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Alumni Award Recipients Announced
Georgia Military College alumni and friends will meet October 20-22 to celebrate Alumni Weekend 2011. One of the highlights of the weekend will be to honor a select group of individuals with Georgia Military College Alumni Awards. The recipients of these prestigious awards are selected annually from submitted nominations. This year’s award recipients are: LTC Robert W. Yingling, II, USA (Ret.), Distinguished Alumnus Award; LT. B. Dwayne Prosser, Alumni Achievement Award; CPT Thomas Harper, Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; Mr. Terry M. Johnson, GMC Service Award; W. Barry Adams, Community Service Award; and COL Fred Van Horn, Honorary Alumnus Award. These six extraordinary people are representative of the fine character and countless acts of excellence displayed by the alumni and friends of Georgia Military College. GMC is fortunate to have been a part of the lives of each of these fine people. The contributions of the 2011 Alumni Award recipients have, without a doubt, made the world a better place. Distinguished Alumnus Award LTC Robert W. Yingling, II, USA (Ret.) JC 1976 Suffolk, Virginia The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni whose lives have embodied the ideals of Georgia Military College including discipline, moral character, and learning, whose accomplishments have made a conspicuous and positive impression on those who will follow their lead, and whose lives are examples of extraordinary accomplishment. Robert W. Yingling is this year’s Distinguished Alumni. A 1976 graduate (JC), he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Air Defense Artillery and served with distinction throughout his 22-year career in the United States Army. He led at every level through his military career, was committed to excellence and had deep regard for his fellow soldiers and comrades. He earned a reputation as a skilled communicator and an articulate leader with broad-ranging grasp of the complex nature of his craft. He led young staff officers in drills essential to success in battle and the preservation of lives. Through a superb ethic and discipline, Yingling presented an example of fitness to lead and physical presence that commanded respect. Always physically fit, he was respected for his ability to lead, and not just participate, in the physically demanding elements of the profession of arms. Many of the young officers who followed him are today’s commanders in the field. After military retirement, Yingling continued applying his characteristic skills as an Air Defense Capabilities subject matter expert for naval and land based integration. He made significant contributions to Joint Force readiness and capability. Yingling was uniquely able to provide insights on the intellectual underpinnings of the actions and reactions of opposing forces in likely scenarios worldwide. For over seven years he was singularly effective in joint and combined exercises as a skilled coach, observer and controller in major joint and combined exercises. Yingling has been responsible as the Combatant Command regional engagement lead as the Pacific Command (PACOM) Principal. He also supported all four Regional Combatant Commands and in this role, he’s been key to assessing the synchronization of Combatant Command plans. As a result, he has played an exceptionally vital role in framing the thinking of senior U.S. and Coalition leaders. Bob is a loving husband to his wife of 34 years, Cindy, a devoted father and grandfather, a trusted advisor, and skilled coach to U.S. leaders of prominence. Without question, he has continuously built upon the foundation he gained at Georgia Military College through his highly successful military and civilian careers. Bob has distinguished himself and continues to display the characteristics at the very foundation of GMC: Duty, Honor, Country. His continuing service reflects great credit upon himself, the Class of 1976, and the historic values and principles of Georgia Military College. Alumni Achievement Award Lt. B. Dwayne Prosser HS 1985 Sharpsburg, Georgia The Alumni Achievement Award is designated for an alumnus who has attained notable success in his chosen field or profession, and whose achievement might serve as an inspiration to anyone considering entering that chosen field or profession, or might serve as inspiration to anyone to excel in his chosen field or profession because of the example set by the recipient of this award. Following graduation from GMC, Dwayne Prosser began his career as a law enforcement officer in Milledgeville, Georgia, where he worked for the Department of Corrections while also attending classes at Georgia College, later moving to Atlanta. Prosser ultimately served twenty-one years in law enforcement, retiring as a lieutenant. During his career, he served as a Special Agent assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for the southeastern U.S., responsible for investigations of high level drug trafficking organizations primarily originating in Columbia and Peru. Prosser then served as a Special Agent assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Organized Crime Unit, responsible for investigating criminal organizations under the Racketeering Influenced Criminal Organization statute of the United States Code. Subsequent assignments found him in Fayette County, Georgia, first as a SWAT Commander of a Special Weapons and Tactics Team responsible for planning and executing all tactical operations ranging from hostage situations to service of high risk warrants and then as a supervisor for the Criminal Investigations Division responsible for investigations ranging from property crimes to homicide. Prosser also served on the Tactical Advisory Board for coordination of assets at the 2005 G-8 conference at Sea Island, Georgia. His last assignment before retirement was as Senior Instructor for incoming police academy recruits, responsible for all aspects mandated for the basic thirteen-week Police Academy. During his law enforcement career Prosser received five Outstanding Service to the Community awards as well as other Instructor Awards and Certifications including the Medal of Merit for investigation, arrest, and conviction of a 26-year-old cold case involving serial killer Carl Millard Patton Jr. Prosser served as Director of Corporate Investigations and Security for Post Properties for three years, handling all security/investigative-related matters for a