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Honoring our Veterans
I’ve always viewed military service as important—to serve your country is the greatest act of citizenship. On this Veterans Day, as a U.S. Navy veteran myself, I’m very proud to acknowledge the men and women of Washington College who have served our country over the past two centuries. I’d like to call out just a few of them.
Joseph Hopper Nicholson, WC Class of 1787, who organized a militia volunteer artillery company during the War of 1812, held his post during the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 for more than 25 hours.
Dr. John Thomas Parker, WC Class of 1856, treated the wounded during the Civil War.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Hays Vandervoort, WC Class of 1938 and an officer in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, refused to abandon his troops despite breaking his leg during an early morning jump into France. More than two dozen alumni made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II.
Edward Campbell, WC Class of 1957, fought in two of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War, serving as Sergeant 1st Class in Heavy Mortar.
U.S. Navy fighter pilot H. Alan Stafford, WC Class of 1963, endured five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war after being shot down during the Vietnam War.
Eugenia Thornton, WC Class of 1972, was one of the first female officers in the U.S. Army. She was the first woman to be deployed in a major field exercise in a show of force in Germany against the Soviet Union.
Bill Jones ’88, U.S. Air Force Combat Support, spent nearly six years of active duty and three assignments before attending WC and continued to serve as a reservist. As a student, he deployed with the 60th EAS to Ramstein Air Base in Germany as an aeromedical technician, evacuating the wounded.
Lt. Commander Marc Brewen ’93 served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
James Schelberg ’12, a U.S. Marine veteran, was twice deployed into combat overseas, first to Iraq (October 2006 to April 2007) and then to Afghanistan (November 2009 to May 2010), where he served as an infantry corporal.
Among our faculty and staff are veterans and members of military families. Four military veterans—Jordan Andrews ’20, John Vickers ’20, Craig McAlister ’22, and Allen Arscott ’23—are now studying at Washington College. Thank you all. We owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.
I was a graduate student in 1969 when the Vietnam War was raging. When the draft deferment status for students like me was removed, I immediately joined the Navy, trained to fly the A-4 Skyhawk, and spent three years on active duty, followed by three years in the reserves. This was a most formative part of my leadership training. Servicemen and women learn discipline, respect, and accountability. They develop an understanding that their actions impact others in a most profound way, and that leaders have a responsibility to the people serving under them. I can’t think of a better environment for learning how to work in a large organization, and I’m grateful to the U.S. Navy for all that my service taught me.
On this Veterans Day, I hope you will join me in remembering and honoring the men and women who have served our great country.