West Point Magazine Fall 2021

Page 24

USMA Strategic Partnerships

Black and Gold

Autonomous Racing

A Publication of the West Point Association of Graduates WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S FALL 2021
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ON THE COVER: West Point’s “million dollar view” on an autumn day. Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG.

USMA Strategic Partnerships

Black and Gold Autonomous Racing

5 Partnering Toward Preeminence: The Landscape of USMA

Strategic Partnerships Achieving West Point’s vision of preeminence involves synergistic partnerships with the Army, academia, alumni and more.

7 COVER STORY | The Race is On

Black and Gold Autonomous Racing, a partnership team composed of West Point cadets and Purdue University students, has spent the last year building and testing a race car that can win without a driver at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

16 Cadet Summer Training: It Takes an Army

22 FBI Partnership Allows Cadets to Learn Crisis Negotiation Hands-On

26 Meeting the “M” in USMA

29 WPAOG and the Long Gray Line: USMA’s Ultimate Partners

34 Cadets are Using MRI in a Whole New Way at Stanford University

38 Cadet Summer Training 2021

42 International Officer Instructors at USMA: A Strategic Partnership

48 Army West Point Fencing: The Oldest West Point Sport Evolves

52 DGA article-headline?

61 The Thunderstorm Outside the CAVE: WPSC’s Partnership with Penn State’s ARL


3 From the Chairman

4 From the Superintendent

36 Poster: Homecoming Alumni Wreath Laying Ceremony


2 WestPointAOG.org
VOLUME 11, ISSUE 4 • FALL 2021 ADVERTISERS APi Group 1 Balfour 39 Century 21 C2 Battle Monument Group 19 Falcons Landing 39 Herff Jones 39 Patriots Colony 41 SACC 41 USAA 11, C3 Send your thoughts about West Point magazine to editor@wpaog.org or @WPAOG on Twitter. View the online version of this magazine at WestPointAOG.org/wpmag Highlights and videos may be found on WPAOG Social Media. From Your West Point Association of Graduates
60 Gripping Hands 64 WPAOG News 66 West Point Authors Bookshelf 68 Parents Corner 69 Mailbox 70 Be Thou at Peace 71 Past in Review
WPAOG Military Retiree Recognition Program

Dear Fellow Graduates:

It is great to finally see you again! This fall, seven West Point classes returned to their Rockbound Highland Home to celebrate class reunions, with more than 1,000 graduates and their guests making their way through Herbert Hall and across post during these events and after. Add the hundreds more grads I’ve seen and connected with at tailgates for home football games and things are starting to seem like normal after a trying year-plus of lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic. It has taken WPAOG 150 years to build a very strong culture that revolves around our mission to serve West Point and the Long Gray Line, and the power of this mission is strengthened by personal contact. While I am amazed by and proud of all that WPAOG was able to accomplish for West Point and the Long Gray Line using virtual models, I am encouraged by that we will be able to start doing more in-person events, especially as we begin to unroll initiatives associated with WPAOG’s Strategic Plan 2030, which is the result of a two-year planning process with Academy senior staff.

WPAOG’s mission is to serve West Point and the Long Gray Line, and our vision is for the Long Gray Line to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world. Virtually or in person, it is vital that we stay connected to one another, and WPAOG has put several programs in place to facilitate connections among members of the Long Gray Line, including Class and Society Support, the 50-Year Affiliation Program, Event and Reunion Support, and the Rockbound Highland Home Program. During the pandemic we were able to roll out our Sallyport platform to West Point Societies a year ahead of schedule, enabling Societies to better serve their members, and over 14,000 graduates have downloaded Grad Link, the mobile app that will keep you connected to the Long Gray Line wherever you are. WPAOG has also expanded its offerings into new areas, including speaker series in conjunction with special interest groups (SIGs) and more robust engagements with cadets. Regarding this last point, at the conclusion of CBT, WPAOG hosted a BBQ for our “graduates-in-training” (i.e., the new cadets) at Lake Frederick, along with the “Old Grads” who were on hand for March Back. These activities also provide cadets with opportunities to learn about the service and camaraderie of West Point’s graduates, thereby inspiring cadets to lifelong relationships with West Point and with their fellow graduates. A connected alumni body is a powerful alumni body, capable of doing great things for its alma mater and for one another. WPAOG is the key to unlocking this power, and it has put in place programs, and is currently developing new programs, to assist graduates at the milestone moments of their lives.

For example, three years ago we launched an enhanced Career Services Program, and during this time we have helped hundreds of grads navigate the transition to a postmilitary career or between civilian positions. We have also partnered with PREVENTS, a White House initiative to end veteran suicide, to pilot a new program called “R.E.A.C.H,” and we are actively leveraging the potency of the Long Gray Line to help end alumni suicide. Lastly, WPAOG is working on an initiative to enhance the local communities adjacent to West Point in ways that benefit both the Academy, in terms of its ability to attract stellar cadets and faculty, and the Long Gray Long, in terms of enhancing the experience of returning to your Rockbound Highland Home. Called the Hudson Valley Project, this initiative will directly support several aspects of the USMA’s strategic plan to include the goal of strengthening partnerships.

Speaking of partnerships, this issue of West Point magazine details a number of the Academy’s strategic partnerships: partnerships with the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense, other higher education institutions, our international allies, the American People and the local community, and alumni. Regarding this last point, be sure to note the words of the new Commandant, Brigadier General Mark Quander ’95, found on page 28. In short, echoing the sentiment of the Superintendent, he says that West Point cannot be a preeminent leadership institution without its alumni. How true!

Thank you for all your support and for your continued commitment to Duty, Honor, Country. When you consider the national landscape of the last year and a half, we have been living through some difficult times; however, if we focus on the ideals embodied in West Point’s motto, we’ll remain as strong as ever. As Douglas MacArthur said in his famous 1962 speech, our shared commitment should be our “rallying points.” Focusing on them, we will not fail, we will not lose faith, and we will not become forlorn. And with them as our guide, we will, of course, Beat Navy (again)!

Grip Hands!


Fellow Members of the Long Gray Line:

Fall semester is well underway here at your Rockbound Highland Home, and the energy and motivation of the Corps of Cadets are as high as ever. Led by our new First Captain, Cadet Holland Pratt of Liberty Lake, Washington, these future leaders continue to excel throughout their leader development experience.

The Corps displayed that same energy, motivation, and pursuit of excellence, as well as grit and toughness, throughout Cadet Summer Training. They executed a phenomenal three months of tough, quality military training that set the stage for a strong transition to the academic year.

This past summer, over three major training evolutions, more than 3,400 cadets developed the warrior, leadership, and team-building skills necessary to lead, fight and win in the crucible of ground combat:

Cadet Basic Training (CBT): The Class of 2025 excelled during CBT, learning the foundational soldier skills needed to successfully integrate into the Corps. This new class spent one-third of CBT in the field and, for the first time since 2009, returned to Lake Frederick for the final week of training. Cadets marched out and back—nearly 13 miles, with a hill climb of more than 1,200 feet of elevation gain each way—and encamped by the lake in the tent city setting that many of us remember from our Beast days. Another addition to CBT this year was a crucible challenge modeled after the Army Infantry School’s “First 100 Yards” event. Cadets developed warrior skills and built camaraderie through various tasks, including a grueling mountain climb and a pugil stick competition. The Class of 2025 is tough and motivated and displayed incredible physical fitness, boasting an average ACFT score of 497, with six cadets scoring a perfect 600.

Cadet Field Training (CFT): Rising yearlings honed their warrior skills while learning the importance of teamwork and individual grit. Cadets took part in a three-day field training exercise (FTX), exposing them to various Combat Arms branches (including Engineer and Air Defense Artillery) and multi-domain operations. CFT trainees marched 80 kilometers and earned 414 RECONDO badges. Cadets also received a graduate level class in grit and toughness over Memorial Day weekend, when, despite the pouring rain and the coldest weather on record since 1884, they continued to train hard out in the field.

Cadet Leader Development Training (CLDT): This tough and formative capstone experience for rising firsties and cows tested warrior and leadership skills through various tactical scenarios, tying together skills and lessons from all

developmental programs. During the nine-day FTX, cadets conducted Ranger School-style missions, demonstrating their ability to lead, plan and make decisions in a tough, timeconstrained environment. Every cadet executed at least one air assault mission and the crucible event, which included a five-kilometer ruck march and culminated in a platoonversus-platoon combatives competition. Many cadets described CLDT as a “gut check” and remarked how this was the best training they’ve received at West Point.

Additionally, cadets successfully completed various military development courses, including Air Assault and Sapper, and served with various CONUS units (including Special Operations units) during Cadet Troop Leader Training.

Just as important, character education was integrated throughout Cadet Summer Training, emphasizing honor, resiliency and the harmful behaviors that prevent team cohesion. Our Character Integration Advisory Group, now at full operational capacity, supported the Commandant’s implementation of two new character education initiatives this past summer as part of CBT: new cadet journaling, used to facilitate nightly discussions about honor, character growth, wellness, and building cohesive teams; and a day designed to help new cadets solidify their understanding of character development and prepare them for the academic year. Both initiatives received very positive feedback from cadets and staff alike and set the stage for a pilot weekly character growth seminar for plebes to address living honorably, leading honorably, and demonstrating excellence.

We couldn’t have successfully executed summer training without the tremendous support from the Army total force. Hundreds of active, Reserve, and National Guard soldiers from 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne Division, 198th Infantry Brigade, 3-304th Regiment and other units safely enabled summer training as instructors and drill sergeants. These incredible soldiers exemplified professional excellence, the types of soldiers our cadets will soon lead.

Today’s Corps is tough, determined, and motivated, ready to take on any challenge.

If you’d like to see the Corps in action during summer training, visit our YouTube page at www.youtube.com/user/ TheWestPointChannel/ for some incredible cadetproduced videos.

Thank you for all you do for the Corps of Cadets, your alma mater and the Long Gray Line.

Army Strong!


The Landscape of USMA Strategic Partnerships PARTNERING TOWARD PREEMINENCE:

Achieving West Point’s vision of preeminence is a team effort. West Point remains well-resourced by the Army to perform its core mission. West Point realizes the power of community to create a preeminent leader development experience for its cadets and an extraordinary professional development experience for the “second graduating class” of rotating military and civilian faculty. The goal of this issue of West Point magazine is to orient readers to the dynamic landscape of strategic partnerships that propel West Point toward preeminence every day.

Photo: Backkground image-Shutterstock

Theimportance of external connection in support of cadet development may be traced back to the Superintendency of Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, from 1919 to 1922. His experience in World War I provided the impetus to reform many aspects of the cadet development experience, including cadets training on modern equipment externally at Camp Dix and increased cadet social development through off-post privileges and passes. Since then, external connection has purposefully grown into strategic partnerships that support the Academy’s vision. A century later, West Point’s framework for strategic partnerships was codified in the 2019 USMA Strategic Plan as one of five lines of effort: “Strengthen Partnerships.”

West Point leverages relationships with external partners and stakeholders to enhance advocacy and support for the Academy and the Army. West Point connects, collaborates, and contributes to partnerships at home and abroad to develop the requisite skills and abilities of our cadets and faculty, leverage the intellectual capital of the Academy, exchange knowledge with others, and remain connected to the Army and academe. West Point dynamically evolves its partnership landscape by remaining entrepreneurial in the exploration of untapped organizations and refinement of emerging relationships to create synergy.

Synergistic partnerships provide the Academy with a breadth of opportunity and depth of resources unachievable by internal efforts alone. Army, Department of Defense (DoD), and academic partnerships provide cadets and faculty with a breadth of experiential, research, and problem-based education opportunities that enrich leader development. Many of these opportunities come directly from Army Futures Command. From these partnerships cadets and faculty may apply their knowledge to the leading edge of challenges facing the U.S. Army and the nation. These partnerships are often orchestrated by the Academy’s 28 research centers. Embedded in academic departments and tenant organizations, research centers are an entrepreneurial engine for the Academy to curate relevant cadet and faculty development experiences that add substantive value back to the Army and nation. Partnerships routinely bring the additional resources necessary to conduct project-based education, which is often more resource intensive than traditional classroom instruction.

West Point’s close connection to the operational Army provides preeminent military development for the Corps. Strong partnerships with Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Forces Command (FORSCOM), and the National Guard, allow for military experiences that prepare

cadets to win on the future battlefield. Annual support of a FORSCOM battalion task force for Cadet Summer Training, small unit augmentation, and a multitude of military school opportunities are all ways that these partners enable preeminent military development for the Corps.

The Army strategy recognizes that U.S. allies and international partners are required for victory on the battlefield. Consequently, West Point continues to sow the seeds of future interoperability through international opportunities for the Corps of Cadets, international cadets, faculty, and staff. International opportunities abound at West Point and are made possible through strong connection with the international community. Whether it be a four-year international cadet embedded within the Corps, cadet study abroad opportunities, international exchange officer positions, or an international team competing in the annual Sandhurst Military Competition, our allies and partners continue to enhance developmental opportunities in alignment with Army and DoD requirements. The Long Gray Line remains a key enabler to our strategic partnership landscape. Through the tremendous efforts of the West Point Association of Graduates, West Point alumni remain some of the most connected in the world. Consequently, many of USMA’s strategic partnerships begin with or are strengthened through alumni connection and collaboration. Through generous gifts, alumni provide the Margin of Excellence necessary to enable preeminence and support many developmental opportunities, especially for our emerging partnerships where external resources have not yet been achieved.

Strong partnerships with the local community, Congress, and the American people allow West Point to remain a trusted institution of leader development and higher education. West Point draws its strength from the talent of the nation it serves. Working closely with the local community, Congress, and the American people, West Point continually draws from the best the nation has to offer.

The pages that follow provide some specific examples of the partnership landscape that propels West Point toward its vision of preeminence every day. Achieving West Point’s vision remains a national and international effort. West Point values the multitude of partners that support its leader development efforts and we look forward to future partnerships on the horizon as the Army and Academy explore new domains for leader development. 

