most of whatever talents you’ve been granted,” he said. “Be virtues learned and experienced at the Institute. all you can be and be as courageous as you are able. Help your friends Dr. Lewis Sorley, the Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr. ’43 Visiting Professor of and colleagues, be true to yourself, continue to learn and to teach and Leadership and Ethics at VMI, emphasized the importance of these virtues live by the military virtues.” during the inaugural First Class Lecture on April 9 in the Gillis Theater in “The annual Class Lecture Series is a wonderful means for the Corps of the Center for Leadership and Ethics at Marshall Hall. It was the first in a Cadets to be exposed to different insights into leadership and ethics from series of lectures to be offered annually to the various classes of the Corps a variety of disciplinary perspectives,” said Brig. Gen. Charles F. Brower of Cadets on the subject of leadership and ethics. IV, acting director of the Center for Leadership and Sorley used the stories of four military heroes Ethics. “It’s one key element of the new programs of to demonstrate the importance of military virtues the Center for Leadership and Ethics, and I cannot to the Class of 2009. be more pleased with the success of Professor Robert Calvert Jr. was a young private who Bob Sorley’s inaugural lecture. His presentation withstood the unbearable cold of winter to help on the subject of ‘The Military Virtues’ was truly the 51st Armored Infantry, 4th Armored Division, remarkable – simple in approach, yet profound achieve success in the Battle of the Bulge during in effect. He established a very high standard for World War II. future speakers to emulate, indeed.” Creighton Abrams Jr. was a 4th Armored A third generation West Point graduate, Sorley Division tank battalion commander whose 37th earned a doctorate in national security policy from Tank Battalion was the unit that relieved the 101st the Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree Airborne Division surrounded at Bastogne during in English from the University of Pennsylvania. After the Battle of the Bulge. He went on to command retiring from the Army following a distinguished military operations in the Vietnam War and serve career as an armor officer, he served as a senior as chief of staff of the U.S. Army. He was considered civilian official in the Central Intelligence Agency. the embodiment of the professional soldier and During his visiting professorship this term, was known for his commitment to his men. Sorley has taught on the ethics of command in Dr. Lewis Sorley Around the time Calvert and Abrams were the department of psychology and philosophy and fighting in Europe, Harold K. Johnson was a offered an honors forum for the Institute Honors battalion commander in defense of the Philippines. He was taken prisoner Program. and survived the Bataan Death March and imprisonment in the Philippines, Sorley also has taught widely and often at many other colleges and Japan and Korea. He embodied integrity and saved the lives of his fellow universities and is the author of Honor Bright: History and Origins of soldiers by obtaining food and sharing it equally. He, too, went on to serve the West Point Honor Code and System, A Better War: The Unexamined as chief of staff of the U.S. Army. Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam, VMI’s own George C. Marshall was Army chief of staff during World Honorable Warrior: General Harold K. Johnson and the Ethics of War II and stood his ground to implement a large-scale expansion and Command and Thunderbolt: General Creighton Abrams and the Army modernization of the Army. Sorley emphasized his skill as a team player, of His Times. loyalty to his superiors, and dignity and simplicity as key to his success. The Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr. ’43 Visiting Professor of Leadership and Ethics “All four were exemplary [soldiers] who displayed courage, integrity, at VMI was established by Gottwald’s family and friends and the Albemarle fortitude, loyalty, selflessness, devotion to duty and earned the respect of Corp. upon his retirement from the company. It serves as a cornerstone those they led,” said Sorley. “These virtues are needed in all aspects of life to VMI’s efforts to formalize a program that advances the understanding, from family to community to the world. They matter more in the military practice, and integration of leadership and character development at the realm because the stakes are high and failure is devastating.” Institute.

35 Proposals Accepted for SURI Continued from page 5 In mathematics and computer science, Maj. Lea Lanz will partner with cadets Marshall Jarrett, Mikyle Nikmard and Jason Barnes, Col. Vonda Walsh with Cadet Kathleen Underwood, and Cmdr. Dan Joseph with Cadet Caleb Gibson. Col. Robert McDonald will mentor Cadet Even Rogers in an English and fine arts project. Col. Geoff Jensen will work with Cadet Jorge Tellez in history, and Hardin with cadets Sarah Halnon and Fredy Jurkowitsch on modern languages and cultures projects.

