CHARLESTON, S.C. — Cadet Ryan Thomas Heavner of Hagerstown has been selected for the 2012 Summerall Guards, a silent drill platoon at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.
The unit's first performance was March 19 during Corps Day activities. Corps Day is the birthday of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. This year marks its 168th year.
The Summerall Guards exemplify the skill and precision of military education. Its 61 members and two alternates are rising seniors that have earned a place on the platoon through rigid competition each spring. Guard members are selected by the outgoing guards for their physical stamina and drill proficiency. Membership in the platoon is considered a high honor at the college.
A widely traveled drill unit, the Summerall Guards has participated in parades and ceremonies throughout the country, including the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah, Ga., Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, N.C. In 2005, the Summerall Guards made its fourth appearance at a presidential inaugural parade, this one for George W. Bush. The guards also participated in the inaugurations of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, Ronald Reagan in 1985 and George H.W. Bush in 1989.
The Summerall Guards is named for Gen. Charles P. Summerall, former chief of staff of the U.S. Army and president of The Citadel from 1931 until 1953.
Heavner is the son of Brian Heavner of Mercersburg, Pa., and Kathleen Heavner of Hagerstown.