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Lt. Col. Hood

Wofford in the military: Lt. Col. Columbus Hood '80

Still building character

Army Lt. Col. Columbus Hood ’80 understands a few things about service.

After retiring from a 25-year military career, including over 22 years in active duty, Hood decided to use his experience as a way to encourage high school students through the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), a position he has held in Vicksburg, Miss., since 2005.

“One of my last assignments in the Army was in the Philadelphia area,” Hood says. “There were always negative stereotypes about young black men on television, so I decided I wanted to help guide other black men to better themselves and be a mentor to them.”

After graduating from Wofford, Hood began his Army career as an infantry officer and attained a master’s degree in adult education from Troy University in Troy, Ala.

Hood spent the majority of his Army career in the civil affairs and psychological operations units.

“The primary objective of civil affairs and psychological operations units is to convince enemy, neutral and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United States and its allies,” says Hood. He met his wife while serving at Fort Benning, and together they have three sons. 

Although Hood rarely makes the trip from Mississippi back to his hometown of Greenville, S.C., he has fond memories of his time at Wofford. He enjoyed his professors, especially Dr. Otis Turner (Wofford’s first African-American faculty member) and Dr. John Bullard (professor of religion) and felt well prepared for his career.

“JROTC is about service to your school, your community and your country,” adds Hood. “Service in the military builds character, and JROTC is a character education program. I enjoy my job because it gives me the ability to positively impact our next generation of leaders.”

By Annie Schott Mitchell