Troy H. Middleton
Lieutenant General Troy Houston Middleton (October 12, 1889-October 9, 1976) was a distinguished soldier-educator who served as a corps commander in Europe during World War II and, later, as President of Louisiana State University (LSU).
Commissioned in the United States Army in 1912, Middleton rose to the rank of Colonel by 1918, the youngest officer of that rank in the American Expeditionary Forces. During World War I, Middleton commanded in combat and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for actions in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
Middleton then served at the United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning; the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth; the Army War College, Washington, D.C.; and finally LSU. After serving as Commandant of Cadets at LSU, he retired from the Army in 1937 to accept an offer as Dean of Administration and later acting Vice President of that institution.
Recalled to service in early 1942, Middleton commanded the 45th Infantry Division during the Sicily, and Salerno battles, and then in December 1943 moved up to command the U.S. VIII Corps. Middleton's brilliant leadership in Operation Cobra and in the Battle of the Bulge led to his widespread recognition as a Corps Commander of extraordinary abilities.
Retiring from the Army again, Middleton returned to Baton Rouge and, in 1950, was appointed to President of LSU. Middleton continued to serve the Army in numerous consultative capacities. He resided in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, until his death in 1976. His remains were interred in Baton Rouge National Cemetery. The Air Force/Army ROTC building at Mississippi State University, Middleton's alma mater, is named for him as is the LSU library.
Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery
Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery (August 5, 1920 - May 12, 2006) was an American politician from Mississippi who served in the U.S. House of Representatives 1967-1997. Montgomery, who was considered a pro-defense and pro-Veterans Democrat, resided in Meridian, the seat of Lauderdale County, in eastern Mississippi.
Born in Laurel, Mississippi, he attended Mississippi State University in Starkville and was a member of Beta Tau chapter of Kappa Alpha Order. He served in the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant during World War II and also in the Korean Conflict. He retired from the Mississippi National Guard as a Major General in 1980. He was the author of the G.I. Bill of Rights that gives Veterans money to pay for college and was a lead sponsor in establishing the Veterans Affairs cabinet level position.
On September 13, 1988, Sonny Montgomery became the first Congressman to lead the U.S. House in citing the Pledge of Allegiance as a permanent part of its daily and morning business operations . The day prior to his death, Congressman Gene Taylor introduced an amendment to House Defense Appropriations Bill to rename the bill the Sonny Montgomery National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007. Following his death, President Bush ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half staff . In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives canceled non-suspension votes on the day of his funeral.
PRESIDING JUSTICE William L. Waller, JR.
Presiding Justice William L. Waller, Jr., a native and current resident of Jackson, is a graduate of Murrah High School and Mississippi State University and received his law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1977. He practiced law with the firm of Waller and Waller in Jackson for over 20 years and served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Jackson. Justice Waller was elected to the Mississippi Supreme Court in November 1996, and reelected in November 2004. Justice Waller assumed the position of Presiding Justice in January 2004.
Justice Waller has sought to bring reforms in the administration of justice. He supported adoption by the Supreme Court of mediation rules for civil litigation and served as Chairman of the Mississippi Public Defender Task Force from 2000 - 2005. Justice Waller was principal architect of what became legislation which created the Office of Capital Post Conviction Counsel, the Office of Indigent Appeals and the Comprehensive Electronic Court Systems Fund. Justice Waller serves as Chairman of the Rules Committee. Justice Waller was the recipient of the Judicial Innovation Award for 2003-2004 by the Hinds County Bar Association and the Jackson Young Lawyers Association. He received the Chief Justice Award in 2005 for his work as chairman of a special study committee to develop a statewide e-filing and docket management system.
Presently assigned to the Retired Reserve, Justice Waller served over 29 years in the Mississippi Army National Guard, attaining the rank of Brigadier General while serving as Commander of the 66th Troop Command, Jackson, Mississippi. Justice Waller and his wife, Charlotte, have three children and are members of First Baptist Church Jackson where he has recently served as Chairman of the Deacons.
Mr. Dwight Dyess is President of BancorpSouth in West Point, Mississippi. Prior to moving to West Point, he was Executive Vice President for External Affairs for BancorpSouth. Additionally, Mr. Dyess was President of the Pine Belt Division, where he had responsibility for BancorpSouth's banks in Forrest, Jasper, Jones, Lamar and Wayne Counties. BancorpSouth founded in 1896, is the second oldest and the largest financial institution in Mississippi. Mr. Dyess received his commission in 1972 as a Second Lieutenant from Mississippi State University Army ROTC "Bulldog Battalion", into the United States Army Reserve, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and later earned a Master of Science degree in Economics from Mississippi State University. He is a graduate of The School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University and completed the American Bankers Association National commercial Lending school at the University of Oklahoma.
In West Point, Mr. Dyess is a Board Member and Treasurer of the West Point/Clay County Community Growth Alliance. Also, he is a member of the Rotary Club of West Point.
A past Chairman of the Hattiesburg based Area Development Partnership; Mr. Dyess was Vice Chairman of the Forrest County Industrial Park commission, and Chairman of the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission. He is past President of the Hattiesburg Downtown Association, and the United Way of Southeast Mississippi. He was a member of the Hattiesburg Rotary club and the Southeast Mississippi Salvation Army Board. He has served on the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Board and the USM College of Business Administration Advisory Council. Dyess is also Past Director of the Mississippi Economic Council, the Mississippi Power Foundation, the Hattiesburg Area Education Foundation, the Pearl River College Workforce Advisory Council, and the Southeast Mississippi Certified Investment Corporation.