LTC Brian Novoselich, Ph.D., P.E., commissioned as an Armor officer from USMA in 1996. He currently serves as an Academy Professor, teaching in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, and is the USMA Director of Strategic Plans and Assessment (G-5). Novoselich led the establishment of the Strengthen Partnerships line of effort for the USMA Strategy and Campaign Plan.

Photo: Submitted
LTC Brian Novoselich ’96

The Race is On

The Indianapolis Autonomous Challenge issued a daring proposition: maneuver a $1 million racecar around the country’s most-storied speedway at 200 mph— without a driver—and the winning college team walks away with $1 million. Black and Gold Autonomous Racing, a partnership team composed of the top engineering, computer science and robotics minds at the United States Military Academy and Purdue University, is leading the pack in simulated competitions. But when the rubber meets the road, will they capture the checkered flag?

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 7 Photo: IAC
The team from West Point (right) and the team from Purdue University (left) pose with the Indy Autonomous Racing banner in front of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in downtown Indianapolis, IN.

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Saxon ’94 (Retired) can’t recall exactly how he first heard about the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), but he knew instantly that West Point should be a part of it. While on the faculty at the Academy, Saxon frequently collaborated with Colonel Chris Korpela ’96 and the Robotics Research Center on projects centered around the ethical responsibility of deploying autonomous devices.

After retiring from West Point in 2017, Saxon returned to his home state of Indiana, where he founded Storm King Consulting and his interest in motorsports led him to support race cars and racing events and, eventually, learn of the challenge.

“Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world,” Saxon said.

“The IAC is an incredible opportunity to showcase the Academy’s prowess as a leading STEM and robotics training ground for future military leaders. A racecar going around the

Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 200 mph without a human in the car? There’s no more exciting way to sell engineering than that. I immediately reached out to Chris Korpela, and he agreed it was something we needed to pursue.”

Although Saxon knew the project would provide a great experience for cadets, he also knew that partnering with a large research university with greater resources and graduate programs in STEM fields would enhance the team’s ability to compete. That’s when he noticed Purdue wasn’t involved either.

“That made no sense,” Saxon said. “Purdue is a fantastic engineering university just an hour up the road from Indianapolis. Purdue and West Point have a history of successful collaborations. It’s fortuitous that both schools use the colors black and gold. I knew no one at Purdue, so I just started firing off emails.”

8 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Nineteen teams from across the globe will race in the Indy Autonomous Racing Challenge at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“The IAC is an incredible opportunity to showcase the Academy’s prowess as a leading STEM and robotics training ground for future military leaders. A racecar going around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 200 mph without a human in the car? There’s no more exciting way to sell engineering than that.”
— LTC (R) Mike Saxon ’94

By February 2020, Black and Gold Autonomous Racing, an independent organization, was formed with Saxon as the team principal and managing director. Korpela tapped Daniel J. Gonzalez , a postdoctoral fellow at the Academy, to lead the engineering team for West Point. The cadets collaborated with a team of Purdue undergraduates and graduate students led by Aly El Gamal, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue and lead engineer for the team.

“The IAC is the latest and greatest in a long line of robotics challenges taken on by the global engineering community,” Gonzalez said. “In the age of machine learning and artificial intelligence, we’re going to be leveraging these technologies to achieve something that’s never been attempted before.

“The Purdue team brings a lot of expertise in machine learning. They’re not necessarily car people, because AI is much broader than just robotics. But here at West Point, we’re very focused on robotics and the physicality of making things move and interact with the world. Together, we’re able to bridge the gaps necessary to develop a competitive racecar.”

While the excitement of the IAC is driven by the competition, the outcomes of the technological advances brought about through the challenge have wide-ranging applications not just for commercial use but also for future military operations.

“The cadets working on this project will one day have autonomous teammates in their formations, whether it’s small drones, small robots, a self-driving tank or a self-driving tactical vehicle,” Korpela said. “With an autonomously controlled Humvee, a soldier can focus on external threats, security or whatever tasks are needed to accomplish the mission. Not to mention unmanned aerial systems—we can’t even predict future capabilities, but they will involve humans and autonomous systems working together to enable soldiers to make faster, and safer, decisions.”

Thus far, Black and Gold has been leading the competition in simulated races. A group of cadets was able to make the trip to Indianapolis in May to attend the Indianapolis 500 race week festivities and glimpse a prototype of the actual race car, a specially built, computer-controlled Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 equipped with sensors and actuators called the AV-21. With the simulated races behind them, they partook in several real-life

The Indy Autonomous Challenge is a broadly collaborative effort that brings together public, private and academic institutions to challenge university students around the world to imagine, invent and prove a new generation of automated vehicle software and inspire the next generation of STEM talent.

The IAC asks universities to do what some in the automotive industry say is impossible: Program a Dallara AV-21 racecar to out-race and outmaneuver fellow innovators in the world’s first head-to-head, high speed autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the world’s most famous racetrack.

At stake? A $1 million purse for first place, raised from philanthropic and corporate contributions.


practice days over the summer, leading up to race qualifications in October and culminating in the final race on October 23 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Saxon’s predictions for October? “Past performance makes me optimistic,” he said. “We’re a contender. We’ve always been one of the teams that needs to be taken seriously. No one is underestimating the difficulty of this challenge. We could end up with a pileup of milliondollar cars. Who knows what’s going to happen? But I can tell you, it’s going to be fun to watch.”

“The cadets working on this project will one day have autonomous teammates in their formations, whether it’s small drones, small robots, a self-driving tank or a selfdriving tactical vehicle.”
— COL Chris Korpela ’96

Meet the Cadets Who Met the Challenge

How did you get involved in the IAC?

JM: Dr. Gonzalez first suggested that I join the project based on my experience with other robotics-related projects. Even though I didn’t do much programming, it was an enriching experience to learn about the new technologies and how these vehicles work in a simulated environment.

CM: I grew up about an hour from Michigan International Speedway and my parents used to take me to NASCAR races growing up. When I learned about this project to drive a race car around a track at 200 miles per hour without a driver at one of the most prestigious speedways in the world, that sounded pretty impressive and something I wanted to be a part of.

HL: I’m fascinated with delicate machinery. One of the reasons I chose to branch Armor is because I love tanks and the mechanisms behind them. I’m interested in converting matter into energy so the idea of working with machines of speed and power, trying to make it the best you can and competing against others, that really appealed to me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with this group and see it firsthand.

What was your role on the team?

HL: My primary responsibility was to help troubleshoot the simulation. I ran the simulation on my own to ensure there weren’t any issues and advised on how to address any problems. Overall, the code was pretty clean.

JB: The simulation was pretty complete when we got it, so I was mainly looking through the structures to see if there were ways to restructure the code better. I was also thinking about how the simulated code would be integrated into the vehicle once it was delivered.

CM: There were some aspects from a controls course that’s cotaught between mechanical and electrical engineering that could be used in the simulation to help the car cut corners correctly and make sure that when it navigates to its next waypoint, it

doesn’t go off course or lose control. So I looked at whether there were other ways we could improve that process.

How has this experience enhanced your education outside of the classroom?

CM: I’m headed to Northeastern University in Boston for grad school to study robotics on an MIT Lincoln Lab fellowship. Working on this project has been great preparation for my future studies.

HL: I am still amazed at what the team was able to accomplish with this project. I take undergrad seriously in that it’s supposed to be a broadening experience where I’m still trying to figure myself out and what I want to do. This project has a very specific field of view in terms of trying to make this race car go fast, but what the team was able to do—the code we were able to create and the product we were able to create—it amazes me. I’m excited to see what I can do with my future in the Army and once I get out of the Army.

JM: Working in computer science, it’s really important to communicate with your clients to determine the desired outcome. As part of this project, we have a specific desired outcome and I’ve learned how to manage expectations and also pursue a direction that will achieve that desired outcome as a team.

How does the knowledge you learned apply to your active-duty service?

JM: This project really encouraged me to find ways to think outside of the box and question why each part was designed a certain way. As an officer, I’ll be able to apply that problemsolving approach in the field.

HL: The whole process has been all about testing boundaries to get results. That translates well into expectations for officers. When you have to be the decision maker, you have to use critical thinking to determine what resources you have and how to mobilize those resources to accomplish the mission.

10 WestPointAOG.org THE RACE IS ON Photos: USMA
HyunJin Lim ’21, computer science major from Branford, CT. JooBon Maeng ’21, computer science major from South Korea. Curtis Manore ’21, electrical engineering major from Petersburg, MI.


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CM: Working with the Purdue team virtually has been really interesting. Even though there’s a lot of physical distance between us, we’re still able to collaborate efficiently. In an increasingly digital world, there will be more opportunities to work with partner nations in the digital space. Experiencing effective communication between West Point and Purdue to effectively execute this project has really helped. I’ve learned a lot from it. 

All teams will be racing a Dallara AV-21, a modified version of the Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 with automated driving technology. In a January 2021 press release, Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network and co-organizer of the IAC, stated: “The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed. Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”

IL-15 specs:


Design: Carbon chassis and bodywork

Top Speed: 210+ mph (speedways)

Weight: 1,410 lbs.

Overall Length: 192 inches

Wheelbase: 117 inches

Overall Width: 76 inches

Between Four Wheels


Displacement: 2.0 liter, turbocharged four-cylinder

Horsepower: 450 HP plus 50 HP Push-to-Pass

Weight: 230 lbs.


12 WestPointAOG.org THE RACE IS ON
“ The whole process has been all about testing boundaries to get results. That translates well into expectations for officers. When you have to be the decision maker, you have to use critical thinking to determine what resources you have and how to mobilize those resources to accomplish the mission. ”
— 2LT HyunJin Lim ’21

Lieutenant Colonel

Director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute and professor in the Computer and Information Technology Department at Purdue, is serving as the senior advisor of resourcing for Black and Gold Autonomous Racing. A career Army officer with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rose-Human Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from Purdue, Dietz serves as the catalyst for Purdue’s homeland security research, increasing the impact of Purdue research on society and organizing interdisciplinary projects within the university.

Dietz identified several ways both institutions benefit from this service academy-collegiate partnership:

Enhance the pipeline of military graduate students. “We actively recruit military officers to come to Purdue to earn their graduate degrees. We offer scholarships to military officers so they can attend Purdue with little or no cost to them or the service academy. We do that with a little matchmaking— aligning officers with graduate projects in their field of study. We’ve had 125 officers from all service branches come through Purdue for graduate degrees.”

Facilitate relationships. “The relationships produced between a public university like Purdue and the service academies create an engine of innovation, novelty and research. There’s a lot of benefit in working back and forth and bringing things to the table that the other side doesn’t have. A young officer might be working with a member of faculty with 20 or 30 professional years of collaboration. That creates an environment for understanding military needs and understanding research capacity.”

Share expertise. “We need to get both organizations looking a little bit more like the other. The military can be very rigid, but it benefits Purdue to see the maturity and command and control displayed by military officers; just as some of the entrepreneurship, decision-making and novel solutions we might offer out of Purdue can be a great benefit to our nation’s defense. Take something like the OODA loop—observe, orient, decide and act—that’s a command and control term. If we can make our advancement cycle of new technology and our OODA loop turn a little bit faster, we can maintain our competitive advantage and make our national defense much stronger.”

Grow military leadership. “Purdue has a great ability to surge and effectively execute training in large numbers. If there’s an increased demand for officers who need to go to graduate school for expertise in hypersonics, advanced propulsion, explosives or munitions development, we already have people doing some of the best work in the world in those fields.

Bringing in these officers to further develop their knowledge in these areas will help lead our nation using some of these technologies to make sure that we always have a superior military to some of our adversaries.”

Get innovations to the field faster. “When I was an acquisition officer in the Army, we always complained about how long it took things to get to the field. But many of those barriers were selfimposed by procedures and policies. Companies like SpaceX and Tesla demonstrate how sometimes private companies can expedite the decision-making cycle and move innovation much faster. If we can implement that approach within the military, it would be very impractical to challenge the United States on any military front.”

Propel advancements in technology. “The young officers contributing to the IAC will one day be working with advanced technology that we can’t even imagine right now. When I started in the Army in the early ’80s, we had jeeps in my platoon. We didn’t have Humvees and we certainly didn’t even know what an MRAP would be. So although the goal of this challenge is captivating—a car that traverses a racetrack at 200 mph without a driver—the technology involved has military applications. Autonomous systems such as missile defense systems need to make very quick decisions based on sensors and cannot necessarily wait on human beings to offer input. Some of the things we may learn through this experience may improve the logistics industry, including military logistics. Everything that we’re doing with autonomy we think can help with military survivability and maybe we can adopt some of these technologies in the military sooner than we’d be able to do so in the commercial sector.”

Thinking Outside of the Gearbox. From the beginning of the IAC, Black & Gold Autonomous Racing has been leaving the competition in the dust. In simulated races, the team continuously outperformed the other cars due to the alternative approach they’d devised when it came to programming the engine’s transmission.

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 13 THE RACE IS ON Photo: Submitted
Black and Gold
Joins Forces with Old Gold & Black
“A young officer might be working with a member of faculty with 20 or 30 professional years of collaboration. That creates an environment for understanding military needs and understanding research capacity.”
— LTC (R) Eric Dietz

“We approached this problem from a racing perspective rather than an algorithms perspective,” said Gonzalez, a postdoctoral fellow at the Robotics Research Center. “We were trying to race first and then use algorithms to accomplish that. Other teams made assumptions and stuck with them. The Army is all about finding an asymmetric advantage. If you can exploit an asymmetric advantage, you can end conflict earlier. I think we took that spirit and brought it to this competition.”

Essentially, the Black and Gold car was programmed to use more controlled shifting, akin to a manual transmission, which allows for abrupt gear changes that take advantage of the engine’s power and enable the car to maintain faster speeds while taking corners. Other teams began to question the fairness of using that approach when the rest of the field was basically operating with automatic transmission.

