Vietnam Veteran “The Singing Sergeant”

William Mead CCAS’79, GSC’88, who served as an infantry company radioman with the Marines in the Vietnam War and fought in three major ground combat actions in 1972, enrolled at Rutgers–Camden in 1977. “Vietnam veterans were extremely unpopular and treated relatively badly,” he said. “I actually hid the fact that I was a veteran while getting my bachelor’s degree.”

When Mead returned to campus in the 1980s to work on a master’s, he began to connect with student-veterans. As an alumnus, he took the lead in founding the Veteran Alumni of Rutgers University in 2008, serving as the first president of the organization that expanded to all three Rutgers campuses. In 2010, he received the Rutgers University Block R award for exemplary volunteer service. Mead, who has served as the state vocalist for the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars and is known as the “Singing Sergeant,” sang the national anthem at the Rutgers–Camden commencement ceremonies from 2010 through 2012.

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