Duty, honor, country
By Megan Sexton, email@example.com, 803-777-1421
For Bill Hogue the decision to join the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era was “the happiest mistake I ever made.”
He grew up believing to his core the three words the U.S. Military Academy holds as its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”
But before he stepped into an Army recruiting station in New York as a 20-year-old who had twice dropped out of college, he wasn’t sure how military service would fit in – or change -- his life.
“I needed to grow up and recognize my place in the larger society,” said Hogue, USC’s vice president for information technology and CIO.
The Army took care of both of those needs.
“My military service allowed me to scratch the itch I had to be patriotic, and I think that’s very important. Patriotism doesn’t have anything to do with what you look like,” he said. “Like many others I had serious questions about our involvement in Vietnam, but I still wanted to serve my country.
“I regret that we don’t have some form of compulsory service today. There is such value in committing yourself to something larger for a period of time.”
He put in three years of military service, from 1972-75, much of it spent at Columbia’s Fort Jackson. He met his future wife (a civilian working at the fort), started attending classes on base and ended up earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Carolina. (His doctorate was earned at Harvard.)
The great melting pot of the military gave him the opportunity to meet and get along with people from diverse backgrounds. And it has been something that has helped and guided him throughout his career.
“I can find common ground with somebody who is 19 and just back from Iraq or somebody who is 89 and served in the South Pacific,” Hogue said.
Marking Veterans Day
Bill Hogue left the military in 1975, a time when “it was not necessarily a badge of honor to be a veteran. It’s quite different now.”
When he was invited to a Veterans Day gathering on USC’s campus four years ago, and when a flag and poppy were pinned on his lapel, it filled him with a sense of pride.
“There are a lot of invisible veterans on our faculty and staff. They each deserve to be acknowledged for their service and patriotism,” Hogue said.
On Monday, Nov. 12, all USC staff and faculty veterans are encouraged to attend a breakfast and brief ceremony in their honor.
Hogue credits Derrick Huggins, USC’s associate vice president for transportation and logistical relations, with starting the Veterans Day commemoration on campus. All veterans are welcome at the event, which will run from 7:30-9 a.m. in the Hollings Library. President Harris Pastides is scheduled to speak about 8:15 a.m.
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