Ren Harman: I will do a little housekeeping business at the top and thenwe'll get started with a couple of questions. Good morning. This is Ren Harman, the project director for VT Stories. Today is Saturday, September 23, 2017 at about 9:10 AM. We are in the Alumni Library in the Holtzman Alumni Center with a very special guest. If you could just say in a complete sentence my name is, when you were born, and where you were born.
General Everhart: My name is Carlton D. Everhart, II. I was born on the 17th ofJune 1961 at Selfridge Air Force Base in Mt. Clemmons, Michigan.
Ren: Thank you. What years did you attend Virginia Tech?
General E: '79 to 1983.
Ren: And your major?
General E: I was a major in agriculture, education, and with ag business.
Ren: So the first question, can you just tell me a little bit about growing upand your early life?
General E: Sure. I grew up on a border town. Are you familiar with the Andy1:00Griffith Show?
General E: Mayberry?
General E: That's where my dad's practice was and we had a 400-acre farm rightacross the state line in Cana, Virginia, which is at the foot of Fancy Gap Mountain. And so, early on, the reason why you may ask is that why did you go to school and everything in North Carolina? It's just because the community was so small it was even go up the mountain and travel or down the mountain to dad's practice, as he was going to work anyway, and my mother worked with my father, so we went to school in North Carolina, and in the town of Mayberry.
General E: And so I grew up on the farm and with the cultural life there, whichactually drove my decision to come to Virginia Tech, or part of my decision to come to Virginia Tech, at least major in agriculture, because I started but here and I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but I started out here in business administration, business management, and had a heart to heart talk with myself, and said I really would like to change my major to go into the agriculture, because with a 400-acre farm eventually that's what I would like to 2:00do is run the farm.
General E: So great years growing up early on in North Carolina, and then weactually had a house on the farm in Virginia. That's where we lived. And then my sister winded up going to UVA, my oldest sister, and my sister next to me, Jennine, winded up coming to Virginia Tech. And so coming and looking at both campuses I fell in love with this place. I fell in love with the architecture. Fell in love with the hometown atmosphere, fell in love with the spirit, and that's what kind of drove my decision besides wanting to fly. That's what drove my decision to come here and then join the Corps of Cadets and become obviously a graduate.
Ren: Right. There's four siblings total?
General E: There is. So, I've got two older sisters and a younger brother.
Ren: And your father was a physician?
General E: He was. He started out, he went to Wake Forest, went to Wake ForestSchool of Medicine and my mom was a nurse there. That's where they met, going through nurse's training. 3:00
And then he entered into the military because back then that's how you, if youwant to pay for college you have to have a commitment, and so his commitment was to help pay his college of medical school he had to join the military, and that's kind of where, a little bit of the flavor, we really didn't know that. Actually my grandfather kept showing me model airplanes that got me interested, and then to want to fly. The decision happened when I was about 12 years old. [00:03:31 low-level] that flew by the house.
Ren: When I was doing some research and I watched a couple of interviews and Iheard you speaking and I couldn't figure out where you were from. I said this guy has to be, and I said either North Carolina or South Carolina, so I was close.
General E: On the border. It's in Virginia but it's so close we kind of inventedour own accent.
Ren: Right. I'm from southwest Virginia, so I understand. What was life likegrowing up? What kind of things did you get into as a young child? 4:00
General E: What kind of things I got into that I don't want to tell you on this interview?
Ren: [Laughs] Yeah.
General E: I played sports in high school. I loved football, so I startedplaying football when I was about in the second grade. As a matter of fact, I wanted to play football here at Virginia Tech. It was a very very small school. Mountain Airy High School is very very small, and we would work on the farm during the weekends. Work on the farm during the week. That's how dad would give us an allowance. We helped out. We helped build our home. When I was about 15 or 16 years old the summer jobs that you always do, construction or carpentry work or help around the farm and those types of things, so very active in high school, student counsel, those types of things. Sports, I did football, wrestling, track and weightlifting. That's what I did. So key club, those types of things. The same things you do in school. 5:00
Ren: Right. What kind of lessons did you learn working on a farm growing up?
General E: That's a great question. I learned the foundation of the things thatare my common beliefs, my ethics, not only what the Air Force has taught me, but came from my mother and father. Mom and dad were always, if you lose your ethic of honesty and integrity then you lose yourself. There are some things you can do on the farm to get yourself in trouble, and about every time the rope got just about long enough to hang myself on they were always there to give me an extra inch, and then pick me up. It's not that I was a trouble kid, it's not that at all. They would pick me up, dust me off and say, "Okay, did you learn your lesson on that one? And if you didn't let's learn you a lesson on that one." There's also a couple of things they did, you know, mom and dad would always say, "Hey, if you're going to do a decent day's work you do it with a decent day's dollar. And when you go into something you give it 110%, not 100%, 6:00you give it 110%."
And so those foundations is what, just that small amount of stuff and don't getme wrong, there was a plethora of other things that they taught me. And being very close to our siblings, our family was close, and so we always took care of each other. We always helped out with each other. I kind of got myself in trouble because I always monitored who my sisters were going to date.
Ren: As one should, right.
General E: As it should be, exactly right. So I owe a lot of that, I owe CoachHansworth, my football coach, laying all the foundations and laying those things and intestinal fortitude, what you do, what you do in life. I owe a lot to him. And I owe a lot coming to the Corps here, because I really believe that the Corps and my professors here, two of my professors who just took me under their wing, they really did and helped me through, a lot of good things. But the Corps 7:00laid the foundation of what I did in the next 33 years of my military service, because I've been in for 33 years now. So a long way to answer your question, but those foundations have been built all the way. When I got to the Air Force it continued to build. It never stops growing, and that's another thing that mom and dad taught me, you never stop learning, ever. So it's a constant learning experience and it's a constant experience of you learn from your mistakes and you grow and you make yourself better and better.
Ren: What position did you play in football?
General E: I was a linebacker, a defense end at one time, defensive end tackleat one time, and a full back. Our team was really really really small, so I ended up playing defense and offense.
Ren: You played both ways, right.
General E: We were 60-minute people.
Ren: Oh gosh. Did you come from a military family? Was many members of yourfamily in the military?
General E: Nope. As a matter of fact, dad, like I said I was born on Selfridge8:00Air Force Base, and my sister was born on Selfridge Air Force base and when his commitment was done he does, "I love the military. I don't like people telling me what to do. I'm a doctor, I should be able to..." That's when he moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina because he was from Lexington. It was an agreement he had to make with the State to go to a rural area other than your hometown, and that's where we originally settled, and then we moved up on our family farm in Virginia when I was about 8 or 9 years old, 6 or 7 years old actually.
