Tag Archives: MMA

Missouri Military Academy Announces 124th Commencement Weekend Schedule

2013 commencementMissouri Military Academy recently announced the plan of events for its 124th Commencement May 24-25. The weekend includes awards ceremonies, military reviews, special events for seniors and a graduation ceremony. The events culminate in a Final Formation, a traditional goodbye that is held on front campus.


View the complete schedule here.

The 2013 Commencement speaker will be Colonel John C. Church Jr., USMC. Colonel Church is an Assistant Professor of English and Communication at Immaculata University.  Prior to returning to the classroom John was the first President in the 75-year history of Valley Forge Military College.  He is a colonel in the Marine Reserves.  In 2010 he returned to Valley Forge to assume the presidency after distinguished service with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where he coordinated civil-military operations for the commanding general and his staff.  Prior to that assignment, he commanded a combined, joint Civil Affairs unit, leading Marines, soldiers, sailors, and Iraqi civilians in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.  His work with the “Al Anbar Awakening” has taken on historic importance.  Colonel Church enlisted from Detroit and served as an active duty U.S. Navy deck seaman and hospital corpsman assigned to the Marines.  He attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, and earned a Secretary of the Navy appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

On active duty, Colonel Church served at 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion in Okinawa, Japan, and 1st Combat Engineer Battalion in Mogadishu, Somalia.  He also served at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, and Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon.  As a reservist, Colonel Church commanded Company C, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion in Lynchburg, Virginia, from where he led his Marines to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  With 4th Civil Affairs Group, Colonel Church served in Kosovo, two tours of duty in Iraq, and his most recent assignment in Afghanistan.  He also taught Armed Forces of Liberia soldiers civil-military relationship training in that Africa nation.COL John Church

After leaving active duty, John taught at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the U. S. Naval War College, and George Mason University.  Before returning to the classroom, he was, first, an assistant professor of leadership at Valley Forge Military College. He then became dean, and led the charge to accept women at the college.  Before his deployment to Afghanistan, he was the Director of the Service Academy Preparatory Program at VFMC. John earned a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U. S. Naval War College, a M.A. in Communication Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C. and a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy.  He is a doctoral student in Mass Media and Communication at Temple University.  John’s personal reflections of duty throughout the world have been featured in both the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  In 2009, John’s submission, “The Best Seven Months of Our Lives: The War in Iraq and the Battle in Hollywood” won first prize for “Top Graduate Competitive Papers” in the Pennsylvania Communication Association Writing Competition.  In 2010,  his “This I Believe” essay was featured on WHYY and National Public Radio.  John has hosted “Life Long Learning” which can be seen on Radnor Studio 21, Radnor Township, PA.  In 2011, John presented remarks, along with Mayor Michael Nutter, at the Philadelphia Day of Service and Remembrance honoring the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.  In 2012, John’s service in Liberia was featured in the Immaculata University magazine as one of his IU students was the nephew of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  John has lectured on the dynamic of effective small unit leadership at the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, St. Joseph’s University Air Force ROTC Detachment in Philadelphia, and at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Colonel Church is currently assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters, the Pentagon, where he leads the Civil-Military Integration Team.  His personal decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.  As a midshipman John was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s nationally ranked lacrosse program.  As a junior officer, he was a member of the USMC All-Marine Rugby team on four occasions.  Colonel Church and his wife Mary Kay, a retired Marine major, are the proud parents of John Carl III (“JC”), Travis Joseph, Cathryn Harper and Claire Ripley (named in honor of Marine Corps legend Col. John Ripley USMC (Ret).  John is the son of Colonel and Mrs. John C. Church, Sr., USMC (Retired) of Mount Clemens, Michigan.

And Now, the Dramateers Present…

This month the Missouri Military Academy drama club, the Dramateers, will present “Foggy Mountain Mayhem,” a comedy that tells the tale of two stranded “city boys” who stumble into a nest of moonshine-making hillbillies under siege by federal agents.

