Fall 2016 Veterans' Interviews
The students in Dr. Lauren Rule Maxwell’s Fall 2016 undergraduate Advanced Composition class conducted oral history interviews with a diverse group of U.S. veterans to learn about their military experiences. In addition to conducting interviews, the students incorporated the veterans’ stories into a range of writing exercises, including abstracts and feature articles, which appear with the interviews online.
Click on the hyperlinked headings below to see video recordings of the interviews, which also will be archived in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. By capturing these histories, it is our hope that the interviews will do justice to the veterans’ stories while paying homage to their legacy and the principled leadership they inspire.
Many people deserve thanks for helping make this project a reality. In particular, we’d like to thank Lawrence Galasso in Multimedia Services; Raschonda Frazier in Office of Communications and Marketing; Keith Free and Tiffany Silverman from Citadel Fine Arts; and the staff of The Daniel Library.
Born in 1968 at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States Navy veteran Lieutenant Kevin Adcock was inspired by his father and his grandfather to join the military. Lt. Adcock recounts his life before, during, and after his 11-year military service. He remembers the stories of war that his grandfather told him of his time in the U.S. Navy. These stories, along with those of his father’s service in the U.S. Air Force, piqued his interest in the Armed Forces.
Lt. Adcock lives his life in a way that allows him to continuously help others while also living his life to the fullest. After serving as a Public Affairs Officer in the Navy, he returned to The Citadel and is currently helping cadets in any way possible while serving as the Mike Company Tactical Officer. He encourages cadets to do what makes them happy because then they will never have to work a day in their lives. He advocates for us to participate in as many different community service and volunteering opportunities as possible. This interview provides viewers with insight into Lt. Adcock’s lifelong commitment to serving others along with his fostering this commitment in the Corps of Cadets.
First Sergeant James Brower, United States Army retired, recounts memories and experiences during a storied 27-year career in the military. Born on September 22, 1969, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Brower grew up in a simpler time and in a setting where his father’s military posting afforded him the freedom to roam the Cuban countryside. Here he was able to witness firsthand the military of the United States, inspiring him to one day serve his country. From his childhood as a young Navy-dependent to his experiences as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Seventy-Fifth Ranger Regiment, Brower touches on a trove of memories and life lessons from his years of service.
At an early age, Brower realized that he sought the drive, the contest, and the distinctiveness of serving his country— being a U.S. Army Ranger was his calling. His billets ranged from serving as a trainer-instructor in the Ranger Training Brigade to service as an NCO from squad to company levels, as well as service in different units. His professional background is distinguished not only by deployments to countries ranging from Afghanistan to Somalia and assignments in the Special Operations community, but also by a break in service when he harnessed the skillsets from his military background to succeed in corporate America. After a yearlong assignment as an ROTC instructor at the Army Department of The Citadel, First Sergeant Brower is now retiring from his service in the Army. He is now putting down roots with his family in Summerville, South Carolina, while taking on a new role as the Second Battalion TAC NCO.
Throughout all of his years of service, Brower relied on his comrades in arms, his mentors, and, most significantly, his loving wife. These people served as an intermediary of support; throughout his career he was able to rely on others’ strength as well as his own determination. In the interview, Brower discusses his relationship with these individuals and the profound effect their support has had on his career and on his development as a leader.
United States Marine Corps veteran Lieutenant Colonel Charles Graham served his country for 25 years in the military. In this interview, he recounts important deployments and assignments, as well as his thoughts on leadership. He was born in Bamberg, South Carolina, and lived a simple country life before attending the University of South Carolina. After graduating from college, he became a United States Marine Corps Reserve Officer at Quantico, Virginia, where he commissioned as a 2nd Lt. Once finishing his required active duty assignments, he returned to South Carolina where he served in the Reserves until 1990.
In 1990 he received a call to go back on active duty with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. There, as a Captain, he was charged with leading and guiding his men home from the Persian Gulf War. While in the Reserves, he was given the assignment of Training Curriculum Development Officer at Parris Island, South Carolina; some of the training curriculum he helped create is still in effect today. His final active-duty tour was to the Middle East as a Major following September 11th. There he was assigned to Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, Combined Disaster Assistance Command-Pakistan, and NATO-International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan. He and his wife, Dr. Tammy Graham, then came to Charleston, South Carolina, to work at The Citadel, where he became a Tactical Officer. Currently, LTC Graham is the 3rd Battalion Tactical Officer, while his wife, Tammy, is an Associate Professor of Education.
This interview of LTC Graham provides a glimpse into his career as a Marine Corps officer. He gives first-hand accounts of leadership lessons learned while deployed and his involvement with various coalitions in other countries. This interview provides viewers with an overview of LTC Charles Graham’s military service and reveals his longtime commitment to principled leadership.
Sgt. Jonathan Lubecky gives a distinct and somewhat rare look into the life of a veteran after returning from overseas deployment. Sgt. Lubecky graduated from the Citadel in 2015 with a degree in Political Science. He served in both the Marine Corps and the Army from 1995 to 2009, with a four-year hiatus from 1999 to 2003. Throughout his service in both branches, he was deployed in active combat zones. This interview gives unique insight into both Sgt. Lubecky’s service and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he lives with. Sgt. Lubecky explains how his battles with PTSD inspired him to become involved with Veterans Affairs in politics as an active lobbyist for Veterans.
It is an honor and a privilege to share his story.
