Nikki Haley to Be First Woman to Receive Replica Revolutionary War Musket From The Citadel

Former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley will receive the Nathan Hale Patriot Award, which comes with a replica Revolutionary War musket, from The Citadel, making her the first woman to receive the honor.

Haley, who was also the first female governor of South Carolina and a potential 2024 presidential candidate, will receive the honor Thursday night, Charleston news station WCIV reported. Other past recipients include former Vice President Mike Pence last year, former White House adviser Steve Bannon in 2018, and former President Donald Trump in 2015, The Associated Press reported.

The award will be presented at the annual Patriot Dinner hosted by The Citadel Republican Society, which claims to be "the largest Republican club in the South." The Citadel chooses an official to honor that "embodies the selfless leadership of Nathan Hale" each year, according to WCIV.

During the Revolutionary War, Hale served as a soldier and spy for the Continental Army. He was one of the first known spies of the war, according to the American Battlefield Trust. At the age of 21, he was captured behind enemy lines and found with incriminating documents. Upon the discovery, British General William Howe ordered Hale's execution, at which he said his famous last words: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

The dinner is also a fundraiser that helps support the cadets of the society and a yearly four-day trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., WCIV reported. It will take place at John Monroe J. Holliday Alumni Center.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Nikki Haley, Nathan Hale Patriot Award
Former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley will be the first woman to receive The Citadel Republican Society's highest honor, which will be presented at the annual Patriot Dinner on Thursday. In this photo, Haley speaks with reporters after a campus tour of South Carolina State University on April 12, 2021, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

Her speech in accepting the award will mark her first public comments in South Carolina since leaving her post at the U.N., where she served the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019. Since then, Haley has written a memoir, set up a political action committee, weighed into down-ballot campaigns and visited early-voting states.

During that time, however, Haley has also been among ascendant Republicans uncertain of how to lead in a party grappling with the role Trump still plays within it, as well as how to approach the 2024 campaign cycle, given Trump's tease of a possible future bid. Pressed by The Associated Press on that question in April, Haley committed to sitting it out if Trump seeks a second term.

The day after the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Haley told Republican National Committee members that Trump had been "badly wrong with his words" and that "his actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history."

Nikki Haley, Nathan Hale Patriot Award
The award former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley will receive honors Nathan Hale, a soldier spy for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In this photo, Haley speaks during a campaign event for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on July 14, 2021, in McLean, Virginia. Win McNamee/Getty Images