Cadet Company: C2
Date of Birth: July 22, 1940
Date of Death: September 7, 2012 - View or Post a Eulogy
Lieutenant Colonel Terrel Gordon Covington died on the seventh of September after a brief illness.
Colonel Covington, a 1964 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, started his service as an enlisted soldier in the 187th Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division and subsequently attended the West Point Preparatory Academy prior to attending West Point. He served in combat in the Dominican Republic as a member of the 2/505th Airborne Infantry followed by multiple tours as a ground combat advisor in Vietnam, at one point having accumulated more combat time than anyone in his class. For these actions, he was awarded three Bronze stars including one for Valor, three Air Medals and the Combat Infantry Badge. Upon his return from Vietnam, he commanded an Infantry training company at Fort Jackson and attended Georgia Tech University where he completed studies in Operations Research and Systems Engineering and mastered a life long love of golf. Assigned to the Armor/ Engineer Board at Fort Knox, he quickly established a reputation as a uniquely gifted and creative systems developer and was reassigned to the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency as a project manager for multiple projects related to light combat vehicle technology. Now with an established reputation in the field, he became the first officer in the Army to be awarded two secondary specialties in lieu of a branch and a specialty. When the Army was searching for a leader to manage the Light Combat Vehicle Technology Program, he was nominated by the Chief Scientist of the Defense Department, accepted by the Chief of Staff of the Army and proceeded to design, organize, manage, and develop the joint Army/ Marine Corps Light combat Vehicle Technology Program that resulted in still ongoing research in light unmanned gun technology and advanced sensor systems. It was during this time that he became known as the “four star Major” for his eloquent and convincing briefings to the Army leadership and the fact that the other systems managers for the Army were Major Generals. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and awarded the first Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. In spite of requests by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to remain in service, he decided to retire in 1982 and joined the Rand Corporation, the Defense Department’s principal research source, as a Senior Staff Member and lead project manager for advanced unmanned systems technology. He retired from Rand in 1997 remaining on call for advice for several years until finally retiring in full as he often threatened to do in order to play golf, sing at Karaoke and enjoy life to the fullest as he did until stricken with Cancer.
He is survived by his loving wife Juliet Covington, his children; Heather Covington, and Terrell Covington Jr and Elixabeth., two Grandchildren, Jackson and Max; and his brothers and Sisters-in-Law Colonel; Benjamin Covington and Ruth and Maury Covington and Dianne.