By Joe Garvey
U.S. Army Major Gen. John Kline will be the featured speaker at Old Dominion University’s Veterans Day observance, which is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Nov. 10.
The event is set for Kaufman Mall but will be moved inside Webb Center in the event of inclement weather.
ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and ODU’s Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter President Jay Hickey are also scheduled to deliver remarks. Robert Clark, the University’s director of military activities and special projects, will serve as emcee.
ODU, which is located close to the world's largest naval base, offers its students – 25% of whom are military-affiliated – unparalleled leadership and hands-on training opportunities. The University is also part of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Hampton Roads Consortium along with Norfolk State, Hampton and Regent universities and Tidewater Community College.
Kline is the commanding general for the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training and the Army Training and Doctrine Command. He is charged with leading the annual transformation of 130,000 civilian volunteers into soldiers. He also serves as senior mission commander of Fort Eustis as part of Joint Base Langley.
Kline graduated from Shippensburg (Pennsylvania) University in 1992. He was commissioned as a field artillery officer, serving three years as a fire support officer and later a multiple launch rocket system platoon leader before transferring to the aviation branch until his promotion to major general.
His military education includes the field artillery officer basic course, initial entry rotary wing, aviation officer advanced course, Army Command and General Staff College, and Air War College. He holds a master’s degrees in administration from Central Michigan University and strategic studies from the Air War College.
In combat, Kline served as executive officer for the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment in Tikrit, Iraq, from 2005 to 2006; deputy brigade commander for the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2008; battalion commander of the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, at FOB Wolverine near Qalat, Afghanistan, from 2010 to 2011; and commander of Task Force Forge in Helmand, Afghanistan, in 2015 and 2016.
Beyond his command and combat assignments, Kline has served in a wide variety of staff and leadership positions including two years in the Pentagon on the Army Staff, first as deputy director for Army Aviation and later as an executive officer for the Headquarters Department of the Army deputy chief of staff.
Kline later served as the deputy commanding general (support) for the 7th Infantry Division in
Fort Lewis, Washington, in 2018 and 2019, followed by an assignment as a deputy chief of staff for the Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis from 2019 to 2021.
Two other events are planned on campus in connection with Veterans Day:
The annual Hampton Roads Army vs. Navy ROTC football game, also known as the Tri-Warrior Bowl, will be played at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. It is free and open to the public. The game will feature ODU, Norfolk State University and Hampton University AROTC cadets and NROTC midshipmen. It is hosted by the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/HRNROTC/.
The Hampton Roads Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps is one of the largest ROTC units in the nation, consisting of more than 170 sailors, marines and midshipmen.
The ODU SVA chapter will paint the Dominion Rock on Nov. 11, dedicating it to the military community.
“Being a veteran has a lot of layers to it,” Hickey said. “Veterans are resilient, dedicated and are leaders throughout the United States. But most, if not all, of us might not be where we are without the proper support system. So, this year's painted rock will reflect just that, the military community as a whole. We will celebrate veterans, active duty, ROTC, reserves, spouses and dependents.”