Volume XXXVII, Number 2
New Market – The Rat Class follows the Institute colors across the New Market Battlefield in September. Just prior to the charge that followed the path of cadets fighting in the 1864 battle, this year’s Rats took the cadet oath. At a strength of 490, this year’s Rat Class is the largest in the Institute’s history. - VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Dean Announces Initiatives to Strengthen Academics By Wendy Lovell
While he believes the state of VMI’s academic program is quite strong, Brig. Gen. Wane Schneiter has a few new ideas he hopes will make a great program even better. Since he took the reins as deputy superintendent for academics and dean of the faculty last April, Schneiter has been assessing the academic program and policies. He shared several new initiatives with Institute faculty in September. “Fundamentally, VMI is in the right place, but we have some operational issues to sort out,” he told the faculty. “Now that I am dean, I’m no longer in the press box but am on the field. The view is different here, and the solutions are not as clear.” Schneiter is committed to finding solutions to some of the issues common to college administrations, especially during tough economic times. Giving the VMI faculty the resources to teach well, pursue scholarly engagement, be good professional citizens, and advise and mentor cadets are key priorities for the coming years. To that end, Schneiter’s office will initiate seminars to promote excellence in teaching and hire a new part-time director of undergraduate research
and a grants officer. To balance the load of committee work, Schneiter has placed a limit of three committee assignments each on the faculty. “The committee structure is one way to bring everyone to the table,” said Schneiter. “With more than 50 committees, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of opportunity to influence the quality of our academic program. This restructuring will give everybody on the faculty the chance to contribute, and we’re all going to share the responsibilities of faculty governance.” Two new committees have been formed, including one to study commissioning at VMI. Chaired by Col. Turk McCleskey, this group will identify opportunities to assist cadets with the decision to commission and to grow the number of commissioning cadets. Chaired by Col. Wade Bell, the committee on graduate program relationships will work to establish associations between VMI and 25 graduate programs, increasing opportunities for cadets who wish to further their education. Spreading the load of committee work also will allow faculty to spend more time mentoring and advising cadets, said Schneiter. The new dean also has established councils of department heads in Please see page 2
Page 2, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
Leadership Center Goes ‘Virginia Green’ By John Robertson IV
The Virginia Green campaign, a joint initiative of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Tourism Corp., and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, has designated the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics a Green Conference Center. Since participants in the Virginia Green program self-certify that energyefficient practices are in place, Maj. Paul Ackerman ’93, deputy post engineer, and Justin Spears, technologist and assistant facilities manager for the center, worked together under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Charles Brower IV, director of the leadership center, to submit documentation of energy-efficient systems and procedures employed at Marshall Hall, which houses the center, as well as across post. “Brigadier General Brower was instrumental in initiating the goal to have Marshall Hall registered as a Green Conference Center prior to this year’s Energy Symposium on October 7 and 8,” Ackerman said. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Spears. “We are the Center for Leadership and Ethics, and ethically it’s better for us to do this. We want to set a good example.” Marshall Hall was built with efficiency in mind, and the design fit some of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, guidelines set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. “Typical of most new construction projects, LEED criteria was used when specifying energy-efficient items, such as lighting, windows, insulation, and heating-ventilation-air condition systems,” said Ackerman. While no changes had to be made to Marshall Hall to fit the Virginia Green criteria, operations within the building were adapted to fit the criteria. “We were already doing pretty well,” said Spears of Marshall Hall’s energy
efficiency. “We just went in and said, ‘OK, this is what we have. How can we do better?’” Doing better meant adapting procedures at the center that in small ways added up to a significant impact. Included in a long list of these measures are an extensive recycling program, elimination of disposable materials in catered events, and minimization of printed materials in preference to electronic communications and ordering services. It is hoped that the Virginia Green designation will help attract meetings of state agencies to the Center for Leadership and Ethics. Through Executive Order 82, “Greening of State Government,” Gov. Tim Kaine laid out his plan for lessening the environmental impact of the operations of state government. One clause of the order states that meetings involving 50 state employees must use a designated Virginia Green conference facility unless a special exception is given. “What Virginia Green really comes down to is [that] it’s available for everyone, and anyone who is environmentally conscious can go to the site and see who is listed, but it’s really a set of guidelines for state agencies when they’re planning their own meetings,” said Spears. The Virginia Green campaign fits with the goals that VMI has set for itself to increase energy efficiency. “Over the past several years, VMI has made a commitment to reduce energy cost, reduce waste, and water consumption,” said Ackerman. “In addition, VMI hosts the Commonwealth of Virginia Energy Symposium, so there is always a motivation to lead by example and set new goals.”
Oldest Class Agent, William R. Vivian ’32, Dies By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation
The oldest serving class agent, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. William R. Vivian ’32, died in Newport News, Va., Sept. 12. He was 98 years old. Vivian had taken over the role of class agent in 2004, after the death of Brother Rat Braxton M. “Brax” Cutchin Jr. Matriculating from Nitro, W.Va., and known to his Brother Rats as “Bill” and, more frequently, “Viv,” Vivian graduated with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He was on the staff of The Cadet and attained the rank of sergeant, although he graduated as a first-class private. A retired U.S. Army artillery officer, who served from February 1941 to
September 1964, his decorations included the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. After leaving active duty, Vivian lived in the Tidewater area and was active in civic affairs. Appropriate for an artillery officer, he was the president of the Fort Monroe Casemate Museum Foundation. His wife, Irma H. Vivian, died in 1996; they had no children. Vivian also was predeceased by his brother, George B. Vivian ’39. With Vivian’s death, James C. Sherman ’35, becomes the oldest serving class agent.
Dean Announces Initiatives Continued from page 1 engineering, the sciences, and the humanities merit pay, faculty evaluations, and tenure and the with a goal of sharing resources and grant promotions process will work this fall to review opportunities, enhancing communication policies in these areas and to ensure they are across Post and building synergy among faculty clear. The annual faculty evaluation process and cadets of similar disciplines. Another goal will be re-examined with a focus on helping of the councils is to find ways to increase the faculty members understand what they do well number of cadets who pursue degrees in the and what they can do better, giving all involved an opportunity for reflection and professional sciences. Additionally, new ad hoc committees on faculty development.
