Col. Ted Campagna said he wants to ease into civilian life after a 20-year career in the Army, three of which were spent as director of the award-winning ROTC program at Campbell University. "As I look at my priorities –God, my wife, my children, my church and my community, and the opportunity I've had to have a job in line with my values and my principles," Campagna said, "it's going to be very hard to just walk away, especially in the middle of a war." Campagna isn't just walking away, however. He intends to work with the government as a civilian and possibly teach. "Teaching is one of my real passions," he said. "I've gotten some great mentoring from the faculty at Campbell." Campagna graduated from West Point in 1986 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. He commanded a light infantry company in Somalia and was selected to teach in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department at West Point. In 2000, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, where he served as the Personnel Officer of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment. He was selected to serve on the 82nd Airborne Division Commander's Personal Staff and became the commanding general's primary advisor for human relations and equal opportunity in 2001. Then, in 2003, Campagna took command of Campbell's ROTC program, leading the program through three of its most triumphant years. During Campagna's tenure at Campbell, 96 officers were commissioned (including the extended campus programs at Methodist, Fayetteville State University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke), and the Campbell Battalion achieved a ranking in the top 15 percent of ROTC programs nationwide each year. "I'm in no hurry to leave Campbell and I'm hopeful that my three daughters will one day graduate from here," Campagna said. "It's one of the few institutions I've ever known that places a premium on citizenship and a values-based education." One of Campagna's most heartbreaking experiences was the loss of 2nd Lt. Justin Smith, who was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at a checkpoint in Baghdad. Smith graduated from the ROTC program in 2004 and was one of the best examples of the kind of officer Campbell produces, Campagna said. "Justin had already been on over 100 combat patrols when he was killed. He could have delegated those dangerous assignments to someone else, but that wasn't his style. If his troops were there, Justin was going to be there," Campagna said. There will be a five kilometer "Hero's Run" at the 2006 Homecoming celebration honoring Smith's memory. Parting thoughts on leaving the Campbell Battalion were expressed with a degree of sadness. "I think we've worked real hard, trying to prepare our cadets intellectually, morally and technically not just to be officers but to be excellent officers," Campagna said. "I will miss the job, but in that sense, I think I can sleep well."
Photo Copy: Col. Ted Campagna, director of Campbell University's ROTC program, speaks to his troops at Campbell's spring graduation ceremonies. (Photo by Scott Capell)