October 4, 2021
Sergeant Greg Sword is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SGT Greg Sword served for 14 years in the Army Reserves from 2003-2016. After Basic training, Sword went to Fort Huachuca for Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Once his active duty training was completed Sword kept the warrior mindset and was a contractor on the civilian side. He would deploy with the Army in 2007-2008 during Operation Iraqi Freedom and back to Iraq as a contractor later in 2009. Sword also deployed with the Army in 2010-2011 in support of Operation New Dawn and one last deployment, Operation Enduring Freedom from 2013-2016.
In 2011, Sword moved cross country to Oregon to be a civilian instructor at Fort Huachuca. Sword’s last duty station was at Shaw Air Force Base where he would find his next career by accident. While hanging out with fellow soldiers and listening to them play guitar and sing he couldn’t figure out why they were not playing for money in local venues. Fast forward to present day and Sword owns his own company "On the Marc Studio" where he works with local musicians to build their brand and promote their music careers.
Thank you for your service Sergeant Greg Sword!
September 27, 2021
Corporal Kevin Brewington is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Corporal Kevin Brewington was medically retired from the Army in 2013. Brewington was assigned to 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry where he was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. After eight months he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2011. Roughly six months into the deployment, Brewington was conducting a routine foot patrol in Panjwai, Afghanistan when he stepped on a 30lb IED. He was knocked unconscious by the blast and saved by his unit's quick action, getting him on a medical evacuation aircraft (MEDAVAC) which took him to a trauma center at Kandahar Airfield (KAF). He was then transferred to Germany where he was stabilized to fly to Walter Reed Medical Center.
Brewington suffered numerous injuries including double amputation of both legs, a severed right arm, a stroke, amputation of right index finger, ruptured ear drum, mild TBI, and mild PTSD. He was in Walter Reed a year and a half when he officially retired in 2013. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal for his faithful service.
Currently, Brewington is an honorable deputy with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office and won "volunteer of the year" in 2019 by doing in-service classes and talking to officers involved with shootings. He does ride & fly along with SWAT teams for training and has seen how homicide cases are processed thanks to Sheriff Chuck Wright. This year (2021) Brewington ventured into entrepreneurship with his good friend started a flooring covering company, All American Flooring Specialties, LLC.
Brewington is also an ambassador and member of the following nonprofits, The Independence Fund, The Greatest Generations Foundation, American Valor, Chris Kyle Memorial Foundation, Combat Marine Outdoors, Hook Lines & Heroes, and Upstate Warrior Solution.
Brewington currently lives in Jonesville, SC with his wife Hannah Leigh Brewington of more than seven years along with his two daughters, Tinsley Marie (6) & Jayci Faith (3) and their bulldog Jasper. Thank you for your service, Corporal Kevin Brewington!
September 20, 2021
Sergeant First Class Bobby Edwards is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SFC Edwards retired in March of this year after 17 and a half years of service in the Army. Edwards enlisted in 2003 and after training was stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division from 2004-2010. He deployed multiple times to Iraq in 2007-2008 and once again in 2009-2010. The 82nd also deployed to Afghanistan from 2005-2006.
After his three deployments, Edwards went to 6th RTB, the last phase of Ranger school and was a Ranger instructor for the next four years. In 2017 he was stationed in Alaska and an Airborne Infantry Platoon Sergeant for three years before finishing his career in Columbia, SC at Fort Jackson.
In his spare time, Edwards works four days a week at Sportsman’s Wearhouse behind the gun counter and has recently started a nonprofit with his wife called “For His Glory Outdoors.” The purpose of the nonprofit is to take Veterans with combat trauma on hunting and fishing trips and build/grow a relationship in Christian faith.
So far, the group has completed their first trip in August flying five combat Veterans in first class from around the nation to Lake of the Woods, Minnesota where they stayed a week in a world class cabin. The trip was filled with top water fishing and hunting. Edwards’ end goal is to have land that can facilitate everything for the nonprofit and one central location that Veterans in need of support can come from all around the world.
Thank you for your service, SFC Bobby Edwards!
September 13, 2021
Staff Sergeant Carter Lybrand is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SSG Carter Lybrand has served in the South Carolina National Guard for 12 years and counting. Lybrand is currently an 89B, Ammunition Specialist with 1/151 Attack and Reconnaissance Battalion. He is in charge of all ordinance through his unit from conventional ammunition for small firearms all the way to explosives and large rockets. Lybrand deployed to Iraq in 2011-2012 where he was at Camp Taji.
Outside of drilling in the National Guard, Lybrand has made a name for himself and his band as a musician. He started singing and playing guitar years ago but two and a half years ago quit his job in sales and took to performing full-time. Now, the Carter Lybrand Band can be seen all over the state of South Carolina as well as other surrounding states.
Lybrand is also a Veteran of the Warrior PATHH Program at The Big Red Barn Retreat (BRBR) in Blythewood, S.C. and will soon also start working there and helping other Veterans and first responders that struggle with their own internal battles. He also performs for fundraisers for BRBR and encourages every Veteran to check out their facility and all the free services they offer.
Lybrand has made a handful of music videos and has released songs on all streaming services. He has been married for ten years and enjoys taking his wife and kids on the road with him whenever he can. Thank you for your service, SSG Carter Lybrand!
September 7, 2021
Lieutenant Craig Augenstein is our “Veteran of the Week.”
LT Craig Augenstein graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 where he commissioned as a Nuclear Officer on a submarine in Charleston. He went on two deployments in his five years of service. On deployment was to North of the Arctic Circle as well as one to the Mediterranean.
Now, Augenstein is a real estate agent at Navigo Homes with Keller Williams and recently has become a board member on the Palmetto chapter for Folds of Honor where a portion of his sales goes to the foundation. Folds of Honor is funded to help Gold Star families and spouses who have lost their loved ones in war.
Augenstein also serves as the President of the Naval Academy Alumni Association’s Palmetto chapter. His daughter is also a member and followed in her dad’s footsteps by graduating from the Naval Academy and doing the same job on the USS Wyoming as Augenstein did when he was in the Navy.
Thank you for your service, LT Craig Augenstein!
August 30, 2021
Staff Sergeant Jason Dersch is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SSG Dersch served for 14 years in the armed forces. He started as a Soldier in the Army, joined the Air Force for four years and then finished his career once again in the Army.
Dersch enlisted in 1995 as an Airborne Infantryman and was assigned to 1-506 (Air Assault) in South Korea. For the next four years, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division LRSD (Long Range Surveillance Division). Later, he would graduate Ranger school and earn the rank of Sergeant before separating from the Army.
After eight months, Dersch started serving again in the Air Force as a Command and Control Operator with one deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was a recruiter for two years. In 2005, Dersch participated in the Blue to Green program and transferred back over to the Army.
Dersch was assigned to 1-505 PIR Scouts/82nd Airborne Division. He attended Scout Sniper school in 2006 and upon graduation was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He would then go on multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before separating from the Army in 2009.
Dersch is now one of the Guides for the Warrior PATHH program at The Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood, SC. He strives by helping other Veterans and First Responders who are suffering their internal battles and teaching them to embrace their demons and continue to grow.
Thank you for your service Staff Sergeant, Jason Dersch!
August 23, 2021
Major General Van McCarty is our “Veteran of the Week.”
MG McCarty serves as the 29th Adjutant General for South Carolina and head of the South Carolina Military Department. He administers the affairs of the South Carolina Army and Air National Guard, the Emergency Management Division, the State Guard, and the Youth Challenge Academy.
A native of South Carolina, McCarty attended The Citadel graduating in 1982 with a United States Army Reserve commission in the Field Artillery. In McCarty’s 36 years of service, he has commanded units at every echelon, from Battery to Brigade. McCarty’s previous command assignments include Battery Commander, Alpha Battery, 4th Battalion, 178th Field Artillery, Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, 178th Field Artillery (Operation Iraqi Freedom), Regional Police Advisory Commander (Operation Enduring Freedom), 218th Enhanced Separate Brigade; Commander 59th Troop Command, Assistant Adjutant Army, and Deputy Adjutant General.
McCarty holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The Citadel and completed the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy at Quantico, Virginia, serving twenty-four years in the Law Enforcement Division with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. McCarty’s Military Education includes The Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Air Defense Artillery Transition Course, Joint Task Force Commander Course, U.S. Army Senior Service College, Capstone, and the Advanced Army Strategic Education Program.
McCarty’s awards and decorations include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, with One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster; Meritorious Service Medal, with One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster; Army Commendation Medal, with Four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, with One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, with One Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, and Two Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, with Bronze Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, with Bronze Star, Iraqi Campaign Medal, with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, with Silver Hourglass Device, with M Device Second Award, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Second Award, NATO Medal, the SC Meritorious Service Medal, SC Active State Service Medal with one Silver Star, SC Achievement Ribbon, and the SC Mobilization Ribbon.
McCarty and his wife Susan have one daughter, Madelynn and four sons, Matthew, Micah, Mackenzie, and Major. Thank you for your service, Major General Van McCarty!
August 16, 2021
Lance Corporal Chase McCallister is our “Veteran of the Week.”
LCPL Chase McCallister served four years in the Marine Corps from 2005-2009. McCallister was an 0331 Machine Gunner and deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom twice in 2007 and 2008. He received a Combat Action Ribbon with one star.
