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GMC remembers distinguished alumnus and fallen warrior: Major General Francisco A. Espaillat

(Major General Francisco A. Espaillat)

Georgia Military College is saddened by the loss of one of its own, Major General Francisco A. Espaillat. He was a two star general and recently selected to serve as the Chief of Staff for the United States Army Reserve Command. Espaillat’s military career, spanning more than 30 years, embodies GMC’s principles of “DUTY. HONOR. COUNTRY. CHARACTER ABOVE ALL!”

Espaillat began his military career at Georgia Military College. He graduated from the junior college in 1982 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Quartermaster Corps through GMC’s early commissioning program. While attending GMC as a member of the cadet corps, he excelled inside and outside of the classroom. His leadership skills led him to receive several promotions soon after his arrival.

Inez Hawkins, former GMC Vice President for Advancement, says Espaillat stood out as an exceptional cadet. “It would have been impossible not to have made notice of Francisco Espaillat, affectionately known as ’Junior,’ from the very first day he entered the gates of Georgia Military College in the early 80s,” said Hawkins. “His physical stature alone would have captured attention. He was very tall, lean, handsome, and walked with the confidence of a future officer. He was a young man born and destined to be a leader…on the basketball court, in the classroom, on the parade field, and later in the U.S. Army. He embodied the characteristics GMC promoted then, as well as today, ’Character Above All.’ He recognized the responsibility with which he was charged…to lead and serve. He has discharged those duties admirably and with distinction. He has made his Alma Mater very proud, and will be sorely missed by all who have been fortunate enough to have known him.”

Espaillat’s academic achievements include an Associate’s Degree in criminal justice from GMC, a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from Excelsior College, a Master’s Degree in procurement and acquisition management from Webster University, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He would go on to have a distinguished career in the military serving as a field grade officer, the Director of CENTCOM, and Executive Officer for the Defense Logistics Agency. He also served in the capacity as Brigadier General, Commanding the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), where he was responsible for providing leadership, command and control to more than 10,000 Army Reserve soldiers throughout the southeastern United States.

In 2014, Espaillat returned to his Alma Mater as the Distinguished Speaker for the 2014 Commissioning Ceremony. In 2015, Espaillat was nominated by fellow alumni to receive GMC’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award recognizes alumni who display exemplary service and their success is an inspiration to others. Recipients must embody the ideals of Georgia Military College, including discipline, moral character, learning, and whose accomplishments have made a conspicuous and positive impression on those who will follow their lead, and whose lives are examples of extraordinary accomplishment. Espaillat was honored by the recognition and wrote, “I am proud to be a part of Georgia Military College’s legacy, proud of our school, and grateful for the opportunities that were opened to me because of the education, discipline, and soldierly skills I gained at Georgia Military College. Thank you once again to the Alumni Association for selecting me as a GMC Distinguished Alumnus, it is a great honor, and I am truly thankful.”