Ten days before the deadline to submit their code for the final simulated race, Black and Gold was informed by IAC organizers that the team would have to reconfigure its approach to align with what other teams were already doing. Months of work were now rendered unapplicable.

“The team took hundreds of lines of code and removed it,” Gonzalez said. “We just said, ‘throttle—max.’”

And after running the simulations under the new parameters? “We’re still pretty quick.”

In Good Company

Saxon and Korpela share a long history of collaboration. Saxon served as director of the core philosophy and ethics education program at West Point from 2011-17 and partnered with Korpela on the Robotics Research Center’s ethics and autonomous weapon systems research, awarded a $200,000 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Award in 2018.

In addition to serving on the faculty together, they lived in the same duplex, sharing a wall. But the two actually met as cadets, when Saxon was a cow and Korpela was a plebe. In fact, Superintendent Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams ’83—then Captain Williams—was their tactical officer.

“Chris was in my company, I-2, and sat at my table,” Saxon said. “He drew a table diagram to keep track of all the upperclassmen beverage preferences which was something plebes had to know because they poured the drinks. So we go back to the very beginning.”

As for that drawing documenting his engineering-minded approach to table duties? Korpela still has it.

14 WestPointAOG.org THE RACE IS ON
“ The young officers contributing to the IAC will one day be working with advanced technology that we can’t even imagine right now.”
— LTC (R) Eric Dietz

The Lineup

Twenty-nine university teams representing four continents, 11 countries and 14 U.S. entered the IAC in February 2020. At press time, only 19 teams remained in the competition and ultimately, only nine earned a spot at the starting line.

Abhiyaan — Indian Institute of Technology Madras

AI Racing Tech — University of Hawaii

Ariel Team — Ariel University, Israel

Autonomous Racing Graz — Graz University of Technology, Austria

Autonomous Tiger Racing — Auburn University

Black and Gold Autonomous Racing — Purdue University and the United States Military Academy

Cavalier Autonomous Racing — University of Virginia

Crimson Autonomous Racing — University of Alabama

Euroracing — University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy; University of Pisa, Italy; ETH Zürich, Switzerland; and Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

IUPUI-IITKGP-USB — Indiana University-Purdue University

Indianapolis, Indiana; Indian Institute of Technology

Kharagpur, India; and University de San Buenaventura, Colombia

KAIST — Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

MIT-PITT Autonomous — Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Pittsburgh

Pegasus — Colorado State University and Western Michigan University

Polimove — Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Reveille Racing — Texas A&M University

RIT Autonomous Racing — Rochester Institute of Technology

TUM Autonomous Motorsport — Technische Universität München, Germany

Waterloo Autonomous Racing — University of Waterloo, Canada

WUT Driverless — Warsaw University of Technology, Poland



Cadet Summer Training (CST) at West Point does not happen without partnerships. Yes, USCC tactical officers, USMA instructors and the cadet cadre work together internally to make Cadet Basic Training, Cadet Field Training, and the rest of CST a success year after year; however, as Lieutenant Colonel Adam Sawyer ’00, Chief of Military Science and Training for the Academy’s Department of Military Instruction (DMI), says, “To truly enable CST at West Point, we need to work with a number of external agencies and units from the Army as well.” This summer, DMI partnered with more than a dozen external elements to pull off another successful iteration of CST at West Point.

It Takes an Army

Photo: Pointer View Keith J. Hamel, WPAOG staff

“The biggest external involvement comes from the task force,” says Sawyer. In 2021, the task force (“Catamounts”) came from 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, but each year U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), which is required to provide support as a service requirement per orders from Headquarters, Department of the Army, tasks a unit from XVIII Airborne Corps to provide the necessary administrative, logistical, medical, and training support to USMA CST. “Based on availability, the lead division from within XVIII Corps annually rotates,” says Tom Wallen, a military plans specialist with FORSCOM. For example, in 2018, the task force (“Falcon”) came from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, which was coincidentally commanded by Sawyer that year. Over the last 30 years, the 3rd Infantry Division and the 82nd Airborne Division have regularly joined the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division in supporting CST. While the 10th Mountain Division provided the majority of the approximately 1,000 soldiers needed to support CST in 2021, it was not the only Department of Army unit in the field. For example, the 20th CBRNE Command provided 18 soldiers to help run the “House of Tears,” the 2nd Brigade, 104th Training Division and the 3rd Brigade, 304th Infantry Regiment (both U.S. Army Reserve units) sent more than 150 soldiers throughout the summer to train cadets, and the 8th Ordnance Company provided 36 soldiers to run the CST garrison ammunition supply point. “Not all soldiers are needed at the same time,” says Wallen. “While some stay the entire summer, most are rotated to West Point as needed to support particular training events.” During CST, the young junior enlisted soldiers and sergeants of the various FORSCOM units get the opportunity to shape, mold, and influence the future leaders of the U.S. Army, and they also get to participate in training that helps them develop mastery of essential Army skills. In 2018, for example, 65 soldiers that were part of Task Force Falcon were trained by the USMA Department of Physical Education on survival swimming techniques, including proper water entry, using one’s uniform as a life vest, and breath control. Last year soldiers of Task Force Ramrod were able to take advantage of the West Point Range Complex in order to meet the Army’s new marksmanship standards and work on their Expert Soldier Badge. Finally, each summer, approximately 60-100 task force soldiers try to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, the test for which is administered by the German NCO assigned to DMI.

Beyond soldiers, FORSCOM also provides equipment to support CST. According to Wallen, in 2021 FORSCOM provided CST with helicopters, light medium tactical vehicles, 105 mm artillery, crew-served weapons, RQ-11 Raven unmanned aircraft systems, field ambulances, forklifts, Palletized Load System trucks, M149 “Water Buffalo” trailers, containerized kitchens, HMMWVs, 60 mm and 81 mm mortars, Q50 Radar Systems, generators, and all the equipment authorized for an infantry company. On occasion, the task force will also bring a unique piece of equipment to CST. In 2018,

Task Force Falcon brought the M3 Multi-role Anti-armor Antitank Weapon System (also known as the Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle), a weapon that units deployed to Afghanistan had been using since 2011. When soldiers took it to Range 7, it was the first time that 84 mm rounds had been fired at West Point. Similarly, in 2019, a short-range air defense platoon from the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky brought with it an Avenger, a self-propelled surface-to-air missile system that is mobile and provides short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. Such demonstrations allow cadets to see how the Army is consistently adapting its resources for the evolving battlefield on which they will soon serve.

Coordinating all these resources and personnel takes months and months of planning. “At the FORSCOM level, planning for CST is nearly continuous,” says Wallen. “As soon as one iteration of CST ends, planning for the next year begins and continues through execution.” According to Sawyer, who likens the planning for CST to building an airplane in mid-flight, planning for next summer’s training begins with the after-action report (AAR) of the last CST. “We review the AAR half of August and all of September,” says Sawyer. “After presenting the findings to USMA leadership and getting guidance, we start planning the next installment of CST in October.” It takes about two months for the plan to come into focus; once it does,

Photo: U.S. Army photo by CDT Alexa Zammit ’22 Soldiers from the 20th CBRNE Command support training in the “House of Tears” gas chamber during CBT, allowing new cadets to experience the potential risk if they fail to protect themselves correctly during a chemical attack. Previous page: CSM Joseph McAuliff from the 2-19th Infantry Battalion, 198th Infantry Training Brigade One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Benning, GA stands before the 2021 Cadet Basic Training cadre assembled on the benches of Shea Stadium and addresses them on the importance of effective teamwork.

the requests for support commence. Finally, from January to May, Sawyer brings together all the pieces that the Army identifies to help and support CST. “I am on the phone with multiple agencies every day coordinating with all the parts needed—U.S. Army, active Reserve, National Guard—to keep the plane flying.”

One of external agencies that Sawyer speaks to on a regular basis is the U.S. Army Cadet Command (USACC). “I am always talking with them on TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures), how they handle training, and so forth,” he says. USACC and USMA have enjoyed a longstanding partnership. During the academic year, USACC sends dozens of ROTC cadets to USMA for the National Conference on Ethics in America, the Mission Command Conference, and the Sandhurst Competition, and USMA sends 12-18 West Point cadets to the George C. Marshall Leadership and Awards Seminar, Cadet Command’s largest off-post leadership development event. After it executed the Army’s new marksmanship program (TC 3-20.40) last summer, DMI shared the lessons it learned with USACC. “Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer and other POCs from USMA DMI provided valuable feedback to the development of our training strategy at Fort Knox, and this summer we trained approximately 7,300 ROTC cadets on TC 3-20.40,” says Bruce Coyne, Chief of Cadet Summer Training, USACC. Similarly, USACC shared the lessons it developed for evaluating cadet performance during its annual Advanced Camp with DMI. “They have a great Observer Controller/Trainer Academy at

USACC Advanced Camp, which established a solid foundation for their cadre to conduct the observation, assessment, and feedback of leadership performance, and DMI implemented these lessons at our OC Academy during CLDT this summer,” says Sawyer. “There is a constant exchange of ideas between us and Cadet Command.”

This past summer, the USACC-DMI partnership benefited from another partnership. This time it was the one both have with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, in particular the Sabalauski Air Assault School (TSAAS) of the 101st Airborne Division. According to First Lieutenant Christian Polak, the executive officer at TSAAS and the Officer in Charge of the Air Assault Mobile Training Team (MTT) that came to West Point in 2021, the partnership between USMA DMI and TSAAS dates back to 2007, but having ROTC cadets participate in TSAAS at West Point was something new this summer. “In years past, those ROTC cadets would have attended the schoolhouse proper at Fort Campbell, but the addition of two additional classes to the usual four allowed 360 of them to come to West Point for Air Assault instruction,” says Polak. Every class had a total of 180 students, meaning that onethird of each class was ROTC cadets. In exchange for USMA DMI hosting TSAAS and giving Air Assault training seats to ROTC cadets, USACC paid the cost of the two additional iterations with the MTT. Over the course of 10 days, both rising yearlings from West Point and ROTC cadets trained on Air Assault operations, sling load operations and rappelling in order

Photo: U.S. Army photo by SGT Gregory Muenchow MG Brian J. Mennes ’88, commander of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), visits USMA cadets from 3rd Company and soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment during Cadet Summer Training.
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to earn the coveted Air Assault Badge. “We train and hold cadets to the same standard as experienced soldiers trained at the schoolhouse,” says Polak, “and it is empowering to see them earn their wings just as they begin their careers.” According to Polak, TSAAS instructors take the time to mentor and shape cadets before they commission and enter the force, fostering among them the Air Assault culture, which prides itself on physical readiness, professionalism, and attention to detail.

Many more partner agencies came to West Point to make CST a success in 2021. Drill sergeants from 2-19th Infantry Battalion, 198th Infantry Training Brigade One Station Unit Training (OSUT) out of Fort Benning, Georgia came to prepare the CBT cadet cadre. A CCTT simulator (Close Combat Tactical Trainer) was brought in to train cadets in mechanized fighting by simulating Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks. The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) was at West Point to conduct a “train the trainer” session and bring all the task force soldiers up to speed on the most up-to-date techniques for how the Army teaches marksmanship (70 soldiers from the task force were dedicated to instructing cadets on this vital Army skill). And members of the New Jersey National Guard provided the aviation requirements needed for Air Assault. “People think CST is just DMI and task force,” says Sawyer, “and at times I wish that were true; it would make planning CST so much easier.” But, when it comes to training approximately 4,400 cadets over the course of two and a half months at West Point, it does indeed take an army. 

Photos: U.S. Army photo by SPC Josue Patricio; Ellen Wilhelm/USMA PAO A new cadet from the Class of 2025 qualifies in Basic Rifle Marksmanship on Range 11 with a soldier from 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, a member of Task Force Catamounts, watching. Cadets taking the Air Assault Course, which is taught by Air Assault Mobile Training Team instructors from the Sabalauski Air Assault School of the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, KY, prepare to attach their bags for a sling load.


A. 2nd Brigade/10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY

B. 8th Ordnance Company (Ammo), Fort Bragg, NC

C. 2d Brigade/104th Division (IT) (USAR), Lexington, KY 3-304th Infantry Regiment (USAR), Saco, ME

D. NJ National Guard

E. 32 Army Air and Missile Defense Command (Air Defense) units:

• 4/3 Air Defense Artillery, Fort Sill, OK

• B/2 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Fort Bliss, TX

• E/3-4 Air Defense Artillery, Fort Bragg, NC

F. Close Combat Tactical Trainer

G. Army Reserve Drill Sergeants

• 2-397 Regiment (Drill Sergeant) (USAR), Lexington, KY

• 1-398 Regiment (Drill Sergeant) (USAR), Owensboro, KY

H. 20 Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (Chemical/EOD units:

• 59 Chemical Company, Fort Drum, NY

• 754 Ordnance Company (EOD), Fort Drum, NY

“Not all soldiers are needed at the same time. While some stay the entire summer, most are rotated to West Point as needed to support particular training events.”
— Tom Wallen, FORSCOM military plans specialist

FBI Partnership Allows Cadets to Learn Crisis Negotiation Hands-On

The cadets soon learn that the man inside room 4102 is a firstie named Jason who was recently informed he was getting an Honor Board for cheating on an exam. Jason had told his roommate in confidence that he had cheated and is sure that his roommate is the one who has turned him in. When Jason came back to his room earlier, he took his roommate hostage and is now threatening him with drastic measures.