After his term of service, McCallister attended the University of South Carolina in the upstate for his bachelor's degree and got his master’s in accounting from Clemson University. He is currently an Assurance Manager with Price Waterhouse Company (PwC) working in Spartanburg, SC but servicing clients throughout the state. McCallister serves as the Operations Lead for the PwC Carolina’s Veterans Affinity Network and enjoys serving and connecting with Veterans. He lives with his wife, Lauren in Greenville, SC with their two daughters Bennett and Porter.
Thank you for your service, Lance Corporal McCallister!
August 10, 2021
Specialist Med "Doc" Uddin is our “Veteran of the Week.”
"Doc" Uddin served in the US Army from 2002 – 2009 as a 68WY8 Combat Medic. Uddin deployed in 2006 to 2007 with Task Force 1-26 Infantry "Blue Spaders" to Sadr City, Iraq as a line Medic. He was promoted to senior line medic/squad leader and earned an Army Commendation Medal with "V" (Valor) as well as a Presidential Unit Citation.
The Blue Spaders deployment to Sadr City is known as one or the deadliest deployments of the war on terror, as well as one of the deadliest since Vietnam. At this time there is one book written about this deployment and talks of a mini-series being made (Band of Brothers style series), where it has been mentioned Uddin will be the featured medic.
Uddin also served in Korea with the 1-503 Infantry as a line Medic, in the Pentagon at DTHC (DiLorenzo Tri Healthcare Clinic) in the immunology/travel clinic with a specialty in allergies, immunotherapy, infectious diseases and travel medicine. Also, as the ERT medic responding to emergency medical calls around the building, SWAT medic (volunteer) for the Pentagon Police Force, HAZMAT medic and special mission’s medic. Uddin ended his career in Alabama at Ft. Rucker where he worked in the primary care clinic as well as in the field attached to the SERE school during their classes. Uddin was training to become a flight medic when the command at the Ft. Rucker clinic medically retired Uddin due to the injuries he sustained while in combat.
Uddin currently lives in Lexington County, South Carolina, and works as an independent security contractor (CONUS AND OCONUS). Thank you for your service SPC Med “Doc” Uddin!
August 2, 2021
Colonel Tammy Miracle is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Col. Tammy Miracle served 30 years in the U.S. Army from 1985-2015. She served all over the globe and went on many combat and peacetime tours including Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Miracle is the author of numerous published academic works on military and leadership subjects, including The Army and Embedded Media, 2003, which is frequently cited. Miracle now lives in Columbia and is an award-winning Realtor, where she specializes in assisting servicemembers and helps Veterans to navigate the homebuying process.
Miracle enjoys golfing in her free time and making friends everywhere she goes. Thank you for your service, Colonel Tammy Miracle!
Petty Officer Second Class Harrison Church is our “Veteran of the Week.”
PO2 Harrison Church has been serving in the U.S. Navy for eight years. Since leaving active duty in 2018 Church has been in the reserves and recently completed studies at the University of South Carolina. While Church was active, he served on the aircraft carrier, USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) in Norfolk, VA. Church was an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate-Equipment (ABE) specializing in catapult operations and maintenance.
Church was a Topside Safety Petty whose responsibility was to ensure proper catapult hookup and safe execution of flight operations over dozens of fixed wing aircraft launches every day while on the CVN-77.
In 2014, Church deployed for nine months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was part of the very first launches of F-18’s to Iraq counter-attacking Isis. Later, Church deployed for seven months in 2017 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He spent a total of 25 months in his five years active duty out to sea.
Once joining the reserves, Church became an Operations Specialist (OS) with Expeditionary Port Unit 108 specializing in international logistics support. Church graduated from UofSC in May and now works for Navitas Credit Corp. Thank you for your service, PO2 Harrison Church!
July 21, 2021
Sergeant James Hull is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Sgt. Hull went to Marine bootcamp in early 1998 and then stationed in Norfolk, VA as an Embark Specialist. Over the next five years, Hull would coordinate the movement of more than 3,000 Marines. This would include the movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to hostile environments to include Libya and Afghanistan.
Hull was selected as the subject matter expert for deployment of Marines being sent to Libya following the September 11th attacks. This would include deployment, as well as replacement of additional equipment needed in securing U.S. assets in Tripoli, Libya. Hull trained more than 75 Marines in the skills and techniques of embarkation for redeployment of personnel and equipment back to home base.
Hull’s awards are as follows: Joint Service Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (2), Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (w/1star), Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (Navy Reserve) Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3), Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (2), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (w/”M” Device) (2), NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan, Expert Rifle Qualification Badge, Sharpshooter Pistol Qualification Badge.
James Hull now works for the University of South Carolina and is assisting other administrators in the production of a book with stories to honor student-Veterans from the University that have lost their lives in combat. Thank you for your service, Sergeant James Hull!
July 12, 2021
Petty Officer Second Class Karl Roman is our “Veteran of the Week.”
PO2 Roman is originally from Manhattan, New York and enlisted in the Navy to get out of his hometown and to see the world. Roman is a Nuclear Electronics Technician and additionally qualified as a Nuclear Propulsion Plant Supervisor.
After completing training, his first duty station was the Naval Nuclear Power Training Pipeline in Goose Creek, South Carolina from 2013-2015. For the next four years, Roman was on the USS Providence (SSN 719) where the submarine’s homeport was in Groton, Connecticut.
Roman went on two deployments on the SSN 719, one in the North Atlantic and one in the Mediterranean. He was awarded for his service medals and ribbons as follows, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Good Conduct Medal (2), Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy Battle E Ribbon (2), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Enlisted Submarine Warfare Qualification, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Rifle Sharpshooter Ribbon, Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.
Since retiring from the Navy, Roman works a Peace Officer to fulfill his need to serve. Thank you for your service, PO2 Karl Roman!
July 6, 2021
Staff Sergeant Derek Rast is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SSG Rast has been serving in the U.S. Army for 12 years and is currently a recruiter for the South Carolina National Guard and stationed in Columbia. Rast attended Basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. From there he was assigned to the 132nd Military Police Company in West Columbia, SC. In September 2011 Rast went to Afghanistan with 133rd Military Police Company out of Timmonsville, SC for a year.
Rast has also served in the SC National Guard Counterdrug Taskforce March 2013-October 2014, Servicemember Family Care Directorate (SMFC) January 2015-September 2015, Training NCO for the 133rd September 2015-September 2017. Rast was the Readiness NCO HHC 59th Troop Command from October 2017-May 2018.
His awards include the combat action badge, Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal, NATO Medal, Army Good Conduct ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign ribbon, Counterdrug Service ribbon, National Guard Recruiting and Retention ribbon.
Rast has also responded and mobilized units to every natural disaster since 2015. When he is not wearing the uniform, Rast likes to hunt and fish and hang out with his four-year-old daughter Kora. Thank you for your service, Staff Sergeant Derek Rast!
June 28, 2021
Specialist Zachary Bogue is our “Veteran of the Week.”
South Carolina Army National Guard Specialist Bogue enlisted two and a half years ago. Bogue was a student in college and wanted to continue his long family tradition of serving in the armed forces as well as receive assistance financially to continue his education. Bogue is serving in the mechanized infantry unit, C. Co. 4th 118th Infantry Brigade.
Bogue’s unit recently got home from a deployment to Kuwait, Syria, and Iraq. He started pre-mobilization training as soon as he checked into the unit and was still able to complete courses online for school. For his service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Spartan Shield, Bogue was awarded the following medals.
National Defense Service Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Mobilization Device, Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
Bogue wants to continue serving and upon graduation of college wants to eventually own his own UPS store and try to buy multiple stores.
Thank you for your service, Specialist Zachary Bogue!
June 21, 2021
Lieutenant Colonel Hubert “Herb” Rentz Jr. is our “Veteran of the Week.”
LTC Rentz served for 20 years in the Army on active duty, the reserves and South Carolina national guard. On active duty, Rentz was assigned to V Corps headquarters where he toured Germany as Assistant Installation Coordinator. He was also an Aero Rifle Platoon Leader for the 1st/17th Cavalry and apart of the 82nd Airborne Division.
At Fort Knox in Kentucky, LTC Rentz attended the Basic and Advanced Armor Officer courses, Command and General Staff College and Officer Maintenance school. He attended Airborne school at Fort Benning and later Civil Affairs school at Fort Gordan in Georgia.
LTC Rentz served in the 108th Training Division, the 3/321st Regiment as a company E Commander, Battalion S-3 Operations Officer and the Battalion Executive Officer in Brevard, North Carolina while he was in the Reserves. While in the National Guard he was stationed at the 2/263rd Armor in Rock Hill and the Palmetto Military Academy at Fort Jackson, S.C.
The Citadel and Winthrop alum is also a retired schoolteacher where he taught Social Studies and coached at Great Falls high school in Great Falls, S.C. He is very active volunteering and promoting awareness for Veteran suicide as well as breast cancer. Rentz has created his own PSA that plays on multiple radio stations throughout the state of South Carolina and encourages others who are going through hard times to, “talk about it.”
Thank you for your service, Lieutenant Colonel Herb Rentz Jr!
June 14, 2021
Technical Sergeant Stephen Goshorn is our “Veteran of the Week.”
TSgt. Goshorn originally served on Active Duty in the US Navy from 1976 to 1982 before switching to the Navy Reserve in 1984. While in the Navy, Goshorn served as an Aviation Structural Mechanic on the Vought A7-E Corsair II (VA-174 Hellrazors) NAS Cecil Field, FL, Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion (VP-MAU) on NAS Brunswick, ME and at NAS Atlanta Marietta, GA (AIMD Cecil Field, FL Unit). In 1987, he then transferred to the Vermont Air National Guard.
