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Veteran Spotlights

The Citadel is proud to honor those who have served our country, including the veterans who are now members of our faculty and staff. Get to know some of them here. A new spotlight will be added monthly. Thank you for your service to our nation, and to The Citadel.

 Meet Juan Santiago- Facilities and Engineering Department

Branch: United States Air Force.

Rank: Master Sergeant.

Years in the service: 26 total (1978-1982, 1985-2007).santiago old

Current role at The Citadel: I work in the Facilities and Engineering Department as the chief of the utilities division. I manage and direct 35 people in five work areas— the HVAC shop, electrical shop, machine/plumbing shop, boiler plant and energy management. I am responsible for the maintenance, operation, repair and construction of all Citadel utilities systems, including classrooms, IT areas, laundry, dining facility, laboratories, athletics facilities, infirmary, barracks and campus housing. I am responsible for all utilities—heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing systems, high voltage power grid, emergency generators, steam distribution, domestic water, storm drains and fire alarm systems.

How many years at The Citadel: 10 years.

Education: I have an Applied Science degree in Electrical and Mechanical Technologies from Air University.

Why did you join the military? To serve my nation, like my father and brother, and to be a guardian of freedom.

What was the most defining moment during your service? Being the lead non-commissioned officer of a team of 55 civil engineers which deployed and successfully supported multiple Army camps and support bases during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. We completed over $4 million in projects in only six months.

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What does being a veteran mean you? To me a veteran is a person who has served in the United States armed forces to protect this great nation. A vet is also someone who is very patriotic, and if asked, would jump right back in to the fight when the going gets tough. They listen and respect those who served them. A vet is analytical, very dependable and can be counted on for sound judgment.

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? I wanted find a job that challenged me the way my previous Air Force job did.

What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life? Treat people like you want to be treated, foster or mentor others, reward hard work, and build a collaborative unit to exceed goals. In the Facilities and Engineering Department, we strive to create a comfortable environment for cadets, students, faculty and staff in order to support the development of principled leaders. 

Meet Chaplain Joe R. Molina, CDR, USN (Ret.)

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Branch: U.S. Navy

Rank: Comander (O5)

Number of years in service and what years: 15 (1999 - 2014)

Current role at The Citadel: Chaplain to the Corps of Cadets and Director of Religious Activities.

How many years at The Citadel: 2 years

Why did you join the military? Desire to serve our nation and exercise my clergy vocation.

What was the most defining moment during your service? 9/11 - happened while deployed and all the ensuing preparations which followed.

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What does being a veteran mean you? "Living the Dream!" It is joining the ranks of those past, present and yet to come, that are part of a historical American legacy - I'm honored, and it is a privilege to serve.

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? The opportunity to serve a unique community and demographic. While most of the needs of cadets parallel the needs of those on active, I have the opportunity to engage in mentorship and leadership development in an unprecedented way.

What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life? Three elements: 1. Be consistent with your values 2. Be consistent with your commitments 3. Be consistent in delivering excellence.

Meet Terry Mays, Professor of Political Science

Terry Mays served 30 years on active duty and reserve duty for the United States Army. Learn more about Mays' service and long family history of serving in the armed forces.

Branch: U.S. Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel


Number of years in service and what years: 1981-1987 Active Duty (including 3 year tour in Germany)

1987-2005 U.S. Army reserve
2005-2007 Mobilized and Deployed (2005-2006 Kuwait and Afghanistan; 2007 Fort Eustis Virginia)
2007-2008 U.S. Army reserve
2011-2012 Recalled to active duty from retirement (Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and Kuwait)
30 years active and reserve service

Current role at The Citadel: Professor of Political Science

How many years at The Citadel: 25+ years

Why did you join the military? To serve my country and because of a long family tradition of service. Someone from my family has served on active duty in every major U.S. conflict from the Civil War to Iraq/Afghanistan with the exception of the Spanish American War. Three of my great uncles were at Normandy—two as paratroopers and one a medic on the beach (Silver Star for remaining on the beach under fire to treat the wounded).

What was the most defining moment during your service? More than one: 1. Installing the Army communications system as we brought the Marines out of Beirut following the 1983 bombing of their barracks.


2. Commanding a transportation brigade and realizing the tremendous trust placed upon me for the lives and well being of so many American men and women.

