LEARN HOW PEOPLE HAVE GAINED FROM ROTC
One of the best ways to see if Army ROTC is right for you is to learn how alumni have benefited from the experience. See how the skills they learned in ROTC have helped them build successful and satisfying careers.
BRIGADIER GENERAL WILBUR E. WOLF III
Director, Joint Staff -Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ), Pennsylvania National Guard
I am currently serving in the 21st year of an adventure filled and highly successful military career. My career has included 10 years of active duty and 14 years of National Guard service with duty around the world. I can say with the utmost of confidence that the skills, knowledge, leadership experience, and standards of excellence bestowed upon my during my time in the WVU Army ROTC program have contributed measurably to my success not only in the military, but also in my civilian career and life in general.
As a 4-year ROTC scholarship recipient and scholarship athlete in early 1981, I explored many options for my college career. Of the many campuses and ROTC departments that I visited across the county, I was most impressed by that which I found at WVU. From my first meeting with then CPT Hartig to discussions with the PMS and other ROTC staff, I immediately knew that it was the place from which to launch my military career.
During my tenure at WVU, I was provided all possible opportunities to learn and grow as an ROTC cadet. There were many very positive aspects of my ROTC experience, but I wish to highlight a few.
Focus on Academics – Evident from the beginning was the fact that overall academic success, not just in ROTC, was of paramount importance.
Lifestyle Balance – In one of my first sessions with my PMS, we discusses very frankly the need to strike an early balance between athletics (wrestling), regular academics, Army ROTC, and student life. The sage guidance to ensure that no one of the four consumed too much time to the detriment of the others set me on a course for success in all areas and set a standard for life balance for the rest of my career.
Leadership Opportunity – I had the opportunity to serve as the Cadet Battalion Commander during my senior year. In that leadership role and subordinate roles in previous years, the ROTC staff engrained in me the aspects of firm but fair leadership, the importance of tactical and technical competence, and the critical skills of teaching, coaching, and mentoring members of my Command. These skills, honed in the WVU ROTC program, have served me well in more than 10 years of Command time in my career. These same skills have served me well in positions of senior leadership in my civilian career.
Career Guidance – Throughout my time as a WVU ROTC Cadet, I received tremendously valuable career guidance from many officers and enlisted staff members. They represented not only positive aspects of their individual branch/MOS, but also were able to provide insight into all possible career fields and components of service. As part of that career decision making process, I was afforded the opportunity to attend both Air Assault School and the Cadet Flight Training program.
There were many at WVU who significantly influenced my learning and leadership development experience, but I wish to highlight and recognize the following for their immeasurable contribution to my career: LTC White, LTC Fisher, MAJ Hardin, MAJ Hartig, and CSM Kamai(sp?).
I departed WVU in August 1985 for Flight school at FT Rucker AL. Since that time, my active duty and National Guard career has been all that I could have possibly asked for. As a basic branch Aviation Officer, I qualified to fly more than different helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. I have served in the Aviation, Military Intelligence, and Infantry branches. I have Commanded at the Company, Battalion, and Task Force levels and have served in senior staff positions at Battalion, Brigade, Division, and Joint Headquarters. I am currently serving as the Acting J5/7 and Strategic Planning Officer for the PA National Guard and in May 2007 will assume Command of the 55th Brigade Combat Team (Heavy), 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized) PA Army National Guard. My duty during both active duty and National Guard has taken me around the world to see and experience many cultures and diverse and challenging missions and has given me the chance for 21 years to serve with many outstanding soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines.
For the past 14 years, I have served as a citizen soldier with senior command and staff National Guard assignments in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. I have also held positions of great responsibility in my civilian business career as a strategy and management consultant and business owner. I had the opportunity to attend the resident Army War College in Carlisle PA, a rare opportunity for a National Guard Officer.
I attribute great credit to the leaders of the WVU ROTC program for my overall career success. Their ability to teach, coach, and mentor and to instill in me a sense of duty and service excellence has immeasurably influenced my performance in the 24 years since I departed WVU. My four years in the WVU Army ROTC program provided me with a tremendously positive base of leadership, tactical, and technical skills that set me on a course for success.
