The Shield and Sword Newsletter - Online • Summer 2020

From the President

At this time, there are probably few, if any, of our members who have not felt the impact of the pandemic – personally or in an indirect way. Needless to say, most organizations and groups have been impacted, and Cadets of the Ole War Skule is no exception. Your leadership team feels it is important to share information related to our programs, events, and activities that were previously scheduled for the academic year 2020-2021.

We have rescheduled many of our planned activities and events for the fall semester – and, most likely, some spring semester events will be rescheduled. The uncertainty surrounding the opening of the University and the management of normal activities makes it difficult, if not impossible, to move forward with any specific plans – although we do plan to continue our support for The Corps and the Cadre. And, because of that commitment, we do plan to issue the Call for Annual Membership Renewal for the 2020-2021 academic year. Renewal information should arrive by or before mid-August. Thank you in advance for your response to this Call for Membership Renewal.

We met recently with some of the top members University leadership to discuss how we should move forward with the activities related to the reopening of Memorial Tower and the Grand Opening of the LSU Military Museum. was determined that the most responsible decision and recommendation would be to reschedule all of those activities and events involving Memorial Tower and the formal Grand Opening of the LSU Military Museum to November 2021 – to be held during LSU Salutes.

Because of all the questions facing the University’s leadership and the uncertainty of when good, dependable answers might be forthcoming, it was determined that the most responsible decision and recommendation would be to reschedule all of those activities and events involving Memorial Tower and the formal Grand Opening of the LSU Military Museum to November 2021 – to be held during LSU Salutes. Depending on how efforts proceed, it could be that the planning group may actually decide to host a “soft opening” for a few days in April 2021 to evaluate the operating procedures to be used when the museum is formally opened. Those plans have not yet been finalized.

Plans and activities related to LSU Salutes 2020 will need to be adjusted. The Awards Committee will continue its work and submit recommendations to our board for those to be selected for the Hall of Honor. The names of those approved by the board will be announced, and their names and background information will be shared via news releases to the various media outlets around Louisiana and the appropriate ones out of state. However, the honorees will not be formally inducted until November 2021 during LSU Salutes – when the Class of 2021 is also honored.

As we move through the fall semester and, depending on how the University is managing meetings and gatherings of organizations and groups, we will have a better idea about events activities we might be able to conduct. At the invitation of each branch of ROTC, we do plan to join with members of the Corps staff and meet the newest members of The Corps during their orientation programs, which are already planned. This time will at least provide the opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and present an explanation of who we are and our purpose as it relates to The Corps and to ROTC.

We are pleased that former Congressman W. Henson Moore and retired MG Hunt Downer have agreed to serve as co-chairs of our strategic planning group and we look forward, in the coming weeks, to the beginning of their work with other members of our organization. The Annual Meeting (which usually occurs during LSU Salutes) may need to be postponed until the spring semester. If the University does allow us to join with them to cohost President’s Day and related events, we may seek to hold the Annual Meeting at that time.

We have the opportunity to “Welcome” three new Cadre Commanders for the Army, Air Force, and Navy. Their biographical information will be shared with you through email and on our website. We hope you will welcome and encourage them as they begin their new assignments and we look forward to engaging everyone during the near future.

As you see, many plans are uncertain; these are unusual times, and we simply have to operate accordingly. Decisions will be forthcoming – based on information provided by the University, and we will keep you informed. Thank you for your patience and understanding. By working together, we will meet and overcome these challenges and be stronger for it. We are glad you are part of it all.

For the Long Purple Line...
Jake L. Netterville
Cadets of the Ole War Skule


Reflecting its military academy founding and long military tradition, Cadets of the Ole War Skule proudly announces its new telephone number – 225-578-1860 - the year the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy opened its doors in Pineville, La. The toll-free number for LSU Salutes remains the same - 1-866-SALUTES.

At noon on May 29, LSU honored its former students, faculty, and staff, as well as all veterans who have given their lives in service to their country, during a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony. The event, held on the Parade Ground at the LSU War Memorial, included a wreath-laying ceremony, “Taps,” and a moment of silence.

Members of the official party were Mary Werner; Chair, LSU Board of Supervisors; Stone Cox, Student Member, LSU Board of Supervisors and LSU Student Body President; Tom Galligan, Interim LSU President; Jake Netterville, President, Cadets of the Ole War Skule; C/Lt Col Austin Firman, LSU Deputy Corps Commander; Cadet Thomas Arnold, Army escort for the wreath; and MIDN Lawrence Gonzales, Navy escort for the wreath. Trumpeter Mark Courter sounded “Taps.”


Change of Command Ceremony

From left, Colonel Andrew Steffen, 709 Surveillance and Analysis Group Commander; MSgt Peter Oliveri, 22d SURS Operations Superintendent; Lt Col Eric Mehrtens, 22SURS SURS Commander; and Lt Col Christopher Terry, Outgoing 22d SURS Commander.

Joining Lt Col Eric Mehrtens, second from left, at the Change of Command ceremony were, from left, his father, Joseph Mehrtens; his daughter, Ruby Mehrtens; his wife, Amanda Mehrtens; his mother, Sharon Mehrtens; and his brother-in-law, TSgt Taylor Noel. Photos provided by TSgt Taylor Noel

Colonel Andrew Steffen presided over the Change of Command eremony for the 22nd Surveillance Squadron on June 23 as Lt Col Eric Mehrtens assumed command from Lt Col Christopher Terry.

The 22nd Surveillance Squadron is a unit within the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) located at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. AFTAC operates and maintains the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System to monitor foreign compliance with various treaties limiting nuclear testing. The focus of the more than 150 professionals in the squadron is to detect and analyze special events spanning multiple domains to determine if they are nuclear and to report them to U.S. senior decision makers.

Mehrtens was previously assigned to Fort Belvoir, Va., as the Lead Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Planner for U.S. Special Operations Command. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from LSU in 2004.

Cadets of the Ole War Skule congratulates Lt Col Mehrtens and wish him and his family the best of luck in his new assignment.

Cadets Celestial

James Logan Brown, 1950 BACH H&SS, May 28, 2020, Austin, Texas

Oley L. Cross, 1947 BACH BUS, June 19, 2020, Denham Springs, La.

Emmett Casey Heitmeier, Lt Col USAF, 1967 BACH AGR, April 30, 2020, Melbourne, Fla.

William Bruce King, Capt USN, 2008 MAST ENGR, June 8, 2020, Greenwell Springs, La.

Iris Jean Altrogge Soulé, wife of Covert Aiken Soulé, Jr., longtime Cadets of the Ole War Skule member and 2007 Hall of Honor inductee, May 30, 2020, O’Fallon, Ill.

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