By Cameron University press releaseMarch 25, 2010
The Department of Military Science at Cameron University will be named the "George D. Keathley Department of Military Science," following approval earlier today by university regents. The naming honors Staff Sergeant George Dennis Keathley, a Cameron alumnus who earned the Medal of Honor in World War II.
"It is fitting that Cameron's nationally ranked Department of Military Science be named in honor of this heroic individual who exemplified the highest ideals of military service through his actions," said Cameron University President Cindy Ross. "Sergeant Keathley's legacy will provide motivation for current and future students as they serve our country."
Dennis Keathley attended Cameron Junior College in 1931 and 1932, before he earned a degree from Texas A&M University. Shortly after joining the U.S. Army in May 1942, he was deployed to the European Theater of Operations, where he earned numerous citations, including two Bronze Stars for heroic actions.
In July 1944, he wrote to his brother, "War is rough...is not what it is cracked up to be...I personally don't care for medals and glory. I want to come home."
On September 14, 1944, his unit engaged in battle at Mount Altuzzo, Italy. After all the other officers and non-commissioned officers of both the second and third platoons had become casualties, Staff Sergeant Keathley, guide of the first platoon, assumed command of both the second and third platoons. Despite being greatly outnumbered by the enemy, he organized the defense, gathered and distributed ammunition, gave direct and precise orders to his charges and continued to encourage his soldiers.
Keathley suffered a mortal wound from a hand grenade in his left side during the attack, but even after being injured, he refused to take cover. Instead, he continued to battle the enemy and shout orders to his soldiers. After repulsing numerous counterattacks, the enemy withdrew. Keathley died shortly after that victory.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. The citation for the honor reads in part, "Had it not been for his indomitable courage and incomparable heroism, the remnants of the three rifle platoons of Company B might well have been annihilated by the overwhelming enemy attacking force. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service."
The George D. Keathley Department of Military Science is home to the Comanche Battalion, Cameron's Army ROTC program, one of the top programs in the nation. The unit was recently named the top program in the Fifth Brigade, which includes 36 Army ROTC Programs in the states of Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.