The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will conduct a Pylon Dedication Ceremony at the War Memorial at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The ceremony will dedicate the engraving of the name of 2nd Lt. Maurice Hukill, U.S. Marine Corps, Class of 1981, who was one of 241 American servicemen killed in the terrorist bombing attack on the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, on Oct. 23, 1983.
Hukill was a civilian student at Virginia Tech who earned a degree in forestry and wildlife management from the College of Natural Resources and Environment. After graduating he earned his commission in the U.S. Marine Corps through officer candidate school. His unit at Camp LeJeune deployed to Beirut in the summer of 1983 as part of the international peacekeeping force there during the Lebanese Civil War. Early on the morning of Oct. 23, a suicide bomber drove a truck full of explosives into the Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport, killing 220 Marines, 18 U.S. Navy personnel and three U.S. Army soldiers.
Members of the Hukill family will attend the brief ceremony. For 11 years, the family has returned to campus to attend the spring U.S. Naval commissioning ceremony where they present a ceremonial saber to the top Marine graduate of the Naval ROTC program. They will make that presentation for the 11th time the following evening at the Naval commissioning ceremony.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets held a similar ceremony last October when they dedicated the engraving of U.S. Air Force Maj. Duff Harley, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 1962, on the War Memorial. Harley was shot down and declared missing during the Vietnam War and was later declared killed in action. That ceremony was held during the Class of 1962's 50th reunion and was attended by Harley's classmates and his two sisters.
The ceremony this Thursday is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
The Pylons are a representation of Virginia Tech’s values. The values engraved on the eight pylons are, from left to right: Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, and Ut Prosim. The Pylons are etched with the names of every Virginia Tech student and graduate who has died defending our nation’s freedom beginning with those lost during World War I. Hukill will be the 428th name added to the Pylons. At the War Memorial’s center, the cenotaph displays the names of Virginia Tech’s seven Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
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