During an awards presentation for Citadel cadets, Cadet First Sergeant Neal Bultman, a senior political science major from Walker Michigan received the MG Robert T. Frederick Leadership Award. He attends the college on an ROTC scholarship.

The Citadel sends about a third of its graduates every year to the armed services as commissioned officers after graduation. What makes this year’s award so special was that Bultman was presented the award by South Carolina’s last living member of the 1st Special Service Force also known as the Devil’s Brigade, Gordon Simms, 96, who served directly under Frederick.

Bultman, who serves as the Army ROTC unit’s first sergeant, has appeared on the Dean’s List seven times and the President’s List once during his time at The Citadel. The award is important, but what will make the day unforgettable for Bultman will be accepting it from the last remaining South Carolina member of the 1st Special Force unit from World War II. Gordon Simms USA (Ret.), 96, of Columbia, who served directly under Frederick, will make the presentation.

Simms was an original member of the American-Canadian strike force called 1st Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade. It was a joint commando unit activated in 1942 under Frederick. Members received intensive training in stealth tactics, hand-to-hand combat, parachuting, amphibious warfare, rock climbing, and mountain warfare. The force was disbanded in 1944. Many American and Canadian military Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit. Simms also once served as the president of the 1st Special Services Force Association.

To earn the Maj. Gen. Robert T. Frederick Award a cadet must successfully graduate from the Leader Development and Assessment Course, be compliant with his/her Army ROTC contract, and exhibit exceptional leadership ability and potential. Once eligible, a cadet is chosen by criteria including, but not limited to, grade-point average, Army Physical Fitness Test scores, land navigation scores, marksmanship, and participation on the Ranger Challenge Team.

“Having the opportunity to meet Mr. Simms is an absolute honor. I will strive to model my life, leadership, and devotion to country after his. Meeting him will add a great deal of meaning to this accomplishment,” Bultman said.

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The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is 101 years old at the Citadel and over the past 10 years, 650 newly commissioned officers in the military were graduates of the college.

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Photo courtesy The Citadel