‘True Blue’ A Way of Life for Army Reserve Brigadier General
True Blue is more than just a phrase for Georgia Southern alumnus Vincent E. Buggs, a brigadier general with the U.S. Army Reserve. It’s a mindset.
“To be ‘True Blue’ means to give,” he said. “The one thing that Georgia Southern as an institution teaches everyone, if you embrace it, is that you have to be kind, you have to give and you have to be willing to share your experiences.”
This mentality led him to surprise a group of high school seniors at David Emanuel Academy in Stillmore, Georgia. While deployed early in his military career, Buggs was pen pals with this group of students who were set to graduate in 2020. The students sent Buggs letters, candies and whatnots often, which helped keep his spirits high during tough times.
Years passed and Buggs never forgot the young students who took the time to write and encourage him. Buggs made a visit to Georgia Southern University in fall 2019 to meet the cadets in the Army ROTC program. When he learned that David Emanuel Academy was less than an hour’s drive from Georgia Southern’s Statesboro Campus, he scheduled a visit.
“Being able to get there to thank them was something really personal to me,” he said. “Getting to the campus, I had butterflies. You haven’t seen them, you’ve never met them and you just don’t know how it’s going to go — it can go sideways.
“There were a lot of emotions, but positive emotions,” he said. “I did break down for a minute, but I got my composure and I explained to them the importance of sending letters or care packages to a service member who is away from their family. It’s a heartwarming thing.”
Thanking these students was important to Buggs not only to close a chapter in his life but to also show his appreciation for the positive influence their gestures had on him. This is just one way he embodies his True Blue mindset.
“Even my toughest days at Georgia Southern, there was always somebody there to pat me on my back or my shoulder and say, ‘keep going,’” he said. “There were days when you just knew ‘this is not going to be a good day,’ but there was always somebody there who had a positive outlook on something and it made a difference in my life.”
That support is what Buggs credits with his successes in life and in his military career.
“When I got to Georgia Southern, I was a college student,” he said. “When I left, I was a visionary. I had objectives and things that I wanted to accomplish in my life.”
Buggs has garnered numerous accomplishments over the years as he moved up in rank to brigadier general. Currently, he is the director for the Army Reserve Engagement Cell, U.S. Army North, in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Because of the positive influences he encountered as a student, Buggs chooses to share similar support by frequently speaking with young people and visiting Georgia Southern often. He makes a point to speak with current Army ROTC cadets and other students to explain to them the importance of embracing the full Georgia Southern experience.
“The greatest moment of my life was when the football team allowed me to speak to them before a football game,” he said. “That was an honor that I can never, ever replace. That was surreal. And that’s when you know you’re True Blue.” — Crissie Elrick Bath