INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The West Virginia State University (WVSU) ROTC honored some of its most distinguished alumni in ceremonies Friday, Sept. 30, as part of Homecoming activities on the school’s Institute campus.
A ceremony was held at the James C. Wilson University Union Friday morning to unveil a bust honoring Maj. Gen. Charles C. Rogers, a 1951 WVSU graduate who was awarded the nation’s highest award for heroism – the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Rogers was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for distinguishing himself in action on Nov. 1, 1968, while serving as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Division, during the defense of a forward fire support base in Vietnam. Rogers passed away on Sept. 21, 1990.
Accompanying the bust unveiling, the university dedicated a “Wall of Stars” honoring 15 Yellow Jacket Battalion members who went on to achieve the rank of General in their respective military careers.
The WVSU ROTC Hall of Fame held an induction ceremony at the Wilson University Union to welcome 10 new members to its ranks. Joining the ranks of those enshrined in the ROTC Hall of Fame will be Lt. Col. David Coates, Lt. Col. Tammy G. Glenn, Maj. Thomas D. Goodwin, 1st Lt. Maurice “Moe” Gregg, Col. Albert C. Johnson, Col. James T. Johnson, Lt. Col. Tara Lee, Maj. Pleas Penny, Maj. Lucius Reeves and Maj. John Henry White.
Coates, a 1959 WVSU graduate, was commissioned as a Signal Corps Officer. In 1961, he was selected for top secret/CIA special operations assignment to conduct intelligence operations in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. He is the only West Virginia State ROTC graduate selected for Top Secret Airborne Missions at CINCLANT, Norfolk, Va., which plans for and conducts special operations if directed by the President of the United States or the Secretary of Defense.
Glenn, a 1988 WVSU graduate, had a distinguished career that included service with the 4003d U.S. Army Reserve Garrison, Oklahoma City, Okla., as the Records Control Officer and Personnel Officer; 324th Replacement Battalion, Starkville, Miss., as the Assistant Operations Officer, and Detachment Commander; U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, Fort Jackson, S.C. as a Total Force Integrator; U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency, Washington, D.C. as the Senior HR Manager; and final duty station at Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., as Chief, Reserve Affairs Branch.
Goodwin, a 1962 WVSU graduate, completed the Infantry Officers Basic Course and was assigned to Korea where he performed duties as a Platoon Leader. After completion of that assignment, Goodwin was assigned Military Advisory Command in Vietnam. He is one of few WVSU graduates who served as a MACV Military Advisor and with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade Combat Infantry Unit in Vietnam.
Gregg graduated from WVSU in 1966 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Armor Branch and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Ky. His military career included two tours of duty in Vietnam, including service as the Commander of Mobile Advisory Team 73 in the Mekong Delta. Gregg has continued to show his love for WVSU and currently serves as President of the Metropolitan Washington Alumni Chapter of the WVSU Alumni Association. He is a member of the National and Shenandoah Valley “W” Clubs and was selected as the University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year.
Albert Johnson enrolled at West Virginia State in 1938 at a time when there was no ROTC program. He graduated in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. Johnson was among the first African-American soldiers to integrate Army units, and he was the first African-American Officer to be promoted to the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army Signal Corp. His long and distinguished military career included service in not only World War II, but Korea and Vietnam as well. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
James T. Johnson graduated from WVSU in 1950 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery. Once his initial officer training was complete, he was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. In 1954 he was assigned to Fort Sill, Okla., as an instructor at the Artillery School. He continued to serve as an instructor from the ranks of captain through lieutenant colonel. During his 31-year Army career, he spent several years assigned as an instructor with the 2093rd Instructor Unit in South Charleston, W.Va.
Lee is a 1993 graduate of the Yellow Jacket Battalion’s partner school, the West Virginia University School of Technology. During her distinguished 22-year military career, Lee served as Deputy Resident Engineer, Japan, with duty in the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; Army Force Generation Integrator for the Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga.; Staff Force Manager, 13th Sustainment Command, Expeditionary, Fort Hood, Texas, with duty in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and as the Force Integration Team Chief, Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Forces Command in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Penny graduated from WVSU in 1961 and was commissioned a Signal Corps Officer. He was handpicked for a high visibility assignment at the U.S. Army Pictorial Center in New York; thus, began his military career in the Motion and Still Pictures Production Industry. Penny produced army training films, specifically for Vietnam and traveled to Thailand, Korea, Hawaii, Germany, and other film sites. He was fully trained as a script writer, director and producer of Army training films, with several of his films winning awards.
Reeves graduated from WVSU and was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer in 1961. Reeves attended the Infantry Officers Basic Course, Airborne School and Ranger School at Ft. Benning, Ga. and. once he completed training, was assigned as a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. While he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, he deployed to Vietnam. Reeves is the only WVSU ROTC graduate to command two companies in combat.
White graduated in 1959 from WVSU and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps. In 1961, his first Southeast Asia tour of duty was in Laos. White was selected for Top Secret assignment with CIA/Special Operations missions supporting covert operations in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. He led communication teams performing intelligence missions in many classified locations.
Since its inception, the Yellow Jacket ROTC Battalion has commissioned over 900 men and women as Second Lieutenants in the United States Army as well as produced more General Officers than any other ROTC program of its size in the country. The Yellow Jacket Battalion includes cadets from Glenville State College, the University of Charleston and the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.