GENERAL BANTZ J. CRADDOCK
Commander of the U.S. European Command
Gen. Craddock is commander of the U.S. European Command and the supreme allied commander Europe. A native of Doddridge County, he graduated from WVU in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was commissioned as an armor officer. A tour of duty with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany was followed by a tour at Fort Knox, Ky., with the U.S. Army Armor and Engineer Board. He returned to the 3rd Armored Division as a tank company commander after completing the Armor Officer Advanced Course.
In 1981, Craddock was reassigned to the Office of the Program Manager, Abrams Tank System, first as a systems analyst and then as executive officer. After graduating from the Command and General Staff College, he returned to Germany, this time with the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
In 1989, Craddock assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Ga. During this posting, he was deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After serving as assistant chief of staff for operations for the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Craddock attended the U.S. Army War College and assumed command of the 194th Separate Armored Brigade upon his graduation, before becoming assistant chief of staff for Operations for III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.
In 1996, he moved to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon as assistant deputy director for Plans and Policy, J5. Two years later, he returned to Germany as the assistant division commander for Maneuver of 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). During this time, he was designated commander of U.S. Forces for the initial phase of operations in Kosovo. He went on to be the commanding general of the 7th Army Training Command, U.S. Army Europe, and later assumed command of 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). A tour as the senior military assistant to the secretary of defense was followed by the post of combatant commander of the U.S. Southern Command from 2004-06.
Craddock has received numerous decorations and honors, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit (two oak leaf clusters) and Meritorious Service Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), among others.
He has a master’s degree in military arts and sciences. He and his wife have two children.
MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD W. THOMAS
U.S. Army Assistant Surgeon General
Brigadier General Richard W. Thomas is an Army physician and serves as the US Army Assistant Surgeon General (Force Projection), Office of The Surgeon General, Washington, DC.
Brigadier General Thomas earned a Bachelors degree from West Virginia University (WVU). A Distinguished Military Graduate, Brigadier General Thomas was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Upon graduation from the WVU School of Dentistry, he began his career with the Army Medical Department as a Dental Corps officer. Following assignments in Panama and with the 82d Airborne Division, he returned to the WVU School of Medicine. After receiving his medical degree in 1994, he completed an internship at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas and residency in Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington. He is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery and is a Fellow, American College of Surgeons.
Brigadier General Thomas’s military education includes the Army War College, the Army Command and General Staff College, the Army Medical Department Officer Advanced and Basic Courses, the Combat Casualty Care Course, the US Army Airborne School, the Air Assault School and the US Army Jumpmaster and Flight Surgeon Courses.
General Thomas most recently served as Commander, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Previous duty assignments include Principal Assistant Deputy (Human Resources), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs), Pentagon; Commander, 47th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Lewis, Washington; Division Surgeon, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Assistant Chief, Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center; Commander, 53d Medical Team (Head and Neck), Fort Lewis, Washington; Staff Surgeon, Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington; Division Dental Surgeon, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Dental Officer, Fort Clayton, Republic of Panama. Operational deployments include OPERATION Just Cause, OPERATION Enduring Freedom and OPERATION Iraqi Freedom.
General Thomas’s awards, decorations and honors include the Legion of Merit (with two oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star Medal (with oak leaf cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Army Achievement Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and various campaign medals. He earned the Army Staff Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Flight Surgeon Badge and the Expert Field Medical Badge. The Army Surgeon General has bestowed upon him the “A” proficiency designator for expertise in his medical specialty and he has been honored with the Order of Military Medical Merit. Brigadier General Thomas is a proud Honorary Member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. His professional affiliations include the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Otolaryngology and other national and international medical societies. Brigadier General Thomas is a previous Consultant to The Surgeon General for Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.