This is just one of the scenarios that West Point cadets were given to practice their crisis negotiation skills as part of a course led by the FBI New York Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT). Through a longstanding partnership with the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) based out of Quantico, Virginia, and FBI New York,

22 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG
A study group of five cadets are on the fourth floor of Grant Barracks when they hear a loud disturbance coming from room 4102. There is screaming and yelling and a male voice asking for help…and then silence. One of the cadets reports the incident to their chain command and is then ordered to communicate with whoever is inside.
Left: As part of cadets’ crisis negotiation training, FBI agents participate in role-playing exercises where the FBI agents demonstrate like they are a person in crisis. Below: CDTs Chris Turco ’24, Jacob Woodruff ’24, Christina Ellis ’24 and the rest of their team put their negotiating skills to the test.

cadets are able to take a one-week Advanced Individual Academic Development (AIAD) and learn, firsthand, from the agents themselves, the same crisis negotiation skills FBI agents use. Throughout the week, cadets learn how to develop enough of a relationship with a person in crisis to eventually cause behavioral change in the individual and save his or her life.

According to Major Travis L. Cyphers, a Department of Behavioral Science & Leadership instructor at USMA, the course, training approximately 25-30 cadets, has been held the week before Reorganization Week since 2011. Those that elect to take the course learn the techniques to communicate and help a person in crisis. A person in crisis is defined as someone whose current situation has outpaced their coping mechanisms and is no longer making rational decisions.

“There is a very specific process to that, and the FBI comes and teaches that process,” Cyphers said. “The skills that are most applicable to our cadets are active listening skills, but it’s active listening skills on a level that I’ve never seen before.”

Active listening is the first of several techniques in a process called the “Behavioral Change Stairway.” Once the person in crisis feels like they are actually being heard, the next step of the “stairway” for the negotiator is to convey empathy, followed by building rapport, gaining influence and ultimately securing the desired behavioral change.

That process is taught to cadets through a series of exercises and simulations, helping to build not only their communication skills but their leadership skills as well. At the end of the week,

the FBI brings in a number of agents to be role-players. Those agents act like a person in crisis, and cadets, as a team of generally four or five, must put their negotiating skills to the test.

“It’s fantastic to see where the cadets start and where they get to in being able to build some relationships and build empathy and go through these simulations,” Cyphers said.

According to FBI Special Agent Brian Wittenberg, the FBI New York CNT team leader and principal instructor for the course, the most important goal of the course is to help the cadets enhance their communication skills, whether they are dealing with a hostage situation, a soldier who is in crisis, or just

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG One of the many skills the FBI teaches the cadets is the “Behavioral Change Stairway,” which is a communication technique the FBI uses to negotiate with people in crisis. CDTs Julia Nolletti ’23, Jacob Woodruff ’24, Chris Turco ’24, Michael Bank ’24, Christina Ellis ’24, and Nail Junuzovic ’24 apply the negotiation skills they’ve learned and work together to respond to a simulated crisis scenario.

operationally communicating with others more effectively. Once cadets can better communicate, specifically in a crisis, then they can move on to assessing the situation with the best possible information and quickly make recommendations as to how to proceed. Assessing is important because crisis situations can change very quickly, and soldiers need to be able to adapt.

“The military sometimes has the luxury of advanced, detailed planning, just like we do, and other times they have to adjust to the conditions on the ground immediately and ideally you can coordinate, collaborate and make great decisions,” Wittenberg said. “But as these cadets are all going to be leaders: they are responsible ultimately for executing the mission and it may be them that has to pivot and make the best choice that they can.”

During the course, cadets not only practiced handling a cadet hostage scenario but also an active shooter scenario involving body cam footage and a scenario where a professor finds out he has been caught with disturbing and illegal files and in turn takes his boss and several colleagues hostage. According to Wittenberg, each scenario is designed to push cadets to be uncomfortable and to test their negotiation skills as individuals and a team.

“I was kind of expecting the FBI drama in a sense,” said Cadet Ryan Mitchell ’24, a cadet who took part in the course this year.

“I was expecting tips and tricks to control people, but I learned that it’s really about connecting with them and being a real person with emotions.”

Not only have the lessons and materials from the FBI helped cadets, but they have helped Cyphers in his other role as Officerin-Charge of the West Point Negotiation Project (WPNP), a center at the Academy whose mission is to provide the best negotiations expertise in the Army. This center’s mission is in line with USMA’s strategic partnership with the American People by working to instill trust in the Army profession. The WPNP leads events that train both the Corps of Cadets and the U.S. Army in principled negotiations tactics, techniques, and procedures. The WPNP, which is part of the West Point Leadership Center, also hosts a workshop for cadets in the spring every year.

In April, Cyphers was able to attend the FBI’s two-week national crisis negotiation course, which is conducted by CNU in Quantico. “I was able to take a lot of lessons learned from that course and bring it into the trainings that we provide to activeduty soldiers at different units,” he said. Those lessons, including the active listening skills and how to talk to someone in crisis, will be incorporated into Cyphers’ MG390: Negotiations for Leaders elective course this year.

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG CDT Kenneth Gentry ’24 attempts to negotiate with a person in crisis during one of the role-playing scenarios, while CDT Judah Johnson ’24 and CDT Teryon Lowery ’24 work to provide Gentry with the most upto-date information about the situation.
“I was kind of expecting the FBI drama in a sense. I was expecting tips and tricks to control people, but I learned that it's really about connecting with them and being a real person with emotions.”
— CDT Ryan Mitchell '24

On the final day of this year’s West Point’s crisis negotiation course, cadets heard from guest lecturer Brian Driscoll, an FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge and former member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), which works hand-inhand with CNU. Driscoll was a member of HRT and participated in the response to a now infamous kidnapping case in Alabama, where a man boarded a school bus, killed the driver, kidnapped an autistic five-year-old boy and held him by force in an underground bunker. Over seven days, local state and federal agencies worked together in an unprecedented crisis which resulted in the successful HRT rescue of the victim who was unharmed.

This case should be familiar to recent West Point graduates, as it is used as a case study in the textbook used for BS&L’s PL300: Military Leadership, a required leadership capstone course taken by Second Class cadets. The cadets at the lecture heard about the collaboration between tactical teams and negotiations as part of an overall crisis response effort to an unparalleled hostage situation.

According to both Cyphers and Wittenberg, this ongoing collaboration between WPNP, the FBI offices in New York and Newark, and the CNU out of Quantico is key. “We all learn from each other,” Wittenberg said.

Cadet Matthew S. Greiner ’23, who participated in the crisis negotiation course this year, thinks the skills he learned will definitely be beneficial for his career as an Army officer.

“Just communicating with your subordinates, with your peers, soldiers—those skills are invaluable,” Greiner said. “Just being able to listen to other people, understand their motives and see if there is a common goal that you can get out of them—no two situations are the same, but the skills involved are all applicable.” 

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG
An FBI agent teaches cadets Teryon Lowery ’24, John White ’23 and Matthew Greiner ’23 how to better respond to a person in crisis, including how to actively listen and negotiate effectively while under pressure. FBI Special Agent Brian Wittenberg is the FBI New York Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) leader and principal instructor for the course.

Meeting the “M” in USMA

26 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Nile Clarke/WPAOG

Brigadier General Mark C. Quander ’95, the 79th Commandant of the United States Military Academy, officially assumed command of the Corps of Cadets on May 24, 2021. Quander holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from USMA as well as a Master of Science degree in engineering management from the University of Missouri for Science and Technology and a Master of Arts degree in public policy from Georgetown University. He has served at the Pentagon as the Joint Chiefs of Staff Intern/Politico-Military Planner and as the Director, Office of the Chief of Engineers. Quander was also the Division Commander of the Transatlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the 98th Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School.

Q. Describe how you learned about the duties of this assignment when you were assigned as the 79th Commandant of Cadets.

A. The first thing you always do is talk to the incumbent, so I talked to Curtis Buzzard ’92. He encouraged me to go back and talk to some of the older Commandants. I want to say I spoke to about eight or nine former Commandants. I found there was always some unique aspect of their tenure that informed and influenced them. I think obviously for Curtis it was COVID. But at the end of the day, the one thing that rang true with all the Commandants is the mission statement for the Academy, and that’s developing leaders of character to go out there and serve our great nation.

Q. How do you plan to balance established traditions with innovations to follow through on that mission statement?

A. I think a good example is what happened this summer with cadet basic training. When the new class came in, we took a different approach to developing leaders of character, and we called it “The First 100 Yards.” This approach came out of TRADOC from Major General David Hodne ’91, who’s now commanding the Fourth Infantry Division. He completely reformed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He had found out that our way of developing leaders was based in the Vietnam era, and it was very much an attrition model. He reinvented basic training at Fort Benning, focusing on building a cohesive team from day one, but without changing the standards. So with the Class of 2025, we changed our approach. From day one, it was focused on building cohesive teams and it was about the success or failure of the team, not the individual. And we still had a very tough and challenging Cadet Basic Training, with more field training than any class in recent memory. They’re extremely physically fit. Their average score on the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) was 497 (out of 600) and they have only been here six weeks. There are probably very few organizations in our Army where you could find brand new soldiers who are that physically fit. It was a change in the approach. We are still adhering to the same traditions, like reporting to the Cadet in the Red Sash, though some of our ways are just a little different.

Q. What’s special about the current generation of cadets?

A. Cadets, in general, are much more talented in handling complexity and the world environment than we were. They have to face a much more complex environment than we had to face. They are academically gifted, physically fit and disciplined militarily. Look at what they are doing for Projects Day. It is absolutely amazing, the projects that they’re doing on behalf of the Army and our nation. Physically, I went to the Department of Physical Education (DPE) for some statistics. Thirty percent of the Class of 2021 got an A-minus or better on the Indoor Obstacle Course Test (IOCT). It’s the same IOCT, but I don’t remember having those types of numbers from my graduation class. Boxing is now required for all the cadets. IOCT is now a graduation requirement; it wasn’t a graduation requirement 20 years ago. Cadets now are learning how to thrive at West Point, and they’re making every bit of their 47-month experience count.

Q. What has changed about putting the “M” in USMA?

A. There a lot that’s changed! I mentioned that cadets are very disciplined militarily. The model for Cadet Summer Training overall is much more challenging than ever been before. And the opportunity to connect with the Long Gray Line is powerful. Having that 50-Year Affiliate Class connect in that first summer training with our new cadets, and then another touch point at the end of Cadet Field Training for the promotion from cadet private to cadet corporal, is about inspiring the passion for the profession. The big game changer is Cadet Leader Development Training. It’s like a mini–Ranger School. Cadets are doing well on rifle marksmanship, qualifying on some really hard standards. And they’re doing well on land navigation, putting more miles on their feet than ever before. Simulations are making a difference. As with the ACFT scores, most units won’t see the statistics that we have in terms of qualification scores. Another game changer is Sandhurst, which is not the Sandhurst of years ago. It’s now much more competitive and much more rigorous than then we’ve ever seen before. We saw last year just how truly revolutionary it is in terms of basic


soldier skills and team competition. It’s now an international military competition, and there’s a lot of pride on the line to make sure that we win. The cadets don’t want to lose.

Q. What’s something interesting you would recommend for a cadet to read or listen to?

A. I’m going to go to a foundational book which I think is important for our profession, The Armed Forces Officer. We talk about it in MX400, the Superintendent’s capstone course on officership. The book addresses why you’re serving and what it means to be a commissioned officer. It starts off with the meaning of your commission, and it talks about your oath of office. I’m not sure if many people realize that a cadet takes three oaths during their time at West Point. On R-Day, they take the oath of acceptance. At the beginning of the second class year, they take an oath of affirmation. And then at graduation they take the oath of a commissioned officer. I don’t remember doing that when I was here. I remember R-Day and graduation, but to affirm I just showed up to class. We didn’t have MX400 when I was here either, but we now have an entire course on what it means to be a commissioned officer.

Q. How will you connect the West Point motto Duty, Honor, Country and the Corps of Cadets under your leadership?

A. I will go back to the West Point Leader Development System. The Superintendent says it’s living honorably, leading honorably and demonstrating excellence. And I think that’s how we connect Duty, Honor, Country to what we’re doing

with the Corps of Cadets. Everything we do is foundational to living honorably, leading honorably and demonstrating excellence. This summer, Cadet Summer Training was very rigorous for both the trainees and the leadership details. We had an 86 percent graduation rate for Air Assault School and saw much higher graduation rates at some military schools than the rest of the Army (e.g., Sapper School). We leveraged the Modern Warfare Institute (under the Department of Military Instruction) to bring complexity on the battlefield into their training. They helped us bring concepts of the modern battlefield to Cadet Summer Training.

Q. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A. This is the best job anyone could ever have. To come back to your alma mater and to give back is absolutely amazing. The cadets keep you young and every day is a joy. I also want to give thanks to WPAOG. There are a couple of things that WPAOG does that a lot of people don’t realize. First is the 50Year Affiliation Program and that’s a powerful connection. It allows our graduates to give back to the cadets, sharing their years of experience in a way that I never benefited from when I came through West Point. I really appreciated everyone’s support on the March Back: it was powerful. WPAOG also funds a number of initiatives for cadets, a lot of our competitive sports, a lot of our clubs, and a lot of activities that cadets just really don’t realize WPAOG supports. When our Superintendent says we are a preeminent leadership institution, we can’t be preeminent without WPAOG. 

28 WestPointAOG.org MEETING THE “ M ” IN USMA
Photo: John Pellino/USMA PAO BG Mark C. Quander ’95, Commandant of Cadets, greets members of the West Point Parachute Team after a demonstration jump at the end of the Acceptance Day parade.

WPAOG and the Long Gray Line: USMA’s Ultimate Partners

Established in 1869, the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) was organized to promote social interaction among graduates and to cherish memories of days at West Point. Today, WPAOG’s mission is to serve West Point and the Long Gray Line, and its vision is to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world. Despite its record of accomplishments, WPAOG continues to evolve and expand the type of support it provides West Point and its graduates.