Ren: What was his specialty in medicine?
General E: He was a family practitioner and specialized in family medicine. Sohe had about four generations of children he delivered.
Ren: Wow. That's impressive.
General E: He practiced medicine if I'm not mistaken practiced medicine about 42years, and mom was a family nurse practitioner and practiced medicine with him.
My parents like I say, they laid the foundation. Dad was a doctor and my mom was9:00one of the first nurse practitioners to actually go through the program which originated in Chapel Hill. And so there was oftentimes on the farm where she would be at school and dad on a Wednesday, because that was his day off would go, and my sister we would take care of ourselves at the farm until he got back there the next day. And you go how would you live your children overnight on a farm? We just don't do that anymore. Well back then you did, so that was a matter of trust. That was a matter of I know you're not going to get to school on time. I know you're not going to cut-out. That's just what we expected you to do. It wasn't a matter of choice, it was just this is your expectations, go do it.
Ren: And the youngest of five, so a big family, close family. Some of thesevalues and things you talk about your mother and father instilled in you, obviously your father was a physician and your mother a nurse practitioner as you mentioned, education obviously that was probably a big focal point of their 10:00upbringing, right?
General E: It was. And it's interesting, you know, do I go to college or not?'You're going to go to college; you're just going to pick where you want to go.' There again, I knew I wanted to fly. I knew that after seeing a couple of Navy A6s fly a low-level route right by the house I said, "That's what I want to do," because mom goes, we were actually painting a fence on the farm, the jets flew over. It peeled off and one of them did a low-level aileron roll, which I didn't know what it was at that time, and mom goes, "Do you want to be a doctor like your dad like you always said you wanted to be?" I said, "No mom, I want to do that," and she goes, "Well then go for it. Go for it. Kick those doors open and try to make it happen.
So, the education piece was not whether it's going to happen, it's going tohappen, you just need to pick the circumstance of how it's going to happen. And 11:00so they allowed us a lot of leeway on that, a lot of leeway. So it was just expected, and then continuing education, you know it's very fortunate because the military it likes you to have your advance degrees, and so it's expected. And there was no harm, no foul if it didn't happen. That was the best thing about my mom and dad. If it happened, great. If it didn't happen, great. All my family they've got advance degrees and there again it's just part of life.
Ren: Right. As someone who has traveled down to Fancy Gap quite often to go toNorth Carolina and further south, I would often see those jets kind of flying and practicing I guess that you're discussing there. When did Virginia Tech come into the picture? You said you visited, but I guess probably in high school you started thinking about college?
General E: It was. It was high school. My sister was here. Like I say, my oldestsister went to UVA. What appealed to me was the Corps of Cadets. I knew I 12:00wanted to fly and the other thing that appealed to me about Virginia Tech was the fact that like I say, living in Virginia, being in school in North Carolina, I was a ball player and those types of things, so I was going to be a big fish. There I was a big fish in a little sea, and this campus, because of the student body and the population back then, I think it was around 25,000, I was going to be a little fish in a big sea. How do I make that transition? I don't know how to do this. The Corps of Cadets offered me #1 an opportunity to be able to go pursue what I wanted to do and that was fly. Two, it offered me a chance to be able to in a close-knit community to be able to, we could depend on each other, so this overwhelming beautiful campus did not overwhelm me, because you can get lost in a collegiate life if you don't watch it. 13:00
General E: And so it helped me to get through college without partying too muchor enjoying myself too much and then flunking out of school. That's not what I wanted to do. And like I say, I was going to play ball here. I was a little bit bigger then, a lot of weights, a lot of football. I had already tried out at several colleges and it was just a decision that came to light, because Bill Dooley goes, "Hey, we will red shirt you, then your next two years we'll give you a partial scholarship, and if everything goes well we will give you a full ride your last two years." I got to thinking, well, if I'm a red-shirted freshman and red-shirted freshman turns into a blocking dummy, blocking dummy gets hurt, can't pass your medical physical so won't have the opportunity to fly, and you're not going to play pro ball, you're just not big enough, fast enough, strong enough. This is the conversation I'm having with myself as an 18-year-old. I said maybe I just ought to go into the Corps, and you want to 14:00pursue flying, you want to pursue the Air Force, just go do that, and that was the decision I made. I built you a watch. I didn't mean to.
Ren: Oh no, you're fine.
General E: There again, I had complete support of my mother and father, and thenit was the beauty of the campus and being raised in those mountains in Virginia, they've got mountains here, just gorgeous, a close-knit community. I mean literally, you know this college campus, this university. You can literally walk across the street and you're downtown Blacksburg. Well guess what? I'm downtown Cana, Virginia for the small area, or if I go down to the big town which back then was Mount Airy, I'm very comfortable, very familiar, the hometown life, the opportunities, and that's what this university allowed me to do and that's what the Corps allowed me. And that went all into the decision matrix and I'm telling you, for me, not because of the successes I've had in my career, for me I've 15:00been tremendously blessed and I would never go back and change these decisions again. I'm just happy with the decisions I've made. It actually for me worked our perfectly.
Ren: Perfect, right. Do you remember your first memory of the campus when youstepped on? Do you remember your feelings and what it looked like, maybe even smelled like?
General E: Yeah, absolutely. So you're going to Virginia Tech, whooh! You got anacceptance letter. You're going into the Corps of Cadets. Whooh! What does that mean? What am I doing to myself? So we have to show up early. You asked me, so my first experience was coming on here and visiting my sister. There was a lot of times I would go visit my sister in Charlottesville and then come back through as we're heading back down to Fancy Gap, and to Cana, come back through and visit Jennine here. And then looking at the Corps and looking at what she was doing, looking at the academic buildings, looking at the architecture, you 16:00just fall more and more... I mean this campus is beautiful. The Hokie stone, the architecture, it's built in the same flavor. It's an historical piece. Coming into the fall, seeing the fall colors, those are the things that I remember and it was just like home. It was just like home on the farm.
So then fast-forward, as you're getting ready to enter you have to show up andyou have to get tailored for your uniform. And mom brought me up. She brought me up. Dad was practicing medicine, so she brought me up in her spare time. We came up and saw the campus, got tailored. We got orientation, like this is great. This is just great. This is exactly what I want. Then we get here and you get your uniforms issued to you and you have to go get a haircut. And your mom and dad is there and everybody friendly and happy and you're in the Corps and this is great, and then they go away and then it starts. So that's when I got my 17:00first taste of what the military is all about too. I remember, no kidding, I remember, this actually seriously happened. I just had my haircut. I had hair back then. It was about this short, it's buzzed, because they told us to. Just kind of got at orientation was discipline and moving and following orders was all about on the first day. I remember laying in bed and hearing a scratching sound, this [making scratching sound], what is that? It was my nub of my hair on my pillow. I'm going oh what have I got myself into? Then they blew taps. So the bugler came out and blew taps and I was thinking oh I am in the military now. What have I got myself into?
