Military Ball highlights Tarleton cadets’ achievements, donors

Tarleton State University's Military Ball included a keynote address from the U.S. Army's Commanding General of the Third Armored Corps based at nearby Fort Hood, Texas. Pictured (l-r) upon presenting the guests with honorary challenge coins are Texan Corps of Cadets Commandant Col. (Ret.) Kenny Weldon, Cadet Adam Arata, Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Butch Funk, Cadet John Zellner and Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio.

STEPHENVILLE (December 11, 2018) — An address from Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II and a re-enactment memorializing Pvt. Ammon Turnbow highlighted this year’s Military Ball celebrating the Tarleton State University Corps of Cadets and corps benefactors.

The event, held in the Thompson Student Center in Stephenville, emphasized the conclusion of World War I and featured a dramatic reading of a letter written by Turnbow, the first Erath County resident to lose his life in the war.

Turnbow came to John Tarleton College in 1916 and played guard on the football team. He was 21. A year later he was in France as a member of the 49th Company, 5th Regiment U.S. Marines, fighting with the American Expeditionary Forces.

He chronicled his experiences Sept. 26, 1918, five weeks before his death in a battle only 10 days before the war ended.

“No doubt you will be surprised to hear from me,” he wrote to then-Tarleton President James Cox, “but when one has gone to the old college as long as I have, I think about how things are going about now.”

The annual dinner, held in November, honors cadet achievements and recognizes key donor support.

“The evening serves as a reminder of the unique and rich military heritage shared by Tarleton, The Texas A&M University System and the U.S. military,” said senior John Zellner, cadet commander, Texan Corps of Cadets.

Capping the 2018 celebration were keynote speaker Funk, commanding general of the Third Armored Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, and his father, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Butch Funk, president and CEO of the National Mounted Warfare Foundation.

Tarleton’s Military Ball notes milestone achievement in the Corps of Cadets donor program, with three levels of recognition — Tate ($10,000), Dyess ($25,000) and Rudder ($50,000). Donations support cadet programs and leadership development.

Honored in 2018 with induction into the donor program were Maj. Gen. and Mrs. Chris Adams, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Landers, and Mrs. Virginia Eldridge, all at the Tate Level. Mr. and Mrs. Ben Baty (Dyess Level) and the Texas Pioneer Foundation (Rudder Level) were inducted in 2017.

Attendance at the ball each year approaches 300. Invitees include The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, elected officials, corporate and military friends of the university, the Tarleton Foundation Board of Directors, Alumni Association Board of Directors, university leadership, veterans service organizations, ROTC alumni, and cadets and their dates.

After an absence of six decades, the Corps of Cadets Military Ball was brought back to Tarleton last year, sponsored by a grant from the Texas Pioneer Foundation. Keynote speaker was Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, USAF (Ret.), dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, and former U.S. Air Force chief of staff.

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