In psychology and philosophy, Maj. Glenn Sullivan will mentor cadets Hope Hackemeyer and Carl Josey, Lt. Col Keith Kline will mentor Cadet Cody Davis, and Maj. Dave Cotting, Cadet Christine Beach. In physics and astronomy, Maj. George Brooke IV and Lt. Col. Greg Topasna will work with Cadet Berley Rister, Brooke with Cadet James Ray, Lt. Col. Daniela Topasna with Cadet Gerald Popko, Dr. C. Wu with Cadet Daud Semalulu, and Lt. Col. Daniela Topasna and Lt. Col. Greg Topasna with Cadet Frank Powell.


Page 12, The Institute Report, April 2009

VMI’s Waterproofing Team Combats the Elements By Lori Stevens VMI’s waterproofing team has found itself quite busy in recent weeks pressure washing buildings in preparation for the April 1 dedication of Kilbourne Hall and May 1 dedication of Marshall Hall. The cleanup of the Marshall Library and Smith and Moody halls has been a seven-week process. “The waterproofing team does important work that protects VMI’s investment in its buildings,” said Maj. Richard Fletcher, VMI maintenance reserve program manager. “They do an excellent job of maintaining the exterior of VMI buildings. Their primary purpose is to make repairs to prevent water infiltration, which can cause significant damage to both the exterior and interior of buildings.” Though the team has been especially busy recently, waterproofing is a full-time process that never ends. “The buildings are generally on a 10-year cycle for waterproofing depending on their condition and any special events that may come up,” said Fletcher. “The most noticeable aspect is that the buildings get a ‘facelift’ which makes them more aesthetically pleasing to VMI and the general public.” The work can be cold and grueling. Working with 3,500 pounds of water pressure, team members end up soaking wet, and the weather during the recent cleanup has often been in the 30- or 40-degree range. “Normally we do this work in July when it is much warmer, but preparing the buildings for the May 1 dedication was an exceptional situation,” explained John Camper, supervisor of the team. “Very few days have pleasant working conditions; either it is too hot or too cold.” Even in optimum weather, the work requires great care. The high pressure spray means that, in order to produce consistent cleaning, so there are no lighter or darker areas, those operating the washers must maintain an even distance from the buildings.

Most of the work is done on aerial work platforms, or “lifts.” “Up on the lifts we have the wind to contend with,” Camper said. “After an eight-hour day …, the men’s legs get pretty fatigued.” Gene Burke, head of the housing maintenance team, has been certified to train VMI employees to operate the heavy machines. In the midsummer, when the plaster on the buildings is fully dry, the team will come back and apply sealer to the exteriors. Last summer, the waterproofing team started repairs on the old Physical Plant building for the Kilbourne Hall project. Team members added new plaster, making sure to match the existing texture. Then they painted on two coats of a special textured paint. Then they repainted the entire front section of the new Kilbourne Hall for the dedication, as well as all the handrails and cosmetic work. “We had been working on Richardson and Maury Brooke halls, but were pulled off those jobs to get everything ready for the two dedications. We will spend most of the summer on them when we get back to our regular schedule,” said Camper. The work consists not only of cleaning, prepping, and painting all the exteriors, but also recaulking and reglazing the windows, priming and painting them, and caulking the capstones. “This is a pretty extensive job. These buildings are large. There is a lot of area to cover. Luckily, we have a really good group of hard-working men on the job,” Camper added. The team is headed by Camper, though Burke fills in when Camper is not available. Robin Brown is the foreman of the team, whose members are Jeff Moran, Jason Davis, Scott Schulke, and Matt Cash, all relative newcomers to the VMI community. “They do an excellent job and have a great future ahead of them,” said Camper.

