For the 17th consecutive semester, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is bringing back Corps of Cadets graduates who have served a combat deployment to speak to the regiment.

The Spring 2012 Gunfighter Panel will be held on Thursday, April 5, at 3:30 p.m., in the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown Auditorium. 

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 and the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development. They will share their combat deployment experiences, their lessons learned and leadership challenges, while also sharing how the corps experience prepared them for life after college.

The Gunfighter Panel series started in 2004, shortly after the United States entered combat in Iraq. With the war came the increased potential for our cadets to be in combat shortly after graduation, and this series evolved to help prepare them for their future in an uncertain world. Each semester's panel allows the corps to teach future leaders and to honor those who are already serving the nation in harm’s way.

This semester, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will welcome back two U.S. Air Force officers and a U.S. Marine Corps officer.

  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Capt. Ryan Edenstrom, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in economics from the Pamplin College of Business and a minor in leadership studies from the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development in 2005 is returning to campus from his current assignment at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Edenstrom served as the first battalion commander in the fall and Delta Company Commander in the spring of his senior year. He serves as a pilot in the Air Force and has completed two combat tours as well as one southern counterdrug deployment.
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Capt. Patrick Lowther, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in political science from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a minor in leadership studies from the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development in 2005 is coming from his current duty station at Hulburt Field, Fla. Lowther was a member of the Highty-Tighties, the regimental band, and served as the band company commander in the fall and Third Battalion commander in the spring of his senior year. He serves as a navigator in the Air Force and has completed seven combat tours.
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Capt. Joseph McNamara, U.S. Marine Corps, who earned a degree in history from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a minor in leadership studies from the Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development in 2007 is traveling from his assignment at Marine Corps Depot Parris Island, S.C. McNamara served as the regimental inspector general and Raider Company executive officer his senior year. He has served two combat tours as an infantry officer.