Institute Report Office of Communications and Marketing Col. Stewart MacInnis – Director Sherri Tombarge – Editor Burton Floyd – Publications Coordinator Contributors: Wendy Lovell, John Robertson IV, George Abry, 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, OCTOBER 2009, Page 3
Class of ’84 Reunion Fund Two of the five co-chairmen of the Class of 1984 Reunion Fund Committee (from left), John Munno and Steve Hupp, present Gen. J. H. Binford Peay III ’62, VMI superintendent, with a check at the Saturday morning parade Sept. 5 during the first reunion weekend of this academic year. The check, for $1,984,000, represented the fund’s initial proceeds and the participation of 100 percent of the Brother Rats in attendance at the reunion. – Photo courtesy of the VMI Foundation.
A Cut Above: Class Agents Spur Alumni Participation By Scott Belliveau ’83, VMI Foundation
In budget year 2009, VMI alumni turned in an impressive performance in terms of supporting the Institute, with 39 percent of them making a gift. This participation rate was above the goal of 37 percent for the budget year. While there are many people who can claim a share of this success, not least the donors, according to Patrick Webb, the VMI Foundation’s vice president for alumni and reunion giving, a large share goes to VMI’s class agents. “Every class has one,” Webb explained. “They are the Brother Rats who take on the job of bringing alumni ever closer to VMI and to each other. They write ‘Class Notes’ for the VMI Alumni Review and keep everyone informed of what’s going on at VMI. Just as important, however, is their work in support of fundraising, especially annual giving.” In budget year 2009, 52 classes met or surpassed the overall goal of 37 percent alumni participation (see table), and Webb credited class agents with being “the force behind achieving this goal. Engagement with class
agents — who they know and trust — often is what cinches the deal for alumni, insofar as giving is concerned. In other words, if they were ‘on the fence’ about making a gift to VMI, the class agents’ appeals are what tip the balance in favor of doing so.” In light of the response of VMI alumni to appeals from their class agents last year, the VMI Foundation and VMI Keydet Club have set another ambitious goal for alumni participation in budget year 2010: 40 percent. To some, this might be overly optimistic, considering that the economic recession is lingering and that overall charitable giving has declined. Webb, however, thinks the goal can be achieved: “Last year, our class agents enthusiastically spread the message about the importance of private giving to VMI. Judging from the performance of more than 50 classes, this enthusiasm was infectious. If anything, this year, our agents are even keener to take this message to their Brother Rats. So, I fully expect that, overall, 40 percent of alumni will choose to support VMI, and that many more classes will meet and beat our goal.”
Classes Meeting or Surpassing the Overall Goal of 37 Percent Alumni Participation 1930s 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937
1940s 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948A 1948B 1949 1949B 1949C
1950s 1950A 1950B 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960s 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970s 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1977
1980s 1980 1981 1983 1984 1987
Page 4, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
North Post Groundbreaking
Ground was broken for a project to expand and upgrade training facilities in VMI’s North Post area on Sept. 9. The $15 million state-funded project known as the Military and Leadership Field Training Grounds will provide improved facilities to train cadets in military, athletic, and leadership skills and is expected to be completed during the summer of 2011. Taking part in the ceremony are (from left) Lexington City Manager Jon Ellestad; VMI Athletic Director Donny White ’65; Brig. Gen. Wane Scheiter, deputy superintendent and dean of the faculty; Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent; Brig. Gen. Bob Green ’67, deputy superintendent for finance, administration, and support; Col. Mike Strickler ’71, assistant to the superintendent and secretary to the Board of Visitors; and Lt. Col. Dale Brown, director of construction. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
VMI Named to Lists By Wendy Lovell
Rising within the ranks is not an uncommon concept for a school with a military focus like VMI. The host of annual lists published by magazines and industry organizations are an important focus for colleges of any bent. And, once again, the Virginia Military Institute kept its place in the top rank of liberal arts colleges in the recent ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Forbes also ranked VMI 79th in its list of America’s Best Colleges for 2009, and the Chronicle of Higher Education listed VMI among its list of Great Colleges to Work For. “Taking part in surveys like these is a difficult thing for a college to ignore,” said Col. Stewart MacInnis, VMI’s director of communications and marketing. “We put a lot of time and effort into putting together information for these organizations, and while the methodology used in some of these lists is controversial, being included has its advantages.” MacInnis added that many prospective students start their college searches by perusing college rankings, so not taking part can lead to missed opportunities. In U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2010, VMI moved up in the rankings from No. 71 last year to No. 62, placing the Institute firmly in the first tier of colleges nationwide. In the category of public liberal arts colleges, it came in third behind the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy. This is the same position VMI has held since 2007, when federal service academies were added to that category for the first time. Previous to that, VMI held the No. 1 position for six years running. “This consistent rise in the overall rankings year after year says a great deal about the dedication and quality of our faculty and staff,” said Brig. Gen. R. Wane Schneiter, deputy superintendent and dean of the faculty. “We have devoted a great deal of energy to ensuring the quality of a VMI education. I am gratified that the results of this survey reflect that effort.”