Seniors John Dillon, Benjamin MertensBlake Bibles, and Eoghan Matthews (pictured below, left to right) headline the all-male cast.  Shows are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17, 2012 at the MMA Centennial Gymtorium with a start time of 7 p.m. Cost is $2 for adults, $1 for students, and children 8 and under are free. The play is produced under the direction of MMA Dramateers advisor Jonathan Griffin.

On Friday evening at 6 p.m. the Dramateers will sponsor a fundraising dinner prior to the performance. The dinner will be a “chicken box supper” in accordance with the theme of the play, served by cadets dressed in character. For $15, guests will receive a dinner of fried chicken, minicorn on the cob, green beans, potato salad, biscuits, dessert and iced tea or lemonade. The event takes place in the Gymtorium. Advance tickets are required and can be purchased on the MMA Dramateers’ page by clicking here.

(Photo by Eagle reporter Blake Gorman ’13)

Athletics Recap, August 24-September 10

Here’s a roundup of Missouri Military Academy‘s fall athletics from August 24-September 10:


The 2012 season began with a few rough patches for the varsity football Fighting Colonels.

Despite a 0-3 start, head coach LT Marc Wilson has noticed significant improvement in many of his players.  In the season opener against West Hancock (IL), the Colonels succumbed to a fast start by their opponent.  West Hancock capitalized on several Colonels’ turnovers.  But the team was without many of its offensive and defensive starters due to ineligibility.  Players in Missouri must participate in a certain number of practices before they can take the field.

The team returned several players after gaining that eligibility Friday, August 31.  The Fighting Colonels went on the road for the first time this season, and brought the remnants of Hurricane Isaac with them to Van-Far.  In what turned out to be a very wet and sloppy game, the Colonels held their own in the first half, trailing 18-6.  But fatigue set in and weather conditions did not improve as the Colonels let the second half get away from them.  The team fell to 0-2 on the season and awaited Winfield in their second home game of the season.

The Colonels defense lines up for the snap against West Hancock Friday, August 24. (Photo by Eagle reporter Jacob Taylor ’13)

All of MMA’s players gained eligibility in time for the Winfield game, which turned out to be another defensive struggle for the Colonels.  Turnovers were an issue in this game, allowing a short field for the Winfield offense.  Wilson said after the game that center Juan Carlos Aguirre ’16 and senior wide receiver John O’Leary ’13 both showed outstanding performances.  He added that those two, along with defensive end Ivan Quiroz ’14 showed great improvement and could benefit from more playing time.  The Fighting Colonels are back in action this Friday night at home against Grandview (Hillsboro, Mo.).

Athletic Director LT John Noel added that seven middle school students have also been on the football field this fall, as they are teaming up with Mexico Public Schools to be a part of Mexico’s team.  Tajae Blue ’17, Sean Fitzgreald ’17, Juan Leal ’18, Lucas Moore ’18, Charles Norman ’18, Dakota Prewitt ’17, and Carlos Ramos ’17 will suit up for games with the squad this season.


MMA’s cross country team has returned after a one-year absence.  The Colonels runners participated in the Linn Invitational Saturday, September 8 against 15 other mid-Missouri schools.  The team’s average time for the 5K race was 23:10.  MMA’s top performers included Cyrus Coble ’15, who finished in 21:34, and Dallas Lopez ’14 completed his race in 21:58.

“Many of our runners are new to the sport this year,” head coach MAJ Lawrence McClarey said.  “For them it was their first taste of competitive racing. We are excited to get back to practice and prepare for Saturday.”

The Colonels will run next at the Fulton Invitational September 15 at Fulton High School.


