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Tuskegee University ROTC Hall of Fame Inducts 13 including AFFIRM President Adrian Gardner During Annual Ceremony

Tuskegee University (original article from Tuskegee.edu)

ROTC Hall of Fame Inducts 13 During Annual Ceremony

More than 350 years of combined military service, nine Legion of Merit Awards and four Bronze Stars — just a few of the characteristics that define the 2018 class of inductees into Tuskegee University’s ROTC Hall of Fame. The class includes one major general, seven colonels, two lieutenant colonels, two Navy captains, and one federal Senior Executive Service officer.

Established in 2016, Tuskegee’s ROTC Hall of Fame honors individuals who have exemplified the attributes of leadership, integrity, moral courage and self-discipline commonly associated with military service.

“The ROTC Hall of Fame highlights the professionalism and dedication demonstrated through our inductees’ service to our nation,” said Col. Anthony C. Aiken Sr. (Army, ret.), who helped establish the hall of fame and now chairs its annual induction ceremony. “They have served our nation with dignity, duty and honor, and we are proud to celebrate their careers in this significant way.”

Tuskegee graduates and former students who are or have been commissioned into the U.S. armed forces, participated in the university’s ROTC programs, or earned a commission upon graduating and pursued military service as a career are eligible for induction — provided they meet other rank or meritorious service requirements.

This year’s inductees (biographies below) — combined with the 53 inductees comprising the 2016 inaugural class of honorees, and the 19 class of 2017 inductees — bring the Hall of Fame’s membership to 85 retired and killed in action servicemen and servicewomen.

“We are proud of those Tuskegee alumni who have leveraged their degrees to educate, lead and serve our country,” said Tuskegee President Lily D. McNair. “Our university’s impact on the nation’s peace and security is demonstrated in each of this year’s hall of fame inductees, and by the thousands of Tuskegee graduates who have served bravely in defense of our freedoms.”

The Junior Infantry Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, commonly known as ROTC, was established in February 1919 at what was then Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. At the time, all male students 14 years of age or older who were in “good physical condition” were required to enroll in the unit, which included only Army programming. During World War II, the Army Air Corps contracted with then-Tuskegee Institute to conduct primary pilot training for African-Americans — with Moton Field serving as the only site for training black aviators.

In 1946, when the Air Force ROTC was established, Tuskegee was among the original 78 colleges and universities to host Air Force programming. In 2013, the university added Navy ROTC to train qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.

Col. Patricia A.F. Clay ’76 (Army, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tuskegee, Clay was commissioned in 1976 and served in the U.S. Army until her retirement in 2003. During her military career, she earned the Legion of Merit Award, Meritorious Service Award (with three oak leaf clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (with four oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), and the Navy Superior Unit Commendation Medal.

Capt. Hattie Elam ’61 (Navy, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tuskegee, Elam was commissioned in 1961 and served in the U.S. Navy until her retirement in 1991. During her military career, she earned the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Navy Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Defense Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), and the Navy Marine Corps Overseas Ribbon.

SES Adrian R. Gardner ’86
After earning a bachelor’s degree in biological science and ecology from Tuskegee, Gardner was commissioned through the ROTC program in 1986. During his continuing military career, he has earned the U.S. Air Force Training Ribbon, the Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, and the USAF Outstanding Unit Award.

Col. James C. Jackson ’54 (Army, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tuskegee, Jackson was commissioned in 1954 and served in the U.S. Army until his retirement in 1978. During his military career, he earned the Legion of Merit Award (with one oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star (with one oak leaf cluster), Air Medal (with three awards), Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal.

Maj. Gen. Frederic Leigh (Army, retired), honorary inductee
Commissioned in 1963 as a member of the U.S. Army, Leigh later served the Tuskegee University ROTC cadre from 1966 to 1969, and retired in 1994. During his military career, he earned the Army Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters); the Legion of Merit Award (with three oak leaf clusters); the Army Commendation Medal (with one oak leaf cluster); the Combat Infantry, Parachutist, Air Assault badges; and the Ranger tab.

Capt. Shirley Lewis-Brown ’68 (Navy, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tuskegee, Lewis-Brown was commissioned in 1968 and served in the U.S. Navy until her retirement in 1996 During her military career, she earned the Legion of Merit Award, the Navy Commendation Medal (with one gold star), the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Col. Aubrey J. McAlpine ’63 (USAF, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee, McAlpine was commissioned in 1963 and served in the U.S. Air Force until his retirement in 1986. During his military career, he earned the Defense Meritorius Service Medal, Legion of Merit Award, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Col. Donna L. Pilson ’93 (USAF, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Tuskegee, Pilson was commissioned in 1993 and served in the U.S. Air Force until her retirement in Sept. 2018. During her military career, she earned the Legion of Merit Award, the Defense Meritorius Service Award, the Meritorius Service Award (with two devices), the Air Force Commendation Award (with one device), and the Army Commendation Award.

Col. Aaron L. Richardson Jr. ’75 (Amry, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in architectural science from Tuskegee, Richardson was commissioned in 1975 and served in the U.S. Army until his retirement in 2005. During his military career, he earned the Legion of Merit Award, Bronze Star, Meritorious Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), and the Army Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters).

Col. William R. Saunders ’77 (USAF, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee, Saunders was commissioned in 1977 and served in the U.S. Air Force until his retirement in 1977. During his military career, he earned the Legion of Merit and Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with five devices), the Air Medal (with one device), and the National Defense Service Medal (with one device).

Col. Casmere H. Taylor ’86 (Army, retired)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in health physics/radiologic technology from Tuskegee, Taylor was commissioned in 1986 and served in the U.S. Army until his retirement in June 2018. During his military career, he earned the Legion of Merit Award (with three oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with five oak leave clusters), and the Army Commendation Medal (with V device).

Lt. Col. James A. Tinsley Jr. ’58 (USAF, retired), honorary inductee
After earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Tuskegee, Tinsley was commissioned in 1958 and served in the U.S. Air Force until his retirement in 1988. During his military career, he earned the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Lt. Col. Robert L. Tinsley ’55 (USAF, retired), honorary inductee
After earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Tuskegee, Tinsley was commissioned in 1955 and served in the U.S. Air Force until his retirement in 1975. During his military career, he earned the Bronze Star (with two oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), Air Force Commendation Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal (First Class), and the Vietnam Service Medal (with six battle stars).

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