U.S. News considers such factors as a college’s reputation as rated by academic leaders nationally, the retention of students, class size, the quality of the faculty, the quality of students, financial resources, graduation rate performance, and the alumni giving rate. VMI’s engineering programs were once again included in the magazine’s list of the nation’s best undergraduate engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The Institute placed No. 19 on that list this year, up from last year’s ranking of 21st. The rankings in the engineering category are based exclusively on the reputation of the program. While VMI ranked 79th overall in the Forbes ranking, the magazine listed it as No. 10 in its category of top public colleges, just behind such institutions as the U.S. Military Academy, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary, but ahead of many other well-respected schools. According to Forbes, which has ranked colleges for two years, if a school appears on its list, that indicates it meets a certain level of quality. Forbes ranks only the top 15 percent of undergraduate institutions, and there are more than 4,000 in the United States. Prospective students aren’t the only ones who pay attention to rankings; therefore, the Chronicle of Higher Education has gotten into the act with its “The Great Colleges to Work For” program. In its second year, the program recognizes institutions for best practices and policies in 26 categories for four-year colleges and 15 categories for community colleges. Within those categories, colleges are classified based on enrollment. According to Col. Bob Spore, VMI director of human resources, VMI received high marks in the areas of facilities and security and connection to the institution and pride. He said VMI received good marks in the areas of job satisfaction and support and supervisor and department chair relations. Please see page 12
The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009, Page 5
Cadet Research Sheds Light on Little-Known Bat By George Abry
Midsummer is a time when most folks head to the beach for sun and sand. Cadets Erin Hawes and Tim Brust opted for a different experience: they sat up late at night catching bats. The two 2nd Class biology majors spent the month of July at Surry Mountain Lake in New Hampshire conducting research on a rare bat species with Maj. Paul Moosman ’98, assistant professor of biology at VMI. The bat species, known as the eastern small-footed bat, is one of the rarest mammals in the world, and biologists know next-to-nothing about its ecology. Moosman said the cadets took on the research project to learn the basics of the bat’s biology, which will be critical for future conservation efforts. “If anything starts to happen to it – population decline or disease – we have no hope of addressing it,” Moosman said. “I have always been interested in animals and their behaviors – bats in particular,” Hawes said. “I was interested in learning more about this bat’s roost since nobody else had done this research before.” Bats are nocturnal creatures, and Hawes and Brust wanted to learn where the male bats spend their daylight hours. At night the cadets would set up mist nets, which are lightweight mesh netting systems that look like large volleyball nets. The nets must be monitored carefully so that wildlife can be untangled quickly and released to avoid injury. Once a bat was captured, it was outfitted with a small radio-transmitting device, which would be used to track the bat’s movements back to the roost site. The immediate area around Surry Mountain Dam was chosen for the research due to the concentration of bats known to live there. “It’s like an Easter egg hunt; you check every potential crevice with a fine-tooth comb,” Moosman said. Hawes and Brust studied specific aspects of the bat roost, such as general location, length, width, and the depth of crevices. While Hawes focused her attention on the physical dimensions of a crevice, Brust used a small probe to take temperature readings to see if there was a connection between the temperature of a roost and its use by eastern small-footed bats. “We were able to determine that the favored habitat of this species of bat was made up of talus slopes with large boulders and that crevice lengths and depths played a role in the bats’ roosting habits,” Hawes said. Brust said he doesn’t think the bats were overly concerned about the temperatures of the roost and that the bats they studied did not stay in the same roost twice. One tagged bat inhabited 13 separate roosts in a two-week period. “The size of the crevice is what they really cared about,” Brust said. Both cadets plan to return to Surry Mountain Lake next summer to resume their research with Moosman. The cadets hope to publish the final results of their work in New Horizons, the peer-reviewed VMI journal of undergraduate research. Brust, who is planning to attend graduate school, said that working on the project “confirmed 100 percent that field biology is what I want to do with my life.” Upon graduation next year, Hawes said she will accept a commission with the U.S. Army. Although she is not completely sure what her future holds once her military obligations are completed, she said hopes to continue working in the general field of biology.
The tiny eastern small-footed bat was the subject of a cadet summer field research project. – Photo courtesy of Maj. Paul Moosman.
Cadet Erin Hawes sets up a net to capture bats for study during a summer research project. – Photo courtesy of Maj. Paul Moosman.
Page 6, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
Online and Out There Archives Offers Worldwide Access to Wealth of Information By John Robertson IV
Diane Jacob makes the VMI Archives accessible online. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
Weekly updates to the VMI archives Web site make the already extensive online collection constantly new and ever-increasing. The newest additions include a recently discovered scrapbook of civil rights activist Jonathan Daniels ’61, material concerning World War II veteran George J. Tompkins Jr. ’44, and the papers of John Lee Couper ’37, a World War II Army Medical Corps veteran. Archivist Diane Jacob sees the online collections as integral to bringing the Archives’ wealth of information to a worldwide community of researchers. “Through the innovative use of technology and the ongoing enhancement of the Archives Web site, we are able to facilitate researcher access to our collections,” she said. Over 7,000 images have been compiled in the online photographs database, and transcripts and excerpts from nearly 200 interviews make up the Military Oral History Database. Accessibility to the archives is a key motivation for its remarkable degree of digitization. “From the beginning, I was excited about the ability of the Web to deliver easy access to VMI’s rich historical collections,” Jacob said. “Although not all interested researchers can travel to Lexington to use the material on site, we now serve researchers from all over the world through our Web presence.” The scope of the Archives Web site covers selected material from the history of VMI, military history, Institute records, and works of art. “The Archives was an early adopter of Web technology and had one of the first Web sites at VMI. We began in 1995 with just a few items online, and it has grown into the large project you see today.” said Jacob. The Archives’ Web site has developed a strong reputation as a reliable
resource for researchers. “We are featured in the print publication ‘The Civil War on the Web: A Guide to the Very Best Sites,’ and our resources have been used in History Channel and PBS productions, as well as cited in many scholarly and popular publications,” Jacob said. Jacob, and Mary Laura Kludy, archives assistant, have poured much time and energy into creating this online repository. “Typical projects involve scanning, Web page design, and creation of transcriptions of historical documents,” Jacob said. “In addition, we use software to create online exhibits and also work with audio digitization for the oral history project.” The Military Oral History Database is a collaborative effort between the John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History and Strategic Analysis and the VMI Archives. Cadets play a lead role in realizing these interviews. “Students in Colonel Kip Muir’s military history classes are required to complete an oral history project in which they interview a veteran regarding his or her service. When the interviews have been completed, Kip sends them to Archives, where we place the full-text transcript and audio excerpt on the Archives Web site.” Jacob has been with the archives since 1979, and while much has changed at the library since that time, her commitment to bringing archived materials to the researcher has not waned, as the Web site makes evident. “It’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” said Jacob. “While Lexington is physically isolated, the Web site brings collections to the world.” To view the Archives, visit www.vmi.edu/archives.
The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009, Page 7
World Championships a Challenge for First Captain By Sherri Tombarge
Cadet Karsten Bloomstrom, regimental commander of the Corps of Cadets, has often found himself doing two things at once since the beginning of fall semester. Homework? That’s been a way to pass time on the stationary trainer as Bloomstrom prepared for competition with Team USA in the International Triathlon Union Duathlon World Championships in Concord, N.C., Sept. 27. Bloomstrom, a member of the Institute’s triathlon team, earned his spot on Team USA in his first duathlon event last April, the USA Triathlon National Duathlon Age Group Championships in Richmond. The event consists of a 10-kilometer run, followed by a 40-kilometer bike ride and then a 5-kilometer run. He finished 16th in his age group in the Richmond event. “My performance last year was an unexpected surprise,” said Bloomstrom. “My focus was more centered on getting ready for my CRO [combat rescue officer] selection for the Air Force, so racing took a bit of a back seat for the majority of the season.” Bloomstrom is no stranger to athletic competition. In April 2008, Bloomstrom just missed a spot on the Team USA triathlon team when he finished 13th in a qualifying event, just 20 seconds behind 12th-place teammate Ira Gallagher ’09, who competed in the ITU triathlon Long Course World Championships in Almere, Holland, later that year. Long course triathlon events consist of a 1.9-kilometer swim, a 90-kilometer bike race, and a 21.1-kilometer run. Cadet Karsten Bloomstrom (second from right) leads the new Rat Class along Letcher Avenue. - VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Having picked up water at an aid station, Karsten Bloomstrom enters the last leg of the USA Triathlon National Duathlon Age Group Championships in Richmond last April. – Photo courtesy of Maj. Paul Moosman.
