An online petition calls for GMC president's job. Who is William Caldwell?
One thing about William Caldwell during his tenure at Georgia Military College, he's never been afraid to make tough decisions.
One of Caldwell's first moves as president was kicking the Old Capital Museum out of the basement of the Old Capitol Building and building a book store. The Old Capital Museum was a passion project for several influential GMC donors and supporters, who were left blindsided.
Now, approaching his 10-year anniversary as president of GMC, Caldwell again has made a tough decision, this time firing the prep school president, Steve Greer, an outgoing and charismatic man with plenty of supporters around the school. That decision was made Tuesday.
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Caldwell is the man who brought Greer to the school back in 2016, hiring him as an assistant principal. The men were stationed together on two different occasions during their time in the Army.
Caldwell's decision to fire Greer was met with a palpable amount of 21st-century scorn by parents and Greer supporters. There was an "#istandwithgreer" hashtag on Facebook and plenty of chatter in mom group texts. One lady even printed up an "#istandwithgreer" tee shirt.
For whatever reasons, Caldwell has always had his detractors among GMC supporters and alumni. For years, local reporters have been sent news tips and old article links from people in the community about Caldwell's final few years in the military. Now, those old articles are being recirculated and sent to local reporters once again.
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It's true that Caldwell was in the news on several occasions during his final few years of active duty and prior to his arrival at GMC. Most notable was in 2012, when Caldwell was accused of "of delaying a military investigation into allegations of corruption and patient abuse at the Dawood National Military Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Caldwell was one of the Army's top general's in Afghanistan and was Commander of the NATO Training Mission, basically in charge of training Afghan soldiers. Added the Reuters' article:
According to the Oversight Committee, the United States has spent over $180 million on operating medical sites in Afghanistan, most of which is believed to have gone to Dawood, where NATO personnel oversee Afghan medical staff.
Lawmakers have also said that $43 million in U.S. aid was “missing” at the Kabul military hospital.
Photographs taken at the hospital in 2010 showed neglected patients suffering from problems including gangrene and maggots in their wounds.
Caldwell, who is now a senior Army official in the United States, and other military officials who oversaw the U.S. training effort in Afghanistan were not invited to testify at Tuesday’s hearing.
Caldwell was hired by GMC the following year.
• US officers tell Congress that general blocked probe of hospital in Kabul
Greer obviously was a popular figure around GMC, as evidenced by the online petition that had roughly 400 signatures as of lunchtime Wednesday. According to the "Help William Caldwell Retire" petition, "LTG Caldwell has served GMC faithfully during his tenor, but the duration of that service has reached a conclusion. His leadership is no longer effective. His subordinates and peers alike now have a loss of confidence in his leadership. There is a lack of transparency growing in the institution with each passing day. The time has come for him to enjoy retirement after so many years of service. The GMC Prep School is being directly harmed by his agenda. The financial health of the prep school is directly undermined. More importantly, the very soul of the school is being eroded. Alumni would be saddened by the changing environment... an environment that has held steady since the 1800's. Action MUST BE TAKEN to save the prep school while it can be!!!"
The Union-Recorder interviewed Greer on Tuesday following the decision. That article can be read HERE. Greer indicated that a decision was made Monday "that he would not return as GMC Prep principal for a third year but that he could finish out the 2022-23 term" and "transition to another role with the school next term, possibly as a college and cadet recruiter."
Greer added that he sent out an email to his teachers on staff on Tuesday morning, letting them know that May would be his final month as principal. One thing led to another, and Caldwell entered his office and informed Greer that Tuesday would be his "last day at GMC," according to the Union-Recorder.
Greer grew up in the northern Virginia area. According to his school bio, he "served for eight years as an Army JROTC Senior Army Instructor at Dodge County High School in Eastman, Ga. He also started and coached the wrestling program at the school for both middle and high school teams" before coming to GMC in 2016.