Cadets Help High School Students Tackle Global Issues International Studies students in Col. Rick Kilroy’s American Foreign Policy course helped prepare high school students participating in this year’s Model United Nations conference March 13-14 at VMI and Washington and Lee University. Cadets Christopher Rau ’09, Andrew Hosey ’09, Matthew Graham ’10, Clayton Melton ’10, Julie Markow ’10, Hunter Cantrell ’10, Paul Bailey ’10, and James Hefner ’11 wrote background papers on topics including the Darfur crisis in the Sudan, Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, global food and water shortages, environmental disasters, and aging populations in Asia. Rau and Graham also met with Rockbridge County High School students to help them prepare their country position papers. During the Model U.N. conference itself, Col. Jim Hentz, chair of the Department of International Studies and Political Science, gave a talk, “State Failure in Africa: Causes and Crises,” to the high school faculty sponsors as part of their continuing education certifications. Over 120 high school students from Lexington and Buena Vista city schools and Rockbridge, Roanoke, Botetourt, and Augusta county schools participated in the conference, which took place during VMI’s spring furlough. The students participated as country representatives on committees simulating the United Nations’ Security Council, the Arab League, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and an ad hoc Environmental Committee of the U.N.

Cadet Matthew Graham ’10 helps Rockbridge County High School students prepare country position papers for the March 13-14 Model United Nations conference. – Photo courtesy of the VMI Department of International Studies and Political Science.


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 13

VMI Defeats Tech on the Trebuchet By Wendy Lovell Two trebuchets made a formidable The competition consisted of accuracy appearance on the parade ground on and distance challenges. Each team March 28. Any fears that a war was had two opportunities to land as close about to begin at the Virginia Military as possible to a target 100 feet down Institute were alleviated as observers range. Virginia Tech won that portion realized the projectiles were only of the competition, coming within 7 feet cantaloupes, not something more of the target compared to VMI’s 8 feet dangerous. four inches. The smashing cantaloupes were On the distance challenge, VMI part of a competition between the launched its cantaloupe 273.8 feet away VMI and Virginia Tech student to Tech’s 157.5. The two teams agreed chapters of the Society of American on a second distance challenge for the Military Engineers. Member Cadet third battle in the competition. VMI Kip Joerdens ’09 hopes it will again launched its cantaloupe farther, become an annual contest involving 257.3 feet to 144.8. more college chapters. Cadets manning the VMI trebuchet and a crowd of onlookers Using an equation to convert the A civil engineering major, Joerdens observe as the Virginia Tech trebuchet launches its cantaloupe distances into points, it was determined was one of six cadets in VMI’s SAME in a failed attempt to defeat VMI. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. that VMI had won the war over Tech, 19 chapter to help build the trebuchet to 9.7 points. over the past few months. Under the direction of Cadet Andy Tunnell In addition to having fun, the students from both schools learned how to ’11, the VMI team constructed a siege machine that stood up to the maximize the trebuchet’s use of leverage to propel the cantaloupes farther challenge. and more accurately.

Skeet Club Competes in National Tournament By Brittany Tombarge The VMI Trap and Skeet Club last month competed in the National Collegiate Clay Target Championships in San Antonio, Texas, where the team placed 28th out of 38 schools in skeet, trap, and five-stand sporting clays. “I think we did very well considering it was our first year ever having a team and going to the tournament. We have a miniscule budget compared to many if not most of the 38 schools represented at the tournament, and we only competed in three of the five events,” commented Lt. Col. Mitch Fridley ’89, assistant commandant, who coaches the team with Sgt. Maj. John Neel. “Perhaps most importantly, all five of my cadets represented themselves very well, behaved like gentlemen, showed great poise and sportsmanship, and left all they met and competed against with a positive impression of and respect for VMI.” The schools the team competed against included Virginia Tech, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The team, which is only in its first year of competition, hadn’t been active since 1997. Last year a few cadets, including Sloan Burns ’10, Travis Mulkey ’08, and Evan Berenholtz ’09, expressed an interest in reviving the club. “Before coming to VMI, I met a group of active