3. Serving in the same unit in which my great great uncle was assigned in France during World War I.


What does being a veteran mean you? I’ve served and done my best for other Americans as those who previously did for me. 

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? Academic reputation and a working honor code.

What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life?: In controversies, listen to all sides and ascertain the facts rather than acting hastily. 


Meet Pamela King, Cataloguing and Government Documents Specialist at The Citadel’s Daniel Library.


Pamela King served as buck sergeant in the United States Air Force from 1982-1989. She has been at The Citadel for almost four years.

Current role at The Citadel: Library Technical Services Specialist, I catalog items for the library (books , DVDs and other things), help with the purchasing of items for the library, and I take care of anything dealing with the Federal Depository Library which is the government documents collection of the library.

Why did you join the military? I didn't really want to go to college and knew I needed a job when I graduated high school, and the military just seemed to be the way to go. My father was in the Air Force, my grandfather served in the Army in World War II. I also had a lot of uncles and cousins who served in the military, so it was like I was carrying on a family tradition.

What was the most defining moment during your service? I don't think I can say there was one defining moment during my time in the Air Force. Every small milestone was important in my military career, from getting on the plane to go to basic training, to signing my reenlistment paperwork, to receiving my discharge. Everything that happened was a learning experience and contributed to making me who I am today.


What does being a veteran mean you? This isn't an easy question because most of the time I don't think of myself as a veteran, since I only served for seven years. I know that I am, but so many others that have served in the military have given so much more of themselves than I did. When I do think about being a veteran it is more about what I feel about my time in the Air Force. I feel honored that I could serve my country, form friendships with my fellow airmen and still experience grief for the loss of some of those airmen. I’m proud that I was a part of something that was bigger than just me. I still feel sadness, even today, that there are people who just don't understand what a military member and the families of military members give up to try and protect our country’s people and rights. Not everyone believes or feels the same thing in the military, some just see it as job or a way to get a college education.

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? Almost every job I have had since leaving the Air Force has some tie to the military—from working at an elementary school for military children to working in military libraries, so it just seemed natural to apply for a job at a military college.

What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life? I learned to listen to people. I learned that there is more than one way to do something. And importantly, I learned never ask someone to do something that you haven't done or would not be willing to do.


Meet Commander William Lind- Executive Assistant to the president of The Citadel Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, USN (Retired).

Bill Lind is a 1991 graduate of The Citadel and served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years before retiring in 2011. Learn more about Commander Lind and his service to The Citadel.

Number of years in service? Earned a commission in 1991 via The Citadel Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Retired in 2011.

Graduation year and major? Corps of Cadets Class of 1991, International Relations and Military Affairs.


Why did you join the military? It was a lifelong ambition of mine to be a Naval aviator, and I had a desire to serve something larger than myself. The Navy was further alluring (compared to the other armed services), as it promised travel and adventure, which seemed—to a teenager living in the 1980s—the only service regularly deployed away from home. It was the “Join The Navy, See the World” sort of mindset.

What was the most defining moment during your service? I completed combat deployments to Bosnia and Iraq in the 1990s; however, I was in the Middle East five months into my third deployment in 2001 on September 11. My carrier air wing was the first large-scale U.S. aviation unit in combat over Afghanistan in early October 2001. While I would have given anything for 9/11 to not have occurred, it was extremely gratifying to be part of America’s first response.

What does being a veteran mean you? While on my fifth deployment to Iraq in 2005, a serious illness forced me to be medically evacuated off my carrier through Iraq, Germany and later naval hospitals in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan were at their peak. I spent several months in these hospitals on the same wards with grievously wounded men and women. I found their courage, toughness, and often their humor in the face of life-altering injuries simultaneously humbling and uplifting. I am honored to share the title veteran with these folks as well as with the amazing sailors, airmen, soldiers and Marines I saw achieve incredible things throughout my career.

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? After retirement, I had several interesting and satisfying roles in the defense and consulting industries. Coming to The Citadel is a great chance to serve again, plus it’s exciting to live in Charleston 25 years after my time as a cadet.


What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life? Integrity. You can fool some of the people working for you, or fool the people you work for some of the time, but if you’re not shooting straight, you will be found out and rendered ineffective. I also found after my Navy career the military truly does organize and manage well. We don’t have a monopoly on doing things right, but compared to many industries, we are far ahead in training leaders and managers. Nowhere are young people given the responsibility for lives and property at such a young age as they are in the military. The work ethic, organizational skills and honesty of most military veterans make them extremely well suited for just about anything. While they may or may not have a specific technical skill a company requires, they often possess the leadership and management talents any employer would desire.


