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Citadel News Service
15 Jul 2010

Cadets support British military veterans while studying in London

Citadel cadets made quite an impression with British military veterans “across the pond” this summer. While participating in The Citadel Summer in London Program the cadets put their leadership skills to work raising money for a charity that supports the military veterans.

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In London, Cadets Chonmanart Ngampeerapong, Clifford Millar, Christopher Aultman, Hampton Cokeley, Benjamin Canipe, and Citadel Associate Professor of English Sean Heuston participated in a 10K race to raise money for The Royal Star & Garter Homes for British military vets. Photo courtesy of Sean Heuston.

Cadets Christopher Aultman, Benjamin Canipe, Hampton Cokeley, Clifford Millar, and Chonmanart Ngampeerapong along with Sean Heuston, associate professor of English at The Citadel, ran in a 10-kilometer race in London to raise money for The Royal Star & Garter Homes, a charity that runs retirement homes for British military veterans. Thanks to sponsorship support from The Citadel’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the cadets were able to raise $1,000.

The cadets ran the Bupa London 10,000 race on Memorial Day along with approximately 15,000 other runners. The race route followed part of the 2012 London Olympic marathon course and passed many of London's famous attractions, including Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. Canipe, who runs varsity track and cross country for The Citadel, finished in a blazing time of 38 minutes.

Ten students were in London for six weeks participating in The Citadel Summer in London Program. Five decided to spend Memorial Day running in support of The Royal Star & Garter Homes because of the long-standing special relationship between Britain and the United States, because of the ongoing wartime cooperation of both countries’ armed forces, and because a military-related charity seemed like an obvious match for The Military College of South Carolina.

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Citadel Cadets Hampton Cokeley, Benjamin Canipe, Clifford Millar, and Christopher Aultman stand outside The Royal Star and Garter's home for British WWII vets in Richmond, Surrey, a suburb of London. Photo courtesy of Sean Heuston.

After the race, the group visited The Royal Star & Garter’s home in Richmond, Surrey, a suburb of London. The group met with administrators, toured the home and the grounds, and saw how residents spend their days participating in classes such as singing or arts and crafts and teaching many visiting school groups about World War II.

While there, the group learned about the home's most famous resident, 97-year-old Nancy Wake. 

Wake, nicknamed “The White Mouse” by the Gestapo during World War II, helped Allied prisoners of war escape the Nazis, commanded thousands of French Resistance fighters, parachuted behind enemy lines wearing high heels and civilian clothes, and in the course of one mission killed a sentry with her bare hands. In addition to numerous other awards and honors from the United Kingdom, France, and Australia, Wake received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

The cadets were awed by Wake and by the distinguished service records of the home’s other residents, most of whom are WWII veterans.

The cadets were surprised that a race day photo of them and other Royal Star & Garter charity runners was featured in  posters thanking them for their support of the home. Heuston said he plans to stay in touch with The Royal Star & Garter Homes during future study abroad trips to London. 

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