“Triathlon and duathlon are rewarding sports, but extremely challenging because they require athletes to become well trained in multiple disciplines,” said Maj. Paul Moosman ’98, assistant professor of biology and VMI triathlon team coach. “I know he [Bloomstrom] has had his hands full with his responsibilities as regimental commander, and in addition to training for the duathlon he’s been training for his first Ironman competition, the Beach to Battleship Triathlon in Wilmington, S.C., in early November.” The Ironman competition will consist of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike leg, and a 26.2-mile run. Bloomstrom’s qualifying time for the duathlon world championships was 2 hours, 8 minutes, and 25 seconds. He ran the 5-kilometer segment in just 17 minutes, 35 seconds. “These were impressive times considering the fact that we didn’t train specifically for duathlons and the weekend of the race was unseasonably hot and humid,” said Moosman. “It’s been a tough balance to try and get all my miles in along with everything else that demands my time here at VMI,” said Bloomstrom. “I have had to really prioritize my time between academics, leading the Corps, and preparing for this race.” “Karsten has been so successful because he has an exceptional work ethic,” said Moosman. “His dedication to the sport and other aspects of being a cadet are both humbling and inspiring.” Added Bloomstrom, “While this opportunity to race for Team USA has brought on an extra challenge to my life, I am excited about the opportunity to represent the Institute and our nation on a global stage.”
Page 8, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
Ethicist Addresses Cadets During VMI’s Convocation By Wendy Lovell
Dr. Rushworth Kidder addresses the Corps at the academic convocation. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
When seeking the appropriate speaker to kick off the 2009-10 academic year, the Virginia Military Institute looked to its past. For an institution that has long combined strong academic preparation with a co-curricular program that emphasizes physical fitness, personal honor and leadership, a leading author and moral philosopher seemed to be the ideal choice. Dr. Rushworth Kidder, president and founder of the Institute for Global Ethics, focused his convocation address Sept. 9 on the importance of moral courage. In a speech entitled “Moral Courage: the Guts of a Tough Decision,” he described the characteristics of morally courageous leaders – a high tolerance for ambiguity, public exposure and personal risk – while emphasizing the role of trust. “Moral courage is being willing to endure significant danger for the sake of your principles,” said Kidder. “Envision a Venn diagram where the circles represent principles, danger and endurance. Moral courage exists at the intersection of those three things.” The author and former columnist for The Christian Science Monitor used the story of Viktor Pestov to demonstrate the value of moral courage. A Russian of privilege, Pestov was a young man when he learned that Russian tanks invaded Prague in 1968. The general public was unaware of what was going on in the world around them, and Pestov felt compelled to let his countrymen know what their government was doing. He became a pamphleteer, spreading the news covertly amid great danger. After 20 months of activity, Pestov was caught and sentenced to five years in a Gulag. “Viktor Pestov wasn’t just courageous,” said Kidder. “He exhibited moral courage because he knew his actions would put him in danger, and he was willing to take on risk and endure his punishment.” In his many years as a journalist and author, and through his work at
the Institute for Global Ethics, Kidder has interviewed hundreds of people about their beliefs and experiences. “Everywhere you go and ask ‘What are the most important moral values?,’ you get similar answers,” said Kidder. “Honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness and compassion are common answers. There is no difference in the values held by men and women or English speakers and not, those who are deeply religious and those who are not religious.” Kidder told the Corps of Cadets that thanks to events like the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the recent financial crisis, the world is beginning to understand the importance of character. While individual examples of moral courage may seem small, moral courage is at the heart of policy-making decisions, issues faced by the military and by educators who face students who cheat. He encouraged the Corps not only to embrace the concept of moral courage, but also of teamwork. He cited a recent visit to the Maine Maritime Academy where he witnessed new students having to work together to properly steer their dories. Over time and with much practice, the students will learn how to be successful, he said. “Leadership isn’t about you taking charge; it’s about unison and working together,” Kidder told the Corps. “The world is coming back to where you have long been at VMI, and I thank you for weathering the storm. Help us keep this dory going straight; we are drifting as a nation, and we need you.” Kidder’s appearance is part of VMI’s Distinguished Speakers Series, which brings to the 1,500 members of VMI’s Corps of Cadets key themes and issues of the day. The speakers in the series are selected to broaden cadets’ perspectives on international and cultural issues, contemporary foreign and domestic matters, leadership issues, moral-ethical questions, civic responsibilities, and other matters of importance in the modern world.
The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009, Page 9
Cadets Reaffirm Commitment to Constitution By Wendy Lovell
took cadets to sign the scroll, review On Sept. 17, 1787, 39 men signed display materials, and ask questions a document that would change the was effective. The scroll has been course of history. On Sept. 17, 2009, presented to the VMI Archives. more than 1,000 cadets, faculty and “Most cadets had no idea that Sept. staff of the Virginia Military Institute 17 was a day meant to celebrate the signed a scroll marking the famous Constitution,” said Gray, a 2nd Class signing of the U.S. Constitution and Institute Honors cadet who’s majoring reaffirming their commitment to the in international studies and Arabic. “I principles those men set forth 222 am pretty sure that by exposing cadets years ago. to this project, it made their day a Organized by cadets Quinn Wicks little more meaningful. Most cadets and Sharif Gray, the signing took did not hesitate to sign the document, place in Crozet Hall amidst the and many made positive comments backdrop of the American and supporting what the Constitution has Virginia flags and a replica of the done to create the country we live in Constitution. Cadets take time while in Crozet Hall to sign a scroll affirming their The first 160 cadets to sign the commitment to the U.S. Constitution. - VMI Photo by Kevin Remington. today.” document received copies of a Col. Rob McDonald, associate pocket guide to the U.S. Constitution and American Gospel: God, the dean for academic affairs, was pleased that this year’s Constitution Day Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation by Pulitzer Prize-winning activity was cadet-driven. author and Newsweek editor Jon Meacham. He shared his views on religion “In past years, our office has coordinated large public events such as and American politics with the Corps of Cadets at a public address in the panel discussion on religion and the Constitution and Jeffrey Toobin’s 2007. address last fall,” said McDonald. “This year, we thought we’d let the cadets “It was important to recognize Constitution Day because I think themselves decide what would be a significant way to mark Constitution sometimes we all need to be reminded of the things that our country Day. stands for,” said Wicks, a 2nd Class biology major and an Institute Honors “I think their plan to have cadets reaffirm their commitment to the cadet. “I think VMI cadets put a lot more thought into what it means to be founders’ principles this way was extraordinarily creative – down to American than many of their peers, but I still think everyone who stopped the detail of using a dip pen for the signatures. The leadership initiative by the table came away with something special.” that cadets Wicks and Gray showed in organizing this event was According to Gray, the simplicity of the display and the brief time it impressive.”
