W&L Honors Veterans at Annual Event Veterans gathered in front of Lee Chapel on Veterans Day to share details of their service and join in a prayer for all service members.
Veterans in the Washington and Lee University community were honored Monday morning at an annual Veterans Day observance in front of Lee Chapel. About 15 veterans gathered in the half-circle space in front of the chapel for brief remarks and a prayer.
The event was organized by Paul Burns, director of environmental safety at W&L, and Mark Fontenot, who works in Facilities Management. Following the short ceremony, the veterans were treated to coffee and pastries at the Reeves Center.
“Thank you to all veterans for taking on the fight,” Burns said. “It is a battle that not all of us are willing to fight… We pray for those of us who continue to serve and for our brothers and sisters around the world.”
Mike Young, retired director of Public Safety and a Vietnam veteran, said he loves Veterans Day. “All of you who served should be very proud of that,” he said. “We did this and we did it for a reason, and we are proud of that.”
Veterans in attendance on Monday shared the following details about their time in the service:
Buddy Atkins ’68, retired director of donor relations, voluntarily joined the Navy in 1968 and was later assigned to a destroyer, USS Lowry DD-770. When his active duty obligation expired, he left active duty as a lieutenant (select), then served 23 more years in the Navy Reserve. He retired as a commander.
Pat Bristol, heating and cooling plant supervisor, spent 23 years in the Navy. He did one tour in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan.
Paul Burns, director of environmental health and safety, was a member of the National Guard and Army Reserves from 1968-2009. He served in Iraq in 2005-06 and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Scott Centorino ’11 is in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Reserve. He was EC President at W&L in 2011 and earned his J.D. from Wake Forest in 2014. He joined the military one year ago.
Jerry Clark, a plumber in Facilities Management, was in the Army’s 23rd Battalion, serving in Hanau, Germany, between 1970-72. He was a Specialist E-4.
Mark Fontenot, who works in fire and life safety in Facilities Management, served in the Virginia Air National Guard for 21 years, from 1987 until retiring in 2008 as an E-7. He was based in Richmond for 18 years and finished his enlistment at Langley Air Force Base. His job title was an aircraft maintenance technician crew chief. In his 21 years of service, he worked on aircraft such as A-7, F-16 and F-22.
Ted Hickman, assistant director of Facility Services, served in the Army during Vietnam.
Tracy Huffer, electrical supervisor in Facilities Management, was a self-propelled field artillery systems mechanic in the Army. He was stationed in Germany during the first Gulf War. He has also served in the Army National Guard.
Mark Keeley, director of ITS projects and support, was a captain in the Army. He served most of his five years with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3/63rd Armor Battalion.
Dick Kuettner, director of the Global Discovery Laboratories, was in the Army from 1970-75. He served in intelligence collections in Germany and Vietnam, and separated four days shy of becoming a captain. He was awarded a Bronze Star.
Laurie Lipscomb, who is retired from the Communications Office, served in the Navy and left for Vietnam on the evening of his 21st birthday. He served in the I Corps Tactical Zone (Northern Vietnam). He came home in late 1969.
Daniel Rexrode, who is retired from Public Safety, served in the Air Force from 1977-1981, where he worked on intercontinental ballistic missiles. He separated as a sergeant.
Jeff Thomas, network infrastructure specialist in Information Technology Services, served as an ammunition specialist in the Marine Corps.
Mike Young, retired director of Public Safety, was a Sergeant DS in the 716th MP Battalion in the U.S. Army during Vietnam. He served from 1967-68.
Julie Youngman, assistant professor of business administration, served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1991. She was in the Medical Service Corps, and held several positions in Wiesbaden, Germany, first in a field hospital and ultimately on the staff of the general who commanded the Third Corps Support Command. Two highlights of her time in the military were graduating from the Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and also serving in Germany as the Berlin Wall fell and East and West Germany united. She left the service with the rank of captain in 1991 to return to grad school.
The following veterans are part of the W&L community but were not able to attend this year’s event:
Don Gaylord, research archaeologist and instructor, was a nuclear reactor operator in the Navy on the fast-attack submarine USS Key West (SNN-722) out of Norfolk, Virginia. He served for six years of active duty, and was an Electronics Technician Second Class: ET2(SS).
Lloyd Goad, who is retired from ITS, served in the Air Force from 1969-1973. He was stationed at Osan AFB in Korea, where he served as a drug education and counseling sergeant for Air Forces Korea.
Kelly Markham, a fraternity custodian, served in the Navy from 1988-1992. He was stationed on the USS Missouri and left the service as an E-4.
Steven D. Lyle, a fraternity custodian, was in the Army from 1978-81, serving in Bamburg, Germany, and finishing up as an E-4.
Bob Shaeffer, who recently retired from ITS at W&L, retired from the Air Force in 1997 after 20 years of service. He entered the Air Force in 1977 by way of an ROTC scholarship at Iowa State University. “It paid for my college, and since my draft number was 14, keep me out of being sent to a foxhole in Vietnam,” he said. After flight training, he was assigned to Germany flying the RF4C jet fighter. Shaeffer was stationed overseas for the next 17 years in Germany, England, Japan and Korea. His primary duty was flying reconnaissance along the borders of what was then East Germany and North Korea. He spent his final year as a liaison to the Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Tom Tinsley ’75, who retired from ITS in 2016, served in the Air Force from 1968-1972. He underwent electronics and data communications training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas and at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, before heading to Wiesbaden, Germany, where he worked in secure voice switching. He was discharged as a Staff Sergeant E-5 in August 1972.
Chrissy van Assendelft, a technology integration specialist in ITS, joined the Army delayed-entry the spring of her senior year at Virginia Tech, and left for basic training on her preassigned date of September 12, 2001 — the day after 9/11. She served as a Korean linguist, spending a year and a half at the language school in Monterey, California, before heading to a tech school at Good Fellow Air Force Base in Texas. She then went to Korea, where she was stationed out of Uijongbu. Because she got frostbite several times, she was sent to indoor duty as a tax preparer for other Army members at Camp Casey, a base closer to the demilitarized zone. In the spring, she returned to Uijongbu. She had a permanent change of station to Fort Campbell, KY, in November 2004 before deploying to Iraq from September 2005-October 2006 with 2nd Division, 101st Airborne. She was discharged on Christmas Eve 2006.
Paul Youngman, associate provost and Redenbaugh Professor of German, served in the Army from 1987-93. He was stationed in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. He separated as captain of the 82nd Airborne. He is a holder of the Bronze Star with “V” device for valor in a combat zone.