WPAOG’s Strategic Plan 2030 advances its members’ remarkable record of service to West Point and to one another. WPAOG will build on the many existing connections among graduates, and it will execute a campaign for the next decade to continue to unlock the power of the Long Gray Line. The efforts outlined in the Strategic Plan directly support the lines of effort described in the 2019 USMA Strategy. There is no better partner for the Academy’s mission to develop leaders of character and to

achieve relevance and preeminence than West Point alumni themselves, and the WPAOG mission and strategy reflect this.

Serving the Long Gray Line

A human-centered design review of WPAOG’s alumni services suggested that new or expanded services should focus on “moments that matter,” that is on life transitions, visits to West Point, and other times when graduates might reasonably expect WPAOG to be helpful. In addition, WPAOG will improve technical services for volunteer leaders and continue to refine and integrate a superb suite of digital and print communications. Graduates have high expectations for the Long Gray Line’s network. Furthermore, an implied trust exists among graduates, and research indicates many grads might avail themselves of advice, expertise, and services from fellow graduates. Therefore, WPAOG will facilitate increased interaction among graduates

Photo: John Pellino/USMA PAO:
TAC TEAM SFC Adam Potter and CPT Zachary Curtis (center) look on as COL (R) Michael Pearson ’73 presents a class coin to CDT James M. Durant ’23 at the Class of 2023 Affirmation Ceremony.

through networking services. Grads Helping Grads will establish an online “marketplace” where alumni may request or offer advice, assistance, or services—a tangible demonstration that the Long Gray Line is a lifelong community. Transition Navigator will build on services for graduates making early-, mid-, and late-career transitions and establish an advisory service addressing various transition needs.

Because visits to West Point have deep meaning for returning graduates and their families, WPAOG strives to make alumni experiences at West Point increasingly meaningful, exciting, and fun. Whether a visit is at a time of high excitement or solemn reflection, WPAOG will seek to make a graduate’s experience at West Point memorable. Programs such as Rockbound Highland Home, the Gift Shop, Memorial Services support, and improved Reunion support all make this possible.

Graduates who are engaged with each other and connected to the Academy will be a powerful force for good in advancing the future of West Point’s ability to develop leaders of character who live and lead honorably and demonstrate excellence. As the 2019 USMA Strategy notes, the Long Gray Line is the key enabler for USMA across all its lines of effort thanks to graduates’ deep commitment to the success of the Academy and to their support


of Academy initiatives and Margin of Excellence programs that further cadet development.

Serving West Point

In 2021, WPAOG commenced a seven-year comprehensive fundraising campaign supporting USMA’s academic, physical, military, and character programs, as well as WPAOG’s programs. Beyond alumni activities, WPAOG will continue to inspire cadets to become active graduates, and further engage parents as well as surviving spouses. WPAOG will continue to support USMA with professional services, such as investment management and construction management, and WPAOG will support the 2019 USMA Strategy through an initiative to enhance communities adjacent to West Point called the Hudson Valley Project.

By donating to Margin of Excellence needs, alumni make possible academic, physical, and character program enhancements, as well as supplements to the core military program, that the U.S. government is unable to fund or unlikely to fund. These developmental opportunities and modern facilities go beyond the government-funded core requirements of a Bachelor of Science degree and a second lieutenant’s

Lines of Effort WPAOG Efforts


1. Develop Leaders of Character

 Fundraise for Cadet MOE Programs

 WPAOG Awards

 50-Year Affiliation Program

2. Cultivate a Culture of Character Growth

 Fundraise for Cadet MOE Programs

 Diversity and Inclusion Support


3. Build Diverse and Effective Teams

 Fundraise for Diversity and Admissions

 Encourage Admission’s Volunteerism

 Hudson Valley Project

4. Modernize, Sustain and Secure

 Fundraise for Buildings

Alumni Support and Communication programs that:

- Keep constituents connected

5. Strengthen Partnerships

- Maintain relevance

- Enable Lines of Effort 1-4

Hudson Valley Project

Photos: SHutterstock; Erika Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives
“Facilitating new or expanded connections among graduates will remain the focal point of WPAOG’s efforts to serve the Long Gray Line and serve our alma mater, West Point.” Todd Browne ’85, WPAOG President and Chief Executive Officer
WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S Top left: New initiatives such as Grads Helping Grads and Transition Navigator will complement existing digital connections such as Grad Link/Sallyport. Top right: The WPAOG Gift Shop offers top-quality West Point merchandise and custom order items for individuals and groups, including reunion and current cadet classes. All proceeds help WPAOG support the Long Gray Line and the Corps of Cadets. Bottom: Exclusive Grad Insider Tours allow graduates to share unique experiences of West Point with their families and guests.

commission. This Margin of Excellence is important to West Point’s recruiting and development of America’s highly talented, diverse, and motivated young men and women.

Alumni activities with cadets enhance alumni affinity for West Point and provide cadets with opportunities to learn about the service and camaraderie of West Point’s graduates. This inspires cadets to lifelong relationships with West Point and with their fellow graduates. A primary facet of this is the 50-Year Class Affiliation Program, which WPAOG facilitates to “Grip Hands” between the graduates of yesterday and the cadets of today as both groups work together to strengthen the Long Gray Line as it serves our nation. Other programs enhance both the cadet and alumni experience: WPAOG Awards provide inspiration and contribute to cadet development, and the Class Ring Memorial Program supports cadets’ education in the history of the Long Gray Line.

WPAOG also provides several professional services in support of USMA’s lines of effort. WPAOG has well-established capabilities to manage the design, construction, and maintenance of Margin of Excellence brick and mortar projects. WPAOG’s administrative and logistics services improve the efficiency of USMA activities, while relieving staff and faculty of administrative burdens. WPAOG also provides special event

and conference administrative and logistics services for USMA activities as well as manages the Endowment and other gift funds—continuing to achieve returns among the best in the higher education industry.

A newer initiative involves WPAOG exploring the feasibility of a Hudson Valley Project intended to assist in the revitalization of communities adjacent to West Point. This initiative will enhance the recruiting and retention of America’s most talented cadet candidates, as well as staff, faculty, and coaches. It will also enhance graduate and parent experiences when visiting West Point.

Returning to the tenets of the 2019 USMA Strategy, the Long Gray Line is absolutely essential to the Academy’s efforts for developing leaders of character, cultivating a culture of character growth, building diverse and effective teams, modernizing infrastructure and sustaining mission resources, and strengthening partnerships. Similarly, WPAOG is essential to assembling and unlocking the power of this vital alumni network, and both its mission and vision aim to inspire a deep commitment to the success of the Academy by establishing, sustaining, and leveraging relationships with alumni, donors, and other friends of the Academy.

32 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Nile Clarke/WPAOG
WPAOG’s Hudson Valley Project will enhance USMA’s recruiting of cadets and faculty and encourage graduates to stay connected to West Point by visiting their Rockbound Highland Home.


DONATE TODAY to strengthen the services and traditions that honor West Point graduates. With your help, we can achieve our vision for the Long Gray Line to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world.

We invite you to explore WPAOG’s services that are made possible by generous support of the Long Gray Line Fund. For your reference, some programs are listed below and all can be viewed at WESTPOINTAOG.ORG



Gripping Hands

Travel Program

Grad Link Society Support

Brick & Paver



Reunion/Class Support

Class Ring Melt Program


Surviving Spouse Engagement



For more information, visit us online at WESTPOINTAOG.ORG/LONGGRAYLINEFUND or call: 845.446.1657

Cadets are Using MRI in a Whole New Way at Stanford University

Every year since his plebe year, Cadet Ty Homan ’22 has traveled to Stanford University to help conduct innovative experiments using their coveted MRI system. However, these experiments do not use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for its most common use—to produce images of organs and tissues within the human body—instead, Homan and other cadets are working on mechanical engineering projects that use Stanford’s MRI system to measure contaminant dispersion.

34 WestPointAOG.org Photos: Submitted
Above: Gabe Fuhrmann ’21, COL Michael Benson ’94, CDT Ty Homan ’22, and Stanford University Senior Research Engineer Dr. Christopher Elkins standing behind the water channel that is used to house the city model. Flow is directed through the channel (like wind) while contaminant is released in the city model. During the experiment, the water channel is moved into the MRI magnet (left side of image). The MRI is then used to take measurement scans. Experiments are conducted at the Stanford medical school (Richard M. Lucas Center). CDT Ty Homan ’22 behind a channel in the lab at Stanford University.

“It takes a fair bit of manpower, so I was able to go out there plebe year because they needed an extra hand to help with the experiment,” Homan said.

Since then, Homan has been involved every semester in some independent study related to the contaminant dispersion work with Stanford University. At Stanford, cadets work with Professor John Eaton and his graduate research group, and, with Stanford Senior Research Engineer Dr. Christopher Elkins, who is retiring after 35 years as a Stanford faculty member. The West Point Civil and Mechanical Engineering faculty that cadets work with includes Dr. David Helmer, Dr. Andrew Banko and Colonel Michael Benson ’94. Benson, who serves as Director of Mechanical Engineering at West Point, graduated with a Ph.D. from Stanford in 2011 and has sent West Point cadets to Stanford to use their radiology facilities ever since, including for summer internships.

Cadets help design, build and conduct the contaminant dispersion experiments while Stanford personnel help them run the MRI system. Over the last 10 years, West Point and Stanford University have completed more than 20 projects together, according to Benson, resulting in 13 journal papers and about 30 conference papers.

“Some of the project areas have been projectile analysis,” Benson said. “We’ve done environmental analysis. We’ve done a lot of work that’s related to gas turbine engines. We’ve even developed brand new experimental techniques with temperature measurements using MRI. It’s been really fruitful.”

The experiments are typically labor intensive, requiring three or four people to run the experiment. Most of the studies use a fairly large, heavy channel filled with water, and some of the recent experiments involved more complicated aspects, requiring cadets to spend 24 hours in the scan room. Oftentimes, firsties are solving complex problems as a part of their capstone projects, so the fact that they are publishing the work is “the icing on the cake,” Benson said.

One study, published in 2020, combined an experiment done at Stanford and another done at West Point to investigate the fluid mechanics and heat transfer aspects of an advanced gas turbine blade cooling scheme. It was sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory and presented at the International Gas Turbine Institute during their annual conference. Second Lieutenant David Bindon ’19, Second Lieutenant Mattias A. Cooper ’19, Second Lieutenant Benjamin J. Duhaime ’19, and Second Lieutenant Robert T. Woodings IV ’19 were involved in this study when they were cadets. Bindon was First Captain and also became a Marshall Scholar due to his research and technical projects aimed at better understanding issues such as fluid dynamics in urban and rural landscapes and developing more efficient turbine vanes for passenger flights and steam-based power generation.

Another study involved using a Computed Tomography X-Ray system to study liquid spray phenomena with relevance to fuel injection processes in a first-of-its-kind experiment. This study involved Captain Benjamin H. Miller and Mr. Alexander L. Sagues, graduates from the Class of 2013.

In some cases, the same data sets gathered by cadets as part of their capstone projects can be analyzed much more thoroughly, and the Stanford graduate students who help with the projects use the data to do some of their graduate work. According to Benson, this partnership also works really well because West Point doesn’t have graduate programs and Stanford does.

“It’s been a really mutually beneficial partnership,” Benson said, “and I think that this is a model for how cadets and faculty can do undergraduate work and go after some scholarships, and it’s sustainable.”

Homan spent several weeks this past summer at Stanford working with Elkins as his advisor. There were a couple of new data sets conducted at Stanford during the COVID period without any West Point cadet assistance, so Homan worked on analyzing data related to those experiments. He also gave a presentation to the experimental fluid mechanics research group at Stanford.

The latest study he was a part of is now published online and focuses on a portion of downtown Oklahoma City as it was in 2003, when it was the site of a major field test analyzing the dispersion of contaminants from various release points. The cadet team designed, built, and helped test a scaled version of a short-duration contaminant release and conducted detailed analysis on the transport phenomenon associated with the movement of the plume through the urban area. Homan, Second Lieutenant Daniel Chung ’20, Second Lieutenant Joshua Rhee ’20 and Second Lieutenant Lynne Mooradian ’20 all worked on this study, and Mooradian was also awarded a Marshall Scholarship in part due to her mechanical engineering research at Stanford.

This summer, Homan was also working with Stanford and West Point faculty to figure out what he’s going to do for his capstone project.

“Coming out here has allowed me to experience a whole new set of experimentation techniques so it’s been exciting to see this different, novel way of collecting unique data,” Homan said. “I would say the most important part of my partnership with Stanford so far has been being able to work closely with Stanford faculty members and all of the work I’ve been able to do with them. Weekly meetings with faculty advisors have helped me to develop my abilities related to conducting novel research in a fairly complex field. It’s definitely been helpful to have frequent interactions with them to assist my progress in this particular field.” 

“It’s been a really mutually beneficial partnership, and I think that this is a model for how cadets and faculty can do undergraduate work and go after some scholarships.”
COL Michael Benson ’94, Director of Mechanical Engineering
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
History is dependent on the new generation to write a new chapter.
LaMelo Ball

Cadet Summer Training | 2021

The objective of West Point Cadet Summer Training is to “teach leadership and followership while instilling the Warrior Ethos.” Each part of summer training had a special theme to establish and formalize a deliberate progression of summer training over the course of 47 months.

The theme for Cadet Basic Training (CBT) was The Long Gray Line Starts Here. CBT was a critical six-week period of transformation as the cadre transitioned civilians into cadets by instilling discipline, teaching traditions and modeling character. CBT ended with the Class of 2025 spending five days at Lake Frederick, and the new cadets who successfully completed “Beast Barracks” became prepared to succeed—as cadets and scholars—as the newest members of the Corps of Cadets.

With more specific emphasis on military training, Cadet Field Training (CFT) focused on Inspiring Passion for the Profession. During CFT, cadets learned the importance of teamwork and individual grit. They learned how to apply critical thinking to solve complex problems. They were exposed to Combat Arms and Multi-Domain Operations and became proficient in all of the basic tactical skills required of commissioned officers.

