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Citadel News Service
9 Nov 2006

Football players take Army oath at halftime on Veterans' Day

The traditional rivalry between The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute that will be played out on Veterans’ Day this Saturday will have an unusual twist. At the beginning of halftime, five Citadel football players will take an oath to join the Army.
 
The oath ceremony will add a new dimension to The Citadel’s homecoming, an event already full of military symbols. The game with VMI, known as the Military Classic of the South will include the cadet march-down, a flyover of F-16s, and a salute to World War II veterans. Having five athletes make the commitment to serve their country during the Veterans’ Day game is a symbolic gesture that is certain to evoke memories from alumni on both sides of the field.
The five taking the oath include:
Photo
 
  • Quarterback Duran Lawson, a junior from Conway, S.C.
  • Defensive End Nick Fender, a senior from Culleoka, Tenn.
  • Linebacker Chris Murray, a senior from West Haven, Conn.
  • Linebacker Napoleon Dunn, a sophomore from Norcross, Ga.
  • Long Snapper Jeffrey Hodish, a sophomore from Plantation, Fla.
Taking the oath is a commitment to join the Army upon graduation. The players will begin receive monthly payments from the Army and will commit to the Army training program.
 
The ceremony was the brainchild of Line Coach Kevin Olecki and Capt. Kenny Bath, an active duty ROTC instructor at The Citadel. Both are Citadel grads. Olecki serves as the military liaison for the football team.
 
“They will receive their commissions as officers when they complete summer camp after graduation,” Bath said. Because of athletic requirements, the football players cannot complete the training that other cadet contracts finish in time to be commissioned at graduation.
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