You’re never late if you’re early, and—thanks to Capt. Stuart Allgood’s military background—his arrival 10 minutes before the start of the scheduled meeting time didn’t come as a surprise to the interviewer.
Allgood recently began a two-year stint as head of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Military Science, a program housed within the College of Arts and Sciences. As part of his position, he oversees the UTC Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
“What I want to be able to do is build the trust with the community here, whether that’s the University academically or the civilian population,” Allgood said. “Trust comes from civilians knowing that I’m here 10 minutes early because military needs to be punctual.
“These are those positive notions you want to reinforce and that’s what I’m teaching the cadets. They know they’re representatives of the U.S. Army and they need to act accordingly.”
Allgood took over a UTC ROTC program of around 55 students, referring to them as “students slash cadets because they’re students first and they need to get a degree to be able to commission.
“I am going to commission 13 soldiers this summer and then my next class has 20, assuming they all make it through the rigors,” he continued, “so I want it to be a program that can continue to grow, be successful and give good leaders to the Army.”
Some students are taking ROTC as a minor, which means they will not commission. He cited future contractors, government employees and people working with veterans as those who can benefit from the program.
Allgood’s arrival in Chattanooga coincided with the departure of Capt. A.J. Herink as head of the department. Herink is now in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for Intermediate Level Education, a preparation program for future Army field grade officers.
The Army rotates personnel into university ROTC leadership roles every two years “to diversify you in your knowledge and capability,” Allgood said.
“While I’ve been on what we would call ‘the line,’ out doing the training to go fight, the Army sends people after their command time to get broadened. This is broadening me to understand the generating force: How do we generate soldiers to the Army?”
Although this is Allgood’s initial voyage into the world of teaching at the higher education level, he’s no stranger to leading.
“I’ve done eight years in the Army and I know how to lead people, how people receive information, how people are taught, because we have to teach people inside the Army on how to execute a certain task,” he said.
“I came here more limited academically, but the Army does give you a lot of traits and training to set you up to be successful in this type of environment.”
Allgood received a bachelor’s degree in political science, anthropology and history from the University in Arkansas in 2014, where—as a member of the ROTC—he was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Following graduation, he attended the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course, Army Reconnaissance Course and Stryker Leaders Course. As a second lieutenant, he served as a scout platoon leader with 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and as a mobile gun system platoon leader, assistant operations officer and executive officer with 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment in 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division in Fort Bliss, Texas.
After being deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in 2017, he attended the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, Cavalry Leader Course and Maintenance Leader Course. When he arrived at Fort Hood, Texas, he served as a brigade assistant operations officer in the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division. He then commanded Mad Dog Company, 4th Squadron, 9th Calvary Regiment from April 2020-April 2021 and Headquarters and Headquarters Troop for 4th Squadron, 9th Calvary Regiment from May 2021-June 2022.
If all the military jargon seems dizzying, consider how Allgood must have felt during his first College of Arts and Sciences department head meeting.
“I still have a lot of learning to do; there’s a lot of higher educational vernacular that I’m not used to yet,” he said. “I’m still learning the difference between an adjunct professor compared to an associate professor, or the vernacular being used, or the task org the deans and the department heads have.
“But when it comes to solving problems and everyone being part of the team to get something solved, they’re the same. Whether that’s a department head meeting or an Army staff meeting, that’s what we want to achieve.”
He said that the military and higher education might have different mission sets, and it’s part of his broadening process.
“Some things that I can pick up here I can bring back to the Army and say, ‘Hey, I’ve seen it done this way inside of this educational organization,” he said. “Maybe we could implement this in the Army to solve this problem.’”
After his two-year stint at UTC, he hopes to be promoted to major—the next rank for an Army officer.
It all starts with keeping the ROTC momentum going.
“That is what the end result should be: That I am able to protect my cadets, to be able to get their degrees and produce leaders who can be given to the Army, officers that are successful in their career,” he said.
“They will be asked to lead America’s sons and daughters, and it is my job to prepare them for that as much as possible.”
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Under Allgood’s direction, exercises the UTC ROTC is conducting this semester include:
- Combat water survival skills test at the Aquatic and Recreation Center, where students/cadets jump into the pool with uniforms and rifles and perform swim tests
- Walking around the woods at a training site in Harrison
- Running an obstacle course at Camp Jordan
- Camping at the National Guard training center in Catoosa, Georgia, taking part in activities such as patrolling, shooting ranges and ruck marches—a low-intensity exercise in which weight is added to one’s back while walking or hiking
On Sept. 7, in honor of 9/11, members of the ROTC placed 2,000 flags in front of the Lane Funeral Home on Ashland Terrace in Chattanooga.