While in the Air Guard Goshorn was a F-16 Crew Chief/Aircraft on the Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon. Additional duties were 158FW Base Honor Guard where he started sounding live Taps. Air National Guard NCO Academy Distance Learning Instructor and Starbase Vermont F-16 Tour Guide for students.
In his 29 years of service, Goshorn is a Cold War and Global War on Terrorism Veteran who also deployed to Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle 9/11/01.
Goshorn is currently 2nd Vice Commander Camp Sevier 30th Infantry American Legion Post 271 in Mauldin, SC. He is a member of Bugles Across America and Taps for Veterans as well as a volunteer for sounding live Taps at Military Honors and Remembrance Ceremonies for all branches of the military.
Thank you for your service, Technical Sergeant Stephen Goshorn!
June 7, 2021
Colonel Kevin Shwedo is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Col. Kevin Shwedo served for 32 years in the Army culminating his career as the Deputy Commanding Officer of Fort Jackson. Col. Shwedo upon retirement started service as the Executive Director of the SCDMV. He was originally appointed by Governor Nikki R. Haley on January 14, 2011 and confirmed by the South Carolina Senate on February 1, 2011. He is responsible for overseeing the functions and responsibilities of the entire agency.
In previous assignments, he served as a project officer at the U.S. Army Infantry School and later as a platoon leader in the 197th Infantry Brigade. He moved to Germany where he commanded two infantry companies. Colonel Shwedo then taught leadership at the U.S. Army Engineer School for two years and later served as the Senior Combat Arms Analyst to the Director of Officer Personnel Management at the Total Army Personnel Command in Alexandria, Virginia.
At Fort Carson, Colorado, he served as a Battalion S-3 for 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. Following graduation from the Command and General Staff College in 1991, Colonel Shwedo was assigned to Fort Polk, Louisiana and served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Battalion S-3 and Executive Officer for the 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment and the S-3 for the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Armored Division.
In El Paso, Texas, Colonel Shwedo served as the Director of Personnel and Deputy Chief of Staff for Joint Task Force Six. In July 1995, he moved to South Carolina where he took command of the 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment at Fort Jackson. He then served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 for the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) during the Division Advanced Warfighting Experiment. After graduating from the Army War College in 1999, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Forces Command in Atlanta where he served as the Special Assistant and Speechwriter to the Commanding General of United States Army Forces Command in Atlanta, Georgia.
Colonel Shwedo then successfully commanded the largest Basic Combat Training Brigade on the Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Following command, Colonel Shwedo was reassigned to Fort Monroe, Virginia for duty as both the Chief of the TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) Commanding General's Planning Group, followed by selection to become the G-3 (Director of Operations, Plans and Training) for United States Army Accessions Command.
His awards include the Order of the Palmetto (the State’s highest civilian honor), Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with seven Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Achievement Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters) and Global War on Terrorism Medal (Service).
Col. Shwedo is very active in 33 Committees and Boards that assist organizations around the state that either support the military and their family members or serve to provide oversight to charitable organizations supporting some of the more vulnerable citizens in the state.
Thank you for your service, Colonel Kevin Shwedo!
June 1, 2021
Sergeant Jonathan Mayberry is our “Veteran of the week.”
Sgt. Mayberry served eight years in the Army before he was medically retired due to wounds he received in combat. He enlisted in 2002 as 13 Bravo and was stationed with the 1st Armor Division in Baumholder, Germany. Starting in March of 2003, Mayberry’s unit went on a 15-month deployment to Baghdad.
After returning from the middle east Mayberry served in the 2nd Infantry Division for a year with 1/37 Field Artillery (FA) Battalion and then a year later would deploy again with 3rd Infantry Division 1/10 FA in 2007-2008. He was later medically retired in 2010.
Sgt. Mayberry was awarded three Army Commendation medals, two Purple Hearts, an Army Achievement Medal, Unit Presidential Citation, two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Iraq campaign with one star, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon and 2 Overseas Service Ribbons.
From his own battle with mental health, Mayberry has made an unpaid career advocating for others who also have the same battle. As a supporter and Veteran of the Warrior PATHH program, he loves spending time with other Veterans at the Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood and practicing equine therapy as well as other services that are offered.
Thank you for your service, Sgt. Jonathan Mayberry!
May 24, 2021
Chief Master Sergeant Dayne Peterson is our “Veteran of the week.”
CMSgt Dayne E. Peterson is the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, South Carolina. As command chief, he serves as the principal advisor to the Wing Commander on matters of readiness, health, welfare and morale, professional development, and the effective utilization of more than 1100 enlisted personnel assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard.
Peterson has served in the Air National Guard and active-duty for 35 years and plans on retiring next year. He has made it his life’s work to serve our country and the men and women who wear the uniform. He will always say that he’s the voice that speaks for the McEntire Joint National Guard Base and how much of an honor it is to represent so many fine men and women.
In his career, Peterson has been awarded a number of medals including; Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, AF Organizational Excellence Award (2), AF Good Conduct Medal (3), Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal (4), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Medal, AF Longevity Service (6), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 1 ‘M’ Device (1), USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon Air Force Training Ribbon.
Peterson has been stationed all over the U.S. along the east coast including Maryland and South Carolina, in the Midwest in Ohio and Illinois and the south in Texas and Mississippi. He is an active volunteer at the Big Red Barn Retreat and Warrior PATHH program in Blythewood, S.C. and a life time advocate for the National/State Guard and reserve components.
Thank you for your service, CMSgt. Dayne Peterson!
May 17, 2021
Staff Sergeant Jason Ramos is our "Veteran of the Week."
Staff Sergeant Jason Ramos, US Army, Airborne Infantry, 2010 to 2021 Active Duty, is now currently serving in the US Army Reserve, recently selected for and pending promotion to Sergeant First Class.
Ramos has two combat deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, 2010, 2012-2013, Global War on Terrorism with Chosen Company, 2-503rd, of the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade.
His notable awards include the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), Airborne Wings/Parachutist Badge, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, numerous achievement and commendation medals.
Ramos lives and works in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife Crystal and their five-year-old son, Jackson, named after members of Jason’s company in Afghanistan who were killed in their 2012-2013 deployment by enemy fire.
Ramos became a Financial Advisor with First Command Financial Services in 2020 after serving 11 years on active duty and transitioning into an operations support role with the US Army Reserve. Jason graduated Summa Cum Laude from Purdue University Global while serving on Active Duty, a benefit of service Ramos wholeheartedly advocates for when possible.
Staff Sergeant Ramos is the operations and training non-commissioned officer for HHC, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division, Ft Jackson, SC, and fulfills a number of roles within the unit in support of the Company Leadership Team.
Staff Sergeant Ramos is a member of the Purple Heart Association, the National Infantry Association, the PeeDee Veteran’s Advisory Council, and is involved in various groups at his Church, St. Peter’s Basilica, where he and his family attend Mass weekly.
As a result of his wounds in combat, and military experience on and off the battlefield, Ramos is intimately aware of the importance of effective planning, and applies those principles to his career as a Financial Advisor.
May 10, 2021
Lieutenant Colonel Matt “Cobb” Webb is our, “Veteran of the Week.”
LTC Webb served for 20 years in the Air Force from 1991-2011 retiring as a 13B Air Battle Manager. Webb is a Mission Crew Commander and E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System qualified.
Cobb was stationed all over the world holding various titles including the Senior Weapons Director- 932nd Air Control Squadron in Rockville, Iceland. Master Instructor/evaluator-32nd Training Squadron at Tyndall FB in Florida, and spent time in Manta, Ecuador and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.
Cobb deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Allied Force and Counter Drug Operations (Detachment Commander). He has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal and GWOT Expeditionary Medal.
Since retirement, Webb’s contributions to the York County VA have been unmeasurable. He singularly developed a benefits checklist - one for each benefit for which a Veteran or their family would be eligible to receive, training modules presented to Veterans in the York county community, office SOPs and more. His efforts have streamlined our claims operations and allowed this office to quadruple the number of claims and encounters.
Thank you for your service, LTC Matt Webb!
May 3, 2021
Mildred Oberhofer is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Mildred is one of the few remaining WWII Veterans and she celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday, May 1. She served in the Women’s Air Corps for almost two years. Prior to enlisting, she was machine operator at a bullet factory making weaponry for the military.
Mildred was originally stationed in Selfridge Field, Michigan. Once she finished her basic soldier training, she was assigned to Baker and Cook’s school at Westover Field, Massachusetts.
Mildred grew up in a small-town inn White Plains, Kentucky as the only daughter of a local coal miner. She met and married her husband, George, of 52 years (now deceased) while in service to our country. They lived in Germany for many years where her husband was stationed as a Master Sergeant in the Army.
They retired at Fort Bliss, Texas and lived for several years in El Paso. Later they moved to Los Angeles, California where they spent the next 40 years together. In the Fall of 2016, Mildred left the west coast with her daughter to start a new life of leisure in beautiful Clemson, South Carolina.
Thank you for you service, Mildred Oberhofer!
April 27, 2021
Corporal Steven Diaz is our "Veteran of the Week."
Steven Diaz, a Marine who was severely injured by an IED blast in Iraq in 2005, has been left with numerous permanent scars to include Post-Traumatic Stress, a seizure disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Steven's military service earned him the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon. After losing more friends to the trauma of post-war life than by enemy action, he knew what his next mission in life would be.
In 2010, Steven became one of the founding members of "Hidden Wounds." Steven serves as the Program Officer and oversees all areas of Hidden Wounds' daily operations to make sure the mission of providing Veterans the help they deserve are met. Apart from his non-profit work, Steven serves on various boards to help advocate for Veterans and to help the community better connect with them.
