Major General Carroll Thackston, Former Adjutant General of Virginia Dies

On Sunday a great Virginian Major General Carroll Thackston died in Lynchburg Virginia.  A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he served his nation as a citizen soldier and career National Guardsman retiring in 1998 at the The Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Moreover he was good friend and mentor to me.  I am humbled to have known him.

He and I first teamed up to persuade the then TAG MG John Castle not to support the elimination of mandatory commissioning.  MG Castles was persuaded, unfortunately the Board of Visitors did not follow his lead.  After that he became not only a mentor but also a good friend.

MG Thackston as the TAG and a member of the VMI Board of Visitors was instrumental in persuading the Board of Visitors not to take VMI private after we lost in the Supreme Court.  For that courageous stand we should be thankful; for without the Commonwealth there can be no VMI.

In honor of MG Thackston, let all who knew him, remember the words of the Doxology:

“So now Keydets, with one voice cry, God Bless our team and VMI.”


  1. LtCol P says:


    (The end of mandatory commissioning was a gross error.)

    • abie3 says:

      Though I know nothing about MG Thackston- if he was lobbying aginst the end of mandatory commissioning then he definitely was on the right side. VMI lost something really unique when it ended mandatory commissioning. It was a horrible decision by the BOV and it undercut one of the basic founding principles of VMI IMHO. Why the heck do they even bother paying lipservice to a mission statement that supposedly embraces developing "citizen soldiers" and "leaders" if 50% of the graduates can't be bothered to accept a commission in the midst of an 11 year war? This was the Richmond oldboy network who drove that decision- and it's the same guys who don't commission now- wouldn't want anything to stand in the way of UVA Law school, or running Daddy's business. So much for learning leadership and the value of sacrifice and dedication to a larger cause than your self.

      • LtCol P says:

        Amen. Living close to me is a very recent graduate who held rank in the Corps of Cadets and was a varsity athlete. He works for a large construction firm, presumably as an engineer. I asked about him with friends in the current VMI administration and they thought highly of him but said that he just didn't want a commission. HUH?? He is uniquely qualified to be a junior officer in the armed forces. Sad.

  2. DaveO says:

    They ended mandatory commissioning, and less than 3 months later Saddam invaded Kuwait.

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