This motivational trip allows the newest cadets to learn about the special relationship Virginia Tech has with the Bedford memorial as well as the history and remarkable people the memorial represents.
Cadet Maj. James Hughes of John's Creek, Ga., a senior majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, who is serving as the cadet-in-charge for the trip, comments on his experience just three years ago, “As a first-year cadet back in 2009, the D-Day Memorial for me was simply breathtaking. Seeing the monuments that were made while hearing the stories from the tour guides was truly inspirational. It helped reinforce my reasons for why I had joined the Corps of Cadets in the first place.”
Through the generosity of now deceased Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Raymond Reed, Class of 1957, and his wife Peggy, the freshman cadets visit the memorial to gain an understanding of this special place. The Reeds have funded the transportation and meal costs each year while the memorial grants the 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, which will be held this year in conjunction with the Bowling Green game on Sept. 22 which is also Military Appreciation Day. Cadets will be collecting at all gates prior to kickoff. The Corps of Cadets has collected over $190,000 for the memorial and is the largest, non-corporate sponsor of the D-Day memorial. The corps recognizes and is thankful for the support of all Hokies during this annual collection.
The Corps of Cadets started supporting the memorial in 2001 when then Cadet Anthony Madeira, who earned 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.
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 afterwards. Eight alumni died on the beaches on the first day of the invasion, including alumnus 1st Lt. 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 part of the 3rd Battalion of the corps, which includes Kilo Battery the unit Monteith belonged to as a cadet. A commemorative plaque now hangs at the D-Day Memorial recognizing these 20 alumni of Virginia Tech.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets has produced military, public, and corporate leaders since the university was founded in 1872. It is one of just two military corps within a large public university. The corps holds its members to the highest standards of loyalty, honor, integrity, and self-discipline. In return, cadets achieve high academic success and a long-lasting camaraderie with fellow members. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.