Mr. Dyess was the Sales and Marketing International of Hattiesburg 1997 Executive of the Year and received the Hub Award for his contributions to the community. He is a member of Marquis' Who's Who in the World 1998, Who's Who in the United States and Who's Who in Finance. Mr. Dyess retired as Colonel after twenty-nine years in the Mississippi National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. He served as Intelligence Officer for the 155th Separate Armored Brigade during Desert Storm. Having served ten plus years in Special Forces, he is a master parachutist. Colonel Dyess commanded the 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry, the oldest military unit in Mississippi history. Colonel Dyess' decorations includes the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal. He is a Distinguished Knight of the Order of Saint George as well as a Centurion of the Order of St. Maurice. Colonel Dyess continues to serve our country as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Mississippi. In his role as Civilian Aide, Mr. Dyess serves as an advisor to the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and Senior Army commanders whose areas of responsibility involve the State of Mississippi. Civilian Aides are a key link for the military as they communicate Army messages and themes to communities within the State.
In turn, they provide information about these civilian communities to the Army. For protocol purposes, Civilian Aides are ranked just below 3-star general officers and are considered as the Secretary of the Army's personal representatives. Mr. Dyess is married to the former Kathy Lee of Yazoo City. Mrs. Dyess is a member of the Order of Saint Joan D'Arc. They have one son, Walker. The Dyess' are communicants of The Episcopal church of the Incarnation where he is a member of the Finance commission.
Dr. Roy Ruby
For nearly four decades, Roy H. Ruby was a staff member of the Division of Student Affairs at Mississippi State University, from which he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science in 1961 and 1966, respectively.
In 1964, Ruby began work as program director for what now is the Dean W. Colvard Union. In 2002, he stepped down after 16 years as vice president for student affairs to conclude his MSU career as dean of the College of Education, for which he also had been serving for two years as interim dean. He retired from his alma mater in June 2004.
In his rise from the entry-level position to Student Affairs’ top leadership office, Ruby also was coordinator of student activities, assistant dean of men, acting dean of men, assistant dean of student development, associate dean of student development, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, and dean of student administrative services. Along the way, he departed the division for a time to direct MSU’s Jackson branch campus 1974-78. Ruby is a retired officer in the United States Army Reserves and a former president of the board of trustees of the Starkville Public Schools. He also has been recognized as 2002 alumnus of the year by MSU's Army ROTC program.
Gray W. Harrison, Jr.
Major General (Ret.) Gray W. Harrison, Jr. is a native of Scobey, Mississippi. He entered Mississippi State College in the fall of 1943. As a freshman, he entered into the Mississippi State Army ROTC program. In 1944, General Gray W. Harrison, Jr. was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was trained at Camp Fannin, Texas as a rifleman. He was later trained as a wireman and an intermediate speed radio operator. He was an honor graduate of the Communication Officer- Chief course at Ft. Benning, Georgia. In the fall of 1946, General Harrison re-entered the advanced ROTC program where he commissioned into the Coast Artillery Corps in1948.
General Harrison’s first duty station was with the United States Army Reserve unit in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He then transferred to the Mississippi Army National Guard. As a Guardsman, he served in A Battery, 114th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Infantry Division. When mobilized for the Korean War with this unit, he was a 1st Lieutenant and the Battery A Commander.
In 1951, Major General (Ret.) Harrison graduated Field Artillery Battery Grade Officer’s Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Not long after returning, he was assigned to Far East Command as an individual replacement at the 63rd Field Artillery Battalion, 34th Regimental Combat Team, 24th Infantry Division.
General Harrison was released from active duty in December of 1952 and susequently returned to the Mississippi Army National Guard. In the Guard, he served as Battalion S-3 and Battalion Commander of the 114 FA BN. He also served as 31st Division Artillery S-3, 631st Field Artillery Group Commander, Commander of the 31st Rear Area Operations Center, and Commander of the 31st Support Center.
In 1980, General Harrison was appointed Assistant Adjutant General of the Mississippi Army National Guard by Governor William Winter. He was also nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the United States Senate as a Brigadier General. In 1983, Governor Winter appointed General Harrison as the Adjutant General and he was promoted to Major General. He retired from the National Guard in 1984 and from the Army of the United States in 1986.
Still working in public service, General Harrison was a Regional Director for the American Red Cross and served on the Red Cross National Board of Governors for six years. General Harrison Resides in the Jackson, Mississippi area.
CPT Robert H. Bennett
1995 MSU ROTC Alumnus of the Year
Honorable Sam Scales
Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Mississippi
1990 MSU ROTC Alumnus of the Year
MG James W. Darden
CG 81st RSC and 87th TRG DIV
1998 MSU Alumnus of the Year
MG James W. Ball
Director of Supply and Maintenance
Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (1990-93)
1994 MSU ROTC Alumnus of the Year
Class of 1959-60
MG Jerry M. Keeton
Deputy Commanding General 2nd US Army 1990-93
1992 MSU ROTC Alumnus of the Year
Co-CPT of MSU Basketball Team 1958-59