Texas A&M University-Commerce is continuing its tradition of honoring our nation's veterans at the 32nd annual Veterans Vigil, scheduled for November 11, 2022, on the A&M-Commerce campus.
The theme of this year's event is “Forged in Sacrifice,” and the featured guest speaker is Col. Gregg Wheeler, U.S. Air Force. (ret.)
Wheeler is a 1969 graduate of East Texas State University (now A&M-Commerce), attaining a bachelor’s degree while double-majoring in Geography and History. He later earned an M.P.A. from Central Michigan University in 1978. While in Commerce, he was involved in various organizations such as the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, Air Force ROTC, the Arnold Air Society and Student Senate.
Wheeler's Air Force career spanned more than two and a half decades, with assignments in six states and two countries. During this time, he served as missile combat crew commander, launch officer, intelligence officer, combat aircrew member and even commander of seven subordinate squadrons.
As Pentagon Division Chief, Wheeler was responsible for consolidating all USAF intelligence training, updating the personnel systems for 17,000 intelligence personnel and running all intelligence collection operations for the Air Force with a $7.5 billion budget.
Additionally, Wheeler conceived, created and built the first information warfare capability in the Department of Defense and ran an Information Operations Summit for the Air Force Chief of Staff and Air Force Secretary.
A&M-Commerce student and USAF veteran Angela Rodriguez, recipient of the Army Specialized Training Program Unit 4813 Memorial Scholarship, will also receive recognition at the ceremony.
This year's event will begin with a light breakfast reception at 10 a.m. in the second-floor lobby of the Rayburn Student Center (RSC) at A&M-Commerce. The opening ceremony will start at 10:30 in the RSC conference rooms.
The opening ceremony will move outside of the RSC to the Vigil Flame. A&M-Commerce Counseling Center Director and U.S. Army veteran Nick Patras, Ph.D., will light the ceremonial flame this year.
Attendees are then invited to a brief closing ceremony at the Vigil Flame beginning at 4:30 p.m., where the Hunt County Honor Guard will perform a 21-gun salute.
Veterans will receive several on-campus benefits in recognition of their service. Veterans can expect a 10% discount at the university bookstore from November 9 to 11 and a free lunch at the Lions Mane Cafeteria on November 11. To receive these benefits, patrons must show proof of veteran status (e.g., military ID, DD214, VFW ID).
Learn more about the Office of Veterans and Military Services at A&M-Commerce.