BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 14, 2012 – For the 18th consecutive semester, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is bringing back Corps of Cadets graduates who have served a combat deployment to speak to the regiment.
The Fall 2012 Gunfighter Panel will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 3:30 p.m., in the Burruss Hall Auditorium. All are welcome to attend and no tickets are required.
Each semester, three or four alumni are welcomed back to campus to sit on the Gunfighter Panel, which is one of the four programs in the Leaders in Action lecture series hosted each term by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development. They will share their combat deployment experiences, their lessons learned and leadership challenges, while also sharing how the corps experience prepared them for life after college.
The Gunfighter Panel series started in 2004, shortly after the United States entered combat in Iraq. With the war came the increased potential for our cadets to be in combat shortly after graduation, and this series evolved to help prepare them for their future in an uncertain world. Each semester's panel allows the corps to teach future leaders and to honor those who are already serving the nation in harm’s way.
This semester, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will welcome back a U.S. Air Force officer, and a U.S. Marine Corps officer, a U.S. Army officer, and a U.S. Navy officer.
• Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Lt. Col. Mike Miller, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in communication from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 1993 is returning to campus from his current assignment at Beale Air Force Base, Ca. as a U-2 mission planner. Miller has been deployed 38 times, returning from his last tour in May. As a senior, he served as the Regimental S-2 in charge of public affairs, served as the Cadet Member at Large for his class, as well as on the Bugle staff.
• Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Maj. Matthew Gioia, U.S. Marine Corps, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering and has over 3,000 flight hours in the CH-46E helicopter. He is currently serving as the rotary wing safety officer at Headquarters Marine Corps in Arlington, Va., where he is responsible for monitoring and implementing safety programs for Marine aviation. Gioia was a member of Alpha Company.
• Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Lt. j.g. Anthony LaVopa, U.S. Navy, who earned a degree in civil engineering from the College of Engineering and a minor in leadership studies from the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development in 2009 recently returned from deployment with the Enterprise Strike Group. He is currently serving as an assistant professor of naval science and the surface warfare advisor for the U.S. Navy's newest Naval ROTC unit at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. LaVopa served as the executive officer and then commander of Band Company, the Highty-Tighties, during his senior year in the corps in 2008.
• Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumna Capt. Katie Haimann, U.S. Army, who earned a degree in civil engineering from the College of Engineering and a minor in leadership studies from the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development in 2008 is coming from Fort Bragg, N.C., and just completed airborne school. She has deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn. Haimann was the Hotel Company Commander during her senior year.
The Fall Gunfighter Panel kicks off Corps of Cadets Homecoming, which is Military Appreciation Day and will culminate with the corps alumni march-on at the Bowling Green football game on Saturday, Sept. 22. Miller will present the Hokies Respect message at that game. For the third consecutive year the Tri-State Warbird Museum located in Batavia, Ohio, will sponsor a military flyover with a historic World War II-era North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, “Axis Nightmare” and a North American P-51D fighter, “Cincinnati Miss” in honor of both the Corps of Cadets Homecoming and Military Appreciation Day.
Free parking is available in Perry Street Lots and the Perry Street Parking Garage near Prices Fork Road with a visitor’s pass. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center, located at 965 Prices Fork Road, near the intersection of Prices Fork and University City Boulevard next to the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. A visitor’s pass may also be obtained from the Virginia Tech Police Station, located on Sterrett Drive, outside of the Visitor Information Center hours. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.
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.