West Virginia State University ROTC Hall of Fame to Induct New Members

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
Oct. 2, 2014
West Virginia State University ROTC Hall of Fame to Induct New Members

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Four new members will be added to the West Virginia State University (WVSU) ROTC Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony Friday, Oct. 10, at 11 a.m. in the auditorium of the Davis Fine Arts Building.

Joining the ranks of those enshrined in the ROTC Hall of Fame will be Commissioner (retired) Anthony Conyers Jr., Lt. Col. (retired) Haywood Holder, Lt. Col. (retired) Kenneth Rainelle Mosley and Capt. Robert Lee Smith.

In addition, five members will be inducted as Honorary ROTC Hall of Fame members. Honorary members are Maj. (retired) Richard Neece Ojeda II as well as Rose Agnes Rolls Cousins, Henry L. Moore, Mac Ross and Wylie W. Seldon, Jr.

Hall of Fame inductee Conyers is a native of Williamsburg, Va., who graduated from what was then West Virginia State College in May 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. After being commissioned as a U.S. Army Transportation Corp Second Lieutenant, Conyers served in various positions before leaving the service in 1972 following a tour of duty in Vietnam. After his military career, Conyers embarked on a 35-year career in public service that included serving as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Public Services. 

Hall of Fame inductee Holder is a native of Pittsburgh and a 1964 graduate of West Virginia State with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. During a long military career, Holder’s assignments included duty as a Second Lieutenant in the Republic of China as a Communications Officer as well as Communications Officer, Charlie Team, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Airborne Command Post, Langley Air Force Base, where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He also served as Director, Combat Support Branch, Officer Training Directorate, Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va., before retiring in 1985.

Hall of Fame inductee Mosley is a native of Dunbar and a 1968 graduate of West Virginia State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He entered active duty July 1968 at Fort McClellan, Ala., as a Chemical Officer. Other assignments included Fort Lee, Va., as an instructor; Commander 482nd Chemical Detachment, Charleston; Chemical Officer 38th Ordinance Group, Charleston; Commander 487th Chemical Detachment, Charleston; Instructor 2093 USAR School, Charleston; and Director of Officers Courses 2093 USAR School, Charleston. He retired in 1991 after 23 years of service.

Hall of Fame inductee Smith is a 1990 West Virginia State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He is the Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office. Prior assignments include Executive Officer of Base Alameda, Calif.; Commanding Officer of the Personnel Services and Support Unit, Alameda, Calif.; Ethnic Policy Advisor to the Commandant, Washington, D.C.; Chief, Personnel Support Division, Deployable Operations Group, Arlington, Va.; Human Systems Integration Surface Training Lead Deepwater, Washington, D.C., and Supervisor, Marine Safety Field Office Coram, N.Y.

Honorary Hall of Fame inductee Ojeda is a 1997 graduate of West Virginia State who retired from the military after 24 years of service. He currently teaches a leadership course for Chapmanville and Logan High Schools.

Honorary Hall of Fame inductee Cousins was the first African-American woman to become a licensed solo pilot thru the Civilian Pilot Training Program at West Virginia State. She graduated with her Business Administration degree in May 1940. In July 1940 she went to the Tuskegee Institute with their first group of 10 male students from West Virginia State to try out for the Air Force Training Program for African-American pilots. She was rejected because of her sex, returning to West Virginia.

Honorary Hall of Fame inductee Ross attended West Virginia State and graduated in May 1940, completing the Civilian Pilot Training Program offered at West Virginia State’s Wertz airfield. He was among the first class of five men to graduate as a Tuskegee Airman on March 7, 1942. He entered combat over North Africa and served in the 332nd Fighter Group – the “Red Tail Eagles,” as well as the 99th Pursuit Squadron. He was killed in action during his service in World War II, while flying a P-51 Mustang over Italy during a combat mission on July 10, 1944.

Honorary Hall of Fame inductee Moore was drafted in 1942 and by 1944, he was in Italy, working on B-25 bombers as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Following the war, he attended West Virginia State, where he earned a physics degree, and embarked upon a career as a naval researcher. After a 26-year career as a naval researcher, Moore became a teacher in Philadelphia public schools. After he retired from teaching in 1983, Moore was active in the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., an organization dedicated to spreading the aviators’ story. He died on Sept. 15, 2014.

Honorary Hall of Fame inductee Seldon passed the test for fighter pilot training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1941. While awaiting an opening at Tuskegee he completed the Civilian Pilot Training at West Virginia State. He graduated in June 1943 and was assigned to be a test pilot for the 96th Service Group. He would go on to test pilot P-40 War Hawks and P-51 Mustangs, also known as “Red Tails.”

Immediately following the ROTC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, a dedication ceremony will take place to name the conference room in the Ferguson-Lincoln Building in honor of Cadet John Douglas Silvera Jr.

Silvera was a freshman in the West Virginia State Army ROTC program during the fall semester in 1948 when he lost his life during an automobile accident. He along with 13 other cadets were on their way to Charleston to participate in a Preparedness Day Parade when the accident occurred. He is the only known Cadet to lose his life while training with the WVSU Army ROTC program. 

Since its inception, the Yellow Jacket ROTC Battalion has commissioned over 900 men and women as Second Lieutenants in the United States Army as well as produced more General Officers than any other ROTC program of its size in the country. The Yellow Jacket Battalion includes cadets from Glenville State College, the University of Charleston and the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

The ROTC Hall of Fame induction ceremony is part of Homecoming activities at WVSU, which will run Oct. 9-11. For more information, and a complete schedule of Homecoming events, visit http://connect.wvstateu.edu/homecoming or call (304) 766-3387.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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