William “Mac” McLaughlin enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from High School in 1957 and went on to serve his country for 27 years in every way the Marines let him. As he climbed his way up, making it to the highest enlisted rank of Sergeant Major, he put together an astoundingly distinguished and well-rounded career. He recruited new Marines, trained new recruits, and led marines in combat on three separate tours of duty in Vietnam. He killed people, he saved people, and he did whatever his country asked of him.
After retiring from the Military in 1984, Sergeant Major McLaughlin finally tried to settle down in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He went on to manage the largest bicycle franchise in the area, but quickly felt the military still calling his name and was compelled to serve in a civilian capacity. He left the bike shop to lead a team of men that provided security to The Naval Special Warfare Development Group, more commonly known as SEAL Team Six, until he retired in 2004. He still lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and remains in great shape, biking as many as twenty miles at a time weekly. Mr. McLaughlin provides many more stories in the interview—a great American tells his part of history.
Sergeant Major Jason Moffitt was born on July 3, 1970, in Springfield, Illinois. Although his father was a Vietnam veteran, young Jason Moffitt did not plan on following in his father’s footsteps. He wanted to attend college and raise a family—the quintessential American Dream. But for Sergeant Major Moffitt, his dream took a very different shape from that of most Americans.
Eighteen-year-old Jason Moffitt arrived at Marine Corps Recruiting Depot (MCRD) San Diego on August 2, 1988, to begin the process of becoming a United States Marine. Unable to afford a college education on his own, he originally intended to serve for four years, return to college using the GI Bill, and go on to lead a normal civilian life. However, after finishing basic training, Sergeant Major Moffitt left for his first deployment to South Asia and never looked back. He had found his calling in life, and he would spend the next 29 years fulfilling it.
During his years of service, Sergeant Major Moffitt visited every continent but Antarctica. He deployed nine times. He served as the Sergeant Major of First Recruit Training Battalion at MCRD Parris Island from 2012 to 2014, gaining the unique perspective that comes from experiencing the training at both MCRD San Diego and MCRD Parris Island. Sergeant Major Moffitt’s story is one of an unexpected but lifelong love affair with the toughest military branch of America’s Armed Forces. He is a true Marine, and every aspect of his character reflects the candid integrity, fortitude, and discipline revered by those who serve as members of this elite fighting force.
Captain Marion Earnest Taylor Mosier, U.S. Army Reserve, speaks about his experiences as a child–growing up, going to college, and being a member of the 82nd Airborne. Since he commissioned as an officer right after the Vietnam War ended, he never saw active combat. Born July 20, 1953, Taylor grew up in the midst of the Cold War in the somewhat rural town of Greenville, North Carolina. His family and ancestors had fought in every major U.S. conflict of the last 100 years except for the Mexican War. The military was in his blood.
A graduate of the Citadel, Taylor Mosier recounts his experiences and what he learned from the school. He talks about the anti-war movement and how it affected his decision to join the military. He discusses at length the people he’s admired, guiding principles that led him through his life, opportunities, special memories, his relationship with the farm where he grew up, and his time in the 82nd Airborne and afterward.
I’m proud to be his son.
Captain Eileen Quinn was born in Charleston and raised in Goose Creek, South Carolina. The daughter of a Naval Petty Officer, Captain Quinn was drawn to serve her country and to follow her father’s lead. She entered The Citadel in the fall of 1997 in hopes of obtaining a Naval ROTC contract; however, she was medically disqualified. In the interview, Captain Quinn talks of her experience as a member of the second class of women to graduate from The Citadel and what it means to her to be a member of “The Long Gray Line.”
Upon graduation, she started working selling insurance in Fort Myers. After realizing she had not found her calling, she elected to leave her job and search for a more fulfilling career. In 2004, Captain Quinn enlisted in the Army as an E-4. She discusses in the interview serving at the beginning her career as an NCO and transitioning to serve as an Army Officer, and she gives insight into the lessons she learned as she advanced in the ranks.
Over her eight-year career, Captain Quinn served her country at home and abroad, including stations in Germany, Iraq, and South Korea. Her final assignment was to return to her Alma Mater to serve as an ROTC instructor and later as the Tactical Officer for Hotel Company. In the course of the interview, Captain Quinn discusses how both The Citadel and her service in the Army shaped her as a person and prepared her for her newest job as a mother.
Retired Army LTC Thomas Wright was born February 23, 1968, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. After graduating from high school, Colonel Wright did not know what he wanted to do with his life. Then one day he decided to enroll at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and there he was introduced to Army ROTC. With no money for college, Colonel Wright decided to join the Army, jumpstarting his military career. Colonel Wright from graduated from college in 1990 and immediately went to Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Bradley Commander’s Course, and later Ranger School. In the “Rabid Dogs” unit, Colonel Wright learned valuable leadership skills that would serve him well in deployments to Asia, Europe, and the United States.
After retiring from the military, Colonel Wright became a JROTC instructor at Lee Central High School. He felt that he had something to offer the predominately Black small-town community as a retired minority officer. He wanted to teach kids and show them that they could succeed just as he did: If he could serve in the military for 20 years and retire as a Lieutenant Colonel, they, too, could have rewarding and successful military careers. In his position as a JROTC instructor, Colonel Wright has had the opportunity to see his students grow from shy young people into adults exuding confidence. Through his example and guidance, he has helped them to be the best they can be. This interview shares the story of LTC Wright: soldier, leader, and mentor.