The Fighting Colonels head to the pitch Tuesday for their first soccer match of the season.  The squad kicks off 2012 against Elsberry at 5:00 p.m.  A couple of new faces have taken the reigns this year as coaches.  LT Eric Reynolds and LT Christopher Bain are the team’s head coach and assistant, respectively.  MMA returns eight players from last year’s team, who finished with a 10-3 record in 2011.  The Corps of Cadets will enjoy a cookout for tomorrow’s game, but will also pause for a moment of remembrance before the game begins in honor of the victims of the September 11th attacks.

New Colonels goalkeeper Greg Reding ’15 looks on as the squad practices a drill.  MMA comes off a 10-3 record in 2011.

Getting a Head Start: 2012 New ERA Summer School

Four weeks can feel like a long time for a high school student to be in school over their summer.  But at Missouri Military Academy’s New ERA Summer School, that time was spent inside and outside the classroom.

52 young men and women completed this year’s New ERA program, learning math, science, English, and even robotics and SCUBA diving in a focused environment.

“The smaller classes encourage more individual learning in the classroom,” Dean of Academics LTC Frank Giuseffi said.  “There are more one-on-one opportunities between teachers and students.”

PHOTOS:  What were those New ERA students up to for four weeks?

Students came from all four corners of the United States and some visited from other countries.

Brais Galvan of Pontavedra, Spain was one of the international students who took part in the program.  He participated in CPT Keith Morgan’s robotics class and also brought home the Academic Excellence Award for being the most outstanding student.

Brais was one of the students in CPT Keith Morgan and Mr. Mark Murphy’s summer Robotics course.  The class will also be offered to MMA cadets in the fall.

Giuseffi also noted how New ERA can prepare students for their upcoming school year.

“We believe a program like New ERA can keep kids focused on their schoolwork, even over the summer,” he said.  “It allows them to get a head start on their fall classes and be ready to go when they head back to school.”

While much of the four weeks is spent in the classroom, the New ERA program offers a number of opportunities to learn outside of it.

Students in MAJ Mike Pemberton’s biology class bussed to the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, Mo. for a day dedicated to learning about local flora and fauna, and the processes that occur in nature.  Pemberton’s class also visited the St. Louis Zoo to learn more about the world’s wildlife.

Morgan’s robotics class signed up for the SkillsUSA Robotics Conference in Kansas City, where hundreds showcased their innovations in mechanical engineering and other areas.

MMA also offered a SCUBA diving class for the first time during New ERA, taught by certified SCUBA instructor and MMA alumnus Mitch Moffitt ’82.  Moffitt says students responded very positively to the class, so he decided to continue the SCUBA class into the fall for MMA cadets.

At the end of the summer program, students were commended for their diligent work over the four-week span through a graduation ceremony.  Each participant received a certificate recognizing their completion of New ERA.

In addition to the Academic Excellence Award, Giuseffi presented the Good Character and Leadership Award to Bart Muehlberg of Waterloo, Ill., for displaying outstanding traits as a leader throughout the summer program.

New ERA Summer School began June 24 and concluded July 21 with the graduation in MMA’s chapel.

2012 Summer Leadership Camp

Adventure and leadership were the main focus on the campus of Missouri Military Academy this month.

54 young men spent the last two weeks challenging their own limits and testing their skills in leadership and teamwork during MMA’s 2012 Leadership Camp.

The Summer Leadership Camp is a military-style summer camp that teaches campers the basics of leadership while exposing them to a wide variety of adventurous and physically challenging activities.

Camp activities included military exercises, fitness challenges, training, and other tests.  Each camper was assigned to one of three platoons that competed against each other in a number of activities.  Each platoon was advised by a camp counselor, all of whom are part of ROTC units at their university.

PHOTOS:  Check out what campers were up to during their time at MMA

Some days were spent competing on the athletic field in sports like kickball, while other days campers were navigating the woods on MMA’s back campus or working together to come away victorious on the paintball field.

Other activities included daily physical training, rappelling, rifle marksmanship, canoeing, Pugil sticks, swimming, knot tying, a test on the leadership reaction course, first aid training with certification, and map reading.

