7 alumni inducted into ROTC National Hall of Fame

7 alumni inducted into ROTC National Hall of Fame

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Seven Reserve Officers’ Training Corps’ alumni were honored as they were inducted into U.S. Army Cadet Command’s ROTC National Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Sabre and Quill, Fort Knox, Ky.

The inductees were: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) William F. Dean, a Medal of Honor recipient; U.S. Senator Joni Ernst; Gen. (Ret.) John M. Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff; Bennett LeBow, an entrepreneur and philanthropist; Gen. (Ret.) Dan McNeill, a former commander of the Coalition Forces, Afghanistan; International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan; Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, commander of First United States Army; and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jona McKee, a former professor of military science.

  • Maj. Gen. (Ret.) William Dean, an ROTC graduate from the University of California, Berkley, as the commander of the 24th Infantry Division was the commander of all American commanded all American forces in Korea during North Korea’s initial invasion.

He received the Medal of Honor when he destroyed an enemy tank while armed only with a hand grenade.

He was eventually captured and was a prisoner of war for three years until he was repatriated in 1953.

He retired from the Army in 1955 after 32 years of service, and died at 82 in 1981.

  • Sen. Joni Ernst, an ROTC graduate from Iowa State University, served in the military for 32 years and won her senate seat in 2014 as the first woman to be elected to a federal elected office from Iowa, and the first combat veteran to serve in the Senate.

She is on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees.

First serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, she then became a company commander in Iraq and Kuwait, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guard troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

She retired from the Guard as a lieutenant colonel.

  • Gen. (Ret.) John M. Keene, an ROTC graduate from Fordham University, commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and XVIII Airborne Corps.

He has served on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee and is a national security analyst for Fox News.

He is now the executive chairman of AM General, and sits on the board of directors of General Dynamics.

  • Bennett Lebow, an ROTC graduate from Drexel University, is the chairman of the board of directors of Vector Group Ltd., and the former board chairman of Signal Genetics, Inc.; and former chairman and CEO of Borders Group, Inc., and New Valley Corp.

He was also the president of Lebow Industries and he enabled the development of LeBow College of Business, The LeBow Engineering Center and the construction of Gerri C. LeBow Hall.

A Signal Corps officer, he was the assistant to the assistant Army vice chief of staff.

  • Gen. (Ret.) Dan McNeill, an ROTC graduate from North Carolina State University, commanded airborne infantry units at the company, battalion, brigade, division and corps levels.

During his career, he served in Vietnam, Korea, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and as commander of International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, in addition to numerous state-side assignments.

  • Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jona McKee, an ROTC distinguished military graduate from Virginia State University (VSU), served for 28 years during three wars – World War II, Korea, Vietnam – in France, Japan, Korea and Germany, with a combat tour in Vietnam.

Returning to VSU as the professor of military science, he commissioned 210 second lieutenants, and founded the VSU Military Alumni Chapter.

  • Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Twitty, a distinguished military (ROTC) graduate from South Carolina State University, has served as the commander, 1st Armored Division; deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army Forces Command; and as chief of staff, U.S. Central Command, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kuwait.

He holds a master of science degree in political administration from Central Michigan University and a master of science in national security strategy from National Defense University.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, left, presents a certificate to Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, commander of First U.S. Army, signifying his induction into the ROTC Hall of Fame. (Photo by Michael Maddox)

Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, said the day was exceptional for several reasons.

“This is a very special day for all of us here at Cadet Command. Today we induct seven leaders of character,” he said.

Adding, “It just seems fitting to me that the service for outstanding Americans should be recognized during the Army’s birthday. It’s fitting to recognize these men and women who are here, and their families, because these individuals have actually added to the story and history of the United States Army.”

Hughes went on to praise the inductees for their commitment to soldiers, the Army and the officer corps.

“Each of these inductees has rushed to danger many, many times throughout their careers,” he said.

He added, “They have led soldiers during complicated and chaotic situations. They have led their units during times of great challenge, and in every instance they persevered. They are all elite, extraordinary people – mentors, warriors and highly successful ROTC cadets.

“Because of people like them, Army ROTC has had and continues to have a positive and lasting impact on our nation and our world.”

The U.S. Army Cadet Command is the largest single source of new officers for the Army, commissioning the majority of the Army’s new officers each year through the senior ROTC program.

Since 1960, Army ROTC has commissioned more than 675,000 Army officers.