Meet Tom McAlister- Assistant Director of The Citadel Alumni Association

Lt. Col. Tom McAlister, Citadel Class of 1998, assistant director of The Citadel Alumni Association, is currently serving in the Army Reserve. His military career began when he enlisted in the Army in 1994 and continued after he received an ROTC commission upon graduation.


Number of years in service? I’m currently serving my 22nd year of service in the Army Reserve. I started in 1994 when I enlisted as a freshman Citadel cadet, followed by an ROTC commission at The Citadel in 1998.

How many years at The Citadel? Eleven years total—four years in the Alumni office and seven as an Army ROTC instructor and scholarship officer.

Graduation year and major? I graduated from The Citadel in 1998 with a B.S. in Education. I’m also a 2004 Citadel Graduate College graduate (M. Ed., Educational Leadership).

Why did you join the military? Like most public servants, I wanted to serve my country in some capacity. I had a family member who served in Desert Storm and that helped me see that a strong and well-trained military is essential to maintaining peace. Seeing the atrocities against our military members in the streets of Mogadishu in 1993 was also a compelling call to arms for me.

What was the most defining moment during your service? During my third deployment in 2011, I had the opportunity to work with Afghan children, and it reinforced the importance of our continued mission in that country.mcalister_vet_current

What does being a veteran mean you? Being a veteran instills an extreme sense of pride as well as a responsibility to have humility. There are many military members who have given much more than me and there are countless patriots who serve the United States every day.

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? The Citadel is an outstanding college, and I am glad to be part of the team that produces principled leaders.

What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life? Both time and expectation management are very important skills I have learned and use daily. I believe that you can excel in your career while still ensuring you put your family time first.




Meet Jenny Bramblett- Executive Secretary to the Presidentbramblett_spotlight_pic

Jenny Bramblett served for over two decades in the U.S. Air Force reaching the rank of major. Bramblett explains how her experience in the Air Force has influenced her work ethic and recently led her to working as executive secretary to the president.

Number of years in service? From 1989 to 2011—22.6 years total.

Current role at The Citadel and for how long? I am the executive secretary to the president, and I’ve been here nearly eight months.

Why did you join the military? From the age of 10, I set my sights on going into the Air Force after high school to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I knew I would be well taken care of because the Air Force would ensure I had a place to sleep, they would feed me well and teach me the skills that I could use to shape my career in the military.

What was the most defining moment during your service? I would have to rephrase this question to say, “What year was my defining moment?” In 2001, I was the first in my immediate family to earn a bachelor’s degree. I was enlisted at the time and made technical sergeant, so I went to Officer Training School (OTS) all in the same year. vet_bramblett_spotlight

Why was this so defining? I never thought when I was in high school that I would ever go to college, or earn a degree, for that matter. When I applied for OTS, I got accepted, but not for any of the jobs I applied for. Instead, I was assigned a job in logistics. It turns out that someone knew something I did not realize at the time—that I had a knack for logistics. I enjoyed a 10-year career as a logistics officer with various jobs from writing logistics war plans and conducting loading operations on the flight line to mentoring Afghanistan National Army logistics officers and sitting in as a temporary logistics squadron commander.

What does being a veteran mean you? Being a veteran means having taken pride in one’s country enough to serve and have been willing to sacrifice what it takes to defend it. It also means not to leave anyone behind and taking due care to bring our fallen back with dignity, respect and honor, as I had to do countless times while at Dover Air Force Base and other deployed locations. Sometimes, it means you have to face your fears and do what is important to keep the mission going or to help those brothers and sisters that need to be resupplied in the middle of the night. Also, it means being able to accept constant adjustments to your life, family, schedule and health.

Why did you choose to work at The Citadel? While in the Air Force, I worked for two commanding officers as their executive officer and always enjoyed the work. I wanted to work in a similar situation and The Citadel provided that opportunity for me.

What leadership qualities did you learn in the military that have helped guide you through your career/life? Always be on time and don’t make people wait. Also, do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. Lastly, I learned to live by the motto, “nothing ventured—nothing gained.”

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