Honoring Those Who Served: Gannon University Commemorates Veterans Day

Posted: November 8, 2016


Gannon University will honor those who served their country in America's armed forces with a salute to veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. in the Yehl Room of the Waldron Campus Center, 124 W. Seventh St. The public is welcome to attend the event. Attendance by veterans and their families is particularly encouraged.

Guest speaker for the salute will be Retired Brigadier General Mark Bellini. Bellini was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army through the Gannon University Army ROTC program.

The salute will begin with a presentation of the colors by the "Pride of PA" Battalion of the Gannon University ROTC program. Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., will offer welcoming remarks at a fallen warriors ceremony in honor of prisoners of war and personnel missing in action that will be presented by the American Legion Millcreek Post 773.

In addition, the names of Gannon military members who gave their lives in service to their country will be read and a wreath will be laid. The ceremony will also include a three-round volley salute by members of Post 773. A reception will follow.

On the same day, a traveling museum of historical military equipment assembled by the 265th Radio Research Company Sentinel Chapter of the 101st Airborne Division Association will come to Room 219 of the Waldron Campus Center beginning at 9 a.m.

Radio research was the cover-name for U.S. Army Security Agency activities operating in southeast Asia between1961 and 1973. The museum will showcase equipment and other artifacts used in that operation. Vietnam War veterans will be on campus the morning of the salute for a presentation and group discussion.

The events are being organized by Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ronald K. Swift, Gannon University's veterans financial aid and enrollment counselor. Swift works with veterans interested in attending Gannon and helps them apply the benefits they are eligible for as a result of their service.

Gannon is a participating university in the Yellow Ribbon Program, established by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The program allows colleges and universities to voluntarily work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fee rate in their state.

Gannon also offers an Army ROTC program and is the host university for the "Pride of PA" Battalion. The program offers specialized leadership training through both course work and related activities. ROTC also allows cadets to develop the qualities essential to success in any military or civilian career, including physical stamina, self-discipline and poise.

About Gen. Mark Bellini

Retired Brigadier General Mark Bellini is a native of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1979 through the Gannon University Army ROTC program following graduation from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he received a bachelor's degree in economics.

Bellini has served in a variety of command and staff positions throughout his Army career. He has commanded tactical units at every level, company, battalion and brigade, culminating his time as commanding general, United States Army Quartermaster Center and School, as the 49th Quartermaster General of the Army and the deputy commanding general, Fort Lee, Virginia. He completed his last assignment in Europe where he was the deputy chief of staff, G4 of Headquarters, United States Army Europe, Heidelberg Germany.

Bellini holds a Master of Business Administration degree and master's degrees in strategic studies and military arts and science (theater operations). He has also attended the German Military's Higher Command and Staff Seminar at the Fuhrungs Academy, Hamburg and the Black Sea Security Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two oak-leaf clusters), Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (four oak-leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal (one oak-leaf cluster) and the Army Commendation Medal (one oak-leaf cluster).

General Bellini retired in 2011 after nearly 32 years in the Army. He and his wife Carol reside in Meadville, Pennsylvania and have three daughters; two are military officers. 



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