Counselors also accompanied campers to Meramec Ranch in Steelville, Mo. for a day of physical challenges, military exercises, and even some time in the water.  Teamwork was still in the spotlight as platoons coordinated ways to finish each challenge on the trip.

2012 Summer Leadership Camp concluded Friday, July 20 with a graduation ceremony and awards.  Academy president Tony McGeorge addressed the campers and commended them for what they learned throughout the camp.

He stressed the importance of leadership and character in a young man’s life as he grows, and how the leaders of tomorrow learn their skills today.

Mr. McGeorge and Camp Director LTC Greg Seibert presented awards to those campers who grew the most during their two-week stay at MMA.  Jacob Priester of Maumelle, Ark. was recognized for his contributions of leadership during the camp.

Railsplitters Welcome Grant for Purchase of New Weapons

One Missouri Military Academy program will be receiving some generous assistance this summer.

A grant request for additional weapons for MMA’s Railsplitters was approved by the Garand Collectors Association (GCA) of Kansas City.

Railsplitters Coordinator LTC Tim Scherrer says the WWII re-enactment group has been gifted M-1 Garands for use in Railsplitters events throughout the year.  He says GCA approved $940 for the purchase of these weapons in order to advance the program.

The Railsplitters will have additional M-1 Garand rifles to use in WWII re-enactments, like this Battle of the Bulge re-creation above held at Camp Clark in Nevada, Mo.

This is not the first time GCA has contributed funds to the Railsplitters.  Scherrer says MMA has received six rifles over the past two years from the organization, with two additional rifles donated from individual GCA members.

In addition to providing weapons for the Railsplitters, GCA also sponsors a foundation that supports firearms education.

Scherrer expects the equipment to arrive in time for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

SCUBA Program Extended into 2012-2013 School Year

Missouri Military Academy is offering a new program for students in the fall.

MMA cadets will be able to get an education in SCUBA diving.  The program, coordinated by Assistant Commandant Mitch Moffitt, went through a trial phase during New ERA Summer School.  Moffitt received approval to offer the program to cadets during the 2012-2013 school year.

Moffitt is currently instructing New ERA Summer School students in SCUBA, but will continue the program by educating cadets beginning in the fall. 

PHOTOS:  Click here for more photos of the New ERA SCUBA program

Moffitt is a 1982 alumnus of MMA and an experienced SCUBA instructor who is certified to teach a wide range of courses.  His areas of expertise are listed below:

  • Emergency First Responder Instructor
  • CPR/AED/First Aid – Infant/Child/Adult
  • Digital Underwater Photography Instructor
  • Enriched Air (Nitrox) Instructor
  • Deep Diver Instructor
  • Drift Diver Instructor
  • Wreck Diver Instructor
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy Instructor
  • Project Aware Project Aware Instructor
  • AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Instructor

MMA received a bequest that allowed the school to purchase most of the necessary equipment to offer the program.

A minimal fee will be charged to students who sign up for the SCUBA class.  MMA will have more information on the requirements in the coming weeks.

MMA Staff Bids Farewell to MajGen Flanagan

It was one last hurrah for Missouri Military Academy’s ninth president.  MMA staff gathered in the new Stribling Hall yesterday for a farewell lunch for MajGen Robert Flanagan, who is retiring after five years leading the school.

About 30 faculty and staff convened to say goodbye to MajGen Flanagan, and a few of them presented him with some parting gifts.  They also provided a cake for the gathering that featured a motorcycle riding down a cookie-crumb road, and the words, “Happy Trails!”

Flanagan told the group that after his last day at the school, Friday, June 29, he plans to begin his trek to the West Coast along the Lewis and Clark Trail.  However, he will not be making this trip in an air-conditioned car – he will be cruising west on his motorcycle.

PHOTOS:  See more from MajGen Flanagan’s farewell luncheon

“I’ll finish packing up the truck, put on my jeans, and head out sometime Saturday,” Flanagan said.

