A Day to Celebrate Our Veterans, A Year-Round Effort to Honor Them

Military Appreciation Day at GT football game

Georgia Tech proudly honors retired and active military personnel during "MIlitary Appreciation Day" each football season. 

One day each year is dedicated to honoring America's service men and women who have done so much, our military veterans. While we will stand in solidarity with our veterans on this Veterans Day, Nov. 11, here at Georgia Tech we are working every day in many different venues to improve the lives of these dedicated Americans and the service branches they so proudly represent.

On Nov. 10, Georgia Tech will hold its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Campanile at 11 a.m. When we play Virginia Tech on Nov. 11 in Bobby Dodd Stadium, we will honor retired and active military personnel throughout this “Military Appreciation Day” game as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of ROTC at Georgia Tech.*

Georgia Tech’s ROTC program, authorized in 1916 by the National Defense Act, is one of the very first such programs in the country. Now known as the Stinger Battalion, it was formed in 1917. Battalion alumni have served in every conflict from World War I to 21st-century campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 7,000 lieutenants have received their commission from the Stinger Battalion. Georgia Tech’s Naval ROTC and Air Force ROTC are also valued components of our campus community.

Here at Georgia Tech, we are committed to the success of our veterans. In 2013, we opened the Veterans Resource Center at the Smithgall Student Service (Flag) Building. The VRC provides comprehensive support services that enhance and complement the academic experience for our student veterans.

We have 215 active and reserve veterans enrolled this fall and another 300 or so on our faculty and staff, including former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, and former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld. In addition, we have 297 veterans (46 active/reserve, 251 student vets) enrolled in our Online Masters of Computer Science (OMS-CS) program and 18 in our new OMS Analytics program, which started this fall.

Recent OMS-CS graduate Michael Brown, a U.S. Army veteran now working at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), represented the degree program and Georgia Tech in “The Future of Work,” a symposium organized by The Atlantic and held Oct. 5 at Georgia Tech’s Biltmore.

We are also honored to have on campus with us Lieutenant Colonel Dan Roger Brue II, a recipient of the U.S. Army War College Senior Service Fellowship. He is studying during this academic year at our Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, where he is auditing classes and conducting independent research on issues critical to the Army and Department of Defense.

We are actively working to reach out to our veterans in many ways. Our Veterans Pathway Program helps veterans who have completed active duty within the past five years to pursue non-engineering degrees. Through Georgia Tech’s College of Business and Computer Science, active-duty military members can earn our Online Masters of Computer Science degree. Our Scheller College of Business helps veterans transitioning to civilian life to study via Evening and Executive MBA programs.

Our Veterans Education Training and Transition Program (VET2, also called Vet-Squared or Vet-Two) is a two- to six-week program offered by Georgia Tech at no cost to active-duty service members, reserves, and National Guard personnel and veterans. It ties professional education with an internship with veteran-friendly employers. This program was started four years ago at Fort Stewart, Georgia, when the veteran unemployment rate was at 13.9 percent for post-9/11 veterans in Georgia. Today, the VET2 program maintains an 87 percent job-offer rate for service members completing the program and, because of the increased focus this program and similar initiatives across the state have brought to the challenges service members face during their transition, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans in Georgia has dropped to under 6 percent.

The VET2 program is offered at five of Georgia’s active-duty military installations, including Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Hunter Army Airfield, and Kings Bay Naval Base. The success of VET2 was recently recognized by the University Professional & Continuing Educations Association (UPCEA) as the South Region Best Program for Special Populations. VET2 is the first active-duty internship-to-employment program in the country.

Other points of pride:

  • America’s military planners often want to know “What Does Georgia Tech Think?” In July, Nunn School Professor Adam Stulberg and Associate Professor Margaret Kosol participated in the 2017 U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Deterrence and Reassurance Symposium in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • In May, a group of Georgia Tech Ph.D. students from various disciplines, all part of the Sam Nunn Security Program (SNSP), traveled to Tampa, Florida, to brief U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) senior leadership on disruptive and game-changing technologies for national defense.
  • Georgia Tech is among the nation’s top recipients of Department of Defense research funds. In Fiscal 2015, GTRI had $374 million of DOD research expenditures.
  • Georgia Tech’s health information technology experts are working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Health Administration to improve the recordkeeping and overall health tracking experience for veterans.
  • Our cutting-edge research is tackling problems such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), regenerative medicine/tissue engineering for wounded service members/veterans, prosthetics and orthotics, and countless innovations for virtually all parts of the military.
  • We have an active Military Affinity Group that is part of our alumni base and assists current Georgia Tech ROTC organizations with recruitment, retention, and development of programs.

American military forces live and work on more than 40 bases outside our borders and many installations in our state and across our country, serving as an extension of each of us, the American people, helping to provide stability in an often dangerous world. These brave individuals are living symbols of the liberty we enjoy, and the world is a safer place because of them. Although they have left their active service to our country, we rightfully honor them for the sacrifices of their time, energy, expertise, and even their physical well-being. I encourage all Yellow Jackets to pay homage to them on Veterans Day 2017 for their contributions and to be humbly mindful throughout the year of the debt we owe them for their service and sacrifice.

- G.P. “Bud” Peterson

*Discounted tickets for the football game are being offered through GovX for current and former military personnel with appropriate ID, or in person at the Georgia Tech ticket office.

 

GT Army ROTC Stinger Battalion's Yellow Jacket Company, made up of students from GT, Emory, and Agnes Scott College

The Georgia Tech Army ROTC Stinger Battalion's Yellow Jacket Company is made up of students from Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Agnes Scott College.