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Two alumni inducted into Georgia Military Veterans' Hall of Fame

Retired Col. Wayne Dill, '62, and retired Capt. Edward "Rusty" Holman Hightower, '66, have been inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans' Hall of Fame.

Retired Col. Wayne Dill, '62, and retired Capt. Edward "Rusty" Holman Hightower, '66, are the two latest University of North Georgia (UNG) alumni inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans' Hall of Fame.

UNG now has 15 of the 131 inductees in the Hall of Fame since its inception in 2013.

"UNG produces leaders. It provides the foundation to produce leaders not only in the military, but also in the civilian arena," Dill said. "You learn how to take advantage of the assets available to you."

Dill and Hightower served in Vietnam, and each is an inductee in the valor category.

Dill was a Distinguished Military Graduate and commissioned into the infantry from UNG in 1962. His first tour included two company commands in the 101st Airborne Division. In the second tour, he advised South Vietnamese airborne units.

Dill earned the Army Commendation Medal with "V" and Silver Star in 1966, which recognized his fearless leadership while facing murderous fire from a numerically superior enemy near Dak To. In early 1969, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star with "V" device for personally directing fires while in the air and on the ground during combined aviation and ground engagements.

"It's a high honor. There are many others who are probably more deserving," said Dill, who serves on UNG's Board of Trustees and has served on the Alumni Association board and the Corps Advisory Council. "I was very shocked and humbled, but I'm proud of my service and for being a UNG graduate."

Hightower was a Distinguished Military Graduate and commissioned as a second lieutenant from UNG in 1966. During his deployment to Vietnam in 1969, Hightower served as an adviser to a South Vietnamese infantry unit and distinguished himself while taking control as commander after the unit's battalion leaders were killed. Despite being wounded, he maneuvered through enemy fire, inspiring his comrades by his courageous leadership. He evacuated the wounded and dead, saving many lives of his fellow soldiers and allies. His awards included the Silver Star, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

"I'm honored beyond understanding that I would even be considered for a recognition like this," Hightower said. "Everything I have has come from what I learned at UNG — the discipline, the duty. I personally think it's the greatest school in the world. I can't stress enough the importance of going through the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia. It is the greatest experience I've had in my life."

One of only six federally designated senior military colleges in the nation, UNG is The Military College of Georgia, and its nationally recognized Army ROTC program attracts students from across the state, region and nation.

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