He added that he has wanted accomplish this feat for many years and figured the perfect time to do it was now, before settling with his wife Debbie in Georgia.

Flanagan completes five years of service to MMA, during which he approved the construction (and saw the completion) of Barnard Hall and the new Stribling Hall.  He oversaw other extensive renovations to campus.

Academically, MMA cadets achieved record-breaking college scholarship totals during Flanagan’s time at the school, as well as a 100% college acceptance rate among MMA graduates.  He also created numerous new ties with the Mexico, Mo. community.

Following Flanagan is Mr. Charles A. 'Tony' McGeorge, who has been named the Academy’s tenth president.  McGeorge begins his MMA tenure Monday, July 2.  His wife, Joy, will join him as they complete their move to Mexico.

MMA Kicks Off New ERA Summer School

Missouri Military Academy’s summer school program, New ERA, is officially underway.  56 students will spend the next four weeks studying in the classroom as well as enjoying a number of exercises and activities.

Students arrived for registration Sunday, June 24 before getting set up for their stay in Bravo barracks.

MMA faculty wasted no time in diving right into the summer school session.  Students in the new Robotics course traveled to Kansas City for the Skills USA National Leadership Conference, accompanied by instructors CPT Keith Morgan and Mr. Mark Murphy.

The 48th annual conference is a showcase of career and technical education students competing to prove their expertise in the fields of electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting, and culinary arts.

New ERA students enjoy lunch on the first day of classes.

Other planned trips include a biology class trek to the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, a group adventure to Big Surf Water Park at the Lake of the Ozarks, and a visit to the St. Louis Zoo, among a number of others.

New ERA students will also take part in athletic activities each afternoon, including football, swimming, basketball, and horseback riding.  There will also be activities indoors on days of extreme heat.

New ERA Summer School is in session until July 21.  Be sure to keep an eye on MMA’s Facebook page and Flickr album as we will be posting photos of summer school events!

MMA, MHS Cadets Learn to Lead at JROTC Camp

For many students, this is a time of year to relax and enjoy a few months of vacation in the summer sun.  For others who take part in the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge summer camp, their vacation may be a little different.

15 Missouri Military Academy and Mexico High School students accompanied MMA Army Instructors SGM Henry Suddarth1SG Alan Hakes, and 1SG Randy Jacobson for the ten-day camp at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo., June 1-11. The camp involves a number of physical activities and training, including Army exercises, camping, rappelling, and swimming, among many others.

PHOTOS:  See more of the activities the group participated in during JCLC

The students also learned the values of good leadership and teamwork, and how those qualities can help build one’s character.

A team of MMA and MHS cadets work together to construct a bridge in one of the rope events.

The camp has been held at Wentworth the last three years.

In addition to MMA cadets’ participation, Mexico High School students, who have been training at MMA since the fall to prepare to start a JROTC unit at their school, also took part for the first time.  One MHS cadet, Madeline Brooks, was appointed as her company’s commander for the duration of the camp.

MHS student Madeline Brooks was selected as her group’s company commander.  MMA cadet Nick Mabbs ’14 is holding the guidon flag behind her.

This is not the final opportunity for MMA cadets or MHS students to stay active this summer.  MMA’s Summer Leadership Camp is coming up next month, July 8-20.

Khanal Earns Perfect Score on SAT Subject Test

SAT test results are in….we want to wish congratulations to cadet Nischal Khanal ’13, who achieved a perfect score of 800 on the Math 2 SAT Subject test in May! Let’s hear it for Nischal!

Khanal is also a member of the National Honor Society and a Math Bar recipient.

Dunbridge Begins Work as MMA Admissions Director

Missouri Military Academy will have a new face welcoming new and prospective students to the school’s campus.

Phillip Dunbridge moved to mid-Missouri with his wife and three young boys from the small mountain town of Idyllwild, California where he was working in the Admissions Office at Idyllwild Arts Academy, a boarding school in the southern part of the state.

