I was a year behind Rick Thurman at University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the Army ROTC program. I received a 3 year Army ROTC Scholarship and so joined the Tennessee ROTC Ranger Battalion in September 1974. Rick was my platoon leader (3rd PLT) in the Ranger Battalion; the first leader in my Army career. As a senior (MSIV) Rick served as the ROTC Brigade S-3, who was the cadet in charge and responsible for the training of all ROTC cadets.

Rick was a PT stud. He was a fast runner and probably was one of the cadets with the highest physical fitness test scores within the ROTC Brigade.

I recall Rick being a charismatic leader. He had a ready smile when he was not fully in his role as a ROTC cadet leader. His death from a training accident at Ft. Benning was a devastating shock to the UTK ROTC program. I was able to attend his funeral during the spring quarter 1977.

The Army lost a very fine officer due to this tragedy.

Mark N. McDonald, D.M.D.
COL (Ret), US Army

Photo from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, yearbook 1977.

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