For the 12th consecutive semester, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is bringing back corps graduates who have recently returned from a combat deployment to speak to the regiment.

On Thursday, Sept. 10 the fall 2009 Gunfighters Panel will be held in the Donaldson Brown Auditorium in the Graduate Life Center.

Each semester, three or four alumni are welcomed back to campus to sit on the Gunfighter Panel, which is one of the four programs in the Leaders in Action lecture series hosted each term by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ Rice Center for Leader Development. The officers will share their combat deployment experiences, their lessons learned and leadership challenges, while also sharing how their corps of cadets experience prepared them for life after college. This panel is always a highlight event and clearly the cadet favorite each semester.

The Gunfighter Panel series started shortly after the war in Iraq began as a way to bring the realities of future military service back to our cadets via young graduates who had been cadets just years and sometimes months before. Tim Price, a 2001 graduate of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, was a panel member on the very first Gunfighter Panel. He was killed in action just four months after visiting campus. The impact of this panel each semester continues to be profound and allows the corps to not only teach our future leaders, but to honor those who are already serving the nation in harm’s way.

This year, the panel members include

  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumna Capt. Beth Tedrick, U.S.Army, who received a degree in international studies from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 2003;
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Capt. Dan Richardson, U.S. Air Force, who received a degree in industrial and systems engineering from the College of Engineering in 2004;
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Capt. Chris Callaway, U.S. Air Force, who received a degree in industrial and systems engineering from the College of Engineering in 2004; and
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Capt. Derrick Anderson, U.S. Army, who received a degree in political science from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 2006.

Tedrick served on Regimental staff her senior year in the corps. She has been deployed twice to the war zone, for a 12-month period from April 2004 to April 2005, supporting the 25th Infantry Division with voice and internet services in Afghanistan, and for a 14-month period from November 2007 to January 2009 providing communication support to 10 military police companies in Iraq. She also supported the creation of an Iraqi police academy and the military police surge into Mosul, Iraq. Tedrick was awarded the bronze star for her actions while deployed. Her current assignment is as a student at the Signal Captain’s career course and her follow-on assignment will be to Special Operations Command, Korea.

Richardson served as the Regimental Commander during the fall of his senior year in the corps and is currently assigned as a C-17 pilot at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. As a pilot, Richardson's support of the war on terrorism is split between deployments and temporary duty periods to downrange locations. His entire squadron deployed from August 2008 to January 2009 and he regularly flies missions departing Charleston for locations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has seen equal amounts of time in both areas and is away from home approximately 180 days each year. Richardson is married to the former Christie Roark of Alpharetta, Ga., a Virginia Tech alumna who also received a degree in industrial and systems engineering from the College of Engineering in 2005.

Callaway was the Regimental Executive Officer and then the 3rd Battalion Commander during his senior year in the corps. He is currently stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, where he is the acting Civil Engineer Operations Flight Commander for the 354th Civil Engineering Squadron. He has been deployed three times, once to Korea in support of the focus lens exercise, once to Kirkuk Regional Air Base — Forward Operating Base Warrior in Iraq, and once to Abdulla al-Mubarak Air Base in Kuwait. Coming from Alaska, Chris holds the record for furthest distance traveled to be with the corps for a Gunfighters panel.

Anderson was the 1st Battalion Commander and then the Regimental Executive Officer during his senior year. Anderson was also the 2005 Virginia Tech Homecoming King. After training, Anderson went to Fort Stewart as a platoon leader in the 3rd Infantry Division. Within a year of commissioning, he was in Iraq as part of the surge. He commanded 42 men, four Bradley fighting vehicles, two Humvees and 2 MRAPs — about $14 million worth of equipment. Anderson and his men made Babil province a safer place, reducing armed engagements from over 70 per week to two to three over a period of three to four months. Anderson was awarded the bronze star for his actions in Iraq. He is now stationed at Fort Myer, Va., as a member of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, where he was recently in charge of an honor detail for Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy’s funeral journey. He also represented the Old Guard as a member of their 2009 Best Ranger competition team and he will leave for Special Forces assessment and selection in November.

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