Corporal Diaz is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor's in Business Administration. He is a founding member of UofSC’s newest alumni affinity group just for Veteran Alumni all across the country. He was also recruited in 2019 by Northwestern Mutual and currently serves as a financial advisor and a Veteran Ambassador helping transitioning Vets deal with post-military life.
Steven currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his lovely wife, Laura and three-year-old son Thomas.
Thank you for your service, Steven Diaz!
April 20, 2021
Henry Howe is our "Veteran of the Week."
Henry moved to Columbia in 1968 when the Army assigned his father to Fort Jackson. He is a graduate of E. L. Wright Elementary School, Dent Middle School, Spring Valley High School, and the University of South Carolina. Upon his graduation from USC, he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and left Columbia to pursue his career as a Weapons Systems Officer. While in the Air Force, he flew T-37, T-43, F-4, AT-38, F-16, and F-15 jet aircraft.
When he retired in from the Air Force in 1995, Henry came home to Columbia to care for his parents and start a second career. After a brief career with the Richland County Sheriff Department, Henry was hired as a museum technician with the U.S. Finance Corps Museum. He moved into the position of curator for the Finance Corps Museum in two short years and remained there for seven years.
In 2011, Henry transferred to the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum and assumed the roles and responsibilities of museum director and curator. During his tenure with the BCT Museum, he has guided the museum through a complete renovation of their artifact collections, a major overhaul gallery space, and comprehensive redesign of their museum storyline. Recently, Henry had been a major motivator behind Fort Jackson’s centennial recognition, spearheading efforts to research, write, and publish two books chronicling the history and heritage of Fort Jackson. Additionally, he orchestrated the Post’s centennial lecture series; bring together recognized authorities on the social, economic, and cultural history of Fort Jackson in an effort to foster enthusiasm and interest in Fort Jackson’s 100th birthday.
In 2019, he was promoted to Director of the Fort Jackson Museum Community, assuming the responsibilities for the administration, management, and oversight of all four museums located on Fort Jackson.
Currently, Henry and his wife Sonja live in Blythewood, South Carolina.
Thank you for your service, Henry Howe!
April 12, 2021
Staff Sergeant LaGinia Dove is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SSgt. Dove served 10 years in the U.S. Army from 19998-2008 in 1st Battalion, 311th Regiment. Dove was apart of providing mission-focused training and enables team-building actions for designated units during post-mobilization training at CAJMTC, IN in order to prepare them for operating in a COIN environment while executing their DMETL tasks in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She deployed with this unit in 2004 (OEF).
SSgt. Dove received three Army Achievement Medals while she was active duty before moving to Spartanburg once she was honorably discharged. She currently continues to serve as a fifth-grade school teacher and tutor, as well as a little cheer coach and a full-time mom of three children.
Thank you for your service, Staff Sergeant LaGinia Dove!
April 5, 2021
HM2 Ricky Holbert is our "Veteran of the Week."
HM2 Ricky Holbert is currently serving the United Stated Navy as the inspector-instructor Corpsman at Camp McCrady in Eastover, SC. His main job is to perform technical and administrative medical assistance to supporting the mission and functions of field units. His 8 years of honorable service has earned him awards such as the Navy Marine Achievement Medal 3rd award and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
HM2 has served at a number of reserve platforms including NOSC Atlanta, SEAL Team 18 and now 4th LAR F Co. He has earned warfare qualifications in expeditionary warfare and Fleet Marine Force warfare.
When HM2 is not at work he is enjoying his family, getting fitness session in, or studying for the next test or qualification. Although he loves his job he is thriving to commission as an officer and continue to serve.
Volunteer work includes over 150 hours in the toys for tots program, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and volunteering at food banks.
Thank you for your service, HM2 Holbert!
March 29, 2021
Candace M. Terry is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Candace Terry served in the Navy from 2002-2010 as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive. She worked as a Russian and Persian Farsi Crypto analyst serving at both Ft Meade, Md, and Ft Gordon Ga. After her service she attended both the University of Kentucky and University of South Carolina where she obtained her BA in Russian Studies and MSW respectively.
At both universities she served as the President of the local Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapters where she worked as an advocate for holistic services and supports for Veterans on the university campuses. During her time at the University of South Carolina she was recognized as one of the top student Veteran advocates across the nation when was selected to attend the Student Veterans of America Leadership Institute.
Prior to that she was selected to be a part of the women Veterans’ fellowship at Purdue University Campus, IUPUI, the Focus Forward Fellowship. Through her work at the University of South Carolina, Candace was able to cultivate the relationships and skillset for her next chapter as the Director of Governmental Affairs at the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs (SCDVA.) In this role she acts as the primary lobbying for the department advocating for policy change to positively impact the lives of Veterans in the state of South Carolina.
Thank you for your service, Candace!
March 22, 2021
Sandy Bostick is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Sandy Bostick was born June 8, 1974 in Winnsboro, South Carolina. She currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina. She is proud to have a 20-year-old daughter who is in her third year of college at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State College (NCA&T) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Sandy enlisted in the Army National Guard in August 1994 as a Food Service Specialist (94B). After graduating from Basic Training, she completed Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in January 1995 at Fort Lee, Virginia. In December 1996, Bostick signed up for active duty and was Stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in 1998, Fort Drum, New York in 2000 and finished her 11 ½ year time in service due to an injury in Iraq at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 2005. Sandy deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II in April of 2003 and returned to Fort Polk, Louisiana 15 months later in July 2004.
Sandy’s awards and medals include the Army Commendation Medal, 5 Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration.
When Sandy left the military after hurting my back in Iraq in 2005, she started working at South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce in 2005 as a work study. Then she was hired in February 2006. She has had many jobs working with people with unemployment, working with people with disabilities and her favorite job ever was with the Veteran’s Department to work with Veterans. Sandy’s passion has always been to help others. The title of a Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) afforded her an opportunity to help Veterans in their transition from active duty to civilian life. She worked on Fort Jackson with soldiers who were exiting the military. Sandy then left South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce in August 2017 and began her new journey at South Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs as a Veterans Claims Representative. The job allows her to make a difference in the lives of some many veterans by advocating in front of the Law Judge from Washington, DC.
Bostick volunteers a lot around the community to include her church, food banks, feeding the homeless and specialty walks to raise money for a particular cause, and has worked on and off as a Guardian Ad Litem. Sandy has always felt the need to advocate for people who cannot find their voice, especially children.
Thank you for your service, Sandy Bostick!
March 15, 2021
Destiny Marut is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Warrant Officer 1 Marut has served in the Army since 2013. She enlisted as a 25Q Multichannel System Operator/Maintainer where she reached the rank of Sergeant. In 2018 she commissioned as a Warrant Officer 1 and now is a 152H Apache Pilot. She currently lives in Columbia, S.C. and is stationed at McEntire JNGB with the 151st Aviation Regiment.
Destiny first deployed in 2016 as the J6-3 Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for Horn of Africa (HOA) out of Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier OEF in support of mission New Normal. That same year Marut first flew as a Specialist in Africa and fell in love with it. When she returned to the states in to 2017, she then began to pursue it. Among her awards and medals include the Army accommodation medal, Army achievement medal, and National Defense.
WO1 Marut also helped establish the Warrior Fit Program, A SCNG recruiting tool used to promote fitness throughout the state to eligible candidates from 2014-2016 and again in 2017 prior to commissioning. Destiny is currently the only fully qualified female Apache Warrant Officer in the state of South Carolina.
Thank you for your service, WO1 Destiny Marut!
March 8, 2021
Roland “Rocky” Gannon is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Rocky Gannon was born in Palermo, New Jersey and moved to Ocean City when he was seven years old. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and while he was a junior at Ocean City High School, Rocky enlisted in the Air Force at seventeen. He immediately entered pilot training. Shortly after his high school class graduated, Rocky became a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. At age twenty he was flying the B-29 Super Fortress. For the next 37 years, he flew six-thousand hours in thirty-four different aircraft, from bombers to transports, from gliders to fighters. He has fifty military awards and decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, ten Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. He flew as a combat pilot in World War II, Korea, the Belgian Congo and 387 combat missions in Vietnam. After World War II, he served three years in the occupation of Iwo Jima and Japan. Fifteen of his thirty-seven years of active duty were served overseas.
Rocky is active in the community, serving on 11 boards and commissions. He is an Eagle Scout, recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award, the Rotary Four Way Test Award, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001 he was named South Carolina Aviator of the Year and inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.
After his retirement from the Air Force in 1980, he became an International Aviation Consultant. Later he became the Executive Director of the Florence, South Carolina Regional Airport, retiring in 1993. He has been married to the former Roberta Gause for 56 years. They have three grown children, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Thank you for your service LTC Rocky Gannon!
March 1, 2021
Captain Janay D. Morris is our "Veteran of the Week."
CPT Janay D. Morris (Retired) served in the US Army as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear, and Explosives Officer. She started her career as an enlisted Soldier and at her 10 year anniversary she was selected to commission as an officer. She has served as a Drill Sergeant, Platoon Leader, and retired as a Commanding officer. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Missouri Science and Technology and is getting ready to pursue her Doctorate in Business Administration.
The most significant moment in Morris’s military career was serving as a basic training Drill Sergeant. Despite all she has done, the most meaningful part of the job was being able to assist in training the Army’s future Soldiers. This position allowed her to shape the minds and bodies of individuals.
