MTSU Hosts Army Reserve Commanding General for Opry Event, Campus Visit

May 22, 2024 at 05:22 pm by WGNS News

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This year’s edition of Grand Ole Opry’s annual Salute the Troops celebration, again sponsored by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, featured not one, but two generals and two country music stars with ties to Middle Tennessee State University. 

Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve, and MTSU’s retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber led a parade of veterans and active duty troops into the Opry House before Tuesday night’s show. Both generals served as guest announcers on the Opry stage.


Daniels, the first female to command the Reserve component, commands more than 200,000 soldiers and civilian employees who live and work in communities across the country.

Speaking to the Opry audience, both in person and over WSM radio and streaming platforms, Daniels said it was a “distinct privilege” to represent at the event “not just the Army Reserve, but all the men and women of the Armed Forces who dedicate themselves to our American values every day.”

Opry member and MTSU alumnus Craig Morgan, who serves as a warrant officer, was the show’s headliner and performed with the 313th U.S. Army Band. Also featured in the show was MTSU alumna Hunter Wolkonowski, who performs as HunterGirl, and Opry members Lauren Alaina and Trace Adkins. 

The Army Reserve chief also visited the MTSU campus before the Opry event, meeting with Army ROTC cadets, touring the Daniels Center with Huber and presenting a full Minuteman ROTC scholarship to incoming MTSU freshman Morgan Sheldon of Murfreesboro, who plans to major in exercise science. 

Daniels visited campus and the Opry at the invitation of Andrew Oppmann, MTSU’s vice president for marketing and communications, who serves as one of Tennessee’s four civilian Army Reserve ambassadors. Joining Oppmann to welcome the general was Ambassador Emeritus John Dyess of Franklin and Ambassador Douglas Gilbert of Nashville.

Daniels became the fourth senior Reserve leader to tour the Daniels Center, joining Maj. Gen. Robert Harter, commanding general of the 81st Readiness Division; Brig. Gen. Robert Powell of the 335th Signal Command; and Andrew Lombardo, who visited during his stint as the Reserve’s command sergeant major and senior non-commissioned officer.

“To our hosts at Middle Tennessee State University — and the Grand Ole Opry: We’re so grateful for your incredible, longstanding support you and your viewers show our Armed Forces,” Daniels said on the Opry stage. 

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