BOONE, N.C.—A crowd of approximately 150 gathered beside the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building on the Appalachian State University campus, Friday, Nov. 10, for a Veterans Day ceremony.
A brisk wind unfurled the flag as three cadets from the Military Science and Leadership program completed the presentation of the colors. A cadre of 29 cadets stood at salute while bugler Brent Bingham ’85 played the national anthem.
Coordinator of Veteran Services Eric Gormly gave the opening remarks. Chancellor Everts welcomed those gathered and introduced speaker Col. Ralph L. “Bo” Clayton III, a 1988 Appalachian graduate.
“This day honors and recognizes those who have served our country in the armed services,” Everts said. “Our campus has a powerful and long-standing commitment to veterans and their families,” noting that the Major General Edward M. Reeder Jr. Student Veteran Resource Center was celebrating its first anniversary. Three hundred and two veterans and active-duty military personnel are currently on campus.
Everts said as commander of the 733rd Mission Support Group, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Clayton leads 615 personnel in two squadrons and one division. “Colonel Clayton,” she said, “provides deployment operations, construction, security, facility maintenance, supply and transportation for a base community totaling over 7,780 acres and hosting 23,000 active-duty, Guard and Reserve, and Department of Defense civilians and retired personnel.
In his remarks, Clayton said, “The core values of this institution reflect how you inspire students with a strong service ethic … mirrored by the Army values of selfless service.” He recognized a number of faculty by name who “made a difference for him” and shaped the course of his career. “I cannot tell you how many App State grads I’ve come across [in my years of service]. Students [at Appalachian] not only witness this culture of service among the Department of Military Service,” he said, “they witness it from the faculty, the staff, and the administration who are committed to inspiring students with a strong service ethic.”
About Col. Ralph L. ‘Bo’ Clayton III
Colonel Ralph L. (Bo) Clayton III is the Commander, 733d Mission Support Group, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA. He leads 615 personnel in two squadrons and one division who provide wartime and peacetime mission support and quality of life for the 633d Air Base Wing, Headquarters United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, four United States Army brigades, Headquarters Joint Task Force Civil Support, and numerous other associate units and mission partners. Colonel Clayton provides deployment operations, construction, security, facility maintenance, supply and transportation for a base community totaling over 7,780 acres and hosting 23,000 active duty, Guard and Reserve, Department of Defense civilians, and retired personnel.
Colonel Clayton assumed his duties on June 28, 2016. He entered active duty in the US Army Field Artillery Corps in 1989. In 1999 he entered Special Operations as a Psychological Operations officer and has since supported or deployed in support of every major contingency operation.
Colonel Clayton received a bachelor of science in biology from Appalachian State University in 1988.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.