USC Union Commencement Speaker 2021

University of South Carolina Union will welcome USC Union alumnus and South Carolina House Representative Doug Gilliam as the commencement speaker for the University’s Commencement Exercises. They will be held on Saturday, May 1 at 6:00 p.m. at the Union County Stadium.

Command Sergeant Major Leon Douglas “Doug” Gilliam joined the South Carolina Army National Guard in August 1984 as part of Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment.  He transitioned to the Active Guard Reserve program in March of 1989.  Gilliam has spent his career in the 218th Brigade, moving from Private to First Sergeant; Company, Battalion and Brigade Master Gunner; Battalion and Brigade Operations Sergeant Major; Command Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion, 118th Combined Arms Battalion and retired serving as the Command Sergeant Major of the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.  In September, 2012 until June, 2013, he was the Command Sergeants Major of Multi-National Battle Group-East during the 218th Brigades deployment to Kosovo for KFOR-16 rotation.

Gilliam earned his Associate in Arts Degree from USC Union and graduated from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 2003. He completed a series of military courses to include the U.S. Army Air Assault Course, U. S. Army Light Infantry Leaders Course, U.S. Army Pathfinders Course, Bradley Master Gunner School and in 2008, Gilliam graduated from the U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

 In February 2007, Gilliam was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He was the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer for a 16 man Embedded Training Team (ETT) for the Afghan National Army. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with OLC, Bronze Star for Valor (V-Device), Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, German Army Proficiency Badge, Army Commendations Medals, Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Order of the St. Maurice and multiple other awards.  In May of 2012, Gilliam was deployed to Kosovo as the Multi-National Battle Group East Command Sergeant Major for KFOR 16.

Gilliam retired with over 26 years of Federal Active Service on July 1, 2015 where he began a new adventure as the Senior Army Instructor and rifle team coach at Union County High School JROTC Program.  He was inducted into the SC National Guard Enlisted Hall of Fame in February 2016. Gilliam left his position with Union County High School when he was elected in November 2018 to the SC House of Representatives.  He is the current Rifle Team coach for the USC Union Rifle Team.

Gilliam resides in Buffalo, S.C. with his wife Pam and 19-year-old daughter, Hannah.  He is an active member of the community and is an involved member of the Philippi Baptist Church; he served on the Union County Election Commission; he served as a Reserve Sheriff Deputy over 25 years with Union County Sheriff’s Department and a member of Union Masonic Lodge 75. 

Attendance at Commencement is by ticket only. The ceremony will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. No children under the age of three will be admitted.

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