GREENVILLE, N.C. (11/10/2023) — Four East Carolina University alumni were honored for their service to the country during the Distinguished Military Service Society (DMSS) ceremony and dinner on Nov. 3 at the ECU Main Campus Student Center.
Retired Army Col. Elbert T. Buck Jr., retired Air Force Col. Derrick J. Floyd, Air Force Lt. Col. Brent McCraney and Navy Capt. Jim Newman joined 75 other society members who have been inducted since the creation of this recognition in 2008. The ECU Alumni Association recognizes alumni and friends for their service to the military through the DMSS.
The four honorees also were recognized during halftime of the Military Appreciation Day football game against Tulane. Chancellor Philip Rogers presented each inductee with the chancellor’s coin to commemorate the honor.
Buck ’67 ’76 earned a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in rehabilitation counseling. During his work in rehabilitation and as a parole officer, Buck hosted interns from ECU, who received training with rehabilitation clients and in the criminal justice system.
His military assignments included corps support group commander, military police, maintenance battalion and headquarters of the North Carolina Army National Guard. Buck served as executive officer of the 690th Maintenance Battalion while serving in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He is an Army War College graduate, and his service has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Legion of Merit, N.C. Distinguished Service Medal, induction into the N.C. Military Academy Hall of Fame at Fort Liberty and two presentations of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Floyd ’97 served at Shaw Air Force Base, where he was the director of manpower, personnel and services for the 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central). He led 61 military, civilian and contractor personnel responsible for planning and executing support for more than 15,000 Air Force personnel in the U.S. Central Command. He served during operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.
Floyd earned a bachelor’s in psychology. This year, he was guest speaker for the ECU Detachment 600 spring commissioning ceremony and was a panelist at the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center Black History Month celebration. During his service as the military personnel flight commander, Floyd created a shadow program at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base that allowed junior and senior AFROTC cadets to receive briefings and tours related to their potential career fields.
McCraney’04 earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He serves as F-16 lead programmer for the Department of the Air Force, A8 Strategic Plans and Programs at the Pentagon, where he manages the operational sustainment of the Air Force’s largest fleet of fighter aircraft. During his service, he was deployed as a munitions flight commander and munitions accountable systems officer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has been awarded the Silver Cross of Honor of the German Bundeswehr, a Meritorious Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal, among other honors.
McCraney has mentored high school students and aspiring cadets with interest in ECU and military service. When military service took him to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, McCraney and other ECU graduates established an Air Force ECU alumni group. He was the recipient of ECU’s 40 Under 40 award in 2021 and served on the selection committee in 2022.
Newman ’68 ’74 was the first ECU graduate commissioned as an ensign in the Navy at ECU commencement. He served 34 years in active and reserve service, including deployments in Vietnam, the Jordanian Civil War, and operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal – Distinguished Service with Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command.
He was a letter winner in football and track for the Pirates, served on the men’s honor council and worked as sports editor for the East Carolinian during his undergraduate years. He earned his MBA at ECU with a concentration in accounting. Newman served as a member of the ECU Alumni Association board of directors, including as treasurer and board chair. He received an Outstanding Alumni Award in 2017.