College Fair in Marshall Hall The Virginia Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual college fair put in an appearance on the VMI Post Sept. 23. The fair, which drew busloads of students from Rockbridge County and Parry McCluer high schools and representatives of more than 60 colleges and universities, was held in Marshall Hall for the first time after having been held in recent years in Cameron Hall or at Washington and Lee University. The Marshall Hall facility eased traffic and parking problems associated with the event, which travels throughout the state. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
Page 10, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
Good Fun and Then Some Grappling Team Practices Hard in Preparation for First Home Tournament By George Abry
VMI grappling team coach A.J. Panebianco offers advice to 1st Class cadet Travis Edwards and (behind Edwards) 2nd Class cadet Tyler Byam during team practice. – VMI Photo by George Abry.
Cadets in the VMI Grappling Club are listening to heavy metal music loud as they wrestle one another to the gym floor, roll around, and lock together like pretzels. To an outsider it looks brutal, but cadets say it is good fun, and the workout builds endurance needed to subdue opponents. Intensity levels are high for the team, as VMI prepares to host its first home grappling tournament Nov. 7 in Cocke Hall. “The tournament is a great way to showcase our athletes and our sport,” said Cadet in Charge Christopher Moser, a 2nd Class cadet serving as 3rd Platoon sergeant in F Company. Grappling, a form of “mixed martial arts,” has been growing by leaps and bounds since it was first offered as a club sport in 2007. Last year the team had about 20 members, and the club currently has 39 active members from all three of the upper classes. Four Rats will join the team after Breakout. Moser said grappling instills a sense of pride and respect among its athletes. “You really will never meet nicer guys than in the world of mixed martial arts; they are classy individuals,” Moser said. “Put them in the ring together and they are only looking to triumph over the other man, but the second the fight is over, so is the trash talking and simulated animosity between them.” The popularity of grappling at VMI mirrors a growing trend nationwide in mixed martial arts competitions, which are sponsored by organizations such as Ultimate Fighting Championship. “Grappling is just raging in popularity, and without a doubt it’s because of UFC,” said A.J. Panebianco, the team’s coach and a controlled force instructor who is chief of police with the Buena Vista Police Department. “VMI had the vision to recognize this and realize the cadets’ interest.” Panebianco said last year he received e-mail from several prospective cadets who came to VMI in part because of grappling.
“VMI is pretty much the only place you can get formal training in this,” he said. The VMI Grappling Club meets twice per week for two hours of training that includes elements of wrestling, grappling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The similarities between wrestling and grappling are obvious at first glance, since certain grappling moves parallel wrestling moves. While the object of wrestling is to pin an opponent’s shoulders to the mat, in grappling, two opponents grapple till “submission,” which is achieved when the dominated player “taps out,” either verbally or by tapping the ground or the opponent repeatedly with an open hand. “There is more technique involved in grappling,” said David Henson, assistant coach. First Class cadet Kyle Francis sees grappling as a kind of chess match, and remaining a few steps ahead of an opponent is critical. “It is pretty much a fact that almost all fights find their way to the ground, and once there, it is a whole new arena from stand-up fighting,” said Francis. Meantime, members of the Grappling Club will continue to focus on the upcoming tournament. No striking will be allowed during the tournament, and each match will last approximately 15 minutes. Panebianco and Moser agree that there is still work to be done and that one of the biggest challenges will be the mental preparation of the newer team members, many of whom have never participated in an official tournament. “The ones who were with us last year are ready,” Panebianco said, adding that much of the focus of the team’s workout routine is cardiovascular, designed for stamina. “An opponent might match us move for move, but it will come down to cardio-fitness, and the cadets will prevail.” “We have been through much harder things than training and fighting,” Moser said. “We have taken an inherently individual sport and turned it into a team sport, and that is what makes us a strong team.”
The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009, Page 11
New Exhibits Coming New cases being installed in the 100 level of the VMI Museum in August will display a noted firearms collection and, nearby, an exhibit on alumni. The 100 level of Jackson Memorial Hall, which houses the museum, was, from the 1920s to the 1980s, the location of the VMI swimming pool. Though the pool itself has been drained, it remains under the floor, housing the building’s mechanical systems. – VMI Photo by Sherri Tombarge.
Post Briefs Sheldon Addresses Governor’s Latin Academy Col. Rose Mary Sheldon, professor and head of the VMI history department, addressed the Governor’s Latin Academy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on June 29. Sheldon spoke about intelligence gathering in ancient Rome. A lively discussion about spies and spying in the ancient world followed the talk.
topside receiver that will allow trapped miners to communicate with those above ground. Another group of cadets is working to commercialize this life-saving device. Public radio listeners can learn more about the extremely low frequency seismic communicator and the work of Col. Jim Squire, professor of computer and electrical engineering, and Maj. Elizabeth Baker, assistant professor of economics and business, on “With Good Reason,” a public radio program that explores a variety of topics with Virginia’s leading scholars. The interview will air on all public radio stations in Virginia during the week of Oct. 31-Nov. 6. It is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, on WMRA-FM and at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, on WVTF-FM. WMRA is broadcast on 90.7 in Harrisonburg, 89.9 in Lexington, 94.5 in Winchester, and 103.5 in Charlottesville. WVTF is broadcast on 89.1 in Roanoke and Lynchburg; 88.5 in Charlottesville; 89.3 in Charlottesville, Waynesboro and Staunton; 95.5 in Orange; 101.9 in Lexington; and in numerous localities in Southwest Virginia.