VMI alumni shooters and decided that I wanted to bring back the VMI skeet team and set the goal of making the team a competitive club,” explained Burns. The club was restarted with the help of Neel and Fridley. “We’re average shooters ourselves. We decided we’d invest our time and get this thing up and running,” said Neel. “We were able to compete more and more this year due to a bigger budget provided to us by Cadet Life. The three of us [cadets] put in a lot of work and a lot of time last year to be able to get the team off of the ground,” said Berenholtz. The team practices Tuesdays and Thursdays for around two hours at the skeet and trap range at VMI’s McKethan Park. Team members also occasionally shoot sporting clays at a local range. Skeet is shot from a “high house” and a “low house,” with the shooter rotating through eight stations, shooting a total of 25 “birds” in one round, said Burns. Trap is shot with five shooters standing on a straight line 16 yards behind the trap bunker. The “birds” will fly out of the trap, which swings back and forth so that the shooter does not know where the “bird” will fly from when he calls, “pull.” The cadets come from a variety of backgrounds.

Some, like Burns, who is ranked in the top 10 nationally and has been shooting since he was 11 years old, have previous skeet team experience. Others developed an interest in shooting through hunting. Three upper class cadets will return to the team next year, and 28 cadets have already signed up for this month’s tryouts. Neel said there are many reasons for cadets to join the skeet team. “All cadets should have some type of competition that they do,” said Neel. In addition, Neel said, it’s an opportunity to build friendships with their peers at other schools and develop hand-eye coordination and athletic skills. “It’s just a way for cadets to go out and do something interesting and exciting,” he added. The members agree that they have it tougher than most of the schools they’re competing against due to VMI’s strict academic and military schedule, which leaves them little time to practice. Even with this challenge, team members are proud of their progress and have high hopes for the future. “We are yearning for better scores and more competitions next year. I know myself and the coaches want to bring some awards back to the Institute,” said Burns.


Page 14, The Institute Report, April 2009

Army ROTC Cadets Head to Fort Pickett By Maj. Jimmy Kilbourne Jr. ’86, Army ROTC The VMI Army ROTC Marshall-New Market Battalion deployed 394 cadets to Fort Pickett, Va., on April 3 to conduct Spring FTX. The five-day cadet-run field training exercise served as the culminating exercise for the academic year. For 3rd and 4th class cadets, Spring FTX acts as a recruiting tool, allowing them to experience some of the training and equipment found in the Army. For 2nd Class cadets, the days in field are dedicated to further preparation for their final leadership assessment at Fort Lewis, Wash., prior to commissioning. The Second Class Army training is managed by the 1st Class ROTC cadet squad cadets, who are nearly a month away leaders show 3rd and from commissioning and graduation. 4th class cadets how to Each day is methodically planned to negotiate a problem challenge each cadet with a new task in the Leadership or leadership position to help in their Reaction Course at development as future soldiers and Fort Pickett during leaders. Spring FTX. – Photo After traveling by bus for nearly courtesy of Army ROTC. three hours Friday, the cadets settled in at Fort Pickett and got muchneeded sleep for the following day’s events. For 3rd, 4th, and 1st class cadets, the first destination offered heat and a nice bed for the remainder of the stay at Fort Pickett. For 3rd Class cadets, however, the destination was to begin learning about patrol base operations. The likelihood of sleep for those training in the woods was slim to none. Before the sun rose on Saturday, the day was beginning for all elements of the battalion. Fourth Class cadets spent the next four days being introduced to land

navigation and rappelling and completing both a hand grenade assault course and an obstacle course. These cadets also got training with weapons such as the M-203 grenade launcher and the M-240. These exercises allowed cadets to be challenged with unfamiliar territory while forcing them to use prior training and techniques. Third Class cadets completed the same tasks with the addition of Military Operations in Urban Terrain. The ultimate goal for this training is to spark an interest and desire within these cadets to continue with their Army training and to earn a commission. Second Class cadets experienced a different kind of FTX, being evaluated both by cadre and by their peers for five days. Each held a number of leadership positions during tactical exercises and the Leadership Reaction Course. Aside from their leadership assessment, cadets completed a day and night land navigation course to ensure their success at camp during the summer. FTX is designed to give both the cadet and cadre confidence in an ultimately successful camp experience during the summer at Fort Lewis. The heart of this operation lay within the 1st Class cadets as they planned and executed the FTX and all of its training. They positioned themselves throughout each training event and continued communication with the Tactical Operations Center to ensure that training was successful and accountability kept. Their ROTC experiences, along with some guidance from cadre, ensured the successful completion of this spring’s FTX.