Morris's passion of helping others led her to pursue real estate. She currently lives Columbia, SC. where she works as a Realtor with David Lloyd Realty servicing NC, SC and Georgia. Morris is also a military relocation professional (MRP). She believes the Veterans are some of the most underserved in the market. She enjoys meeting people and watching them fall in love with the beautiful homes they purchase.
Thank you for service, CPT Janay D. Morris!
February 22, 2021
Staff Sergeant Louis Moore Jr. is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SSgt. Moore is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserves as a Light Armored Vehicle Crewman at Camp McCrady in Eastover, S.C. His ten faithful years of service he will tell you, “Is just the beginning.” He plans to do twenty plus years and retire in Lexington, S.C. where he lives with his family.
When not at drill, Moore is constantly doing volunteer work for local and national veteran nonprofits and takes great pride in serving the Veteran community throughout the Midlands. From Toys for Tots to Marine Corps mud runs and Veteran’s Day 5K’s he is always doing something with his family to show his support for those that have served before him.
SSgt. Moore is very proud to be an essential worker as a local truck driver. He also has the most pride in being a family man and the best dad to his two children as he can be. He loves setting a good example for his lifetime sweetheart, kids, and young Marines by always being motivated and leading from the front. Thank you for your service, SSgt. Louis Moore Jr!
February 16, 2021
Staff Sergeant Lawren Tucker is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SSgt. Tucker is currently serving in the Air Force Reserves as a Pharmacy Technician (4P0). She has been in the Air Force for more than seven years and is based out of the 413th ASTS, Robins AFB, GA. She has deployed with her unit to Guyana, South America, New Horizons (NH19).
SSgt. Tucker is from Columbia, S.C. where she worked at Prisma Health Children’s Pharmacy as a pharm tech for the past three years. Tucker also assists in the operation and facilitating of COVID-19 testing at the University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy. She is currently looking to commission in the Air Force as on officer. She has a B.S. in Biology from Francis Marion University and is getting ready to pursue her master’s in Public Health.
The most significant moment in Tucker’s military career was serving as a pharm tech in the New Horizons Exercise where she was able to utilize not only military, but civilian training to offer health services to patients in an impoverished community in a joint operation with her sister services (Army and Marines). She was also able to assist and assimilate other medical AFSC’s in their daily duties and operations. Thank you for your service, SSgt. Lawren Tucker!
Posted on February 8, 2021
Lieutenant Colonel Chaveso “Chevy” Cook is our Veteran of the Week.
Chaveso “Chevy” Cook is an active-duty Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. His career started in the historic 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. After selection and training for Army Special Operations, he transferred to Psychological Operations, continuing service at Fort Bragg. During his military career he’s deployed during “The Surge”, the “Arab Spring”, and the fight against ISIS in roles working with a wide variety of American embassies, local leaders, and non-governmental organizations, in addition to assisting/training foreign militaries, and serving multiple special operations task forces. These and other experiences span Iraq (x3), Qatar (x2), Niger, Jordan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and the United Arab Emirates. He has led small, specialized teams and large formations with a variety of both civilians and military, as well as a multitude of specialties and demographics. Chevy was also fortunate enough to be a psychology instructor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at United States Military Academy (USMA).
Chevy’s education includes USMA (B.S. Psychology), the University of Texas-El Paso (M.A. Leadership Development), and Columbia University (M.A. Organizational Psychology). He recently earned his Ph.D. at Tufts University where he focused his research on Human Development, particularly the formation of character. He has also earned a certificate in Community Leadership and Social Change from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. Chevy’s professional memberships, some of which include the American Psychological Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Forbes Ignite, and his non-profit role as Executive Director of Military Mentors allow him to uniquely serve others outside of the uniform. He’s consulted for industry leading businesses as well as special mission units at the edge of high risk/high stress leadership. Chevy has guest spoken and been widely published on topics of character, leadership, organizational change, diversity/equity/inclusion, innovation, mentorship, social justice, and a multitude of other matters of personal and professional development.
Of his awards and instances of recognition, Chevy is most proud of his three Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals for sustained community and organizational investment and the 2016 Secretary of the Army Diversity and Leadership Award, given to one Army leader yearly for commitment to equal opportunity practices, Army Values, and professional development.
Chevy and his wife Ashley are from Columbia, S.C. She is his high-school sweetheart, a personal trainer, and avid community supporter. Their most important triumphs are being together for over two decades and their beautiful daughters London and Lola.
Posted on February 1, 2021
Sergeant Major (Retired) Steven Noonan is our “Veteran of the Week.”
SGM Noonan enlisted in the United States Army in 1990 and spent more than 30 years on active duty until retiring in June of 2020. He now continues to serve those who have served as the Director of Training and Standardization for The South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In and out of uniform, he prides himself on taking care of Soldiers.
SGM Noonan has had several deployments throughout his career including multiple training deployments to Central America, Asia, and Europe. In 1990 he deployed to Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Steve also deployed to Joint Forge in 2002 and multiple tours to both Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
His awards and decorations include The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal and many more medals. He also has earned his Drill Sergeant Badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachute Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, and parachute badges from ten different countries.
Noonan says the three biggest things he got from the Army is that, “It’s not about me it’s about the team. Making your subordinates better and serving the nation.” Thank you for your service SGM Steven Noonan!
Posted on January 25, 2021
Colonel (Retired) Elisabeth (Liz) S. Litvin is our “Veteran of the Week.”
Col. Litvin received her commission in the U.S. Army in 1995 and retired in 2020, serving 26 years. After completing the Aviation Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, as an AH-64 pilot, she reported to her first assignment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Liz transitioned to Adjutant General’s Corps in 1998 and served in various Human Resources and leadership positions in Korea, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Iraq, and Fort Bragg.
She served as the commander for 1st Battalion, United States Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) in Minneapolis, Minnesota where her units were responsible to process all enlistments for each branch of the Military across the upper Midwest. She completed a tour in the Pentagon in the Army G1, focusing on building Soldier readiness for the Army. Following War College at the Eisenhower School in 2016, Liz deployed to Afghanistan where she served as the Executive Officer to the Commander of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A). Her final assignment was at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State as the Human Resources executive agent and advisor to the Commander for the 40K+ Soldiers of America’s First Corps.
Liz is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Frostburg State University and a Master of Human Resource Management from Troy State University, as well as a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from National Defense University’s Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.
Liz is one of South Carolina’s Ambassadors to the Military Women’s Memorial in Washington, DC. All Women Veterans are eligible to share their stories and she encourages them to visit the memorial at www.womensmemorial.org to learn more. Thank you for your service, Colonel Litvin!
Posted on January 19, 2021
Henry “Hank” Povinelli is our Veteran of the week. Staff Sergeant Povinelli served in the Army from 1967-1969 spending more than a year in Vietnam. He was stationed in Chicago and at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Since his honorable discharge, Povinelli has been a member of multiple VFW posts around the state of South Carolina and has been a major supporter of community service and advocacy for veterans and also volunteers with the AARP.
AARP South Carolina selected Povinelli for the 2020 Andrus Award for Community Service for his remarkable and dedicated support to the company’s vision and mission, which inspired other volunteers. Throughout his years as an AARP volunteer, Povinelli stuffed food bags for the hungry, helped veterans in need, given public presentations on AARP information and resources, moderated a gubernatorial candidate discussion, performed leadership roles at AARP on state and national levels, and much more.
Giving back after a successful career is laudable, but Povinelli’s service to others goes above and beyond. Like every year prior, in 2020, Hank gave ceaselessly of his time and talent to help improve the lives of others. He continued to give of his dedicated time even after receiving a cancer diagnosis and treatment during a pandemic that’s especially deadly to those with underlying health conditions.
Hank never let cancer slow him down. “I always try to stay positive and I don’t believe in looking backward. I want to make things better and get things done.”
Despite all he’s done, Povinelli says some of his most meaningful work has been done with veterans. As a Vietnam Veteran Povinelli is heavily involved in AARP’s work with veterans, especially homeless and at-risk veterans. Povinelli was instrumental in creating the national AARP Virtual Veterans Brigade, which helps disseminate available information, resources, and benefits to veterans and their families through social media channels. Thank you for your service, Hank!
Posted on January 11, 2021
Sarah E. Ziaja is our “Veteran of the Week.” Major Ziaja currently resides in Ladson, South Carolina as a Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) Guide.
Maj Ziaja entered the Air Force in May 2009 as a graduate of the University of Portland Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. At the University of Portland she earned a BS in Civil/Environmental Engineering and Minors in Theology and Environmental Science.
During Major Ziaja’s 8.5 years of service she supported two base infrastructures and assets totaling $12.1B and deployed three times. In 2012, Major Ziaja deployed with the Army as the lead engineer for Provincial Reconstruction Team Paktya, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). While there she also led the PRT’s Female Engagement Team and numerous key leadership engagements with government officials in order to revitalize and stabilize the local infrastructure.
From 2013 to 2015 she was selected for a special duty assignment with the Navy SEABEES where she deployed twice with them to Rota, Spain and Okinawa, Japan as a Company Commander in support of OEF and Major Combat Operations (MCO) response in the Pacific, European, African and Central Command Theaters.
After her assignment with the Navy SEABEEs she was stationed at Joint Base Charleston. There she was the Chief, Operations Engineering for the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron. She was responsible for twenty-one base operating support service contracts, the new resources and optimization section to include customer service, along with the material handling section that supports the entire squadron. During this time, she received medical treatments for the injuries she sustained in Afghanistan and unfortunately after 2 years of unsuccessful treatments she was medically retired.
