The Presbyterian College ROTC Program celebrated its 100th year with the ROTC Commissioning and Hall of Fame Ceremony on Friday, May 10. The event took place at 2 p.m. in Edmunds Hall.
Brendon P. Mitchell was among the cadets commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S.Army. Mitchell will serve in the Ordnance Active Duty.
In addition, nine students from Lander University and Newberry College, also a part of the Highlander Battalion, were commissioned during the event.
Emma Shaw ’20 received the 2019 Kimberly Hampton Leadership award. Named in honor of a former PC student who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004, the Kimberly Hampton Leadership Award is presented to the junior Highlander Battalion cadet who personifies hard work, courage, leadership and honor for school and country.
Alicia Hall, from Newberry College, received the Wysor Saber Award. Each year, the Wysor Saber is presented to our outstanding senior cadet from the Highlander ROTC program. This award is named in honor of Colonel Robert E. Wysor Jr.
Joshua Hawthorne, from Lander University, received the Highlander Claymore Athletics award, which recognizes the top-scoring cadet on the Army Physical Fitness Test.
Col. John T. Gentry Jr. ’91 was honored as the 2019 Presbyterian College ROTC Hall of Fame inductee. Gentry earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from PC, where he was also commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Field Artillery.
During the ceremony’s Commissioning Address, Col. Gentry said he remembers sitting where the second lieutenants were sitting.
“Twenty-eight years later, I find myself standing in front of you hoping to impart a few nuggets of wisdom that may help you answer a few of those unanswered questions you have as you prepare to swear to an oath that less than half of a percentage of our nation’s population will take today,” Col. Gentry said. “I welcome our newest brothers and sisters in arms to the most noble of professions in America.”
Col. Gentry spoke about what it takes to make a successful leader in the Army. He encouraged the new second lieutenants to “be strong and courageous” and discussed what made Medal of Honor recipients display the acts of heroism that made them worthy of the medal.
“I submit to you each of these Medal of Honor recipients learned a set of values from the very same people that influenced their lives,” Col. Gentry said. “For those of us who serve in the Army, we have a common set of values that are easy to remember by the acronym LDRSHIP: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
“The same values you learned over the past four years are the same values I learned, Col. Zeigler learned, Maj. Gen. Mabry learned and the many Army Medal of Honor recipients learned.”
Col. Gentry earned a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa. He is also a graduate of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Command and General Staff College and the Combined Arms Service Staff School.
Col. Gentry’s deployed assignments include those to Iraq and Afghanistan. His numerous awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal 2nd award, Army Achievement Medal 2nd award, among many more.
Col. Gentry currently serves as Chief of Joint Staff with the Georgia National Guard. He previously served as the Gwinnett County Director of Parks and Recreation in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Col. Gentry is married to the former Katherine Pope ’91 of Washington, Ga. They have two children, Anna, 19, and Caroline, 17.