Harry Bruce Retreat Hell Leadership Award

May 10, 2019

On May 10, 2019 the Brazos Valley Marine Corps League participated in the Texas A&M Commissioning Ceremony for the presentation of the Harry Bruce Retreat Hell Leadership Award. The award name was inspired by the Korean War, of which Harry Bruce was a decorated veteran. Faced with tough fighting between the blocking Chinese divisions and the withdrawing Marines at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, Major General Oliver P. Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, remarked: "Retreat, hell! We're not retreating, we're just advancing in a different direction."

Seventeen of the thirty Texas A & M graduates at the Naval / Marine Commissioning Ceremony are Marines. Those standing in the picture above are receiving awards at the commissioning ceremony. Five of the eight recipients are Marines.

Naval and Marine graduates are administered the oath of office by General Robert Neller, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

Benny Vallejo, Commandant of the Brazos Valley Marine Corps League; Doug Tennis, Senior Vice Commandant of BVMCL; and, Colonel Andrew Kosic, USMC, commanding officer of the Naval ROTC staff at Texas A & M, and member of BVMCL prepare to present a Mameluke sword to the top graduating Marine, Travis Knapp, at his commissioning. Photograph taken after presentation of the Mameluke sword.
Prior to administering the oath of office, General Robert Neller provided an inspiring presentation to the graduates and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and Platoon Leaders Class attendees and their families. Following the commissioning ceremony, the First Salute ritual was performed. Many of the enlisted personnel performing the first salute ceremony were retired Marine, Navy, and Army relatives of the new Marine and Naval officers.
Benny Vallejo, BVMCL Commandant, presents the Detachment 1391 Challenge Coin to General Robert Neller. Benny Vallejo presents the Detachment 1391 Challenge Coin to Travis Knapp, recipient of the Mameluke sword.