Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson
Three distinguished alumni of Northwestern State University’s ROTC program were inducted into the Demon Regiment’s Hall of Fame during the 73rd Demon Battalion Military Ball April 15. NSU’s Department of Military Science annually hosts the event to honor graduating ROTC cadets and recognize supporters of the program. In an event steeped in tradition, the ball featured graduating seniors presented through an Arch of Steel, formal toasts, the Fallen Soldier’s Table, a streamer ceremony and recognition of cadets and dignitaries.
This year’s Hall of Fame Inductees are Col. Ronald R. Wilkins, Cpt. Donald R. Davis, and the late 1LT Thomas P. McCullough. Individuals are selected for their service to the nation and their communities, each having made a lasting impact to serve as examples for cadets to emulate throughout their careers.
Wilkins graduated from Northwestern in 1989 with a degree in Business Administration and commissioned in the Army Transportation Corps. He served in the Louisiana Army National Guard and the Texas Army National Guard prior to serving in the Active Guard Reserve program. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Touro University International. His military education includes the Transportation Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College, Defense Strategy Course, and the Joint Warfare College.
His most recent assignments include Senior Army Guard Advisor for U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Chief of Staff for the Minister of Interior, Afghanistan. He concluded his military career in 2021 as the Chief of Sustainment, Three Corps Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas.
During his years at NSU, Wilkins was a top track and field athlete. He was an integral part of the NSU 1985 and 1987 Track and Field Gulf Star and Southland Conference Championship team. He is a Master Certified USA Track and Field Official and has more than 35,000 community service hours for youth and collegiate track and field events.
A Distinguished Military Graduate, Davis graduated from Northwestern in December 1987 and commissioned in the Medical Services Corps. His military education includes the AMEDD Basic and Advanced Officer Course, Air Assault School and the Combined Arms Service Staff School. He earned a Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, a Master of Business Administration, and Doctor of Divinity from the Omega Bible Institute and Seminary.
Davis began his career as an enlisted soldier in 1976 and served with various medical units from battalion through installation level. He is a Distinguished Member of the Army Medical Department Regiment and belongs to the Order of Military Medical Merit.
Davis retired from the military in 1998. He is the associate minister of Greater Emmanuel Family Worship Center and has worked as a JROTC Senior Army Instructor for more than 20 years. He was elected to the Spring (Texas) ISD District School Board for three terms and was appointed as a director of its Education Foundation.
Davis is the proud father of two daughters, Sharon and Dieatra. A published author, his career, life accomplishments and contributions are notable examples of “duty, honor, and country.”
McCullough commissioned as an Infantry officer in May 1969 upon his graduation from Northwestern State with a degree in English.
In 1970, he deployed to Vietnam and, within a few months, was selected for company command. During this period, he received severe combat wounds while conducting operations near Quang Ngai. With less than six months into his deployment, he was shot through his back and right arm resulting in paralysis for nearly 52 years.
McCullough was awarded two Silver Stars for heroism, three Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement, and the Purple Heart. He received the awards at a ceremony held at Northwestern in 1971, where NSU President Dr. Arnold Kilpatrick proclaimed October 7, 1971, as Thomas P. McCullough Day.
McCullough was placed on the Permanent Disability Retired List in 1971 and later served as VA Chief of Prosthetics for the State of Oregon. He became involved in the Kiwanis Club and with the Boys and Girls Club of Rogue Valley, Oregon. He later served as on their Board of Directors and was deemed an Emeritus Board Member until his passing in September 2022.
His wife, Barbara McCullough, accepted the award on his behalf.
Keynote speaker was Col. Matthew Hardman, Commander, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. Hardman most recently served as commander of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. Prior to that, he was the chief of staff for the Office of Security-Cooperation Iraq at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He has previous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and as the Light Task Force Trainer and the Senior Brigade Combat Team Trainer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
Cadet Michael Shamblin highlighted his experiences as a cadet and was awarded the MG (R) Erbon W. Wise Touchstone Award, presented annually to a cadet who is the model of good citizenship. The honoree not only embodies the Army Values and Warrior ethos but is recognized for contributing beyond the expected and encourages others to do the same.
Northwestern State’s graduating cadets will be commissioned as U.S. Army officers during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 11 in the Student Union Ballroom.
Information on NSU’s Department of Military Science can be found at https://www.nsula.edu/rotc.