Last remaining S.C. member of 1st Special Service Force to present ROTC award
Ceremony recognizing achievements of future military officers to include 96-year-old presenter
CHARLESTON, S.C. ─ The Citadel works, above all else, to educate and develop principled leaders. Approximately one-third of the young leaders graduating from The Citadel each spring leave to become officers in every branch of U.S. military service. However, before they can graduate and commission, they must successfully complete four years of ROTC training. Cadets who demonstrate excellence in carrying out their ROTC commitments will be honored during a ceremony at 11 a.m., March 23, at McAlister Field House on campus. More than 100 cadets will receive awards from over 35 organizations.
|Cadet Neil Bultman|
Among the cadets being recognized is Cadet Neil Bultman, a senior political science major from Walker, Michigan, who attends the college on an Army ROTC scholarship. Bultman will receive the Maj. Gen. Robert Frederick Leadership Award.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award. The history of Maj. Gen. Robert Frederick and the 1st Special Service Force is legendary, and I am thankful to receive the award named for such a great leader,” said Bultman.
Bultman, who serves as the Army ROTC unit’s first sergeant, has appeared on the Dean’s List seven times and the President’s List once during his time at The Citadel. The award is important, but what will make the day unforgettable for Bultman will be accepting it from the last remaining South Carolina member of the 1st Special Force unit from World War II. Gordon Simms USA (Ret.), 96, of Columbia, who served directly under Frederick, will make the presentation.
|Gordon Simms USA (Ret.)|
Simms was an original member of the American-Canadian strike force called 1st Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade. It was a joint commando unit activated in 1942 under Frederick. Members received intensive training in stealth tactics, hand-to-hand combat, parachuting, amphibious warfare, rock climbing, and mountain warfare. The force was disbanded in 1944. Many American and Canadian military Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit. Simms also once served as the president of the 1st Special Services Force Association.
“Having the opportunity to meet Mr. Simms is an absolute honor. I will strive to model my life, leadership, and devotion to country after his. Meeting him will add a great deal of meaning to this accomplishment,” Bultman said.
To earn the Maj. Gen. Robert T. Frederick Award a cadet must successfully graduate from the Leader Development and Assessment Course, be compliant with his/her Army ROTC contract, and exhibit exceptional leadership ability and potential. Once eligible, a cadet is chosen by criteria including, but not limited to, grade-point average, Army Physical Fitness Test scores, land navigation scores, marksmanship, and participation on the Ranger Challenge Team.
The Maj. Gen. Robert Frederick Leadership Award was first presented to cadets at the University of Montana and Montana State University in 2005, as the Devil’s Brigade was trained in that state. Currently six universities participate in the award competition: The Citadel, Montana State University, University of Idaho, University of Montana, University of Wyoming, and Washington State University.
ROTC at The Citadel
In 2016, the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) celebrated its centennial year at The Citadel. It was originally established by the National Reserve Act in 1916, providing an opportunity for Citadel cadets to enroll in the Army after graduation. ROTC expanded to include Air Force, Marines and Navy ROTC. Approximately one-third of The Citadel’s graduating class enters the military each year. Over the last 10 years, The Citadel has produced over 650 newly commissioned Army officers.
“I joined AROTC because it seemed to provide great opportunities to exercise leadership, as well as provide opportunities for my future,” Bultman added. “My time in ROTC has brought me close to many good future leaders and our experiences here will mold our military careers.”
Approximately 35 ROTC awards are presented annually at The Citadel Awards Ceremony, some of which include:
- American Legion Awards (Military Excellence)
- American Legion Awards (Scholastic Excellence)
- American Veterans of World War II Award (AMVETS)
- Association of the United States Army Award (AUSA)
- Daughters and the Founders and Patriots of America Award
- Military Order of the Purple Heart Leadership Medal Award
- The National Sojourners Award