Ren: So you didn't do ROTC or anything in high school?
General E: I didn't. Dad was the only one in the military, so my family, mygreat-uncles served in Vietnam and things like that.
They were aviators. I didn't truly know that. I knew of them of them. I have18:00never really full met them, so this is my first military experience. Eyes wide open. Eyes wide open.
Ren: You mentioned a couple of, you said you had a couple of professors thatwere pretty influential in your degree. Where did you live your freshman year, in what dorm?
General E: I was in Brodie. Then I was in [Rash]. They are no longer there.We've got beautiful dorms now.
Ren: Yeah, they are really now. My office is Shanks, and that's where VT Storiesis too. Brodie and Rash, okay.
General E: Brodie and Rush and just on the upper quad, so up on the upper quadis where we lived the whole time. And back then if you remember we also had the Schultz Dining Hall, and we were all out on that campus, so we would march to breakfast. We would march to retreat in the evening.
Ren: It's now the Moss Arts Center, right. Schultz is gone, right.
General E: Yeah. But you really wish we had the cafeteria break, because therewas the comradery there when you're getting picked on in your meals as a 19:00freshman or sitting in your company or your squadron back then really made us close.
Ren: I used to go and donate blood in blood drives that they would have inSchultz and I would always see the cadets dining hall and they would be in there and things. My office being in Shanks I see the freshman squaring the corners and all that stuff. I mean you had experience.
General E: Oh yeah.
Ren: Professors that were influential or advisors during your time here?
General E: Yeah, one of them, two of them that really come to mind is JohnHilsen and then Dr. Leon Geyer, Dr. Geyer was a lawyer and an ag...economics professor. So when I changed my degree from business management into ag business ag education it was kind of unique at that time, because that's kind of where ag business fell into was the ag education realm, so I kind of bifurcated into two worlds. And actually three worlds, because we would take principles of 20:00accounting and then we would take business law and then we would take ag law. So I wound up having a lot of classes with Dr. Geyer, a lot because of all those law classes and economic classes that we had to take because it was parallel at that time.
General E: It was kind of just the way the uniqueness of the program was. So Igot to know him, became great friends with him. He may not even remember because I was one of their students, but I remember him because of his work ethic. He took care of me. We could have great conversations. A couple of times I played racquet ball with him. He would stand in the middle and beat me 21 to 1 and I would be soaked in sweat, but it taught me lessons there. And then Dr. Hilsen who was part of the ag education program led us through, laid the foundation. Again, a lot of foundation laying for the Everhart kid here, a lot.
General E: Taught us what it's all about to be, and I still use the things he21:00gives me as far as when I do public speaking how to public speak, how to talk to kids, how to motivate, how to do leadership. Those things that part of that whole education program, part of the whole business program still follows through to me today. Last night I was at a dinner and he said, "Hey, can you come up and say a couple of words?" Sure. No notes, but I will, and it was great, not because of what I said, it was great because there again, those foundations you feel more comfortable doing things like that. And so those two professors stand out, and they really stand out in my mind. You know you remember the commandant and Howard M. Lane was a retired inspector general who has now passed away, he retired and became the commandant. And so you remember your commandants, you do because you've got to memorize their names.
General E: He laid the foundation of where I believe the Corps was heading and22:00where it is now, and so yeah, those are the folks.
Ren: Right. So through these collection of interviews that we've done for VTStories we've interviewed a lot of cadets, and especially in the years prior to when going into the Corps was mandatory before Marshall Hahn kind of changed it.
General E: We were just talking about that.
Ren: So we hear a lot of stories about the rat year, so I'm sure you have yourown collection of stories and experiences from that first year in the Corps.
General E: Well you know it's new cadet now. As a matter of fact I was pickingon them, "Are you a new cadets or are you a rat? Because back in the old corps we were rats."
General E: Of course I don't want to get anybody in trouble. It was a veryunique experience. You get picked on a lot, squaring corners like you talked about. When you walk you would walk at a brace, so it's a very stiff walk with your shoulder dragging down the hall. Going to the dining hall was a unique 23:00experience because when you're going through your rat you have to request permission to sit at the table and you better figure out if it's a junior or software or senior's table. And if they get up and leave before you are staring straight ahead, and we were class of '83 so you had to chew your food, "chew your food" 83 times before you could swallow it. So you wind up being... I was 230 pounds, I still played ball. After that first quarter, because we were on the quarter system then, I was about 185 pounds because you didn't get to the gym and you're not eating, because you get in there and you get out as fast as you can. That's forming up and making sure, because you know the first thing that happens is early in the morning if you got the duty, you are going to memorize what the breakfast menu was, you're going to make the call out, which tells everybody what uniform they need to wear, whether it's cold weather, rainy weather, whether it's just straight-up. You're already unique because you have this white belt, so everybody knows who you are as a freshman. 24:00
Ren: Oh, okay. Yeah.
General E: So you stand out like a sore thumb. You know your first couple ofmonths you are actually squaring corners on the upper quad, and once you come off of the upper quad campus then you can walk like a normal freshman. And so it teaches you discipline. It teaches you patience. It teaches you intestinal fortitude and courage. But it's also a rite of passage, a rite of passage, and then you look forward to the time here you become termed. You no longer become a rat, but you actually become a full-fledged member of the Corps of Cadets with the privileges of a freshman.
General E: And I will never forget, you know, they kind of beat on the door. Oh,and you've got room inspections. You know, the good thing I really appreciate about the Corps of Cadets, even in our rat year is that the upper classman always they took care of you. It was Hotel Squadron at that time and now it's 25:00Hotel Company. That was my family and nobody, they could pick on us, but nobody else picked on the family. Each one of the companies and each one of the squadron's is that way. If you had academic problems all you had to do was knock on the door to an upper classman and they have to mandatorily tutor you to help you through, and so you had a free tutor. We had quiet hours, so in a certain amount of time from like 7 to 11 if I remember correctly and then 1 to 4 was quiet hours in the afternoon, and then again 7 to 11 at night. So when it's quiet hours the boomboxes aren't going. I'm dating myself. So you had quiet hours that you could study and you get your uniforms together, so there's a discipline that gets taught to you there.