Since being retired, she desired to continue to serve in some capacity so when she was afforded the opportunity join and work with the people who were bringing the Warrior PATHH to South Carolina it was the opportunity she had been waiting for. It has always been the people that have meant the most to her. It is an honor to her to be able to continue service to our military and utilize the experiences she’s gone through to help them through their healing process. Thank you for your service, Maj. Ziaja!
Posted on January 4, 2021
Melissa Wheeler is our Veteran of the Week! Senior Master Sergeant Melissa K. Wheeler is an intricate part of the 20th Fighter Wing Commander’s Action Group, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. She proudly serves as a direct liaison between the wing commander and the following: Air Force, Air Combat Command, 9th Air Force, 4 groups, 18 squadrons, 22 tenant units, and 19 Wing Staff Agencies consisting of 8000 members.
Sergeant Wheeler was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 4, 1972. She attended Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, graduating in May 1990. A couple years after graduation, she enlisted in the Air Force in June 1992.
At Osan AB, Korea in 2000 she was awarded the NCO of the Year for 2000. After a 1-year tour in Korea, she was off to Ramstein AB, Germany. Sergeant Wheeler’s travel opportunity grew tremendously when she was assigned to the USAFE Inspector General. They inspected every base in Europe and traveled 300 out of 365 days of the year. She then was hired to be the Trip Coordinator for the USAFE Commander in 2003. After a year, she was ready to move on to the next challenge. Staying at Ramstein AB, she then took a job at USAFE Public Affairs as the NCOIC, Client Support Administrator. Her excellence continued as she garnered the Public Affairs NCO of the Year for 2004 and USAFE’s Volunteer of the Quarter in 2005.
Sergeant Wheeler deployed in 2006 to Phoenix Base in Baghdad Iraq where she served as the Protocol Officer for the Commanding General, Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq. This was her first joint assignment and where she learned to appreciate all branches of service.
After being overseas for 10 years, Wheeler was assigned to Shaw AFB, South Carolina. Sergeant Wheeler first started off assigned to the 20th Operations Support Squadron and served as the First Sergeant for all the Airmen in the 20th Operations Group to include the 3 fighter squadrons, 55 FS, 77 FS and 79 FS. She was the very first core First Sergeant for the Red Flag Exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada. She was so successful, ACC decided to benchmark her efforts and added a First Sergeant position for future Red Flag Exercises.
Sergeant Wheeler then moved to the 20th Security Forces Squadron in 2011 and deployed to an Undisclosed Location in Kuwait. In 2012, she was recognized for her exceptional leadership skills and was assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, the largest single-first sergeant unit in the wing. Her selfless dedication to duty and her commitment to her Airmen was once again recognized when she was named the 20th Fighter Wing’s First Sergeant of the Year for 2012. After a 20-month stint in Maintenance, Sergeant Wheeler moved to the 20th Communications Squadron for a couple months to help out until the inbound First Sergeant arrived. She then moved to the 20th Civil Engineering Squadron in 2014 and deployed to Al Udeid AB, Qatar prior to ending her 7-year run as a First Sergeant. In 2015, she returned to her original career field, and enjoyed her time in the 20th Fighter Wing’s Commander’s Action Group. Thank you for your service, SMG Wheeler!
December 29, 2020
Samuel Allmond is our “Veteran of the Week.” Colonel Allmond has served in the Army for 23 years as an intelligence officer.
Allmond's deployments include Iraq, Desert Shield and Desert Storm as well as twice to Korea. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Service Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze service stars, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Global War on Terrorism, Korean Defense Service Medal, and three Overseas Service ribbons.
Allmond currently lives in South Carolina at the Army Central Command USARCENT as the Deputy G6 for Operations Division. Thank you for your service, COL Allmond!
December 21, 2020
Christine K. Rogers is our “Veteran of the Week.” First Sergeant Rogers spent 30 years in the Army, 22.5 on active duty.
Rogers deployments and awards include OIF (2004-2005), OEF (2013-2014). Detailed 1SG for 489th EN, Antiterrorism officer. Bronze Star, Army Commendation Award (5), numerous other awards and commendations.
Rogers currently lives in NE Columbia, SC but originally from Washington, Illinois. She graduated from Ashford University Magna Cum Laude with BA in Social and Criminal Justice. She was also inducted into the Veterans National Honors Society (Salute) and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Rogers would also like to note, “My greatest accomplishment in life has been to raise two beautiful and smart daughters.”
After retirement she joined Eglin, SC VFW 11079, now the Commander.
She is a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, chapter 34-1.
She is always searching for volunteer opportunities to fill her time and has signed up for Meals on Wheels. She believes our elders should always be cared for and looked after and it gives me honor to do this. She enjoys working with veterans at the BRBR (Big Red Barn Retreat) through being a peer to peer facilitator and help with the Warrior PATHH by assisting with preparing and serving meals to WP participants.
Thank you for your service, First Sergeant Rogers!
December 14, 2020
Bryan Hilferty is our “Veteran of the Week.” Hilferty served in the Army and retired in 2012 as an Infantry and Public Affairs Officer.
His tours and deployments include Desert Shield/Desert Storm, OEF 1, OEF 3, OSS. For his service, he received many notable awards, which include Legion of Merit (x2), Bronze Star (x3), Meritorious Service Medal (x6), Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger, Airborne.
He began his notable career by attending basic training in Alabama and graduating Ranger School as the Distinguished Honor Graduate. He then spent 6 months in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait in Desert Shield/Storm as a Platoon leader in 5th Battalion, 18th Infantry. He also conducted thousands of news conferences and interviews in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2003-4 as Director of Communications and Spokesman for all coalition forces there, served in the Pentagon as spokesman for all Army personnel issues 2004-07, designed West Point's current logo, and initiated their new $20 million visitors center as Director of Communications in 2007-9. He ended his career as Director of Communications for the US Army Europe and finally US Army Central.
Hilferty currently lives in Sumter, South Carolina and is the Strategic Communications Advisor to the Commander, U.S. Army Central. He also serves on the boards of the Sumter Rotary Club, the Association of the U.S. Army Palmetto State Chapter, and Gateway to the Army, which is building Centennial Park at Fort Jackson. He is married with three children.
Thank you for your service!
Posted on December 7, 2020
Roxann Yarborough James is our "Veteran of the Week." She is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, James D. Wessinger Chapter 19, Chester, SC where she serves as Adjutant and District 5 Commander. Her membership eligibility is based on her distinguished service in the USAF 1974-1979 and NCANG 1988-2002 where she was medically retired.
Mar 22, 1974 she left for basic training in Lackland AFB, TX; “3743 WAF Trng” Squadron, technical school in Biloxik then to HQ Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) as a Information Specialist. NCANG 1988-2002 Financial Services; Charlotte, NC. James deployed during Operations Readiness Exercises; ANG Top Dollar Contingency Training Exercise; Operation Northern Watch, Incirlik, Turkey Dec 1999. Her military associations include North Carolina National Guard Association(NCNGA), highest level obtained as Vice President; Enlisted Association of National Guard of US, (EANGUS) NC Chairman, Co-partnered the Women’s Leadership “lunch and learn” program and DAV Chapter 19.
Her medals include the Air Force Commendation Medal with the oak leaf cluster for meritorious service 1994-99. Thank you for your service, Roxann!
Posted on November 30, 2020
Daniel Hennigan is our "Veteran of The Week." Dan served in the Army and retired in 1984 as a commissioned officer career after serving in combat during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and as a company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps.
Since retiring his service to the Palmetto State has had no limits, his dedication to serving those who have served is nothing short of admirable. Dan serves as the Co-chair for the Midlands Veterans Engagement Council and trusted advisor to the Columbia VA Health Care System Director, Dr. David Omura. Dan is an executive board member of The Celebrate Freedom Foundation providing educational outreach in a program that focuses on science and technology, engineering and math (STEM). Dan serves as an executive board member of the South Carolina Honor Flights for World War II veterans, Co-chair of the Friends of Fisher House Fundraising program, and vice president of corporate membership for the AUSA Fort Jackson chapter.
Dan was selected by the adjutant general in Army National Guard as volunteer of the year in 2013 for his selfless support of the South Carolina National Guard. Dan is the Founder of South Carolina Midlands First Responder's memorial and is also the founder of 9/11 Remembrance Foundation of South Carolina. He was inducted into the Fort Jackson Hall of Fame in 2016 three years after being named volunteer of the year by the adjutant general in Army National Guard as well as being named South Carolina National Guard state ambassador. Dan was recently recognized and awarded the SC Governor Order of the Palmetto Award on 9/11/2020.
Thank you for your continued inspiration and service, Daniel Hennigan.
Posted on November 23, 2020
First Lieutenant Benjamin Fowler is our “Veteran of the Week.” Fowler is currently in his eleventh year of service in the Marine Corps. He enlisted in August of 2010 as a F-18 engine mechanic and was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan and Beaufort South Carolina with multiple tours to Southeast Asia. In 2015 Sgt. Fowler went into the reserves to pursue a degree in exercise science and was an active member in the Student Veterans Association (SVA) at the University of South Carolina. Fowler started in the officer candidate program through the Columbia office in the spring of 2018 and commissioned as a Lieutenant in August. Currently Fowler is stationed with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines and returned 2 months ago from a deployment in Norway as a Rifle Platoon Commander. Now he is transferring to be the Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAT) Commander at Camp Lejeune. Ben currently lives in Jacksonville, NC with his fiancé and is set to get married in January. Thank you for your service Lieutenant Fowler!
