Claflin honors Young, women serving in armed forces

Aug 28, 2022

Retired Brig. Gen. Twanda E. Young, a Claflin graduate, was the first woman commissioned from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cross-enrollment program with South Carolina State’s Bulldog Battalion to earn the rank of brigadier general. (Photo special to The Panther via The Times and Democrat)


Claflin University on Aug. 26 held a Veteran Women Service and monument unveiling that saluted retired Brigadier General Twanda E. Young and other Claflin women having served in the armed forces.

The monument is a tribute to "the Leal and Loyal Claflin alumnae who served in the U.S military."

“When empowered women empower women, great things happen,” Young said.

The 1989 Claflin graduate was the first woman commissioned from the ROTC cross-enrollment program at South Carolina State’s Bulldog Battalion to earn the rank of brigadier general. She was honored for her historic accomplishments and her outstanding leadership and service to her country as an officer and a woman in the United States Army.

The Veteran Women Monument stands as another historic moment for Claflin because it is the first on a historically Black college/university campus. It is adjacent to Claflin’s Veterans Monument near the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel.

Young said that being a woman of color in a male-dominated space was a strength that allowed her to bring compelling points of view and find solutions. “It made me unique,” Young said.

Moments of reflection are what Young attributes to personal growth.

“My grandmother always told me that you can't have a testimony without a test and in what test there is a lesson,” Young said.

Young has served in command and staff positions in the continental United States and Hawaii with First Army, Joint Forces Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, and in Afghanistan with NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (NTM-A/CSTC-A).

Among her other key assignments were G1, U.S. Army Reserve Command; Commander, Theater Support Group-Pacific; Army Reserve Warrior Transition Liaison Program Manager; CJ1, Chief Strategic Initiatives (Kabul, Afghanistan); and Executive Training Officer, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Division.

“We all have compelling stories regardless of where we sit,” Young said.

She addressed the men in the audience, saying that their strength and unwavering support did not go unnoticed. To the women, she said, “We are strongest when we support each other and stand shoulder to shoulder.”

Young credits the ROTC program for her successful beginnings. The cross-enrollment program at S.C. State was initiated in 1968 to permit students from other local institutions, without an ROTC program, to receive training at South Carolina State and remain at the institution of their choice.

“We as leal and loyal daughters are blessed to have a university that challenged us, pushed us and supported us,” Young said.

Young presently serves in the executive-in-residence program at Bowie State University. The program encourages exceptional leaders who are distinguished alumni, or representatives from corporate, education, government, non-profits and other sectors, to support students and the mission of the university.

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