A virtual observation of Veterans Day will feature several University-produced videos along with a compilation of submitted clips from well-wishers thanking military veterans.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga video production team has created a multi-pronged tribute to honor and show appreciation for those who have served in the United States military. The video will debut on the UTC website on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
The video has three components, including welcoming remarks from UTC Chancellor Steven Angle, UT System President Randy Boyd and the Veterans Day keynote speaker, Army Maj. Kevin Beavers.
Beavers came to UTC in 2017 to lead the ROTC program as department head of the Department of Military Science. He is leaving UTC this month as he transitions into civilian life, handing over the school reins to Capt. A.J. Herink.
“This has been an amazing opportunity. When people talk about coming full circle, it’s usually not as specific as coming back to your hometown,” said Beavers, who attended Soddy-Daisy High School and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2008.
“Getting the opportunity to recruit the next generation of leaders from my hometown and my high school alma mater and to then impart my 13 years of knowledge that I’ve had serving on active duty to the next generation of commissioned officers coming out of the Mocs Battalion has been an absolute dream assignment.”
During his time with the Army, the highly decorated veteran had deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan. Among his he was a platoon leader in Basra, Iraq, for 12 months beginning in January 2010. He spent more than two years as battery commander in different capacities for Air Defense Artillery where he deployed to Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as part of the Global War on Terrorism. As a commander, he was responsible for more than 200 soldiers and their families as well as $350 million in equipment.
Beavers’ civilian life begins the week of Nov. 9 when he begins his new post as senior vice president of operations at Transcard, a Chattanooga-based financial technology company. He officially remains on active duty until the end of the year.
“It’s symbolic my last day of active duty service is 31 December. When that ball drops in Times Square, I’ll be watching my time in active status literally count down, and I’ll wake up the next morning on civilian status,” Beavers said.
“It will be a proud moment to just reflect on over a decade’s worth of service and the unique experiences and amazing leaders I’ve had to serve under and serve alongside—and hopefully create a few good leaders ourselves coming out of the Mocs Battalion.”
A documentary about the UTC ROTC program’s history, narrated by retired Army Gen. B.B. Bell, who graduated from UTC in 1969, will premiere as part of the Veterans Day video.
Bell had a long and distinguished 39-year military career. He served as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s executive officer during the Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns, as a brigade commander under Gen. Barry McCaffrey, commanded the U.S. Army’s Armor Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky and led the Army’s Third Corps based at Fort Hood, Texas.
As a four-star general, Bell commanded the U.S. Army in Europe and NATO’s Land Component Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. He later served as commander of all allied forces in Korea.
In addition to UTC-based components, the video will feature shout-outs in personal notes submitted by campus and community leaders. As part of the production, Veteran Student Services has compiled a virtual scrapbook with UTC veterans’ photos, retired and active-duty military, including faculty, staff, students and alumni.
As identified through Veteran Student Services, UTC enrollment for military and veteran-affiliated students is at a record-high 407 during the fall semester.
Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, is observed every year on Nov. 11, the day marking the end of World War I in 1918. The holiday was later renamed Veterans Day and is intended to thank all who honorably served in the military in wartime or peace, living or deceased.
“Veterans don’t like the limelight. It’s all about a team effort. And the fact that the entire nation shines a light on us on this day is kind of humbling,” Beavers said.
“I’m not sure how other countries treat their veterans, but I feel like Americans are just naturally very patriotic. They’re very grateful and appreciative of the sacrifices that have been made by those who decide to raise their right hand and volunteer to serve.”