Posted on November 16, 2020
Corporal Kyle Carpenter is our veteran of the week. Carpenter is well known for being the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. His Medal of Honor citation reads, “...Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine…”
Kyle Carpenter graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017 and now is an accomplished author and motivational speaker. “You Are Worth It” is now on the Commandant’s reading list after it was published in 2019. Thank you for your service.
Posted on November 9, 2020
Lieutenant General Robert “Bob” Caslen Jr. is currently the University of South Carolina’s 29thPresident and former superintendent and president of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. LTG Caslen was recruited to play football for West Point and after graduation in 1975 he served 43 years in the Army, retiring in 2018. During that time, he went on seven tours and fighting in four wars; Gulf War, Kosovo War, Afghanistan War and Iraq War.
Caslen has served in many assignments; the Commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, KS, Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and Commanding General of the Multi-National Division-North during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Commandant of Cadets for the U.S. Military Academy; Deputy Director for the War on Terrorism, J-5, The Joint Staff; Assistant Division Commander (maneuver), 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized); Chief of Staff, 10th Mountain Division (Light); and Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force Mountain during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Caslen was Commander, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Chief of Staff, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Senior Brigade C2 Observer/Controller, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center; Commander, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (Light); Executive Officer to the Deputy Commander in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy; J-3 in Honduras for Joint Task Force Bravo; Brigade Operations Officer, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); and Executive Officer, 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and as the Chief of Office of Security Operation-Iraq.
LTG Caslen’s awards, medals, badges and tabs are as follows: Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious, Service Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal (Yugoslavia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Joint Meritorious Unit Award with 3, Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, NATO ISAF Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
LTG Caslen has been married to his wife, Shelly Caslen, for 42 years and have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren. A true American hero; Lieutenant General Caslen, Thank you for your service.
Posted on November 2, 2020
Sgt. Jared Evans is a Recon Marine, combat-action OIF veteran who served from September 25, 2004-September 25, 2009.
Jared was born and raised in the Midlands and a two-time graduate from the University of South Carolina. He currently serves as the Director of Military Engagement and Veteran Initiatives for the University. Jared says, “My commitment to serving those who serve has been my mindset and approach to life since enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2005…I have had the privilege of carrying that mission forward, since returning to Columbia.”
Among many accolades, Evans is a founding member of the Veterans Alumni Council, USC My Carolina Alumni Association, founding board member, SC Veterans Higher Education Group and the Co-Director of USC’s Veteran’s Day 5k. He also serves as a board member for the 9/11 Remembrance Foundation of South Carolina, Friends of Fisher House of Columbia, Military Veterans Engagement Council for Dorn VA Hospital and Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers 5k Walk and Run.
Jared has been selected as an honoree for The State’s Top 20 Under 40 and the Columbia Business Monthly Best & Brightest 35 & Under. When Jared is not working or volunteering, he loves spending time with his beautiful wife, Leah, and being a girl dad to his three amazing daughters, Brinley, Marley and Sutton.
Thank you for your service Sgt. Jared Evans.
Posted on October 26, 2020
Sgt. Clarence E. Hammett, Sr served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War with the A Co. 23rd Inf. Reg. 2nd Inf. Div. He participated in several battles including Heart Break Ridge.
Hammett received many notable awards during his service. He was awarded a Bronze Star, Combat Medic Badge, Korean Service Medal with 2 stars, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense with one star for his service to our Nation.
Sgt. Hammett served as cadre at West Point after he returned from the war in the summer of 1953 before his discharge where he returned to his home in Blacksburg, SC. He is a resident of Cherokee County but now resides in the Veterans Nursing home in Anderson, SC.
Mr. Hammett has served in many different positions with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of SC and currently is the President of the residents committee of the Richard M. Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson, SC.
Mr. Hammett has great dedication to his fellow Veterans and his Nation.
Posted on October 19, 2020
TerryLynn Di Chiara has been serving veterans for the last 28 years and now works for South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs since its birth in July of 2019. She comes from a very dense family of military. Di Chiara’s parents are veterans as well as her late husband, brother and now son who is serving in the Marine Corps.
The veterans and staff of the state truly appreciate the hard work and dedication she has given every day for 28 years. She was surrounded by military growing up and recognizes the importance of giving back. She has taken that and molded it into making the lives of veterans better. Veterans of South Carolina have been lucky to have her as a loyal supporter for almost three decades.
She now lives in Irmo, South Carolina. She is a proud mother and grandmother.
Posted on October 12, 2020
Tori Evans served in the Army for two years, and now serves on the civilian side as a photojournalist.
While in service, Evans served at the home of the Big Red One at Fort Riley, Kansas and enjoyed being on the culinary team during her service time. Evans also spent time training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Evans awards in uniform include National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Her awards as a volunteer include Public Service Commendation Medal (2), Commander’s Award for Public Service, Certificate of Achievement from CIMT Commander for Volunteer Service, Certificate of Appreciation from CG of Fort Jackson for Volunteer Service, Helping Hand Award (FRAL), Marne Spirit Award (FSGA), Order of St. Joan D’Arc Medallion.
Evans now serves the Army on the civilian side as a photojournalist documenting basic combat training. She started her service in 2013 and has contributed to telling the Army story at Fort Stewart, Fort Rucker, Fort Bragg, and Fort Jackson.
She currently lives at Fort Jackson, SC with her husband and two daughters.
Posted on October 5, 2020
Mr. James L. Greene was born in Aug 1950 in Sumter, SC to Mr. Clarence Greene and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Benlow Greene. James lived and worked in Sumter until graduating from High School and moving to Philadelphia, PA before being drafted by the Army in 1968.
Upon completion of his basic and advanced training, James deployed to Vietnam as a member of the famed 187th Infantry Regiment “Rakkasans” of the 101st Airborne Division. While assigned to Delta Company, 3rd Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, James served eight months in Vietnam, culminating with his service as an M-60 Machine Gunner in the battle for Hamburger Hill where he was evacuated on the eighth day of the fight after sustaining critical injuries from an enemy hand grenade.
Upon his return from Vietnam and subsequent convalescence from the injuries he sustained in combat, James attended Columbia Business College in Columbia, SC and worked as a cameraman for the local educational network television station.
As with many Soldiers returning from Vietnam, James found himself at times struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with few places to turn for treatment. After leaving his beloved career in TV and working to find his life’s calling, James and his bride Juliet decided to open a restaurant where James would resurrect his love for creating Southern BBQ.
Over the years that followed, James and Juliet along with friends and family built by-hand, brick-by-brick Greene’s BBQ in Columbia, SC. Today James, Juliet and their friends who help run Greene’s BBQ are pillars of their community where on Thursday nights they can be seen feeding those in need, a famous meal from Greene’s BBQ.
James Greene is a shining example of Service to his Nation, to his family and to his community. He is an active member of his local VFW Post and American Legion and a member of the Rakkasan Veteran’s Association with whom he returned to Vietnam in 2019 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Hamburger Hill.
Posted on September 28, 2020
Stephanie Wright proudly served in the U.S. Navy. She completed her first tour at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Guam, and then transferred to Naval Security Group Activity in Misawa, Japan. Her tours as an Information Warfare Officer included Navy Information Operations Command, Hawaii, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and U.S. Pacific Command. During these tours she served as the Intelligence Branch Chief on the first Cyber Support Element Team. Her final tour was with Navy Information Operation Command, Fort Gordon, Georgia where she retired.
For her notable contributions to the mission, she has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4).
Stephanie currently resides in North Augusta, South Carolina with her husband, also a U.S. Navy retiree, and her two sons. She is currently working for a notable law firm in Augusta, Georgia and is coordinating with local political leaders on Veteran mental health during transition from the military.
Posted on September 21, 2020
Cheryl L. Woodhouse is a native of Chicago and currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina. She served Basic Combat Training (A Co, 4th Bn. 1st Inf. Bde.), and Advanced Individual Training (D Co.11th Bn., 4th Inf. Bde.), both at Fort Jackson, SC. She was further assigned to Fort Story, in Virginia Beach, VA where she served as a 71L – Administrative Specialist with HHC, 11th Trans Bn. (Tml.). In pursuit of higher learning in her field, she was given a new duty as administrator of the Correctional Facility on Fort Story, VA which truly began her journey of having a massive heart to help Soldiers adapt and overcome to achieve success in the military.
After serving more than 30 years of military service at various stateside assignments, including overseas with temporary duty assignments in Germany, Australia, Italy, Spain, Paris, Amsterdam, and London; 1SG Cheryl Woodhouse toured the globe and left a mark of excellence along the way with many Soldiers and civilians she has worked with over the years. She was part of several organizational clubs and wears various medallions for excellence in Audie Murphy Club, Adjutant General Regimental Association (Bronze), to include the induction into the Order of Saint Maurice (Infantry School), by the Commandant of the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia.
Woodhouse is currently serving as the Public Affairs Specialist for the Columbia Recruiting Battalion at Fort Jackson. This current assignment allows her to connect with Soldiers and help in their mission to recruit the best prospects of future soldiers in today’s Army through various communications: TV, Radio, including social media.
Woodhouse has been married for 39 years to Earnest P. Woodhouse. Together they have two amazing sons: Montrel Woodhouse (graduate of Columbia State University – Masters in Communication) and Jarelle Woodhouse (former soldier/disabled Veteran and pursuing musical engineering). Woodhouse states, “we use the same values we both learned growing up in the military together, and instilled in our family teaching them integrity, values, self-less service, including knowing your worth and going after it without regret and knowing every mistake is a leap forward to greatness at some point.”
