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Retired Army Lt. Col. Bruce J. Koedding ’76 made Millersville University history by becoming the first Army ROTC cadet (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) to be commissioned at Millersville in August 1976. During the summer of 1974, Army ROTC came to Millersville (then known as Millersville State College) and Millersville became a detachment of the Gettysburg College Corps of Cadets. In 1976, the year of the United States Bicentennial, Koedding was in charge of the five-person Bicentennial color guard at Millersville. Koedding’s involvement in the Army ROTC was the beginning of a successful 20-year Army career.
Koedding grew up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and studied Industrial Arts Education, K-12, at Millersville. “Between academics, intramural sports, Greek life, part-time work on and off campus and Army ROTC, there were many opportunities to build relationships and expand one’s experience, beyond your course of study,” he says. “My Industrial Arts Education degree helped when it came to conducting training and when managing a maintenance training department at the U.S. Army Ordnance Center & School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.”
Through part-time jobs and campus activities, Koedding acquired a broad range of roles and responsibilities throughout the Millersville campus community. He recalls, “I had a part-time job at the Athletic Department at Pucillo Gym…I was a lifeguard at the two MSC pools and scheduled other lifeguards. My duties eventually expanded to assisting with the coordination of the Intramural Sports program.”
On campus at Millersville in the spring semester of 1974, Koedding became involved with the Theatre Department. “We would build the sets, design and hang the lighting and provide the technical support during the student produced shows. We were also hired as ‘stagehands’ to assist with the set-up and striking of sets for traveling shows to campus,” says Koedding. This experience led to his role as Technical Director for the Millersville Dolphins Synchronized Swim Club for their annual spring show. He explains, “We constructed the sets, did the lighting and made the soundtrack for the Dolphins.” Additionally, during his time as a Millersville student, Koedding was a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, President of the Resident Men’s Association, and a member of the Resident Student Judicial Review Board and the Student Senate Advisory Cabinet.
In the summer of 1974, Koedding was employed on campus as a freshman orientation guide and was responsible for taking parents on tours of campus. During the summer of 1974, Army ROTC arrived on campus, and Koedding joined the newly established program at Millersville.
“For the months of September and October 1976, I was a full-time substitute Industrial Arts teacher, prior to entering the active-duty Army in November 1976. At the time, I only had a five-year commitment, two active and three reserve. I started my career at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, as an Ordnance Officer (Maintenance & Logistics). I had two Cold War Divisional tours in Germany (3ID & 3AD) and a final Germany tour of duty, after the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain came down. I was on the Army staff, in The Pentagon, during Operation Desert Shield / Operation Desert Storm circa 1991.”
Following his years of outstanding military service, Koedding was awarded the Legion of Merit when he retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel. He then continued into a second career with IBM’s Global Business Services, U.S. Federal Sector. “I was a Program Manager for U.S. Federal and DoD contracts and provided project management support to project teams supporting U.S. Federal and DoD clients worldwide,” he explains. Currently, Koedding is fully retired and living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where he is active in his community and is serving a three-year term on the Town of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Planning Commission. He has continued to work part-time as a Shoreside Guest Services Agent for Carnival Cruise Lines until the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020, when the cruise line ceased operations.
Through demonstrating the core values of Millersville University and the guiding values of the Army, Koedding has celebrated many exceptional accomplishments. When reflecting on the importance of these core values, he states, “I have used these core values [EPPIIC Values], along with the Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage, to successfully guide me through my careers. Receiving unsolicited, positive feedback and acknowledgment of these values by superiors, peers and subordinates reflects that you are implementing them as they were intended.”
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