38 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: U.S.Army photo by SGT Gregory Muenchow; John Pellino/USMA PAO
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Rising firsties participated in Cadet Leader Development Training (CLDT). Successful completion of CLDT prepares cadets to Endure the Crucible of Leadership. CLDT involves leading peers in complex environments, akin to a mini-Ranger School, sharpening leader attributes and competencies, and receiving real-time evaluations and feedback. Cadets routinely cite CLDT as the best military training they receive at West Point.

The backbone of CST is the cadet cadre, or the West Point Leader Detail. Cadets serving in these positions learn valuable lessons about how to Lead with Character, Confidence and Commitment. They become proficient at leading small units in complex environments, maintaining and enforcing standards of excellence, and acquiring knowledge to prepare, conduct and assess training of subordinates.

Additionally, Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) allowed cadets to experience leadership in an operational unit while Army Schools provide cadets with specialized tactical and technical skills. Cadets participated in schools such as Air Assault, Sapper Leader Course and Combat Diver Qualification Course while over 1,100 cadets participated in CTLT. 

40 WestPointAOG.org SUMMER TRAINING 2021
Photos: U.S.Army photo by SGT Gregory Muenchow; CDT Marco Copat ’22; CDT Hannah Lamb ’23/USMA PAO

“At Patriots Colony you always feel included and welcome.

A Shared Common Bond of Service

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International Officer Instructors at USMA: A Strategic Partnership

42 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Nile Clarke/WPAOG

If you ever attended a review of the Corps of Cadets on the Plain, you’ve likely heard the public address announcer detail how Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben helped revolutionize the Continental Army, which was continually losing to superior British forces. “General George Washington recognized the poor state of morale and hired a distinguished Prussian officer who specialized in the instruction of drill and discipline,” the announcer’s script reads. “Baron von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge in the winter of 1778 to face an army of several thousand half starved, ragged men [and] immediately set to work writing drill regulations for a company of 120 soldiers chosen from various units in the Continental Army.” A year later, von Steuben wrote the first field manual for the U.S. Army, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of Troops of the United States, commonly referred to as the “Blue Book,” which served as the Army’s drill manual for decades. Baron von Steuben was one of the first international officers with teaching responsibilities to partner with the U.S. Army, but he would not be the last. Today, the Department of Military Instruction (DMI) at the U.S. Military Academy has seven officers from foreign nations directly instructing cadets in core military science courses and indirectly teaching them about how the U.S. Army works with allied nations, and perhaps a little about their home nation and its culture too.

Line of Effort in the USMA Strategy

“By building and sustaining relationships with allies and international partners withing the framework of the Army’s and nation’s cooperation goals, we seek to amplify international opportunities for cadets, enhance understanding of other nations and cultures, and contribute to the national security missions of our allies and partners through strategic engagement.”
— USMA’s “allies and partners”
Six of the Department of Military Instruction’s seven international instructors pose with their home country’s flag at Trophy Point—from left to right: Sergeant Major Timo Braese (Germany), Captain Mauricio Palhares (Brazil), Major Joaquin Nunez-Regodon (Spain), Captain Hans Weisser (Chile), Major Graham Sweetman (United Kingdom), Major Takuji Kawagishi (Japan). Captain Carlo Sotil (Peru) is not pictured.

Major Joaquin Nuñez–Spain

One of those officers is Major Joaquin Nuñez from Spain, who likes to remind his cadets that Baron von Steuben was not the only international officer to help the American Army during the Revolutionary War.

“Bernardo de Gálvez, the colonial governor of Spanish Louisiana, helped keep supply lines open for General Washington and had a fundamental role in the 1781 Siege of Pensacola,” he says. “Gálvez is one of only eight people to have been awarded honorary U.S. citizenship.”

A graduate of the Spanish Academia General Militar, Nuñez has been serving in the Spanish Army for more than 20 years. An infantry officer who specializes in mountain combat, he has served in Spain’s Mountain Troops Command and its Army Headquarters in Madrid. He was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months, completed an EU training mission in Uganda, and commanded a scientific research expedition in Antarctica. Nuñez learned about West Point from the cadet exchange program it has with the Spanish Military Academy, and he was one of about 20 Spanish Army majors to apply for the opportunity to teach within DMI, an opportunity to which Spain has been sending an officer for the last 15 years or so. “It’s one of the most sought-after vacancies,” Nuñez says. To compete

for the position, the Spanish Army requires its candidate to have a level of English proficiency determined by NATO standards, to have completed the operational planning course, and to have passed a competitive process of evaluation (including deployments, teaching experience, and company command experience). “Most candidates are disqualified due to the English proficiency requirement,” he says.

Nuñez arrived at West Point for his three-year assignment in the summer of 2020. His principal duty is teaching two sections of MS200: Fundamentals of Small Unit Operations to mostly Third Class cadets. “Most of my cadets want to know if the planning process is the same in Spain as it is in the U.S. Army, and, since Spain follows NATO, it is,” he says. “But they also ask about Spain’s operational deployments around the globe, likely wanting to know where they are going to work with Spanish soldiers when they are officers in the future.” In addition to his teaching duties, Nuñez assists with Sandhurst, instructs cadets during summer training, supports the Department of Foreign Language with briefings, and manages the semester abroad program with the Spanish Military Academy, which will have up to 17 USMA cadets going to Spain this year and 10 Spanish cadets coming to West Point.

“I love my assignment at the world’s most prestigious leadership academy,” says Nuñez, who recognizes that he is an integral part of Spain’s partnership with the U.S. military. “You see foreign officers and foreign cadets from many different countries at West Point, and this demonstrates to me that USMA is committed to teaching cadets about other nations and cultures in order to strengthen these international partnerships.”

MAJ Joaquin Nunez, a DMI International Officer Instructor from Spain, works with rising yearlings during CFT 2021.

Major Takuji Kawagishi–Japan

“It is fundamental to learn about other countries and understand how they think and feel about world events in order to advance our relations,” says Major Takuji Kawagishi, a DMI foreign exchange officer from Japan. “First, we have to know about each other; the next step is we can work together.”

Kawagishi enjoys talking to cadets about Japan, feeling that it is his duty to address his country’s opinions regarding international matters. A lot of them ask him about his country’s role in World War II and the Japanese-U.S. alliance that formed after the war. “The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between our counties turned 60 years old recently, and I know that I am here because of this history and relationship,” he says. Interestingly, Kawagishi became interested in joining the Japanese armed forces after questioning a high school teacher, who didn’t trust the military, about Japan’s Self-Defense Force, which was established in 1954 based on a related security agreement between the United States and Japan. As Kawagishi began to research the matter on his own, he learned about the National Defense Academy of Japan (NDAJ) and enrolled. After graduating from NDAJ in 2010, he was assigned as a tank

platoon leader. He served in 5th Company, 71st Tank Regiment, 7th Division in Hokkaido, Japan, and then, after earning a string of post-graduate degrees, he participated as a recon scout commander in a joint U.S.-Japanese training exercise. Just before coming to DMI for his two-year position in June 2020, Kawagishi participated with the 1-25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team at the National Training Center.

Kawagishi’s primary duty is to teach cadets MS200, but he is also the Officer in Charge of the Japanese Forum (a Directorate of Cadet Activities club), he manages the semester abroad program to Japan for the two to three cadets that attend NDAJ for a semester, he assists cadets majoring in Economics going to Japan for an AIAD with a Japanese company, and he teaches a Japanese language course with the Department of Foreign Languages (DFL). While his MS200 cadets are all about troop leading procedures as it pertains to Japanese military training, his DFL cadets ask him a lot of questions about Japanese culture and its history. “Many are interested in manga [Japanese animation], and a few ask me about Article 9 of Japan’s constitution [Japan Self-Defense Forces],” he says. Kawagishi also serves as an international officer guest speaker for the Defense and Strategic Studies core course “Comparative Defense Policy,” and he participates in a DMI program in which its international officer instructors brief their home country, their military system, and their military career for the entire USMA faculty. “This program is a great start to the Academy fulfilling its strategic efforts with allies and partners,” Kawagishi says.

MAJ Takuji Kawagishi, a DMI International Officer Instructor from Japan and former tank platoon leader in Japan’s 71st Tank Regiment, teaches Army tank platoon techniques and procedures to rising yearlings during CFT 2021.

Captain Graham Sweetman–Great Britain

While the Academy’s partnership with Japan is relatively new, its partnership with British exchange officers has been going on since the 1960s. “A British officer was the first foreign exchange officer to serve at West Point,” says Captain Graham Sweetman, an officer with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who arrived at DMI in December 2020 to continue the partnership, which is now in its seventh decade.

A large factor of the USMA-Great Britain partnership is the Sandhurst Competition, which is named after the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), Great Britain’s military institute for English army officers that was established in 1947 through a merger of the Royal Military Academy (founded 1741) and the Royal Military College (founded 1801) and is located in Berkshire County, England. Sweetman is a 2014 RMAS graduate, and one of his main duties within DMI is to run the Sandhurst Competition. “The Sandhurst Competition is a great opportunity to strengthen international partnerships,” he says, noting that he is excited for the return of international teams to the competition in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to COVID.

Sweetman first encountered West Point cadets when a platoon of them came to participate in “Dynamic Victory,” RMAS’s final exercise. “The cadets in Dynamic Victory were a fantastic representation of West Point: professional, knowledgeable, and with a military bearing befitting of officers,” he says. After an intense competition for the British exchange officer post, Sweetman is now teaching such cadets (“I was surprised as any when the posting was announced,” he says.) Sweetman is an

instructor of MS300: Platoon Operations, and he executed two offensive lanes of Cadet Leader Development Training this past summer. “West Point cadets have been incredibly engaging and willing to learn as much as they can,” he says. “They are always asking me questions about British Army doctrine and how we operate in our regimental system, into which a British officer will be commissioned and serve throughout his or her entire career.”

Prior to coming to DMI, Sweetman deployed in a training capacity to Canada and Kenya and with a NATO joint exercise in Lithuania (“Iron Sword”), and he completely buys in to the value that USMA puts on its relationships with international partners. “At any one time, you have officers and senior NCOs from six or seven nationalities serving in DMI,” he says. “They are teaching a great number of cadets, exposing them to different military practices from around the world.” Given that all international officer instructors have been deployed and teach based on these experiences, cadets receive first-hand accounts of the relationships U.S. Army officers have with NATO partners. “Fostering these relationships is incredibly important,” Sweetman says, “and USMA has got it spot on in regard to the way it values and incorporates international officers into the fold and has them contributing to the development of cadets, the next generation of leaders in the U.S. Army.”

“There is a great desire to have international officer instructors teach at USMA,” says Lieutenant Colonel Adam Sawyer ’00, DMI’s Chief of Military Science and Training, who notes that it is vitally important to introduce cadets to the fact that the U.S. Army works with allied nations. “Although we operate based on a similar doctrine, bringing a commonality across our profession regardless of the country for which we serve, allies bring a different perspective to the table, and being able to understand that perspective is going to make West Point cadets better Army officers.” 

“Although we operate based on a similar doctrine, bringing a commonality across our profession regardless of the country for which we serve, allies bring a different perspective to the table, and being able to understand that perspective is going to make West Point cadets better Army officers.”
— LTC Adam Sawyer ’00

WPAOG Military Retiree Recognition Program

WPAOG’s Military Retiree Recognition Program honors our military retirees for their service and sacrifice. If you retired on October 1, 2017 or later, you and three guests are eligible for a free Grad Insider Tour, as well as a free night at The Thayer Hotel, subject to restrictions. We will also publish your name in West Point magazine, with your permission. If you wish to participate, please contact retiree@wpaog.org to learn more.

Brenda J. C. Jordan 1987 COL Dean H. Hommer 1988 COL Gary W. Winch Jr. 1990 COL Christopher H. Engen 1991
Eric C. Rannow 1992
Jon E. Ellis 1993
Chad G. Carroll 1994
John D. Boland 2000
Robert L. Newbill III 2002
Order your copy of the new 2020 edition of the Register of Graduates at the WPAOG Gift Shop today. The West Point Register of Graduates & Former Cadets WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S WPAOGGiftShop.com | 800.426.4725 On Sale Now…

Army West Point Fencing: The Oldest West Point Sport Evolves

OnMay 1, 2021, the clanging of swords was heard for the first time this year at the Academy. One hundred and fifty years ago, these sounds could have come from cadets learning saber drill for future combat. More benign but no less competitive motivations were at play on May 1 as, for the first time in history, Army hosted Navy and Air Force for a three-way competition in an All Academy Fencing Tournament, held in Eisenhower Hall. The results of the tournament signal good things for Army West Point’s team, which has a long and impressive history within the competitive sport of fencing.

Legacy of Fencing at West Point

The West Point legacy of fighting with swords is long and celebrated. After all, at what other institution does the head of its Department of Physical Education also have the title “Master of

the Sword?” What other institution’s mascot has a sword in hand as the Black Knight of the Hudson does? What other institution’s senior class carries a personal saber (sister academies excluded)? Although today’s officers no longer carry swords into combat, the spirit of person-on-person dueling is alive and well with the Army West Point Fencing Team. A century ago, General George S. Patton, Class of 1909, fencer and Olympian, addressed the intensity of close-quarter sword fighting when he wrote the “Sabre Exercise Manual,” published in 1914 by the War Department. In it, Patton describes the Cavalry saber he devised in 1913 and the importance of training: “The saber, model 1913, is two edged. All the front edge and half the back is sharp so that it may more easily be withdrawn from a body, and also, on rare occasions, be used to cut. In all areas of training, the idea of speed must be conserved. No direct parries are taught because at

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Photo: Virginia Shea
Bonifacio Quiambao III ’21 (left) defeats his Navy midshipman opponent in foil.

the completion of a parry the enemy is already beyond reach of an attack. The surest parry is a disabled opponent.” While the objective is no longer to disable one’s adversary, Patton speaks to the passion seen in modern fencing.