Yes, in the morning you come out, in the evening you come out and you getinspected, and you get dinged. And if you had dust on your shoes or your shirt tuck wasn't just right or you wasn't proper standards in the Corps, that night 26:00after supper you had to go in and knock on the door to the upper classman who gave you the infraction and you had to report in. So it's teaching you this military discipline. It's teaching you a disciplined life that you carry through with you in academics. You carry through you in a campus life. Unfortunately, and this is just my point of view, the students who haven't experienced that I think are missing out. That's the reason why we've got a lot of people who were Corps only who just come for the discipline. They are not coming in the military. They are there just to join the Corps because it's like a fraternal organization and they are there and they wind up building relationships that carry them through. So yeah, the rat year was a memorable, not pleasurable experience, but there is a purpose.
Ren: Yeah, right.
General E: There is a purpose and it's changed. It's just changed now becausewe're no longer rats, they are new cadets. And it happened on my watch, which is very interesting, because my senior year as a regimental executive officer, I 27:00was in charge of the new cadet or the rat system.
And it's not fundamentally any different from the other service academies,[00:27:11] or the Air Force academy or the military academy or the Coast Guard. I looked at their cadet manuals and the things that they do is about the same foundation. It's unique because it's tradition and honor that we have because it makes us separate from Virginia Tech, which is a really good thing.
Ren: When I'm walking in my office in Shanks and I see the new cadets, I waslike I bet they're so tired. That's what I think.
General E: No, no, I was too. Yeah. It's funny because there was times where Iwould fall asleep in class because we got up so early and then we went to bed so late and I had to study study study study. And so I would literally come off to campus, go to my room and tell my roommate, "I'm going to sleep for 5 minutes. 28:00Wake me up. I'll get a shirt tuck and then I'm going to go to my class," because I was falling asleep in my classes. So you actually teach yourself to micro-nap, which in the military is a beautiful thing, because I still use it today.
Ren: Yeah, a little 15-minute and you're good.
General E: Absolutely.
Ren: Yeah. A couple of questions here, so you graduated in 1983, so you werehere in the late 70s and early 1980s, a lot of these interviews that we've done we don't have a lot of graduates from the 1980s classes. What kind of things were happening on campus? Obviously there was a presidential election going into the Reagan years and things. Do you remember any major events kind of happening on campus that you can remember during this time?
General E: Yeah. On campus it major public events. It was about a normalroutine. We were watching the Reagan years come up. The things I do remember, 29:00the economy was not the greatest and then things started picking up better. There were no protests on campus. It was standard college life, so nothing just boomed out at you. And I will be honest with you, I was trying my best just to get through college, so I was focused internally. Things on the campus it was pretty normal. We were building the library, the library was coming up. I do remember the campus expanding. I was talking to my sister about it. The whole time we were on the campus they were always building something, which is good. They were always building something.
Ren: And it's the same today I think.
General E: And it's the same today, so world events, those types of things, ofcourse we were watching the Soviet Union at that time. We were watching world events. We watched the shuttle blow-up. That came I think it was a little bit later that that actually happened.
But it was those things that come to mind, because that also ties into the30:00military a little bit. But in the four years I was there what I really saw happen was there again was in the Corps. The Corps went from very very small, all of a sudden the recruiting went up and it just started opening up and it started growing and became one of the largest student organizations on campus, and how does that fit in? And so those types of things, that's the beauty of this campus also, is that things that happen that you see happening now on campuses may happen here, but there is at least a discourse that happens of a conversation so it just doesn't... And I'll tell you, the tragedy that happened here on this campus has drawn Virginia Tech together. We are Virginia Tech and that's not cliché. That's what it is.
Ren: I had the honor of interviewing Nikki Giovanni last spring, and obviously31:00she had a pivotal role. We talked about her and I think as her speech and everyone on this campus, that event as tragic as it was, I think it really showed the world what Virginia Tech was really about, how we bonded together and I think it really made it stronger, yeah.
General E: I'll tell you we were watching it. And I will tell you, if youfast-forward, I was talking to the Corps of Cadets the other day, if you fast-forward one of the things I have pride about this campus is that I was in Afghanistan and I was at the Embassy and I took my Hokie flag, and I put it on my little... We had a little small balcony if you want to call it that, just a little rail and I tied my Virginia Tech flag there. And every time you had to go eat everybody would pass by it and it was on the third or fourth deck stories up, and there sat the Virginia Tech flag. And so the folks at the Embassy say, "Hey, who gave you permission to fly the Virginia Tech flag up there? Because 32:00you know everybody can see it." Everybody can see it where we're out in Afghanistan in Kabul. I said, "Well, nobody did, and I'm not going to ask permission to either because I don't want the answer." So for a year my Virginia Tech flag hung up there, and it's just something to remember a little bit of home.
Ren: Wow, even in Afghanistan.
General E: Even in Afghanistan. And I'm telling you a Hokie nation is all overthe world. I had so many people come up and go, "Did you go to Tech? I went to Tech. What class are you?" I just had a general officer come up to me three days ago Hokie hi. I went, "Did you go to Tech?" He goes, "Yeah, I was in Charlie Company in the Corps." He goes, "I was class of '86 and you were the regimental XO and we were scared of you." I don't see myself in that role, so sorry I...
But no, to answer your question, it was pretty standard at that time. Economy is33:00growing up, and so people were feeling their way, so nothing extraordinary, catastrophic or overwhelming happened. It was a great time to be on this University campus. It really truly was. I think the campus was feeling its way out. You know one of the great organizations besides the Corps here I was in the German Club and that helped me through and the social aspects of it and we just built a [manner?manor] over there, so a lot of history. It was a good time to be here. You know there was nothing that disrupted the life, and thank goodness, because I don't know where I would be today if it had. I don't know.
Ren: Outside of just struggling and really trying to graduate from college andbeing in the Corps and kind of all that brings, were there any other difficult experiences that you struggled through or that you had a difficult time with?
General E: No. The biggest thing that I had happen at that time, my grandfatherwho I was very close with who kind of led me into aviation, he never served 34:00because he had some medical issues, but he was always fascinating, started getting a little bit ill in his health. And then he eventually after I graduated he passed away, but that started happening. So that was a big influencer and that kind of got you to thinking about things, life in general, those types of instances. But there again I was very blessed, and so I was looking forward to going okay, I'm through the Corps. I have not graduated. The next step is I've got to get through pilot training. And the good news is is that folks who had been through pilot training were coming back and telling us of those experiences, so I kind of knew what to expect in that next facet of my life. And now I'm going to pilot training. I'm entering the military, how does this work? There again it's because of campus life. There again it's because of things we had gone through that set us up for success. I'm just not saying that because of 35:00this interview; I'm saying it because it's really really really true. You can go through any of these interviews and people will probably say the same thing over and over and over again.
