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Released April 8, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi Army ROTC will conduct a staff ride to the Vicksburg National Military Park on April 15.

More than just a field trip or a tour of the battlefield, the staff ride requires cadets to study a selected military campaign, take an extensive visit to the actual site and integrate the lessons derived from each.

"Army officers draw heavily on the lessons of history, seeking to apply them to present and future operations," said Maj. Greg Hargett, assistant professor of military science at Southern Miss. "They also are intense students of terrain, seeking to understand it and use it to their advantage. The staff ride affords the cadets these opportunities."

Led by Cadet Waygon Sanders, the cadets have been studying Vicksburg and preparing for the staff ride all semester. They have been assigned topics such as the strategic military importance of Vicksburg, its key leaders, the preliminary battles, and joint operations between the Army and the Navy. The cadets will brief these topics at the battlefield.

The cadets will be accompanied by retired Brig. Gen. Parker Hills, one of the state's leading experts on Vicksburg. Hills is a 1969 graduate of Southern Miss and its Army ROTC program. He regularly conducts tours with his own organization, Battle Focus, as well as with the Blue and Gray Educational Society, and is a member of the Southern Miss Army ROTC Hall of Fame.

As part of the project, the cadets are building a Web page to house their research and chronicle their experiences. The Web page will be completed by April 15 and can be viewed at

Southern Miss's Army ROTC program commissions approximately 20 second lieutenants each year, making it the most productive ROTC program in the state. The program is led by Lt. Col. Kevin Dougherty. Additionally there is a cadet chain of command. The senior cadet is the cadet company commander, Cadet KaRensa Polk. For additional information, contact Maj. Greg Hargett at 266-4460 or or Lt. Col. Kevin Dougherty at 266-4456 or, or visit


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM