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Leading Side-By-Side

Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, superintendent, salutes Cadet Robert Hoeft ’22, regimental executive officer, as he leads the parade Oct. 9.—VMI Photo by H. Lockwood McLaughlin.

Many ceremonious events at VMI have a face and a voice. They’re often that of Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, superintendent, or Cadet Kasey Meredith ’22, this year’s regimental commander. The VMI community has become familiar with Meredith from events such as Matriculation Day, Old Yells, and parades.

The Corps of Cadets marched with pride in a morning parade for Family Weekend as loved ones looked on, but the face and voice leading that event were different—a last-minute substitution for the commander of troops.

Though she still marched in the parade, Meredith was unable to call commands due to losing her voice, and instead, Cadet Robert Hoeft ’22, regimental executive officer, led the parade.

“I had the full trust and confidence he could perform in place of me,” Meredith stated. “This display of teamwork is only a slight insight as to how much we actually work together and support each other in each of our objectives. [We] can always rely on [each other’s] support, because we are not just co-workers in our system; we are brother rats who will go the extra mile to help each other.”

“This was a unique experience in which I got to see how the [regimental commanding officer] and I truly have each other’s back,” Hoeft said. “While I had to step up and call commands, Meredith still fought through her sickness and stood behind me at parade to make sure I knew all of the commands. I thought this perfectly portrayed our selflessness and willingness to help another.”

Wins took note of this switch and the examples set by both Meredith and Hoeft that day. “Leadership is not only shown in stepping forward,” Wins said. “Knowing when to step back and perform a support role is also a display of leadership, and it’s a significant one. Both will take this memory with them as they lead in the future.”

Meredith had another unique opportunity to represent VMI at the Oct. 2 football game against The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. VMI rats and cadets spent the morning touring The Citadel, meeting their cadets, and witnessing a parade of their Corps of Cadets.

After the parade, Meredith exchanged memento covers with her Citadel counterpart, Kathryn Christmas, a historic moment in an already momentous annual event known as the Military Classic of the South.

Christmas is The Citadel’s second female regimental commander, and this is the first time in history that both Corps are led by women.

“It was an honor to meet Ms. Christmas,” Meredith stated. “What is monumental is the relationship we’ve formed so that we can learn from each other and seek advice using different perspectives.”

It’s different perspectives that no doubt make up the true strength of the VMI Corps.

  • Maj. Michelle Ellwood and Eric Moore VMI Communications & Marketing