Ren: Right. So once you graduated in 1983 with a bachelor's degree inagriculture, I wish we had hours and hours to talk about your military career and your service and the history, so in the class of 1989 you graduated with a Master of Science degree in business management, from the University of Arkansas. And then later in 2002 Master of Science degree in national security strategy from National War College, which I'm going to ask you about here in just a second. Once you graduated Virginia Tech and you went into flight school where did your career and your life kind of take you then, and I guess as a brief synopsis as possible.
General E: Good point, because it's 33 years.
General E: So I graduated in '83 and now the way the system was set up I didn'treally come on active duty until 1984. So I worked construction. I had a 36:00construction job that helped me put myself through college, the four years I was there. I just stayed on construction and then moved down to Columbus, Mississippi and that's where pilot training was.
Real quickly, pilot training, it is a master's degree that you're going to getin one year, and it is disciplined, it is rigorous. You learn two weapon systems. You learn two aircrafts in that year period. And then the first assignment out of the door and I picked it was C-130s Hercules out of Little Rock. And went from Little Rock and then was very fortunate, I went to Desert Shield and Desert Storm, deployed there for almost a year in the Tactics Office there. We stared an initial cadre of a new facet called the Joint Readiness Training Center that the military bought up as a joint endeavor with the Army. Then I was very fortunate to be picked for the initial cadre of our newest 37:00airlifter at that time which was the C-17 Globemaster, into schools, and then back to flying to commands.
So I have been very fortunate. I have been able to command at the squadroncommand level, so as a squadron commander, at the group level, which is a little bit bigger, then at the wing level so you're running a wing of about 10,000 people twice, a numbered Air Force of about 30 or 40,000 people, and now to top it all off being able to command at the major command level. I have access to about 125,000 people that I work with. You know I've done staff assignments at the air staff at the Pentagon. I had a very fortunate tenure as the military aide to President Clinton for two years at the White House, and then at National War College going to school, back to command. I've been overseas, pretty 38:00blessed, because in our area of responsibility and because of my military career I can honestly say that I've been around the world vertically. I've been around the world horizontally in my travels in flying. I've been on every continent, so there again, very very blessed. 
Ren: Yeah, absolutely.
General E: Now, we can always go into branches and see all that went on, butbesides the wars, besides Afghanistan, besides things that we did in Bosnia besides, you know that's part of the military life. That's part of what the nation calls you to do.
Ren: Right. And your dates of commission, so you're a 4-Star General. That wasin 2015, correct?
General E: It was.
Ren: What was that experience like?
General E: Well, things happened so fast. I was a 1-Star down at Air Education &Training Command at San Antonio. Then I was deployed to Afghanistan for a year, and the next thing I know I'm in Europe and I'm a 2-Star. Then I get a call right when I'm getting ready to come back and they go, "Hey, you're going to be 39:00a 3-Star." And then I get a call a year later and they said, "You're going to be a 4-Star."
So really from 1 star to 4 star has been about four years, maybe five. So thingshappened really really fast where you can't even take a breath and think about all this. So pinning on the 4-Star and taking command of Air Mobility Command is a thing that you will never forget, because our Chief of Staff at the Air Force was Chief Mark Wells and he came and pinned me on. He goes to a ceremony and he gives you officially by Congress, now put on the 4-Star and you are appointed. He did that ceremony. My parents were there and my wife was there and my grandson was there. My grandson in the middle of my speech, now this is the #1 General in the Air Force, he's sitting there and my grandson gets on stage, he was 21/2 at that time, with a water bottle and sits beside of General Wells. We'll I'm trying to do my speech and they are just having like a grandfather 40:00child discussion. I'm going well you know, we can sit here and watch this if we like rather than listen to me talk.
It was phenomenal, and then to be able to step into command, this command andthe things that we do, what this command does worldwide, delivering hope and fueling the fight, it's saving lives because that's in my portfolio. I mean right now my folks are helping out with Maria, right now, got the call. Search and rescue in Mexico. We're still supporting the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's those things that make it all worth it. You asked me about those experiences, it's overwhelming. It happens and you're in the office and giddy-up and go. You ain't got time to think about it. You had better learned your job and you're going because you're leading, which is what all this has been about the whole time.
Ren: Training, right. A list of awards, Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze StarMedal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal. There's a whole list here. Is there any award that kind of sticks out and that you're most proud of? 41:00
General E: Yeah, you're always proud of your Air Medal because that's what youdo, and I gained that during war. The Bronze Star was fast-forward now 15 years and that's when I was a commander, so you're commanding in war. It's not that I'm warmongerer. No. You're trained to serve the nation's call and all that training comes, it just so happens that the battlefield is where it all comes to maturity. And so to be able to lead airmen in combat, bring them home safely, that's the rewarding piece.
So those two medals and then the medal in Afghanistan is a unique experience,because that was one of the first times that I had not gone out just with the Air Force. I had been in my joint service. What I mean by that, I was with the Army. I was at the Marine Corp. I was with General McChrystal at the ISAF 42:00Headquarters, the security forces, our international security forces. And then I was at the Embassy with Ambassador Eikenberry, a very unique time.
And I would tell you that there was literally times where I would come and in mymilitary career I saw a general officer named Ed Reiter who was from North Carolina. We tried out to play football also at Appalachia, and I said, "Ed, how are you doing?" And he kind of looked at me. I said, "We were at Commander General Staff College together," which is a joint school. That man saved my life twice. Those are the things you remember. Those are what makes it worthwhile. So the medals, the medals are medals. They are. That's just the achievement that we did at the time. It's' the experience behind the medal that you will always remember.
Ren: You mentioned you were a military aide to President Clinton. I will not askyou to discuss politics, but...
General E: I'm A-political.
Ren: Exactly. What was that experience like and just being able to enter that building?43:00
General E: First of all, it was the experience of a lifetime. You don't see, youdon't have the opportunity to see our Commander in Chief, our Chief Exec, and our Chief Diplomat at that point of contact. Very rarely do people get to do that. So as a military aide you have a lot of responsibility, so you are engaging with the President, supporting the office of the Presidency. Just because I got to know President Clinton, he was the President. I support the office as a military aide. And so you see how politics works. You see how policies developed. You see how the budget works. You see how policies developed around the budget. You see how the nation works diplomatically. You see how the nation works of what we are trying to achieve at that time, and you see it at that level.