Posted on September 14, 2020
Few have personified "the few, the proud, the marines" as has Major James Capers, Jr. He participated in more than 50 missions in Vietnam and was a leader of "Team Broadminded." He repeatedly led his men in to and out of danger; he was always the last man to board the helicopter to safety. His men always came first.
Capers was born in Bishopville, South Carolina in the Jim Crow south. During the Vietnam War, just three generations removed from slavery. He became the first African-American to receive a battlefield commission as part of Marine Force Recon.
During his 22-years of service, Major Capers has been awarded the Silver Star; two Bronze Stars; and Combat V; four Purple Hearts; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry; a Joint Service Commendation Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; three Good Conduct Ribbons; Battle Stars; Navy Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal; CG Certificate of Merit; and multiple letters of Merit, Appreciation, and Commendation. There is a push for him to be awarded the Medal of Honor, but it is unknown whether it will happen during the Major’s lifetime. Capers turned 83-years-old last month.
Major Capers was honored weeks ago by the Lee County Veterans Museum (South Carolina Cotton Museum) in his hometown of Bishopville.
We thank the Lee County Veterans’ Affairs Office and the Cotton Museum for sending us information to honor Mr. Capers for his service.
Posted on September 8, 2020
Ethan James has served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps, and is currently the host of “The Soldier Salute” on 94.3 “The Dude” radio station that is played across the Midlands. The show honors military men and women across our state for their dedicated service.
James has had more than 50 distinguished guests on his show including President of The University of South Carolina, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Robert Caslen, Fort Jackson Commanding General, Brigadier General Milford Beagle, Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Major General (Ret.) William F. Grimsley and many other Purple Heart and combat Veterans across the state.
He is also a member of the American Infidels Veterans Motorcycle Club, dedicated to promoting the American way of life and supporting the local Veteran community through small community actions and large scale fundraisers benefiting Veteran non-profits of the Midlands.
Posted on August 31, 2020
Lamont “Chris” Christian proudly served in the U.S. Army for 32 years. He is a retired Post Command Sergeant Major (Fort Jackson).
Christian, who is from Elgin, South Carolina, is the recipient of many notable awards such as Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals, 5 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals, 4 Army Achievement Medals, 10 Good Conduct Medals, 2 National Defense Service Medals, and more.
Christian currently is leading the launch of the Warrior PATHH program in South Carolina at the Big Red Barn Retreat where he will serve as the Director. The Warrior PATHH (Progressive Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program is the first ever privately funded program that facilitates and cultivates Posttraumatic Growth. It is his mission to change the narrative for Veterans, active duty service members and first responders in the state from one of PTSD and suicide to one of Posttraumatic Growth.
Known as Chris to those close to him, he has been the voice of the Gatorade Hard Work Commercial. He’s had the pleasure of escorting Michelle Obama throughout his training area and sharing his training philosophy as 2-39 Infantry Battalion Command Sergeant Major.
He is an avid supporter of community partnerships with the military by supporting various events like high school drills, ceremonies, parades, volunteer assistance events, and general military support when needed. He is most known for his untiring passion and mentorship of fellow leaders and subordinates in the pursuit of military excellence.
Posted on August 26, 2020
Brooks Herring served in the U.S. Navy as a Gunner’s Mate for six years, and as a U.S. Army Civilian for two years.
His tours and deployments include Hurricane Katrina Relief (2005), Iraq (OIF 2006-2007), Africa (OEF 2009-2010), Afghanistan (OEF, 2011-2013).
His awards include Joint Service Achievement and Navy Achievement (2).
Herring is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He is also a local musician playing all over South Carolina and the east coast. All the tips he receives he donates to the Friends of Fisher House. He is also set to marry Kristin Podrasky in October whom he met on deployment seven years ago. Podrasky, "Kik" is still serving in the Army and returned home safely from deployment in August.
After completing his Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Herring plans to return to the Army Reserves as a PT and running his self-made non-profit "Run Phase" that is created to treat veterans recovering from combat trauma.
Posted on August 17, 2020
Stanley Foreman served for 25 years in the United States Army as a Senior Logistics. He also served overseas tours in the Republic of Korea, Panama, and Germany. His final assignment in the Army was as the Installation Sergeant Major at Fort Bliss TX.
Foreman joined the Office of Executive Policy and Programs in 2012 and served as the Director for the Small Minority Business until 2016. He is presently the Director of Administration in the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In this assignment he is involved in advocating for the state's 420,000+ veterans in all matters that pertain to veterans.
He is married and has three daughters and his wife is also retired military.
Posted on August 10, 2020
Judy McWaters served in the U.S. Air Force and has served as the Chester County Veterans Affairs Officer for the past 41 years.
She helped found and form the South Carolina Association of County Veterans Affairs Officers in 1990 and also served as President of the Association.
Ms. McWaters is retiring from the Chester County Veterans Affairs Office in September of this year.
Posted on August 3, 2020
Michael “Mike” Dial is a Life Member of the Captain John P Monahan VFW Post 12136 in Indian Land, SC. His VFW membership eligibility is based on his distinguished US Naval service. At the age of 18, Mike voluntarily enlisted in the Navy as a designated Operational Specialist (OS). He completed Basic Recruit Training at Great Lakes and initial OS training at Dam Neck Virginia. Upon completion of this training phase he was assigned to shipboard duty assignments with various ships of the Pacific Fleet in San Diego, CA. He continued his duty assignment advancing in his professional and technical skills over the following sixteen years. He separated and retired from active Naval service as First-Class Petty Officer in the Fall of 1994 with several awards including Meritorious Unit Award, multiple Good Conducts awards, and Navy “E” and Sea Service Deployment Ribbons. After his service, he then returned to his South Carolina home in the Rock Hill area.
Dial utilized his Navy team building skills and experiences along with his entrepreneurial abilities to quickly establish himself in the local business community with the Food Service industry by opening several BBQ restaurants and a Catering/Food Truck operation. Over the next 25 years, he continued to grow his business operations and reputation. He has sold some restaurants in Tega Cay and Indian Land, but retains a 521 BBQ restaurant in Lancaster, SC. With his strong Christian convictions and moral character; he has worked with local Ministries to donate food items and meals specifically during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday periods to assist those less fortunate citizens of Lancaster County. He also donates his time in support of the local Veteran activities such as the Veterans Day Military Ball through his catering service and supports VFW Post 12136 with two of its annual Fund-raising events: The Veteran Golf Tournament and “Pig Pickin” BBQ in conjunction with Brews Tavern.
Mike Dial has devoted his time and skills to his family, county and the local citizens of Lancaster county making it a better place to live, work, and enjoy life’s finer moments. He is an inspiration to fellow Veterans and the local citizens with whom he comes into contact.
Posted on July 27, 2020
Millage D. Floyd Jr proudly served in the United States Navy during WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Mr. Floyd, who is from Gaffney, South Carolina, is the recipient of the WWII Victory Medal, Asian-Pacific Campaign Medal, Good Conduct 5th Award and many other awards while serving his country during three conflicts. He retired from the military in Norfolk, Virginia in 1967.
Mr. Floyd now resides in Cherokee County, South Carolina and recently celebrated his 95th birthday.
Posted on July 20, 2020
Samuel “Doc Matt” Matthews proudly served in the U.S. Navy. As a 24-year Veteran, he spent much of his military career as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman, working alongside the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Tactical Groups in Afghanistan and Iraq (OIF-OEF 2004, 2013). He served as a Patient Admin Chief, a Drug and Alcohol Program Manager, a Medical Officer Recruiter, and a Casualty Assistant Officer for the Navy. He was also deployed to Somalia for Operation Restore Hope from 1993 – 1994.
For his military service to our Nation, Matthews’ most notable awards includes the United Nations Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, six Navy Achievement Medals, and five Navy Commendation Medals.
He currently lives in Goose Creek, South Carolina and works as a Voluntary Service Specialist at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. This year, Matthews was named the recipient of the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC annual Experience Excellence Award for creating exemplary Veteran experiences.
Posted on July 13, 2020
Ernest “Rodney” Dixon served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964-2003. He served a tour in Vietnam as a tank crewman and was also in charge of the ordnance in the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. He retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant (E9) with numerous awards including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He lives in Moore, South Carolina and is a dedicated member of the VFW Post 9539.
Rodney demonstrates loyalty to the members of the VFW, community, family, friends, church, and those in need. He exemplifies the ability to recognize the needs of others and does not hesitate to fulfill those needs.
Just a few examples of his acts of kindness, Mr. Dixon purchased a vehicle for someone who could not afford a replacement car. He donates food to Veterans in need and the local homeless mission. He also repairs items inside and out at the VFW post 9539, and is always looking for the next person or organization to help.
Many of the projects he does at the VFW post are completed and no one ever knows who got the job done! He participates in fundraising events such as the annual Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. He is well known in the community, and businesses by his generosity, and service to others.
Mr. Dixon does not seek recognition and does most of his acts of kindness and generosity confidentially. He is excellent representation of the Veteran of Foreign Wars and the genuine love he has for his fellow comrades, family, friends, and the community.
Posted on July 7, 2020
James “Jim” Aughtry, Jr served as a 1st Lieutenant in the tank company, 65th Infantry Regiment from 1952 to 1953 during the Korean War. Mr. Aughtry, who is from Gaffney, South Carolina is the recipient of the Silver Star for Gallantry in action in the vicinity of Kundong-Myon, Korea. He is also the recipient of the CIB, Korean Service Medal W/2 Bronze Stars, UN Medal, and National Defense Medal. Mr. Aughtry lives with his wife Margie of 74 years in Gaffney (Cherokee County).