publicly-traded multifamily real estate company, including liaison with multiple law enforcement agencies. Looking for a more significant challenge, he changed career paths. He is currently serving as an advisor to the United States Army for the Department of Defense in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, responsible for advising U.S. Army commanders in all law enforcement- related matters, as well as the training of local national police units in a fledgling democracy. Outstanding Young Alumnus Award CPT Thomas Harper JC 2004 Washington, D.C. During a private ceremony on July 25, 2011, at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, D.C., five National Guardsmen and one active duty special forces soldier, among whom was former GMC cadet, Captain Thomas Harper (JC 2004) and the leader of the unit, were honored with the Croix de la Valeur Militaire (“Cross of Military Valor”) by the Ambassador of France to the United States, François Delattre, following their actions in assisting French troops under fire during combat operations in Afghanistan in the spring of 2011. The medal is France’s equivalent of the U.S. Silver Star. Created in 1956 by the French government to reward extraordinary deeds of bravery carried out as part of security and law enforcement operations, the Croix de la Valeur Militaire – or French Cross of Military Valor – is one of the most respected decorations in the French military, and a rarely bestowed honor. Also present at the ceremony were some of the United States’ top-ranking military personnel, including Navy Adm. Eric Olson, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command; Army Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command; Army Lt. Gen, Richard Zahner, deputy chief of staff for intelligence; and General Martin Dempsey, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, A full narrative of the exact events that earned the six their awards cannot be shared but there is an abbreviated one. It begins with a mortar shell that whistled from a Taliban nest atop a mountain ridge overlooking villages in the Kapisa Province of northeast Afghanistan and into the middle of an Army National Guard Special Forces unit. The 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces unit was providing security for the French Foreign Legion in the Uzbeen Valley as part of Operation Septentrion, protecting Task Force Lafayette troops engaged in a classified mission. The blast divided the unit, wounding four soldiers and exposing them to enemy gunfire. Despite his own injuries, one of those men — Captain Thomas Harper — ran through a hail of bullets to retrieve rocket shells for the team’s rocket launcher, determined to protect the forces at all costs. The rest of the story tells of men surrounded, wildly outnumbered and pinned down for hours; of men who fought on despite severe injuries; of lifesaving buddy aid under withering, accurate fire – and of declined opportunities to be medically evacuated in order to stay in the fight until the last man was out safe. Harper has been in the military since 2001. He lives for his military service and has been deployed most of the last decade on missions overseas. “This is what I love to do,” he said. GMC Service Award Terry M. Johnson JC 1962 Warrenton, Georgia The GMC Service Award is designated for an alumnus/alumna or friend of Georgia Military College who has rendered special service to the school or to any of its ancillary organizations including the GMC Alumni Association, the Bulldog Club, the Booster Club, or the GMC Foundation, Inc. When Terry “Falstaff” Johnson left GMC in 1962, he swore that he would never return, stating that he was never much on taking orders. But his friend Cliff Owdom was different – welcoming the chance to get back to GMC and coming to Alumni Weekend for most of the years since he graduated. He went to work on Johnson, always being met with the same response: “I didn’t lose anything over there and don’t have any reason to go back there.” Twenty years later, Johnson finally “caved.” He became one of the most active promoters of GMC’s Alumni Weekend – a man on a mission to gather as many former Band Company members as possible throughout the year. “Once you get far enough away, you can look back on what we had, “said Johnson. “And what we had was a brotherhood.” What began with finding members of Band Company for their personal reunion and encouraging them to attend Alumni Weekend was somehow not enough, so it “grew” to include the annual “road trip” – now in its third season – to actually visit members who have not been to a reunion in recent years, if ever. The “reunion,” which started out with a specific year, has also expanded to include several class years, and Johnson has worked with a number of class agents to reach out to even more Band Company alumni. And now, that mission has expanded even further. Last year Johnson took on a project that has evolved from initially searching for any lost Band Company alumni in the decade of the ‘60s into specifically focusing on the 50th reunion class, the Gold Brigade, each year going forward. He has spent countless hours doing internet research, calling local funeral homes, public libraries, and numerous individuals in order to find and verify the contact information and status of GMC alumni. This data has all been shared with the GMC staff to be used in updating the school’s alumni database. With the help of other volunteers, he has called, e-mailed, written, and/or visited every one of the GMC alumni who has been located – and there are many to his credit. Johnson is a lifelong resident of Warren Country, Georgia, where he was raised on the family farm, land that has been in Johnson Family since 1793. He currently resides there with his wife Virginia. He served six years in the Georgia National Guard (Btry B 1st Bn 214th Arty), six years on the Warrenton City Council, and eight years on the Warren County Board of Commissioners. Johnson retired from GIW Industries in Grovetown, Georgia, with 30 years of service. Community Service Award W. Barry Adams JC 1968 Aiken, South Carolina The Community Service Award is given to Georgia Military College alumni who, through leadership, inspiration, teamwork, or hard work in the spirit of volunteerism or in their professional activities, have taken the lessons of GMC’s Character Education beyond the classroom and whose actions are characterized by a history of exemplary service resulting in unquestionable improvements within their community.