You meet a lot of people. You meet a lot of people, movie stars, diplomats, you44:00see the world. It was tough on a family. You're gone 200 days a year or more just because of the travel schedule, and there are five military aides. There again, there's five military aides and at that time we called it the Brotherhood. We would call it the Hood if we had...at that time. There have been ladies. There's been military aides, it's just there were five males at that time.
Ren: Is that from each branch of the military?
General E: It is, and to include the Coast Guard, so each military branchincluding the Department of Transportation and Coast Guard, Homeland Security now, but very close, very very close. A very unique experience. There again, it's your training because you've got to be able to think out of the box, because you never know when the President is going to ask you a question. You never know when he's going to ask you something about the military, because you are the person in uniform. He's standing right there beside of you. 45:00
It teaches you to think on your feet. It teaches you to think in a big box, butit also teaches you to think first and then engage, put your mouth in gear, because you are talking to people who are listening. The family was very kind to my family, which being raised in the southern mountains of Virginia you go up a wrung on the ladder. So no matter what you thought about him, you know, there again, we're supporting the Office of the Presidency, but that helps. It helps in that two-period and it is just a two-year assignment. It was really really good, and you learn how all the government works on Capitol Hill versus the White House, if there is a versus and that's just my term, but also how the inner agency works, how the military moves into or works with the inner agency, the State Department, Homeland Security. It was there at that time, but the FBI, 46:00how all that works, so a very unique experience.
Ren: That's fascinating. In 2002 when you graduated from the National WarCollege, the alumni of the War College is a pretty impressive list, including our current Secretary of Defense and others. I'm just curious, what was that experience like and attending that college, and knowing the alumni that kind of came before you?
General E: That's a great question because we were the class of 9-11. 9-11happened while we were there. I remember we in a lecture. We had gone to our seminar classes. They said, "Hey, you need to go downstairs to your seminar rooms. You need to turn on the news and you are sequestered here, you're not going to move," and I remember watching the towers come down. So it was a very unique experience and that drove us even closer together. And I'm going to tell you, my alumni, I see them out all over the place. And there's a unique bonding there because you go, "Hey, we were at school together," and you can instantly 47:00get things done. It's the bro or broette com or handshake com or picking up the phone com or whatever, and it's amazing the things that you get done because it is a close-knit community. And so that 9-11 drove us closer together and then it even drove us more to serve our nation as it did with all of us. But because we were sitting right there and then we are like, "Hey, we don't want to be here at school. We're done. We just saw that happen. We're watching the Pentagon burnt, we're out." And the school said, "Nice try. You're going to be here with us a year and you're going to be doing this for a long time, because that's not going to go away.
General E: And the speakers, oh my gosh, the guest speakers we had. We had theservice chiefs. We had Colin Powell come and talk to us. We had people who have retired, so the alumni would come and speak with us. We had the Secretary of Defense come and talk to us.
Just the speakers and the people who you got to meet that is a, and the campus48:00is great too because we're also with the Eisenhower, used to be called ICAF, the Industrial College of the Air Forces, so that was a competition that we had. We also have athletic events with the competition against each other on the campus, so the National War College, the National Defense University campus has several colleges there. So think of the college campus here. Think of the University here. You've got the College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Business, same way, we were just part of it. So a historical building, Roosevelt Hall. Some of it was built a long time ago, a lot of history. It was phenomenal, it really was, and I would never have...having a chance to go to that school is a chance of a lifetime, it really is.
Ren: My 10-year-old is in the fifth grade.
General E: Tell him to come to the Air Force.
Ren: Yeah, thinking about it. [Laughs] Because there is probably a shortage,which we will talk about later. He had to do a project on September 11th and he 49:00was kind of talking to my wife and I about it and we kind of talked to him about it a little bit. It's interesting to see that a lot of children obviously are learning about this event, and I think about, because I was in high school at the time. How did, as you were saying, there was almost like a greater commitment to service after 9-11. As the world changed and I can remember seeing more American flags outside of homes and there was a more patriotic sense following that, but how did the military kind of change after that tragic event?
General E: The focus of purpose changed. We had gone from the Soviet Union nowto Russia, the peace benefit. We were watching our adversaries start to modernize, and then all of a sudden now we're focused on to a single point. And if you look at how the training is, if you just look at the military, my 50:00military in air mobility command, we've gotten really good about going to that AOR, air responsibility, really really really good. So the focus became to terrorism. The focus became to that culture of life, it is a culture that is trying to do us harm. That's what changed. We're still a global power, we're just focused on a smaller segment of that global power. That has led us into now we need to focus back on to the real world again.
So it ebbs and flows, focuses right there to kick some rear end if people wantto do us harm just because they don't like who we are. Which there again, that's something we Americans don't understand because we're homogenous. Come, come one, come all. Come and live in America. Come with us, and yet there's people out there that I don't want to live there, and that's okay. But your beliefs, just because I don't believe that way doesn't mean we're... 51:00
General E: Right. And so that kind of opened up, we kind of knew that as allpart of our training, but that really opened up that aperture to say 'oh, okay.'
Ren: Just curious and we will get back to Virginia Tech, can you kind of walk usthrough maybe like an average day, if there is an average day in your position? What time do you wake up and just kind of a normal day in the life of a general?
General E: So in this position I get up at about 4:30 to 4:40, and I get up andI work out, because I love to eat. In this job if you don't work out you're going to be big, so I love to eat, so I work out all the time. Justin who is in the room here with me is my Air Force officer aide and so I'm trying to keep up with him all the time because he's a young whippersnapper. He's killing me. I go to the office. I try to get to the office between about 7 and... I used to work 6 to 6. That used to be my normal ethic. I'm a farmer, so when the sun comes up I get up. When the sun goes down I go to bed. I try to get to the office at 7, 52:00between 7 and 7:15. I'm very blessed right now. My grandson has been living with us. He's 31/2, so he drives me to work as he's driving himself to... I'm kidding. He goes to school, as he goes to the child development center, to school, which is like a preschool. And then the meetings start, and then it depends on the crisis of the day. I will get an update on the briefings. I will get an intel update, then we start our meetings. We're constantly looking at the budget. We're looking at plans and programming. We're looking at modernization of our force. Talking hand in hand with the Air Force a lot. I'm working our general officer assignments, I do that. And then over on the road and I'm visiting the wings. I'm visiting my command. I'm trying to feel the heartbeat of my command, so we will travel on the road just like we've traveled here to Virginia Tech.
