Retired United States Army Col. Jackie Fogle’s leadership experience in working with adults and youth has shone forth in a variety of ways, including making his military service what he said has been a fulfilling experience.
From his work with the U.S. Army Special Forces, or Green Berets, in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, to coming back to South Carolina to serve as director of the South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy, a military school for at-risk teens, his career has been a diverse one.
'It was a life experience'
He is no stranger to service, military or otherwise.
“I just think it’s important to give back. I grew up at a different time than the way things are now. My dad was a World War II veteran. Most of the people that he knew and were friends with were World War II veterans, and the kind of people I grew up around, my role models, were mainly veterans who had served in World War II and Korea,” Fogle said. “I just felt it was my obligation to do my duty.”
The 71-year-old added, “It’s so few people serving and giving back to their country and the community. This country’s been good to all of us, and we need to give back to it in some way or another.”
He said his experience in Vietnam was not necessarily one he enjoyed, but he has no regrets about having served.
“I worked with an A-Team, plus I worked with an I Corps Mobile Strike Force. Our primary mission was training the Mountain Yard and the South Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense Group, CIDG, on American tactics and strategy to fight.
“It was unique. I mean, I won’t say I enjoyed it, but it was an experience. It was an exposure to a lot of different cultures and ways of life. I think it impacted me in dealing with different people,” the Livingston resident said.
He values the relationships he made while serving with his fellow soldiers, with that being what really stood out about his service.
“I think it’s a lot of the relationships and the camaraderie that was established at the time that was more important that actually what we did. It was a group of people that were very close knit. We worked very well together and did what we thought was the right thing,” Fogle said.
He added, “It was a life experience in dealing with the war in Vietnam. Everybody that was there had a different experience. It depends on where you were assigned, what you were doing and the people you were with.
“I think everybody has a lot of negative memories about it, but I’ve always tried to look at the positive side of things. We did our job and we did it well.”
Fogle spent his first three years on active duty as a Green Beret before deciding to go school.
“I started at the University of South Carolina, and I enlisted in the (South Carolina) National Guard because I still wanted to be involved in the military. I got my commission (as a second lieutenant) through the National Guard and served in the National Guard for about 10 years. Then I went back on what was called Active Guard Reserve,” where he spent 20 years, he said.
Fogle has served as an associate professor of military science at Furman University and State University of New York. He was also director of the Southwest Region Counter Drug Task Force, along with serving as deputy director of exercise and training with Third Army at Ft. McPherson in Georgia.
He retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel in July 1998.
'Emphasis will be on service'
Fogle received his undergraduate degree from USC before earning a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Liberty University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Special Warfare School, Command and General Staff College and the South Carolina Executive Institute.
Fogle, who has served as a company commander, battalion commander and in various staff positions, said the most fulfilling part of his military service came from his work at the Office of Adjutant General, where he served as director of the South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy.
“We basically tried to give them some values, some direction. Most of them had been in minor problems, and they responded real well to the disciplinary structure. We graduated quite a few people who went on to be very successful. A lot of them went into the military, a lot of them went on to college,” he said.
“It’s not that they’re bad kids, it’s they don’t have discipline, structure and direction because it’s not an adult there to give it to them. ... I think that was the reason that the Challenge Program was so successful. We had cadres and staff that were willing to give them the right direction to go in,” he said.
Fogle said it was especially delightful to see the graduates take advantage of it.
“When you read the background, a lot of them didn’t have any future, any hope. And then five months later, you’d see them applying to college or going on to tech, or wherever it may be. But just the change in direction was very rewarding,” he said.
What has been equally rewarding for Fogle is his continued work in the community.
He is a former mayor of Livingston who had also served on Orangeburg County Council, the former North School District 6 board, the Silver Springs Water Board and the Orangeburg Boys and Girls Club.
He is presently serving on the Orangeburg County Transportation Committee and the Orangeburg County Soil and Water Board. He is a member of the VFW, American Legion and Livingston United Methodist Church.
“People don’t realize how important maintaining our soil and water and conversation is. If we don’t maintain our water quality and maintain our soil, we’re not gonna be around. Some people think everything comes out of the grocery store,” he said.
Fogle will be the featured speaker at Norway’s 44th Annual Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27. He said he plans to talking about the service and sacrifices veterans have made and how they all deserve respect.
“Emphasis will be on service and the people who actually gave it all. Anybody who’s a veteran should be honored and respected, but Memorial Day will be about the ones who gave it all. They lost their life in the service of the country, and it’s about respecting and honoring them,” Fogle said.
He and his wife of more than 50 years, Lynda, are the parents of five daughters, 14 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is a lover of wildlife, with Fogle and his wife spending a lot of their time as beekeepers and enjoying the outdoors.
He said his best years are yet to come.
"I hope so. Life has been good to me. I think you make your opportunities, and I'm looking forward to the rest of my life," Fogle said.