Post Briefs Four Professors Awarded Leaves in 2009-2010 Lt. Col. Gregory A. Topasna, associate professor of physics, has received a VMI Awards Faculty Development Leave for the fall to complete the Observational Astronomy Laboratory Manual and construct an optical polarimeter for the VMI Observatory. Col. James J. Hentz, head of the department of international studies and political science, has received a Jackson-Hope Faculty Development Leave for spring 2010 to work on Wars Across States in Africa: A Systematic Explanation of War in Africa and an edited collection on AFRICOM. Also in spring 2010, through JacksonHope Faculty Development Leaves, Col. R. Geoffrey Jensen, professor of history, will work on The Battle of Ebro: Turning Point of the Spanish Civil War, and Col. Richard Rowe, professor of biology, will work on Avian Distribution and Habitat Utilization along the Appalachian Trail in Central Virginia. Burnett, Cadets Represent VMI at Conferences Col. R.E. Burnett, professor of international studies and director of science and security, delivered a paper, “Professional Workshop on the Design, Implementation, and Delivery of the Undergraduate Academic Minor in Science and Security at The Virginia Military Institute,” at the third annual

Homeland Defense and Security Education Conference at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in March. Earlier this month, he led a team of four VMI cadets to present their research to the Joint Service Academies Academic Conference at the First Division Infantry Museum at Cantigny Park in Chicago, Ill. Cadets Elizabeth Dobbins, Barrett Luxhoj, Alex Oliver, and Joshua Dixon presented their research and debated their peers from other colleges in conjunction with the conference theme of “The End of War? The Role of the Military in an Era of Persistent Conflict.” McDonald Lectures at Lynchburg College Col. Robert L. McDonald presented a lecture, “Erskine Caldwell and the ‘Pulpy Limbo,’” at Lynchburg College on April 13. A professor of English and associate dean for academic affairs, his research and teaching interests include American literature, modernism, and contemporary drama. He is also a practicing photographer whose most recent book, titled Birth Place (Nazraeli, 2008), is a study of the small house in Moreland, Ga., in which Erskine Caldwell was born. McDonald’s scholarly work includes three books on Caldwell: The Critical Response to Erskine Caldwell (1997), Erskine Caldwell: Selected Letters, 1929-1955 (1999), and Reading Erskine Caldwell: New Essays (2006).


The Institute Report, April 2009, Page 15

Air Force FTX Saw Dining In, Base Visits By Cadet Brian Molina ’10, Air Force ROTC through many of the procedures Brig. Gen. Teresa H. Djuric was that will be seen during their time at guest speaker at the Air Force ROTC’s Maxwell Air Force Base this summer. first-ever Combat Dining In, the The cadets also went through group opening event to Detachment 880’s leadership projects in Bedford as Spring FTX activities. The dinner, well as M-9 training. which took place Friday, April 3, More than 150 cadets participated in Marshall Hall, was attended in Air Force ROTC base visits, by the contracted and pursuing making it one of the largest groups upperclassmen and 4th Class cadets to attend. The group, made up of in Air Force ROTC. 4th, 3rd, and 2nd class cadets, The uniform at this year’s dining in visited Shaw, Wright-Patterson, and was ACU’s/BDU’s rather than coatee, Charleston Air Force bases. which left a somewhat relaxed yet The cadets experienced life in still formal feel in the dining area. the Air Force during an active duty The dinner finished with a video presentation of the commissioning VMI Air Force ROTC cadets took part in a Combat Dining In during member’s workday, including flight Spring FTX. – Photo courtesy of Air Force ROTC. line work, aircraft static displays, class of 2009. and Security Forces tactics. The The next day, contracted/pursuing 3rd Class cadets finished their field training preparation with cadets from cadets had a chance to meet alumni who had to commission in the Air University of Virginia. During this portion of the training, the cadets went Force, whether for a few years or as a career.