Plaque Honors Memory Of David Hess A memorial plaque honoring the memory of Lt. Col. David Hess, who died Oct. 21, 2008, at the age of 40, was recently unveiled at Preston Library. The plaque hangs on the wall opposite the reference desk. Hess joined the Preston Library professional staff in October 1998 as head of media services. His record of providing outstanding service to cadets and faculty was recognized through a VMI Distinguished Service Award in 2004. Hess was generous with his time and expertise and enthusiastic in his support of academic programs, said Brig. Gen. Wane Schneiter, deputy superintendent and dean of the faculty. Ball Published in Shenandoah “Seiji and Nobu and Chieko,” a story by Col. Gordon Ball, professor Sparkman Achieves Record Lifts of English and fine arts, has been included in the Fall 2009 issue of Capt. Monte Sparkman, instructor in the VMI physical education department Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review. Shenandoah and coach of the cadet powerlifting club team, ranks 10th in the nation has published award-winning fiction, poetry, essays and interviews since in his weight class after record-setting lifts at the Southern Powerlifting 1950. The story is from Ball’s manuscript “On Tokyo’s Edge: Gaijin Tales Federation Battle in the Valley meet held Sept. 5 in Salem. His squat lift from Postwar Japan.” He is the author of Dark Music and 66 Frames and of 1,000 pounds was a national record, while his bench press of 635 editor of three books with Allen Ginsberg. pounds and dead lift of 565 pounds were state records, as was his total poundage of 2,200. Marshall Symposium Set for Oct. 23-24 The George C. Marshall Foundation and Virginia Military Institute will be Professor’s Book in Miami Book Fair co-hosts for a symposium on Oct. 23 and 24 at the Center for Leadership A book by VMI marketing professor Col. Joseph L. Scarpaci, with Dr. and Ethics. Titled “George C. Marshall: Servant of the American Nation,” Armando Portela, Cuban Landscapes: Heritage, Memory and Place the symposium will focus on the legacy of Marshall, a 1901 graduate of (Guilford Press), has been accepted by the Miami Book Fair. This event, VMI. Brig. Gen. Charles Brower, director of the Center and a member of which will take place in November, may be the largest juried book fair in the VMI faculty, will discuss Marshall as a “Demon of Integrity,” and Stewart the United States. Scarpaci will give a presentation during the fair. Copies Husted, also of the VMI faculty, will present “Achieving Victory through of the book are available at Preston Library, and information on the Miami Strategic Management and Leadership.” Former VMI Superintendent Josiah Book Fair is at www.miamibookfair.com. Bunting, who has just finished a book on Marshall, will deliver the Oct. 23 dinner address, “The Mind of Marshall.” To learn more and register Professors Share Work with NPR online, visit www.vmi.edu/CLE. VMI cadets have developed an underground transmitter and portable
Page 12, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
Tailgating and Dinner Theater Highlights of Parents Weekend By George Abry
The Parents Council’s red and yellow tent, shown here on Matriculation Day, will offer tailgating treats on Parents Weekend game day. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
For many families, Parents Weekend at VMI will be the first chance to visit the sons and daughters who marched off as new cadets on Matriculation Day. Parents say that not having contact with the new cadets while they are rats under the charge of the Cadre is one of the hardest things about VMI. “Parents Weekend is a chance for parents to visit and get a small taste of what cadet life is like at the Post,” said Anne Carnes, a co-chair of the Parent Council’s Activities Committee. This year a variety of activities are planned for cadets and families Oct. 16-18, including a number of sporting events and an opportunity for parents to visit cadet rooms in Barracks. Between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, parents may attend classes with cadets. And from 2:30 till 3:15 p.m., a workshop, “Parenting Your VMI Cadet for Success,” will be held in the auditorium of the Nichols Engineering Building. On Saturday, Oct. 17, a Barracks Open House will run from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. But the highlight of Parents Weekend starts Saturday with a pre-game parade at 10:35 a.m., followed by tailgating on the Parade Ground. Under a big red-and-yellow-striped tent, members of the Parents Council will pile plates high with hot dogs, hamburgers and other picnic favorites, which are free for parents and rats. Part of the Parents Council
mission is to ensure that tailgating is available to all cadets on weekends when football games are played at home. Although the tailgating tents cater especially to new parents and 4th Class cadets, all are welcome, and the Parents Council usually serves between 300 and 500 people. “It’s nice, particularly for the Rats who don’t have family members visiting, to be able to come by the tent and get something to eat,” said Parents Council President Mary Ann Taylor. “It’s a break from the Rat Line.” At 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, the Corps will march to Alumni Memorial Field to start the football game between VMI and Stony Brook. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. New this year, the VMI Theatre will present a dinner theater production of “The Hasty Heart,” a World War II comedy-drama by John Patrick. In years past, most theater productions did not include a meal option. Advance ticket purchase is required for the dinner theater. In addition to the VMI football game, a number of other sporting events will take place at the Post on Parents Weekend, including women’s and men’s soccer games and a rugby tournament Sunday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. on the Parade Ground. For additional information, visit the Parents Weekend page on the VMI Web site, www.vmi.edu/ParentsWeekend.
VMI Named to Lists Continued from page 4 “Out of 353 employees who were invited to take part in the survey, 170 and not be a major determining factor in decisions on where to apply or participated, giving us a response rate of 48 percent,” said Spore. “We accept. took part in the Chronicle’s survey to see how we stack up among other “Students need to go beyond the rankings to find out where they are best colleges, but our own Annual Climate Survey might offer a more accurate suited,” he said. “What’s best about a college is a very subjective matter. assessment of how we’re doing as an institution.” The things rankings look at often are objective and are somewhat arbitrary. Whether the reader is a prospective student or prospective faculty Being part of the rankings is being in the game, and there are definitely member, MacInnis suggested that such surveys should be a place to start advantages to playing.”
