During a Veterans Day ceremony commemorating his life and service, University of Maryland University College dedicated the Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. Ballroom at its College Park Marriot Hotel and Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland, heralding him as the university’s most illustrious alumnus, a remarkable military leader, and a tireless education advocate.
Heroism takes many forms. For U.S. Air Force veteran Monique Wardrick, it came in the form of a small change with a big impact.
On May 3, 2012, Danielle Kelly received the news that the man she loved, U.S. Navy Petty Officer Taylor Morris, was badly injured when an improvised explosive device detonated beneath him while he was serving in Afghanistan as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. In the blast, Morris lost both legs at the knee, his left arm at the elbow, and his right hand.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Benjamin Schumacher understands Afghanistan better than most Americans. He was selected and trained to be an expert on all things Afghan—the language, customs, culture, government, and military—in his advisory role with the Afghanistan–Pakistan Hands Program under the Joint Staff.
The story of Navy veteran Maggie Gifaldi’s quest to complete a college degree calls to mind the lyrics once penned by Beatle John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” The death of a loved one, relocation, giving birth to four children—these and other events intervened.
Some military heroes are impossible to forget. General John W. Vessey Jr., who earned his bachelor’s degree in military science from University of Maryland University College in 1963, is one of them. Vessey’s long and distinguished military career cluminated in him being appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Ronald Reagan, making Vessey the highest-ranking military officer in the country.
Hildebrand Gift of $500,000 Will Support Military Students and UMUC’s Global Military Operations
This article appears as the cover story in the Spring 2016 edition of Achiever magazine.
As Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg recovered from the 32 surgeries it took to save his leg after he was wounded fending off a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, he came to two conclusions.
Ronald Dean’s townhouse in Greenbelt, Maryland, is a museum of his Air Force service during the Vietnam War.