NORFOLK, VA. – Byron S. Bagby graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 1978. 12 years later, Chad Skaggs graduated from the same institution. Now, both men find themselves at another college at the same time. Today, Bagby is a Major General in the U.S. Army and the Commandant of the Joint Forces Staff College. Skaggs is an army Lieutenant Colonel and a student in JFSC’s Joint and Combined Warfighting School.
JFSC was established in 1946. The College educates national security professionals to plan and execute joint, multinational, and interagency operations. More that 1,000 students pass through JCWS each year.
Although his schedule is dynamic and his duties frequently call him away from the college, Bagby is intent on personally meeting every student. “I want every student to know I am glad they are here. No matter how hectic my schedule is, it’s very important to me, both personally and professionally, to find time to talk with each student.” says Bagby. “Our students are organized in seminars and I make it a habit to sit in on each seminar at some time during the 10-weeks they are here for a roundtable discussion on jointness. I want to hear from them during these sessions. The majority of students have had recent experience in Iraq or Afghanistan. Hearing from them first hand, allows me to better ensure we are providing them with the very best possible education.”
The two men met for the first time when Skaggs arrived in January. “I knew who General Bagby was.” said Skaggs, “Myself and two other guys who were in my ROTC Battalion at Westminster were all selected recently for Battalion command. The entire ROTC class only had about 30 people, so 10% selecting for command of a tactical Battalion, was a pretty big deal. A member of the alumni association contacted us and told us another alumni was now a two-star general. It just so happened that was General Bagby. We met the first day of class at JFSC.”
Bagby stated, “needless to say, I’m proud of Chad’s accomplishments in the military. His selection for battalion level command is one of the toughest cuts in the military.” He added “for he and two other Westminster grads to get selected is truly impressive.”
Skaggs family still owns a farm near Fulton, and he manages to go home a couple of times each year. “In fact, I’ll be going back for Alumni weekend which is coming up next month.”
Skaggs will graduate next Friday and head back to Northern Command for a few months before heading off to his command.