Three-Star General, Alumnus Twitty to Address New Commissioned Officers

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Lt. TwittyORANGEBURG, S.C. – U.S. Army Lieutenant General Stephen M. Twitty, a 1985 graduate of SC State University, will return to his Alma Mater on Thursday, May 11 as the keynote speaker for the spring 2017 Commissioning Ceremony. The program begins at 2 p.m. in the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.


The SC State University ROTC Program will commission seven new officers, two of which are graduating SC State seniors.


Since its establishment in 1947, the SC State University Bulldog Battalion has equipped students with the skills needed to lead on and off the battlefield. Those who train with the Bulldog Battalion are among the nation’s most regarded military officers who have blazed trails for others to follow.


The students, who will receive their commissions as officers, have made a commitment to serve our nation with integrity, courage and perseverance. The honorees are:


SC State University

• Jaylaan Zakaria Riley, from Charleston, South Carolina, will be receiving a communications degree. She will be commissioned in Army Reserve Duty and will serve in the Signal Corps branch.


• Aaliyah Lashawn Blanding, a Sumter, South Carolina native, will be earning a degree in criminal justice. Blanding will be commissioned in Army Reserve Duty and will serve in the Military Police branch.


Claflin University

• Connie Ann Sherow, from Norwalk, California, will be commissioned in active duty in the Quartermaster branch. She is earning a degree in criminal justice.


• Akaylah Tierra Shacore Gilliard, who will be receiving a psychology degree, will be commissioned in active duty in the Field Artillery branch. Gilliard is a native of Cross, South Carolina.


• Brittany Terraine Singletary, who will be commissioned in active duty in the Finance Corps branch, resides in Lake City, South Carolina. She will earn a degree in criminal justice.


• Rashodd Antoine Howze will be commissioned in active duty. The Blackville, South Carolina resident, who is earning a degree in sociology, will serve in the chemical branch.


• Andy Lucien Francis Michel, from Seat, Pleasant, Maryland, will be commissioned in active duty and will serve in the chemical branch. He will be earning a degree in criminal justice.


Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, commanding general, First Army, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, was nominated by former President Barack Obama. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general, three-star general. He was promoted to the post in July 2016.


As U.S. Forces Command’s designated coordinating authority for the implementation of Army Total Force Policy, First Army partners with Army Reserve and Army National Guard leadership to advise, assist and train Reserve Component formations to achieve Department of the Army directed readiness requirements during pre- and post-mobilization training.


Twitty became the second SC State University alumnus to be promoted to the rank in the university's Army ROTC program's history. Henry Doctor Jr. (deceased), a native of Oakley, South Carolina and a 1954 graduate of SC State University, was the first alumnus to be promoted to the rank while serving on active duty in 1985.


A native of Chesnee, South Carolina, Twitty was selected as the 2004 SC State University Distinguished Alumni and inducted into the SC State University Army ROTC Hall of Fame in 2009. He has served over 30 years in the Army, including multiple overseas assignments and five combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the nation's third highest award for valor, for his gallantry in combat in Iraq in 2003.


In addition to earning his undergraduate degree from SC State, Lt. Gen. Twitty holds a Master of Science degree in public administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Science in national security strategy from the National Defense University.