Brigadier General Thomas is married to Patricia Gilmore Thomas, a native of Lewisburg, WV and graduate of the WVU School of Nursing
LTG MITCHELL H. STEVENSON
Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (G-4) LTG Mitchell H. Stevenson challenged every logistician “to be value-added to those you serve” and to finish the last weeks in Iraq “responsibly,” as he ended more than 37 years of Army service last week.
“It’s easy to check off a bunch of boxes and say you’ve had a successful Army career,” LTG Stevenson said at a farewell ceremony on Fort McNair. “It’s harder to do something that really adds value for Soldiers, especially those brave Soldiers who this afternoon stand guard at a remote combat outpost in Afghanistan. If in some way I have added a little value to the Army for having served within it, I leave content.”
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Peter W. Chiarelli called him the “the very best G-4 our Army has ever had.” He added: “I’ve never saw anyone in just about any staff position do the job that I saw LTG Stevenson do over the last three years.
“The state of Army logistics has never been better and this is a direct reflection on his leadership and tireless efforts. He has been the mastermind behind all that we have done in recent years with respect to logistics, equipping, and maintenance in theater.”
LTG Stevenson served at the busiest time for logisticians since World War II. Last year, when combat troops left Iraq, his attention to detail led to the successful drawdown of 2.3 million pieces of equipment, and closing of more than 400 bases. On his watch he also orchestrated the movement of 30,000 troops and their equipment to support the surge in Afghanistan.
“It’s hard for me to go, especially in time of war, so close to the last remaining weeks in Iraq,” he said. “For the last decade, every day of my life has been dominated by Iraq and Afghanistan. There has never been a period in American history when logisticians have sustained Soldiers at war, for so long, and done it so well.
“That’s certainly not my doing, but I do feel a little pride in knowing I was part of the effort. But history will judge us not only in what we did for 10 years, but how we finish the last weeks and months. We have one chance to get this right, responsibly. I think every American is going to be proud of how it turns out.”
He said he is leaving the job in good hands. LTG Raymond Mason took the helms earlier this month, a choice that LTG Stevenson said was the “perfect selection.”
LTG Stevenson was commissioned a Regular Army Ordnance Officer from the ROTC program at West Virginia University in 1974. After being detailed Infantry initially, he was made an Ordnance Officer in March 1976, and has been known as the expert on maintenance and logistics ever since.
“I’ve been proud of every rank and duty position I’ve held,” LTG Stevenson said. With his parents looking on, he added: “that includes my first rank, the son of a non-commissioned officer.”
Two retired Generals whom he served sent notes that GEN Chiarelli read at the ceremony. Retired General Barry McCaffrey, who he served under during the First Gulf War, called him “the best logistics commander I have ever seen.” Retired General John Coburn said: “Logistics is a tough, demanding business that gives new meaning to the word anticipation, but Mitch Stevenson made it look easy. Men like Mitch Stevenson do not pass our way very often”
In the last decade, LTG Stevenson added value to every job he held. In addition to his focus on the war efforts, as the G-4 LTG Stevenson also helped the Army re-establish a culture of supply discipline, making property accountability a priority. As a result, the Army was able to redistribute almost 3 billion worth of equipment to fill shortages.
As the Commanding General of the Combined Arms Support Command, he revolutionized logistics force structure to support the new modular Army. As the G-3 at the Army Materiel Command, he was instrumental in designing the Reset program for fixing equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan, which has allowed the Army to reset more than 2.5 million pieces of equipment. As the Chief of the Ordnance Center and School, he converted the Army to a two-level maintenance structure.
During the ceremony GEN Chiralli also honored LTG Stevenson’s wife Nancy, whose devotion to duty matches her husband’s, and has added value to the lives of many Soldiers and Army families.
LTG Stevenson’s greatest contribution may well be that he has mentored a generation of Soldiers on how to do logistics the right way. “My days of active service may be up,” he said, “but I will continue to be our Army’s biggest cheerleader.”
Looking out to the numerous Soldiers he groomed, he reminded them of the Ordnance Corps motto that he said was an inspiration to him for his entire career: “Service to the line, On the line, On time.”