Then I get back Sunday night. We turn right back around Monday night and I head53:00to the Regional Airliners Conference to talk to them about the pilot shortages and what we're doing about it, those types of things. So you will have those meetings. I'm working with industry a lot. We just finished the Air Force Association where we're getting re-blued and the Air Force is getting direction from the chief and the secretary. We just had a meal two nights ago with our general officer staff, Air Force staff, and then the day comes to a close and at 5 o'clock I come home. As soon as the national anthem is done, I watch it, I will go to 5 o'clock and then I come home, because family time is important, so I have supper with my family, and then I just relax. It's a set. We're on the stage 24/7 365, but on Saturdays I just try to, I look at the emails. I [will] answer the emails, or I try not to answer them, Sunday I will try to do all my catch-up, so I'm reading all the time, because in our world there again we are everywhere.
Ren: You are reading briefing books, policy papers, everything, right.54:00
General E: And it's something you just get used to. It's part of the job. It'sjust what we do, so that's a typical day.
Ren: Awesome. So if someone just simply says the words Virginia Tech what's thefirst thing you think of?
General E: My school. My school. I think of Hokie nation. I think of Hokiepride. I think of we are taking over the world and nobody is better than us. That's what I think, and I know I'm an alumnus and I'm supposed to think that, but I think I bleed maroon and orange. It's just everybody feels that way about their school, they do, but it just pulls, it's just great heart strings that gets pulled, I mean it really is. And I'm constantly going, "Hey, why did you pick that school? Why don't you go to Virginia Tech?" so I'm always on the recruiting end. I just love the school. And there again, it's home for me, I mean it really is. This whole region is home for me. 55:00
Ren: Do you come back a lot to campus?
General E: I have been back for the last, I've been very blessed, I was able tocome back the last three years at that time, because the military it kind of expands and contracts, and I'm in a contraction period right now. I've been very fortunate to be able to come back to campus and do some briefings, awards, those types of things.
Ren: You led the H Squadron onto the field? Was that last year you did that?
General E: That was last year, yeah.
Ren: What was that experience like?
General E: It was great, because it just so happened, about where we turned todo the national anthem we were pretty close to the 30-40-50-yard line and I haven't been to a football game since I graduated.
Ren: Oh, goodness. It's a little difference.
General E: Sandman, oh yeah. And all of a sudden I'm bouncing up and down andthe next thing I'm jumping, so it was just... And then seeing the Corps. You 56:00know I wish the Corps was still back on the mid-field. I don't like them at the end. I want them on the mid-field. And I'm okay with being on the opposing team's end, because it really makes them think about who we are as Hokie nation, but it was phenomenal, just phenomenal.
Ren: So, you're talking about recruiting, you're always telling people to cometo Virginia Tech and things like this. What do you see, probably in your area and your field obviously you're going to see Corps of Cadets, and so what do you see out of Virginia Tech, people that have graduated from Virginia Tech coming out of the Corps, maybe into the Air Force or other branches of the military, is there something special or unique about them that you can kind of pinpoint?
General E: Yeah, I think that, and this is not just the Corps, but it's all forour service academies because it's what you do for four years, they come in and they, and it has nothing to do with any other training or we have to get you in your commission service, but what I see is the talent that I have. 57:00
They instantly are up on the step and moving out, and the folks that I'm seeinggraduate now they are ten times smarter than I ever was. It's pretty phenomenal. And it's just like I told the folks today, talking to these kids, the people in the Corps right now our nation is in good hands. I don't care what you think about millennials or whatever the next generation is, our nation is in good hands. These people have a calling in their heart and they get it. They get it. I've had the very fortunate opportunity to work with a lot of folks who have graduated from the Corps at Virginia Tech and come into the military and I will tell you, we have a lot of general officers now that have come from Virginia Tech. There's one general officer right now who never even came in the Corps. He went through Officer Training School, got his commission and now he's a general officer. Pretty remarkable just the foundation that is led by this University, 58:00and so that's what I'm seeing. I'm seeing a very high quality. The quality is always there, but I see a really high quality of our folks that come out. It's just amazing.
Ren: Are you involved in anything with Virginia Tech, any alumni boards oranything like that?
General E: Not boards, but in and out, yeah. I can't really say, butphilanthropic yes. Anytime they ever ask me, "Hey, I need for you to talk here," I will be happy to do that. And it has targets of opportunity. So the routine piece, no, but as I get older in my career and I see my career coming to this chapter of my life being closed I would, so I'm paid solicitation, I would welcome those experiences to be more and more involved.
Ren: Right. What changes have you seen throughout your time since you graduatedat Virginia Tech and what do you think about some of those changes if you have 59:00any suggestions or thoughts?
General E: Are you talking about particularly the Corps or campus life here?
Ren: Just anything.
General E: The changes are, the system that I went through, we talked about therat system, it's not the new cadet system. It's not the fact that it's better or worse, it's a fact that it's different. And so what I've learned is that don't be the first to judge. Walk a mile in that shoe and then look and see the goods and the bads. The things that I really, Randy Fullhart here has taken on the historical pieces that have been our foundation since 1872 and he incorporated them into the upper quad with the new dorms and what he's doing with leadership. What I really greatly appreciate and where we're really seeing the fruits of our labor is that when you graduate from Virginia Tech if you take core courses you get a minor in leadership. You don't know what that means going out there in the military. 60:00
General E: That really sets a great foundation, so there are some great thingsthat are happening on this campus. And I think Dr. Sands has got it right, the campus is moving forward. We are progressively moving forward in a very smart way. If you look at the world news now some things are going haywire on campuses. This one is a steady heartbeat, and it's thinking about where it's going and those are the things I see. It's methodical. It's well thought-out. It's exactly what you would expect of an institution of this nature. That's what I see. And then there again, as the campus continues to grow it's done in a methodical beautiful way, not just buildings, but a methodical beautiful way of getting where it wants to go with curriculum, quality of student that we want to have. And frankly, because of that it has become the envy of, I think my humble opinion, there again, I'm very prideful, I think it's become the envy of a lot of communities in this nation. 61:00
Ren: Right. Awesome. Just a few last questions here. What would you like peopleto know about you that maybe folks don't?
General E: I know what people tell me. That's a hard question because I don'tlike talking about myself, even though I just did an interview. Here's the thing, if you're going to do something investigate it, look at it, and go for it. Have a second [01:01:56 order...branches or sequels] of what you want to do. And what I mean by that, if I wasn't going to be a pilot maybe I was going to be a navigator. If I didn't get in the Air Force, I had already taken my test right 62:00over here at a hotel to go to the Marine Corps. So look at the second order effects. Keep your humility. It's not about you. I greatly appreciate this interview, but this is not about me. This is about this University. This is about the way of our life that we have been brought up, and be humble and stay to your ethics, and so that's what I have tried to do. I've tried to take what my mother and father taught me, what my family taught me, what my military career has taught me, and then pay it back. Pay it back, and that's what I've tried to do is pay it back. And I've tried to keep humility. Sometimes you get an award and you go, "Oh!" but it's not about you. It's not. It's not about you.