Dunbridge spent five years at the school before accepting the position of Admissions Director at MMA.  Three of those years were spent as the Assistant Director of Admissions.

“My family and I have already grown to love Missouri,” Dunbridge said.  “It’s certainly been different, but we are already very excited about our new journey.  I look forward to a great experience bringing new students to MMA.”

Middle School Replicates Ancient Roman Aqueduct

One Missouri Military Academy instructor introduced a project to Middle School cadets this spring, and their hard word has finally shown.  LT Marc Wilson and his sixth and seventh grade Ancient World History and Geography classes constructed a 45-foot long working model of a Roman aqueduct.

The Romans engineered these structures to move water throughout the ancient city.  Wilson says the project helped cadets understand the basics of carpentry and masonry skills, and how people back then used those skills to improve their cities.

PHOTOS:  Cadets construct a replica of a Roman aqueduct

“I thought it was important for them to understand how people committed to this type of construction and what a feat it was for those cultures to build structures as grand and well-engineered as they did. Working together and learning the basics of some carpentry, masonry and engineering skills can do nothing but benefit our boys.”

Unlike the Ancient Romans, Wilson says cadets were allowed to use modern tools including drill and hammer drill, reciprocating saw, circular saw, jig saw, and others.  They learned how to measure, cut, level and support structures and mix, and lay mortar. Then they completed aqueduct runs water not just down a trough, but though a junction box with baffles to divert water to multiple places, just as Rome transferred water throughout the city from one source to many.

Overall, Wilson says the project took approximately 100 man hours to build and develop.  Cadets used a half-ton of reclaimed stone, a quarter-ton of mortar, and 6,000 board feet of lumber.

Catch Miss Missouri 2012 LIVE From MMA Via UStream!

For the 42nd time, the Miss Missouri Pageant has descended on the campus of Missouri Military Academy. Contestants from around the state will compete for the titles of Miss Missouri and Miss Outstanding Teen in the Centennial Gymtorium June 7-10.  The winner will represent Missouri at the Miss America 2013 pageant.

Pageant officials say there will be streaming coverage of Miss Missouri 2012.  Viewers can click the link here to see all of the action.

An empty Centennial Gymtorium greets one Miss Missouri contender at rehearsal Wednesday, June 6.  The scene will be quite different this weekend as family, friends, and residents will fill the room to see who will be crowned Miss Missouri 2012.

The Miss Missouri pageant was first held in Mexico in 1970. In 1969, the Mexico Jaycees organized an effort to bring the annual scholarship pageant to Mexico. The proposed pageant site was the Missouri Military Academy Field House. In November 1969, the Miss America organization declared Mexico the new site of the Miss Missouri pageant, beginning a new era of Mexico and MMA history.

Source: A History of the Mexico Jaycees 1933-1973, by Ron Holbrook

MMA Unveils New Administration Building

Missouri Military Academy’s new administration building is closer than ever to completion.  The new Stribling Hall is nearly finished as crews added columns to the front of the building last week.

School officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, May 26 during MMA’s 123rd Commencement Exercises.  Former Academy president Charles Stribling, III ’44, Chairman of the Board of Trustees R. Strib Koster, current Academy president MajGen Robert Flanagan, and others opened the building for tours once the ribbon between the two main columns was cut.

PHOTOS:  To see more from the ribbon cutting ceremony, click here.

The new building replaces the old administration building that stood at the same location from 1900 until 2011.  Like MMA’s academic building, Barnard Hall, Stribling Hall is LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council.  

One major difference between the old and new Stribling Hall is what sits on top.  A new gold dome adorns the building, replacing the silver dome that was on top of the old building.

(Pictured L to R): Fred Jaeckle, President of S.M. Wilson and Co.; Ann Antoniou, MMA Trustee; Stribling; Koster, Jerry Daugherty, President of Reinhardt Construction; MajGen Flanagan