FLORENCE – Two graduates of Francis Marion University’s will be honored as newly commissioned officers in the US Army during a ceremony on Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.
Cadets Greg Collins of Bennettsville and Monica Toole of North Augusta will take the oath at a gathering of former teachers, professors, family, friends and university officials, including FMU President Fred Carter. The two graduated with bachelors’ degrees from the university on Wednesday.
FMU’s ROTC program was restarted in 2008 after it had been shut down as part of the Army’s downsizing in the 1990s, Capt. Emily Lynds, assistant professor of military science, said. The program was restarted as part of the move to grow the military early in this century.
Collins and Toole, in the program since 2008, are the first to complete the program and worked with the professors to re-establish it. While Toole is new to the military, Collins served a tour of duty in Iraq from 2007-08 before enrolling at FMU. Both will enter the South Carolina National Guard, Lynds said. Collins will serve with an anti-aircraft artillery unit in Clemson while Toole will serve with a chemical unit in Myrtle Beach.
While they will be the first cadets to accept commissions in about 10 years, Collins and Toole won’t be the last. The ROTC program has 25 cadets spread out over the four-year program.