And I would tell you, at least some of the folks have said, "Man you are reallygenuine at heart." That's who I am. I don't do this paid stuff, you know, it's 63:00just who I am, so what you see is what you get. That's me. If you don't like it that's okay, because you can move on to the next door or I can move on the other way, but this is who I am. I don't try to sugarcoat it. In our world we can become politicized, but that's just the nature of the business. But humility, our moral values, that's the foundation that's set to who we are and that's just me in a nutshell.
Ren: Thank you. What does Virginia Tech mean to you?
General E: What does it mean to me? It means home. It means something that took a boy off afarm in Virginia and set a foundation for success. It means that I can always 64:00come back here and always be welcome. I can walk on this campus not even in uniform, people don't care, but they will sure shake your hand and say, "How are you doing?" It's hometown, and the quality of education, the quality and the foundations there again, who I was, that's what it means. And so there again, that's the reason why I waved the Hokie flag in Afghanistan. That's the reason why, when it's an all-crew on our airplane we're all from Virginia Tech besides our listed corps, but the front-enders with the pilots are from Tech and we are all back there getting our picture taken, that's what it's all about. That's what this place means to me.
Ren: Thank you.
General E: And I will tell you there's not a better University in the State ofVirginia. It is the University of Virginia and it is the University of the United States. May aide is not going to like that, but that's all right, he's 65:00got his opinion.
Ren: Right. We'll forgive him this time. [Chuckles] I mean to ask you this atthe beginning of the interview, your middle name is Dewey.
General E: Actually it is Dhu, D-h-u, named after my father. Supposedly he wasthe...French literature, that's what I was told. I don't know.
Ren: Oh okay, I was thinking George Dewey.
General E: Dewey was actually a nickname that I got through the Air Force aftermy first trip where I made a bunch of mistakes and I had to buy a bunch of beverages of peoples' choice and they couldn't say Carlton after those beverages, but they could say, "What you do oh Dewey." So I was known as [Delta Kai Dewey], so that's how it came about.
Ren: Last question, is there anything that I didn't ask you that you thought Iwould or if there is anything you would like to say? This is just kind of an open floor for you to say anything.
General E: I think to close out this chapter of the interview that #1 I greatly66:00appreciate you and I greatly appreciate this University.
Ren: Thank you.
General E: I greatly appreciate our alumni and I greatly appreciate the studentswho actually make the choice to come to this University. I believe what I've seen since I've graduated and seeing the quality of students, seeing the quality of the faculty, seeing the quality of the dialect, the openness, even the tragedy, the things that have brought this campus together and the things that we're doing, there again, just like I told the young cadets, we're in good shape. Just from the foundations out of here we're in good shape, we truly are. And every time I read the alumni magazine and I see what the engineering students are doing, the technology and hypersonics and what is going on around the world, what we're doing to agriculture is just phenomenal. We got it right. You got it right right here in Blacksburg. That's not because I'm an alumnus, 67:00that's it partly because I get the information, but no, you see the fruits of the labor. You really truly see the fruits of the labor. That's what I'll leave you with. And anyone out there who ever hears this I tell them come to the campus, take a look at it, strap it on and enjoy, because it's going to take you very far in the future.
Ren: One last questions. Can I ask you about your class ring?
General E: Absolutely. That's my pride and joy. I was taking pictures of myclass ring. This is a symbol of what we are at Virginia Tech. And as you know when we got our class rings it is a big deal and that's designed by the student body and it's our ring, so I wear it with Hokie pride.
Ren: I need to get mine resized. It goes to about here.
General E: Well you can see I wear it. I've got calluses where I shake hands. Atthat time it was a big ring. Now they are even bigger and now they are coming 68:00out and getting a little bit smaller again, but I have people ask me all the time about this ring. Where did you go to school? And it starts the conversation and then I get to brag about Virginia Tech.
Ren: Yeah. [Laughs] Thank you so much for sitting down to speak with us with VTStories. Thank you for your service to our country. I'm going to close. I interviewed a gentleman yesterday and he had came in in 1943 and left and came back. He went and served in World War II and then came back and graduated. I thanked him for his service and I also asked him about his class ring that he had had for that long, so it's interesting to kind of link these generations of Hokies and proud alumnus. I really appreciate it and so I'll say General Everhart, class of 1983, thank you so much sir. It's very nice meeting you.
General E: Nice meeting you my friend. This has been greats, so thank you.
bio went to school in Mayberry, NC because Cana, VA was too small grew up onfarm and chose Tech, began with business but switched to agriculture because he wanted to take care of farm his sister came to VT and after visiting it, he fell in love four siblings, father a physician, mother a nurse. father was in military to help pay for school. grandfather introduced him to model airplanes, getting him interested in flying loved sports in high school, wanted to play football at VT. was super active in extracurriculars (wrestling, track, key club, etc) hold tight to honesty and integrity, give your everything in whatever you do. very close with family and siblings sound clip of lessons learned growing up? his parents were very supportive of him following his own ambition. also understanding of him, supportive of whatever happens as long as he does his best it offered him the chance to get into military flying and gave him a close knit community to be a part of amongst a big college atmosphere block quote about picking VT? block quote about VT being like coming home? his first military experience professors that influenced him Dr. Geyer and him played racquetball together and became good friends block quote about the Corps the things you have to live through as a "rat" like squaring corners and the freshman belt and the brace taught him this stuff - along with his background has made him who he his today Corps was like a family to him sound clip about his experience with the Corps? what is added in with the Corps not too much political activity at the time, actively expanding and building the library grew rapidly during his time at Tech he flew his Hokie flag in Afghanistan to show his pride and to remember home after he got his bachelors just explain outright because I don't know how to summarize this list of things he has been blessed to do became a 4 star general in 2015 block quote sound clip about being a 4 star general? . he's proud of his medals, but it was his duty anyways. . being a military aid for the President was unique and awesome, tough on family, a bonding experience for the 5 guys . he was in the National War College during 9-11, and that brought his peers and him closer together Everhart has tons of loyalty for VT, is super proud of the education and campus proud of the quality of Corps graduates who go into the military block quote about changes throughout his life and career Everhart has strived to live what his parents taught him: stay true to ethics, stay humble sound clip of what VT means to him he calls his ring his "pride and joy" and wears it everyday - enjoys telling people about VT being his alma mater