Naval ROTC Cadets Head for a Ship … or the Woods By Lt. Jeff Lambeth and Capt. Steven Craig, Naval ROTC Standing on the flight deck of USS George H.W. Bush, over 13 stories above the waterline, VMI Naval ROTC cadets experienced firsthand the might of the U.S. Navy’s newest carrier. With two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors generating up to 260,000 horse power, the colossal aircraft carrier is capable of exceeding speeds of 30 knots for sustained periods of time, allowing its 90-plus aircraft to be rapidly launched for a wide variety of missions. VMI alumnus Shannon Terhune, now the chief engineer aboard the carrier, gave the cadets, many of whom had never before set foot on a Naval ship, a guided tour of the Navy’s 10th and last Nimitz-class carrier, pointing out key structures and answering questions along the way. The tour culminated in a ride down one of the carrier’s three massive aircraft elevators, each capable of carrying two aircraft at a time to and from the flight deck. In addition to staying and sleeping aboard the amphibious warship USS Bataan over the next few days, the cadets were given the opportunity to tour three other ships, a guided missile cruiser, a destroyer and a Los Angeles-class submarine. They were also allowed to participate in training, including the “Buttercup,” which allowed a group of cadets to combat shipboard flooding with real damage control equipment. Though the schedule was rigorous and the hours long, these Navy cadets lived a life of luxury compared to their Marine counterparts, who spent their FTX in the George Washington National Forest. The Marine cadets started their weekend by setting up the shelters they would be staying in for the next three days. They then headed off to team and leadership building courses including a high ropes course, a climbing tower, the “screamer”

Cadet James Harvey Jr. ’09 leads a field survival class for Marine ROTC cadets during VMI’s Spring FTX. – Photo courtesy of Naval ROTC.

and the high-five course. Over the next two days the cadets were taught survival skills and small unit tactics and participated in patrolling exercises designed to build team unity and leadership ability. The weekend culminated with a paintball exercise between Company A and Company B, in which A came away with the bragging rights, at least for the time being. On Tuesday morning the Marine cadets made the trip back to VMI, weary but in high spirits, with an entire weekend worth of stories to exchange with their Navy counterparts.


Page 16, The Institute Report, April 2009

Cowart Nationally Ranked in Steeplechase By Brad Salois, VMI Sports Information Fifth-year 1st Class cadet Donnie Cowart ranked sixth on the NCAA rankings for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, according to information released the week of April 10. Cowart, who shattered his previous personal best April 4 at Duke, achieved the ranking with a time of 8:52.44. The clocking was 13 seconds better then his previous personal best, set last season at the Penn Relays. It also was an NCAA qualification effort, as well as an Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America, or IC4A, qualifying time. The second-fastest effort in VMI history, the time is just seven seconds off qualifying for the USA Track and Field Championships. Cowart also prevailed in the 1,500-meter run at the Duke Invitational, pacing the field with a time of 3:48.70. That effort, while not an NCAA automatic qualifier, is just three seconds shy of a qualification effort for the USA Track and Field Championships.

VMI Cadet Donnie Cowart ’09 achieved national ranking in the 3,000-meter steeplechase earlier this month. – Photo courtesy of VMI Sports Information.

2009 VMI Football Schedule Sep. 05 Robert Morris Sep. 19 James Madison Sep. 26 Richmond Oct. 3 Gardner-Webb* Oct. 10 Coastal Carolina* Oct. 17 Stony Brook*

Foster Stadium 1:30 p.m. at Harrisonburg, Va. TBA at Richmond, Va. TBA Foster Stadium 1:30 p.m. at Conway, S.C. TBA Foster Stadium 1:30 p.m.

Virginia military institute communications & marketing office Lexington, VA 24450-0304

Oct. 24 Oct. 31 Nov. 7 Nov. 14 Nov. 21

Presbyterian* Charleston Southern* Liberty* Army Old Dominion

at Clinton, S.C. Foster Stadium at Lynchburg, Va. at West Point, N.Y. Foster Stadium

TBA 1:30 p.m. TBA TBA 1:30 p.m.

*Big South Conference Contest

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit no. 14 Lexington, VA 24450-0304

Institute Report 04/09  

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