Over the years, and especially at the outset of the modern Olympic Games in the early 20th century, West Point has been well represented in fencing. Not including the 23 West Point Olympians who competed in Modern Pentathlon, with one of its five events being epee fencing, there have been 11 West Point Fencing Olympians, including two of the most accomplished and greatest all-time fencers, Lieutenant Colonel Gustave Heiss ’31 and Major General Thomas J. Sands ’29. From 1817 through 1945, every cadet was required to learn fencing as part of his physical education. In fact, West Point was so strong in intercollegiate fencing a century ago that in 1902 the equivalent of today’s NCAA called for West Point’s Fencing Team to be excluded from competitions because of “the natural advantage the men have.”

Modern Fencing and Current Army West Point Fencing

A typical bout between two fencers is timed, and the first person completing five touches on his or her opponent wins the bout. To be a successful fencer, one must combine outstanding physical agility and speed with the mental acuity to outwit the opponent using one of three weapons: foil, epee, or saber. Fencing requires the ability to analyze one’s adversary, anticipate his or her actions, and devise the tactics to overcome them—all while having the

discipline to keep one’s emotions and temper in control. As all West Point graduates can appreciate, the traits necessary in fencing are pertinent to future Army officers.

Much of the 2019-20 fencing season and the entire 2020-21 season will forever be identified with COVID. As with most Department of Cadet Activities competitive sports clubs, fencing was totally shut down for inter-club competitions. The spring of 2020 saw the cancelation of several regional and national competitions, and much of the club’s intra-club activities and practices were cancelled as well. Fortunately, in late fall of 2020, the team was given the go-ahead for practices. Team Officer-inCharge Colonel Jim Ness and Team Captain Cadet Justin Dokken ’21 worked hard to gain access to practice space and to navigate the various protocols required by COVID. Unfortunately, coaches outside the “West Point bubble” were not able to assist, thus cadets relied on the “each-one-teach-one” method as a way to bring along new and inexperienced fencers to the team.

At the start of 2021, the stage appeared to be set for a tough year for Army West Point Fencing. Not the case! As COVID requirements became better understood, Ness and a few others had the vision of hosting a fencing tournament with USMA, USNA, and USAFA participating and pressed on against the many challenges of changing COVID protocols at all three academies. The team was given the go-ahead in early April and, with both Navy and Air Force agreeing to participate, May 1 was chosen for the date of the All Academy Fencing Tournament.

Photo: Virginia Shea Members of the Army West Point Fencing Team at attention for the national anthem before the All Academy Fencing Tournament in May 2021.

All Academy Fencing Tournament

Prior to COVID, Army West Point Fencing had hosted the annual West Point Invitational every January. The 2020 competition, held a month before the pandemic’s full disruptive effect, was dedicated to Major Jonathan Turnbull ’10, a member of the 2010 Fencing Team who was severely wounded by an IED in Syria in the fall of 2019. Turnbull, a symbol of bravery and tenacity in recovery, was in attendance and inspired the five other teams that participated. With the experience they gained from hosting the 2020 Invitational, team members proceeded to outfit the Ike Hall ballroom for the All Academy Fencing Tournament, complete with fencing strips, warm-up areas for the three teams, and official and medical tables (all with appropriate social distancing).

May 1, 2021 dawned with brilliant sun, an appropriate symbol for Army’s first and only competition of the 2020-21 fencing season. Like Army, this was Navy’s first and only competition for the year, while Air Force, being a Division-I varsity team, had participated in several western regional events, as well as in the collegiate nationals, and were heavy favorites for All Academy honors.

The tournament consisted of three competitions for both men and women, with each competition being a round robin of three

fencers from each academy for each weapon. While this was a “friendly meet” and had no impact on league standings, competition on the strip was intense and harkened back to Patton’s description of close-quarter sword fighting.

Army vs. Navy: The traditional rivalry made these matches particularly interesting. Army women excelled against Navy, defeating them 19 to 8. The women, led by next year’s team captain Cadet Crystal Zhang ’22 in foil, defeated Navy in all three weapons. Army men didn’t fare quite as well, losing to Navy 17 to 10; however, men’s epee defeated Navy 5 to 4 for the highlight of the competition, with Team Captain Dokken defeating Navy’s lead fencer in the final bout. Final score: Army 29 and Navy 25!

Navy vs. Air Force: Air Force defeated Navy (both men and women) for a combined total score of 38 to 16. They were particularly strong in men’s foil, women’s saber, and women’s epee.

Army vs. Air Force: Pitting Army West Point’s club team versus Air Force’s corps squad team, this final match of the day was hard fought. Air Force again showed their strength in men’s foil and women’s saber. The highlight of the match was men’s epee, which was tied until Army West Point Fencing took the final bout, giving Army a 5-4 victory in men’s epee. Overall, Army men lost to Air Force 19 to 8, and Army women lost by the same score. Final score: Army 16 and Air Force 38.

Photo: Virginia Shea Coach Mika’il Sankofa (center), a three-time Olympian in saber, gives last minute advice to Army West Point Fencing Team members.

The Past Speaks to the Future

A review of the competition would not be complete without an assessment of the future. Of the 27 bouts won by Army women, 20 were won by underclassmen, and of the 18 men’s bouts won by Army, 13 were won by junior classes. In total, underclassmen accounted for 33 of the 45 bouts won by Army. With this strength in the junior classes and several incoming plebes with experience, the future is bright! Longtime Officerin-Charge Ness and the team’s coaches are eager to raise the team’s level of competitiveness.

Army West Point Fencing is fortunate to have coaches with significant fencing experience. Mika’il Sankofa—a three-time U.S. Olympian in saber, inductee of the U.S. Fencing Association Hall of Fame, and the coach of several New York City clubs—concentrates on teaching saber and leads the coaching staff, while Ibrahim Ndiaye, a former Olympian for Senegal, is an expert in foil and epee. Both have coached at West Point for two years and, although they would like to have more cadets with prior fencing experience, are impressed with the cadets’ athleticism. They also see their coaching responsibilities going beyond just teaching fencing techniques. “Cadets will be leaders of the country, and I want to mentor them and share in their journey,” said Ndiaye. “I am excited to be part of their development, both as fencers and as future Army officers.”

As with all competitive teams at West Point, alumni support of Army West Point Fencing is, and has been, critical to the success

of the program. The special bonds and comradeship developed during their four years as cadets on previous fencing teams have incentivized graduate fencers to regularly assist with Officer-inCharge and coaching duties while on staff at West Point. A wonderful example of alumni support is fencing Olympian Robert S. Dow ex-’66, West Point’s fencing coach at one time. Now a major donor to West Point Fencing, Dow says, “West Point’s fencing tradition has always been important to my family and I’m proud to help so that cadets have a program of excellence.”

Sword fighting harkens back to the time when learning its skills helped officers survive on the battlefield. It is as old as West Point itself and is as celebrated as the Long Gray Line. And yet, like West Point, the sport is always evolving, adapting itself to modern day. The All Academy Fencing Tournament is the latest addition to West Point’s storied fencing history, and, with the experienced gained on May 1, 2021, Army West Point Fencing looks forward to a successful 2021-22 season and beyond. 

COL (R) Tom Watson was an avid fencer as a cadet and the recipient of the inaugural Sands Trophy, given to the outstanding West Point fencer. He has come to appreciate the life lessons taught to him by MG Thomas Sands ’29, whom Watson personally knew, and by Olympic Fencing coaches who coached at West Point. He actively competed in regional fencing competitions into the 1980s and coached the fencing team at Rochester Institute of Technology for three years.

Photo: Virginia Shea The Navy (left), Army West Point (center) and Air Force (right) fencing teams gather at Trophy Point after the first All Academy Tournament to celebrate the success of this inaugural competition.

Double Distinguished

The2021 Distinguished Graduate Awards (DGA), recognizing the 2020 and 2021 recipients, was a blend of tradition and novelty. Because COVID restricted West Point’s ability to host the 2020 ceremony, the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) honored two classes of Distinguished Graduates in 2021, making this year’s event different from previous years.

Traditionally, the awards are presented on the Tuesday of Graduation Week, when the Academy hosts classes holding their 50th-75th year class reunions. The DGA recipients march with the returning alumni in the procession across Diagonal Walk for the Alumni Exercises and Wreath Laying at Thayer Monument. Immediately following is the Alumni Review, during which the DGAs receive their Distinguished Graduate Medals and then review the Corps of Cadets assembled on the Plain in their honor. The final formal portion of the event is the Alumni Luncheon where the awardees receive their citations in front of family, classmates, and reunion attendees.

This year’s DGA events were livestreamed and began with a Friday evening dinner for recipients and their guests at the West

Point Club. In his opening remarks, WPAOG President and CEO Todd Browne ’85 referred to the address at the first ever formal reunion of the Long Gray Line in 1870 when Charles Davies, Class of 1815, referred to the cherished memories, strong friendships, and natural allure of West Point, high above the Hudson River. Browne said, “Today, those themes continue to resonate deeply in us, nearly a century and a half later,” as he welcomed the Distinguished Graduates back to West Point. After a video introduction for each recipient, a citation was presented. Then, on Saturday, the traditional Alumni Exercises and Review took place. Later in the day the awardees were recognized on the field during a break in the Army West Point Football game against Western Kentucky. Adding to the novelty for 2021 was the fact that Homecoming was celebrated earlier in the season. Typically, Homecoming Weekend is in October. It was moved this year to coincide with the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The senior Homecoming Class (2001) was the last class to graduate before 9/11.

In all, 11 graduates spanning 20 years of the Long Gray Line and representing 10 classes between 1964 and 1984 joined the ranks

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Photo: Nile Clarke/WPAOG
Photos: [Names listed here as needed]

Graduate Awards

of DGA recipients. All are leaders of character who have made significant contributions to the nation both in and out of uniform. The following pages contain summary biographies of the 11 recipients.

Since 1992, the DGA has been given to graduates of the United States Military Academy whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The award is funded by a generous endowment from E. Doug Kenna ’45 and his wife, Jean. Learn more at WestPointAOG.org/DGACriteria.

View the Distinguished Graduate Award presentations. Open the camera on your smartphone or table. Hold over the QR Code image at right and click on the link that appears. Or go to Vimeo.com/user22658752

Photo: John Pellino/USMA

2020 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Richard A. Nowak ’64

Many know Richard “Dick” Nowak as an All-American two-way Army football player, a two-time Hammond Award winner (team’s top lineman), and the captain of the 1963 squad. But, as Scott Beaty ’73, President of the West Point Society of North Texas, says, “After his distinguished athletic career, his passion for excellence has been evident in everything he has done.” Nowak completed Ranger School, served in combat in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division, and completed his service on the USMA staff and faculty. After leaving the Army in 1971 as a captain, Nowak went to work as a personnel manager for Martin Marietta Co. and later completed an MBA at the University of Denver. He then rose through the corporate ranks, currently serving as Chief Operating Officer (Standard Industries), the largest roofing materials and waterproofing manufacturer in the world, innovating industry changes during his tenure. Throughout this

time, Nowak never forgot his local West Point Society (North Texas), the West Point Association of Graduates, nor his class. On the society level, he served in most every capacity, developing an acknowledgement program (the Eisenhower Award) that recognizes outstanding teachers in urban areas. For WPAOG, he served on several committees and the Board of Directors, played a key role in designing and implementing the modern governance structure currently regulating the business of the Association, and gifted funds to the level of the Ulysses S. Grant Lifetime Giving Society. Lastly, for the Class of 1964, Nowak served as co-chairman of his class’s 50th Reunion Fund, an effort that garnered the largest 50th Reunion Gift at the time. According to William Murdy ’64, a 2015 Distinguished Graduate Award recipient, Nowak is “a rock…steadfast, dedicated and resilient…He always walks the walk as well as talks the talk.”

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Photos: Nile Clarke/WPAOG; submitted

2020 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Distinguished soldier, global media pioneer, freedom champion and global health leader, Bill Roedy “might be the most interesting man in the world,” says Mike Fries, CEO & Vice Chairman of Liberty Global. “He’s somebody who commanded nuclear silos in the Cold War, was friends with Mandela, and he’s partied with Bono.” Upon graduation, Roedy volunteered for duty in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He then commanded nuclear missiles as part of NATO and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Graduating from Harvard with an MBA in 1979, Bill joined HBO in the nascent days of cable television. Ten years later, he led a relentless expansion of MTV Networks Europe with a unique model of respecting and reflecting local audience diversity, including behind the Iron Curtain, bringing a groundbreaking window to the West. In 2004 Roedy was promoted to Chairman & CEO of MTV Networks International, where he built a global operation (200-plus channels, 200-plus countries, 30-plus

languages, for two billion-plus people) and pioneered the concept of global corporate responsibility. Under Roedy’s leadership MTV Networks International became the world leader in fighting HIV/AIDS with its “Staying Alive” campaign, and he chaired the Global Business Coalition. His far-reaching global health roles have included the first Ambassador for UNAIDS, Chairman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and Vice Chairman for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), which has saved millions of children’s lives. Bill’s numerous awards include UN Global Citizen, Cable TV Pioneer and an induction into the Cable Hall of Fame. Regarding Roedy’s work in the global health arena, Jeb Bush, 43rd Governor of Florida, says, “Bill is without a doubt a distinguished citizen of our world.” And David Brown MD, President of the Class of 1970, says of Roedy, “He is an ideal representation of our class and class motto: Serve with Integrity.”

