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Celebrating ROTC’s 50th year at Austin Peay: Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey

(Posted June 24, 2021)

Retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Austin Peay State University is celebrating its 50th year. To mark the occasion, each month through the end of the year, we’ll share one story of a Governor’s Guard alumni or former leader. This month, we share the story of APSU alumnus retired Marine Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey.

Bailey, former deputy commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations for the U.S. Marine Corps, served as vice president for external affairs at Austin Peay State University. Bailey, a 1977 APSU graduate, oversaw the University’s offices of advancement, communication and strategic initiatives from summer 2018 until spring 2021.

While a student at Austin Peay, Bailey played football for the Governors and participated in the school’s ROTC program. In 1977, shortly after he graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in biology, Bailey was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Over the years I’ve traveled upon three ships of service: leadership, relationship and mentorship,” Bailey said.

During his impressive, 40-year career, Bailey oversaw the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, and he served as commanding general of the First Marine Division, as commanding general of the Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade and as deputy director for operations of the Joint Staff. He also was a Military National Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Leadership is about influence and relationships – relationships with the American people,” Bailey once said. “Our nation’s citizens expect us to be America’s expeditionary force in readiness committed to their protection at home and abroad; we will honor that expectation with the professional and empathetic execution of our mission within their communities nationwide.”

Bailey recently was honored by his former hometown, West Augustine, Florida, with a historical marker and ceremony recognizing his career.

“Don’t let anyone define you,” he said at the ceremony. “You define who you’re going to be and what you’re going to do.”

After hiring Bailey in 2018, former Austin Peay President Alisa White said, “Throughout his distinguished military career, he was routinely tapped for increasingly challenging assignments. In addition, he always maintained a passion for his alma mater, placing it at the top of his list of achievements.”

Bailey earned graduate degrees from Webster University and the National War College, and his awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal with bronze oak leaf, Legion of Merit with combat V, Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and the Combat Action Ribbon.

For more information about the Governor’s Guard ROTC at Austin Peay, visit www.apsu.edu/rotc.

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