Program to honor veterans

As Americans, we sometimes forget about the men and women who put their lives on the line for us to live freely from harm and danger. To show its appreciation, the Men of Excellence will host a program entitled “A Salute to Our Heroes” to honor four special individuals who have served diligently within different branches of the military.

The program will feature Southern Miss alumnus Col. Carlen Chestang Jr. as the guest speaker and the four honorees that include: Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, Lt. Col. Joseph Worley Jr., Spc. Donald Holmes II and Anthony Rooney.
Maj. Gen. Hammond is an alumnus of the Southern Miss Army ROTC program. He commissioned into the United States Army as a 2nd Lt. in 1978. Hammond, who holds the Army’s third highest rank for commissioned officers, has commanded at all levels from Battery to Division Artillery.

He served the country abroad as a Personnel Services Officer in Korea, commanded the 4th Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, 1st Armored Division, the United States Army Europe and Seventh Army and was deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield with the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery.

Hammond also received several of the highest awards due to his devoted service such as the Legion of Merit award and the Bronze Star Medal.

The Hattiesburg native received his bachelor of science and master’s degree in education from Southern Miss. He also served as assistant professor of military science at USM from 1984-1987.

Lt. Col. Worley enlisted into the Oklahoma Army National Guard in March 1989. He commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in Chemical Corps in December 1993 after graduating from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. His tours include Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in fall 2007, and Dec. 2009 through Dec. 2010. He received distinguished awards for his military service including a Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. Worley currently serves as the professor of military science at USM.

Spc. Holmes is a senior English major who is also earning a minor in black studies at USM. A native of Osyka, Miss., he served with the Mississippi Army National Guard from 2006-2012. He was deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2009-2010.

“Being honored by the Men of Excellence is an overwhelming feeling,” Holmes said. “As a veteran, I served for the upkeep of our beloved nation and to be recognized for that is truly humbling and endearing.”

Rooney is a senior music education major from Gulfport. On campus, he serves as the president of the Student Veterans of America organization. Rooney served in the Marines as a CH-53 Avionics Man and Aerial Observer.

Often referred to as “MOX” by many on campus, the community-service-based organization works to better the image of all males on campus, to serve the campus and community with pride and integrity and to excel in all endeavors collectively or individually to build a foundation of excellence.

“I am expecting students to come out and support our organization as we show appreciation to our veterans,” said Antoine Armstrong, president of Men of Excellence. “They have sacrificed their lives in order for us to live free here in America.”

The program is open to the public and will take place Wednesday, Nov.13th at 5:30 p.m. in the Trent Lott Center, Room 103.