BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 7, 2009 – For the past three years, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets' class of first-year students has traveled to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.
This serves as a motivational trip that allows them to learn about the special relationship Virginia Tech has with the Bedford memorial.
Twenty Virginia Tech alumni made the ultimate sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy and the surrounding area on June 6, 1944, and the weeks immediately afterward. Eight alumni died on the beaches on the first day of the invasion, including 1st Lieutenant Jimmie Monteith, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valorous actions in securing a position on Omaha Beach.
Monteith served in the corps of cadets as a member of the Class of 1941 in K Company. He led his troops on D-Day on Omaha Beach and repeatedly organized numerous assaults against the enemy despite heavy fire. Monteith was killed in action and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Virginia Tech's Monteith Hall is named after him and houses the 3rd Battalion of the corps. A commemorative plaque now hangs at the memorial recognizing these 20 alumni of Virginia Tech. Through the generosity of Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus, Raymond Reed (Class of 1957) and his wife Peggy , our cadets have visited the memorial to gain an understanding of this special place. The Reeds have funded the transportation costs each year, and the memorial grants Virginia Tech cadets free admission.
In addition, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets continues its strong support of the National D-Day Memorial with its annual collection at Corps Homecoming, this year held in conjunction with the Virginia Tech versus Marshall football game on Sept. 12. The collection efforts this year was coordinated by Cadet Samuel Ryder of Roanoke, Va., a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. With the help of Virginia Tech fans, $5,627 was raised bringing the total the corps has collected to over $177,600.
The corps started supporting the memorial in 2001 when then Cadet Anthony Madeira, who received a degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering in 2005, read that the memorial was facing bankruptcy and felt someone needed to step up and help. Madeira started the effort as a company service project and his company raised $6,000 the first year and $10,000 the next and by Madeira’s senior year it had developed into a corps-wide annual service project. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is the largest, non-corporate sponsor of the memorial and the relationship with the memorial continues to grow each year.
To see photos of the dedication of the Virginia Tech commemorative plaque, see pages 2-23 of the Summer 2008 issue of the Corps Review .