For the newest inductees into the UNH ROTC’s Alumni Hall of Fame, the university played a pivotal role in their lives and careers.
“The foundation was laid here. I couldn’t be more proud of this institution and I couldn’t be more proud of UNH graduates and the places they are in the world,” said Army Col. J.C. Allard '74.
Allard, Air Force Col. Edward A Facey '62 and Air Force Col. Colleen M. Ryan '82 were inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame at a special Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 4 in the Memorial Union Building’s Granite State Room. It was an afternoon for honoring veterans, celebrating the accomplishments of UNH ROTC alumni and looking ahead to the future for the current class of ROTC cadets.
“The cadets here today represent everything that is good and promising about the United States of America,” said Brigadier Gen. (Ret.) Ronald M. Bouchard of the UNH ROTC Alumni Association.
The event was planned and carried out by ROTC cadets and included a scholarship presentation and a flag vigil and ceremony in front of Thompson Hall. It was also a day for the inductees to reconnect with their ROTC “family” and share the wisdom they’ve gained from a combined almost 90 years in the military.
“You’re going to gain as much as you give,” Facey, a self-described “avid UNH fan,” said during his remarks. “Take every opportunity that comes to you.”
Facey served in the Air Force for 30 years and also had a 30-year career as a civilian airline pilot and logged more than 20,000 hours of flying time in the military and as a civilian.
While accepting her award, Ryan echoed Allard’s remarks. “The ROTC program at UNH and its leaders laid the foundation for my Air Force career,” she said.
Ryan’s 26-year military career included postings as a navigator and staff positions at major command levels. She was the first woman to be commander of the 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Following the ceremony, past and current ROTC cadets caught up with friends old and new. Along with being an important academic and leadership program, Ryan said ROTC often becomes a kind of extended family for cadets.
“There really is a camaraderie with others in the military, whether you served together or not. I was just chatting with a gentleman who was a navigator in Vietnam. There’s just that family feeling among anybody who has served,” she said.
Allard, who served in the Army for more than 30 years, said UNH and ROTC were essential to his career and his life. Allard was stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the NATO stablization force in 1997, among other postings. Earlier this spring, he was appointed as a selectman in Pittsfield, New Hampshire.
Being named to the UNH ROTC Alumni Hall of Fame is “incredibly humbling,” he said.
“There are people in this room that I met on my first day in the ROTC program, and they became my lifelong friends … and we have become family in no small measure. ROTC … is a family, and the cadets you meet will be your brothers and sisters forever,” he said.