The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009, Page 13
‘Brown Bag’ Events Offer ‘Intellectual Stimulation’ By Wendy Lovell
among faculty, staff, and cadets When Col. Rose Mary Sheldon when she scheduled a meeting of launched the first Brown Bag the Brown Bag Book Club last fall. Luncheon series, she figured she’d The lunch-hour meeting was held sign up for a turn as presenter following Yale Law Professor Stephen when there was a hole to fill in Carter’s visit to Post as part of the the schedule. That was five years Distinguished Speakers Series. He ago, and the head of the history addressed the Corps of Cadets on the department said she will continue to topic of civility based on his book by organize the program until she gets the same name. her turn. “I assigned several chapters from A joint effort of the Office of Civility in all my literature classes the Dean and the Undergraduate before Carter gave his address,” Research Initiative, the series gives said the associate professor of faculty and cadets the opportunity English. “We spent one class day to share papers they’ve delivered, discussing these chapters, and I research in progress, URI projects and topics of interest to their peers Lt. Col. Elena Andreeva of the VMI history department gives a asked each cadet to write a one-page on Post. Topics have ranged from presentation on the writings and paintings of Nikolai Karazin Sept. 18 response to the reading. I termed how Google works to relieving stress, in the third Brown Bag Luncheon of the academic year. – VMI Photo it a ‘Convocation Interlude’ in the schedule, and we had some lively from lessons on the importance of by Sherri Tombarge. discussions.” leadership to the mathematics of respiratory infections, and from the writing and paintings of Nikolai Karazin Ticen took the same approach to the visit of this year’s convocation speaker, Dr. Rushworth Kidder. While no cadets attended the book club to how to retire from VMI young and wealthy. “I got a great response the very first day I promoted the series five years discussion of Kidder’s Moral Courage on Sept. 11, Superintendent Emeritus ago,” said Sheldon. “The second year the schedule was filled up on the John Knapp ’54 was one of 10 people who did. first day I put out a request for presenters, and this year it was full in 48 At the suggestion of several participants in these two gatherings, Ticen hours. The series gives us all an idea of what other people on Post are plans on scheduling more Brown Bag Book Club meetings this year, which she plans to call “VMI Books and Brown Bags.” The next meeting doing, and it’s very intellectually stimulating.” The Brown Bag Luncheon series takes place from 12:15 to 1:05 p.m. is tentatively planned for late October, and more sessions will follow in the monthly during the academic year, and the speakers pick their dates spring, with faculty suggesting titles to read and discuss. and venues. Participants bring their lunches, and the sponsors provide “The program gives the community an opportunity to discuss and reflect beverages and dessert. While Sheldon said she’s never turned a topic down, on the ideas presented by visiting speakers,” said Ticen. “I have found that she has asked several presenters to better define their topics, and she people are hungry for opportunities to discuss and exchange ideas. All of our schedules are hectic and frantic, so the book program makes for stresses to all presenters to gear their remarks to a general audience. Like Sheldon, Lt. Col. Pennie Ticen was eager to promote discussion a few moments of reflection and engagement.”
Biking for Cancer Aid VMI marketing professor Col. Joseph L. Scarpaci pauses just north of Lewisburg, W.Va., during a bike ride in July from Blacksburg, Va., to Cleveland, Ohio, to raise funds for breast research educational packets given to women with breast cancer by the Magee-Women’s Foundation. A chance meeting with an alumnus, Jerry Reid ’64, and his wife was a morale booster just ahead of a 105-mile ride with three steep climbs to Elkins, W.Va. The Scarpaci family will receive the Magee-Womens Foundation’s Elizabeth McCullough Fundraising Award for 2009 in November. – Photo courtesy of Col. Joe Scarpasi.
Page 14, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009
Hodgkins New Dining Services Director By John Robertson IV
qualified as well as had the potential Peter Hodgkins, VMI’s new to help VMI move in the direction we director of dining services, was need to go with the new buildings on hired in August, filling the vacancy post, including Marshall Hall, where left by Peggy Morales, who has we have a large venue for events, accepted a position at George convocations, and conferences,” Mason University. said Col. James Joyner ’67, director “I am extremely happy to be here of auxiliary services and committee and excited about this opportunity. I chair. look forward to a long relationship Hodgkins hopes to build community with VMI,” said Hodgkins of his new around the new conference center at position. Marshall Hall. In his capacity as director of “We want to continue in the quality dining services, Hodgkins oversees of catering at the CLE and bring the creation of around 20,000 meals in local, statewide, and national a week and the operations of more conferences,” Hodgkins said. than 100 full-time staff members. “We were very impressed with Hodgkins will oversee the his organizational abilities and his operation of the mess hall, catering services, the PX, and concessions at Dining services director Peter Hodgkins talks with cadets in Crozet leadership, and he has already made an impact on the mess hall athletic events, yet Hodgkins sees Hall. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV. workforce,” Joyner said. “They are cadets as his number one priority. “The Corps of Cadets is our focus everyday in what we do,” said Hodgkins. all in new uniforms and there have been some new food offerings as “Everything else is based around that.” Hodgkins said he values cadet well.” Having managed dining services at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, input and plans to hold food committee meetings once a month. A special committee consisting of representatives from the alumni University of Virginia, and Western New England College, Hodgkins brings association, faculty and staff, the athletics department, and the more than three decades of experience to his new position. commandant’s office was formed to choose from among several candidates “It’s a different environment than most colleges,” Hodgkins said. “VMI suggested by Aramark, which has been providing dining services to VMI is rich in tradition and history, and it’s different in the structure of day to day routines. I’m getting used to the structure and pace, march downs, for more than 20 years. “Aramark worked with VMI in order to identify candidates that were the rat process, cadre, and terminology.”
Game Ball March Honors Servicemen and Women Release courtesy James Madison University Office of Public Affairs.
Special delivery. It may sound cliché, but that’s exactly what the ROTC units from James Madison University and Virginia Military Institute did with the game ball for their schools’ Sept. 19 football game. VMI’s Marshall-New Market Battalion and the JMU Duke Battalion marched the game ball from Lexington to Harrisonburg as a tribute to the sacrifice of the nation’s men and women who are serving in the Armed Forces around the world. The march began on Thursday, Sept. 17, in front of VMI’s Cameron Hall with a ceremony at 11 a.m. A send-off party took place for the cadets as they embarked on the three-day, 61-mile journey. On Day One, the ROTC cadets marched 17 miles from VMI to Raphine, where they camped at the Cyrus McCormick Farm. The march on Day Two consisted of 24 miles to the Verona Volunteer Fire Department. Cadets marched 20 miles on Day Three, ending up at Bridgeforth Stadium in time for the scheduled 6 p.m. kickoff. The march followed U.S. 11 all the way from Lexington to Harrisonburg.
VMI’s mascot Mo joins in the send off when ROTC cadets prepare to march the game ball for the Sept. 19 match against James Madison University to Harrisonburg. – VMI Photo by Christian Hoffman.
The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009, Page 15
Air Force ROTC Cadets Recognized By Capt. Noah W. Diehl, Air Force ROTC
Several cadets in VMI’s Air Force and decision making skills, and ROTC Detachment 880 earned warrior ethos. Those cadets planning to attend field recognition recently. training next summer will participate Three of 25 rising 2nd Class in preparation activities throughout cadets completing leadership the Spring 2010 semester. evaluation during Air Force ROTC Six Detachment 880 VMI cadets field training were recognized for were awarded Air Force ROTC outstanding performance and rank scholarships over the summer by among the top flight members: Cadet the In-College Scholarship Program Garrett R. Evans and Cadet Andrew Phase II board: Chase Bailey, Andrew C. Luxhoj earned Distinguished Luxhoj, Kara Noble, and Keith Graduate for ranking in the top O’Donnell, 2nd Class cadets; and 10 percent, and Cadet Matthew R. Paul Lingamfelter and Andrew Wong, Jones was recognized as a Superior 3rd Class cadets. Third Class cadet Performer, in the top 20 percent. David Wagner received an upgrade Luxhoj and Jones were nominated to his existing scholarship. Nine to return next summer as cadet training assistants in the Air Force Air Force ROTC cadets pose for a photo after a Civil Air Patrol flight. Detachment 880 cadets competed for – Photo courtesy of Air Force ROTC. the scholarships, which are based on field training cadre. The four-week program, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, is merit. congressionally mandated for all Air Force ROTC cadets seeking promotion The program will accept applications in January for Phase I and again to the Professional Officer Corps and eventual commissioning with the U.S. in June for Phase II. Cadets interested in competing should speak to their instructors or Capt. Noah Diehl, unit admissions officer. Air Force. The cadets took part in physical conditioning, marksmanship training, Beginning in October, Detachment 880 will sponsor Civil Air Patrol survival training, Air Force specialty orientation, confidence course, orientation flights on Sundays for Air Force ROTC cadets interested in flying aircraft and crew orientation, human relations, drill and ceremonies, or curious about the Patrol. Cadets can sign-up on a master schedule leadership studies, and group and expeditionary leadership activities. through their instructors. Transportation to and from Roanoke Regional They were evaluated on preparation for field training, physical fitness, Airport will be provided by Air Force, and there is no charge to cadets for leadership skills, professional qualities, communication skills, judgment the flights.
Navy ROTC Cadets Do Summer Cruises This summer the VMI Naval ROTC unit was able to send its midshipmen to training opportunities across the country and in one instance around the world. Twenty-seven Navy and Marine 3rd Class midshipmen were sent to Cortramid, which is an introductory four-week cruise, either in Norfolk, Va., or San Diego, Calif. The midshipmen spent a week in each of the warfare communities, surface warfare, aviation, and submarine, and one week with the Marine Corps. They were given a basic introduction to each community and allowed to view some of the weapons systems. The Navy Department also sent 13 midshipmen on 2nd Class cruises, where they worked with enlisted sailors on both surface vessels and submarines. Throughout this cruise, they observed and participated in the daily tasks and life of an enlisted sailor in the fleet, from standing watch to operating the ship’s helm. Finally, 1st Class midshipmen attended cruises observing and
working with junior officers in all warfare communities. Midshipman Chris Mendillo spent his cruise with USS Chung-Hoon, DDG-93, and worked as the assistant electronic maintenance officer. He took part in 5-inch gunnery exercises; small arms exercises; visit, board, search, and seizure – VBSS – training; three under-way replenishments; flight operations; man overboard drills; fleet tactics with both the U.S. Navy and the Malaysian navy; and a plethora of different challenges that a bridge watch team and young division officer may face. Two midshipmen attended SEAL cruises, and one was attached to an explosive ordnance disposal unit. In addition, Midshipman Jorge Tellez was attached to the Italian navy for a foreign exchange cruise. The Navy and Marines also had staff working throughout the summer, with Gunnery Sgt. Bradley Driver spending time at officer candidate school training midshipmen from around the country, while Lt. Michelle Mecklenburg oversaw Cortramid West in San Diego.
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Basketball Coach Visits Troops in Afghanistan By Wade Branner, VMI Sports Information
Head basketball coach Duggar cargo plane, stopping along the way Baucom had what he called the in Kuwait to pick up about 30 troops experience of a lifetime when he and two heavy armored vehicles. They embarked on an overseas trip to landed near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in visit U.S. and NATO military bases in what Baucom described as temperatures Afghanistan and Qatar over a period of near 113 degrees. Over the next several 10 days during the month of August. days, Baucom saw firsthand military Baucom was accompanied by other support operations in motion, watching basketball coaches on the trip, which the canine units in training, observing was intended to lift the spirit of the the vast and diverse helicopter fleet, and troops and help with morale during this getting a close look at unmanned aircraft difficult time as combat operations are used for both surveillance and offensive ongoing. Accompanying Baucom on the missions. trip were Agnus Berento, the women’s While in Afghanistan, Baucom also ran head basketball coach at University of into VMI alumnus Capt. Brendan Toolan Pittsburgh; Billy Kennedy, head men’s Head Basketball Coach Duggar Baucom (far left) stands in front ’98, who commands a Ranger patrol at coach Murray State University; and of a Stryker assault vehicle in Doha, Qatar, with Billy Kennedy a forward operating base. Baucom also Orlando Early, head men’s coach at the of Murray State University, two British soldiers, Orlando Early observed that most of the troops followed of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Agnus Berenato of the sports passionately and were well aware University of Louisiana at Monroe. “It is a huge honor to participate in University of Pittsburgh, and Mike Smith Of Jacksonville State of VMI’s upset win over Kentucky in Rupp this trip,” said Baucom before leaving University. – Photo courtesy of VMI Sports Information. Arena last November. on the journey. “I am thankful everyday Baucom returned stateside on Aug. 20 for what the men and women in our military are doing for us abroad. I with a renewed appreciation for all the efforts of the men and women in feel very fortunate to be able to thank them face-to-face. I look forward to uniform serving overseas. seeing some VMI alumni.” “They are all fearless warriors, but compassionate and caring people,” The delegation took a 13-hour flight to Doha, Qatar, and visited troops at Baucom wrote in his trip blog. “They all understand their mission and they a military installation geared for “R&R.” While in Qatar, Baucom got to ride all do it well. We are all safe at night because we have these great people in a Stryker, an armored assault vehicle that hauls troops in combat. who protect us and our freedom.” After three days in Qatar, the coaches flew to Afghanistan in a C-17 To read Baucom’s trip blog and see photos, go to www.vmikeydets.com. Page 16, The Institute Report, OCTOBER 2009