In the words of GEN (R) Peter W. Chiarelli, 32nd Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, “I do not believe there is an officer of any rank, from any source of commission, that has left a larger legacy on our Army than Dr. Andrew Krepinevich.” After distinguishing himself as an Air Defense Artillery officer, Krepinevich attended Harvard University, earning a master’s degree and Ph.D. His award-winning book, The Army and Vietnam, appeared soon after. After four years in the USMA Department of Social Sciences, Major Krepinevich was recommended by GEN (R) Carl Vuono ’57 to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to serve as his assistant for special projects. Later, while assigned to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, Krepinevich wrote The Military-Technical Revolution: A Preliminary Assessment, triggering the “Revolution in Military Affairs” debate. After retiring from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1993, Krepinevich founded the

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a public policy institute known for its cutting-edge thinking on national security and defense issues. In 2005, his article “How to Win in Iraq” set forth a framework for what is now known as “The Surge,” and his 2009 book Seven Deadly Scenarios won wide praise for detailing emerging security challenges. “Most offices I visit in the Pentagon, including those of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have a well-worn copy on the shelf,” notes ONA Director James H. Baker. After serving on Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Policy Board and the Congressional Commission on the National Defense Strategy, Krepinevich chaired the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel. Most recently, his operational concept for the Western Pacific, “Archipelagic Defense,” has attracted the Army leadership’s attention, as well as that of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 55 Photos: Submitted
William H. Roedy Jr. ’70
Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. ’72

2020 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Kenneth W. Hunzeker ’75

“Our incredible institution produces many great leaders,” says GEN (R) Ray Odierno ’76, the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, “but few who have served their country and alma mater embody the spirit of Duty, Honor, Country like Ken.” After graduating from West Point, he held various Field Artillery command and staff positions both in CONUS and overseas. The year 2000 began a decade of increasing responsibility at the Pentagon, in Germany, and in Iraq. As Deputy Director for the Army’s Program Analysis and Evaluation Directorate, Hunzeker was instrumental in developing strategies that would guide the early years of the Global War on Terrorism. Upon completing command of the 1st Infantry Division, in 2006 he assumed command of the Operation Iraqi Freedom Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, responsible for executing the “train, man, equip” mission for more than 400,000 Iraqi police personnel. In 2009, he relinquished command of V Corps and became Deputy Commander

of Multi-National Force-Iraq, executing the mission of planning a withdrawal of over 160,000 military personnel while still conducting combat operations. After retiring from the Army in 2010, Hunzeker was appointed Vice President Government Relations for ITT Defense, later known as Exelis. In 2011, he was appointed President of the Mission Systems division, which later became a separate company Vectrus. During his five years as President then-CEO, Hunzeker ensured that Vectrus delivered critical facilities, supply chain, and digital information services to support warfighters across the globe in an operationally excellent manner. A member of the Henry H. (Hap) Arnold Lifetime Giving Society and former WPAOG Advisory Council member, Hunzeker is currently serving West Point as the Distinguished Chair of the Center for the Study of Civil-Military Operations. He was recently elected to serve on the Wounded Warrior Project Board of Directors.

Curtis M. Scaparrotti ’78

“Mike Scaparrotti is widely acclaimed as the very epitome of the exceptional leader of character our Alma Mater exists to produce,” says LTG (R) Dave Palmer ’56, the 53rd USMA Superintendent, “and his decades-long career in uniform is unmatched by anyone I know.” During GEN (R) Scaparrotti’s 41-year Army career, he commanded at all tactical levels (platoon through division, including the highly decorated 82nd Airborne) and served on multiple high-level staff positions (including Director of the Joint Staff). Scaparrotti also served in an array of critical overseas positions and, in various leadership roles, helped transform West Point. Regarding the latter, he served as the TAC for H-4, was aide-de-camp for the Superintendent (assisting in the redesign of USMA’s academic curriculum and development of the Facilities Long Range Strategic Plan currently being realized), and returned to West Point in 2004 as the 69th Commandant of Cadets. As CMDT, Scaparrotti led a major overhaul of cadet leadership and tactical training based on his

combat experience in Iraq and advocated for the Defense and Strategic Studies academic major. In 2006, he was assigned as the Director of Operations for U.S. Central Command, and, upon promotion to lieutenant general, assumed command of I Corps, concurrently serving as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commander, U.S. ForcesAfghanistan. In 2013, Scaparrotti received his fourth star and became the Commander of USFK/CFC/United Nations Command, R.O.K. His military career culminated as Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, “…service that places him in a unique category of West Point graduates,” says LTG (R) Guy Swan III ’76, Vice President of the Association of the United States Army. “Successful soldier, diplomat-warrior, citizen and family man—Mike Scaparrotti is the acme of achievement,” says GEN (R) Joseph Votel ’80, “and the most respected Army officer of his generation.”

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2021 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

W. Wynne ’66

Mike Wynne commissioned in the Air Force upon graduation. He served on active duty for seven years, and his influence on the Air Force remained strong. One of his legacies is the AC-130U, for which he served on the development team while as an astronautics instructor at the Air Force Academy, transforming it from a transport aircraft into a heavily armed, long-endurance gunship. Later, as a civilian with General Dynamics, Wynne negotiated the development of the F-16 and the M1A2 Battle Tank, and as President of General Dynamics Space Systems, he managed the design adaptation of former ICBMs into launch vehicles. In July 2001, Wynne entered government service, being confirmed as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Nearly two years later, he was appointed as acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Finally, in November 2005,

Randall M. Pais ’67

For more than five decades, COL (R) Randall “Randy” Pais has been an exemplary man of character, leadership, and service to his class, the Academy, the Army, the nation and his community. “He is an Academy all-star!” says LTG (R) Bill Lennox ’71, 56th Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy. Pais served in Vietnam (196869) where he received the Bronze Star for Valor as a forward observer for the 36th ARVN Ranger Battalion. He continued in the Army Reserve from 1971 to 1997, serving in battalion- through division-level positions of the 75th Division (Exercise). From 2001 to 2020, Pais served as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (Texas), representing eight different Secretaries during his tenure and named CASA Emeritus in January 2020. According to COL Deb McDonald ’85, West Point Director of Admissions, “Randy’s 38-year support of Admissions has greatly enhanced the quality of the candidate applications and increased the professionalism of our officer selection process.” Pais is credited with

Wynne was confirmed as the 21st Secretary of the Air Force, the first West Point graduate to serve in that post. “Secretary Wynne’s career has advanced the defense capabilities of the U.S. military and has laid the groundwork to position our national security for the years ahead,” says Senator James Inhofe, former Senate Armed Services Committee Chair. “From enhancements in ‘real-time’ air-land combat cooperation and integration, to the fielding of fifth generation combat systems, to the very first steps in recognizing cyber activities as a critical, emerging warfighting domain, Wynne has led the way,” says Gen (R) T. Michael Moseley, the 18th U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff. Today, Wynne is a member of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Board of Advisors and a very generous donor to the U.S. Military Academy, recently endowing the Cadet Cyber Award.

supporting more than 550 cadet candidates—two of who became First Captain—and his recruiting model has been used across the nation. From 1990 to 2005, Pais served on WPAOG’s Board (appointed an Emeritus in 2005) helping develop WPAOG’s “Distinguished Society Award” and encouraging his class to endow WPAOG’s annual Leaders Conference. In 1998 Pais steered a Task Force to study graduate retention rates beyond original commitment. The Committee’s proposal, coordinated with the Superintendent and Army G-1, resulted in allowing cadets to extend their active duty service obligation by three years in return for an opportunity to select graduate school, or a specific branch or post. Pais has served as class Vice President since 1992. He has enjoyed a distinguished legal career spanning over 46 years, and remains active in Army and Veteran affairs, as a Director on the Folded Flag Foundation and on Exxon Mobil’s Veteran Council.

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2021 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

A Soldier For Life, accomplished business leader and advocate for all who have served, Shull is “the right leader at the right time for our Army and Nation,” says SMA (R) Ken Preston, 13th Sergeant Major of the Army. Following graduation, he led several platoons, including a Scout Platoon, and commanded C Company, 1/22nd Infantry Regiment. After graduating from Harvard Business School, Shull was selected as a White House Fellow and served in the Reagan administration. He taught leadership at West Point and, in his last active-duty assignment, served as Military Assistant to National Security Advisor Robert “Bud” McFarlane. Shull conducted a comprehensive review of the National Security Council, coordinated low-intensity conflict policy initiatives and represented the White House in helping to oversee the construction and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Shull served as CEO of Barney’s New York, Hanover Direct and Wise Foods, successfully turning around these iconic American

brands. In 2012, he was selected as the first civilian Director/CEO of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. GEN (R) Gus Perna says, “Through Tom’s leadership, AAFES’ profitability nearly doubled since 2011 and the organization provided $1.6 billion in dividends for critical (military) Quality-of-Life programs.” Shull was the lead advocate in securing a lifelong online military exchange shopping benefit for honorably discharged Veterans. He is a member of the Benjamin O. Davis Giving Society and served on the AOG Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2001, helping to lead the West Point Bicentennial Campaign, the first major WPAOG capital campaign. Shull recently received the DoD Distinguished Service and Reserve Officer’s Association Minute Man of the Year awards. Senator James Inhofe, former Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, says, “Tom is a perfect recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award due to his selfless service to our nation and his unwavering dedication to service members and their families.”

Stanley A. McChrystal ’76

Mentor…role model…innovator…national treasure”: These are words used by GEN (R) Joseph Votel ’80, former Commander, U.S. Central Command, to describe GEN (R) Stanley McChrystal, the officer credited with the 2006 death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. McChrystal branched Infantry upon graduation and quickly began his rise to the four-star rank. After five years, he was Ranger and Special Forces qualified and had successfully completed a unit command. After serving in Korea and an assignment with the 75th Ranger Regiment, McChrystal reported to the Naval War College as a student in the Command and General Staff Course. Upon its completion, he was assigned as Army Special Operations action officer, J-3, Joint Special Operations Command, deploying to Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Returning to the 75th Ranger Regiment in 1994, he initiated a complete revamping of the existing Army hand-to-hand combat

method. Promoted to brigadier general months before 9/11, McChrystal became one of the most recognized officers in the Global War on Terrorism, delivering nationally televised Pentagon briefings on U.S. military operations in Iraq as a member of the Joint Staff and later commanding the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and serving as Commander of U.S. and the International Security Assistance forces in Afghanistan. He retired from service in June 2010. His awards and decorations for service include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star. Since leaving the Army, McChrystal has remained committed to leadership: he teaches leadership to graduate students at Yale, he chairs the Board of Service Year Alliance, and he founded the organizational leadership consulting firm McChrystal Group LLC.

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Thomas C. Shull ’73


2021 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

David M. Rodriguez ’76

The last officer from the Class of 1976 to retire, GEN (R) David Rodriguez accomplished much in his 40-year career. He commissioned Infantry and commanded two companies (1st Armored Division, 75th Ranger Regiment), a Battalion (2d/502d, 101st), a Brigade (325 AIR, 82d) as well the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a planner for Operation Just Cause (Panama) and deployed to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm as a Battalion Operations Officer. After 9/11, Rodriguez was the Assistant Division Commander, 4th Infantry Division, deploying to Iraq in 2003. Multiple tours in the Global War on Terrorism followed, including Commander of Multi-National Force-Northwest in Iraq, Commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82 in Afghanistan and culminating as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan/Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. Between combat tours, he served as senior military aide to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who said of Rodriguez’s service,

“His professional competence, humility, and dedication to duty made him one the absolute best of the scores of senior general and flag officers I served with as Secretary of Defense.” Before retiring in 2016, Rodriguez commanded Army Forces Command and Africa Command, the latter for which he coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola pandemic. Rodriguez served six tours in combat—“more combat leadership at a flag officer level than Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton combined,” noted GEN Mark A. Milley, the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Today, Rodriguez assists with the Strategic Education Program for the Army War College and the Capstone and Pinnacle courses for the National Defense University. He also contributes his time to Leadworthy, a non-profit that develops critical, life-changing skills for middle and high school students and Angel Wings for Veterans, a non-profit that provides charitable transportation for Veterans and their families to medical care.

Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster Jr. ’84

Once picked by Fortune magazine as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders, LTG (R) (H.R.) McMaster has succeeded in both the world of thought and the world of action, having served his country with honor and distinction as a soldier, scholar, and statesman. McMaster led Eagle Troop of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment to victory at the 1991 Battle of the 73 Easting during the Persian Gulf War, a battle in which the troop destroyed more than 80 enemy vehicles while suffering no casualties. He was associate professor of history at West Point from 1994 to 1996. He holds a Ph.D. in American history and is author of Dereliction of Duty, a book that GEN James McConville ’81, the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army, says, “…former Chiefs and I frequently recommend as essential reading for our Army’s senior officers.” As the 71st Colonel of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, McMaster commanded a multi-national battlegroup that

defeated Al Qaeda-in-Iraq and liberated Tal Afar during Operation Restoring Rights. McMaster also served with distinction as a task force commander in Afghanistan. He later commanded the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, leading innovations in leader development, training, concepts, and doctrine. After serving as Deputy Commanding General (Futures) of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, he was selected as the 26th Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. McMaster retired in 2018. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and teaches at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute and Graduate School of Business. He is, most recently, author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World Hoover’s director, Condoleezza Rice, 66th U.S. Secretary of State, says, “H.R. is without question one of the great soldier-statesmen of his generation.”

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 59 Photos: Submitted; Ray Kachatorian

Gripping Hands


On July 26, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Frank Kendall III as the 26th Secretary of the Air Force.


Kendall Confirmed as Air Force Secretary Enos to Receive 2021 Nininger Award

The 2021 recipient of the West Point Association of Graduates’ Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms is LTC(P) James R. Enos. The award ceremony will be at West Point on October 21, 2021.

 General Officer Announcements 

The following officers were confirmed by the Senate:

MG Antonio A. Aguto Jr. ’88 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Commanding General, First U.S. Army, Rock Island Arsenal, IL

MG Jonathan P. Braga ’91 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC

MG Antonio M. Fletcher ’89 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Special Operations Headquarters, Belgium

For promotion to the rank of major general:

BG Gregory K. Anderson ’91

BG Kris A. Belanger ’91 (USAR)

BG Gregory J. Brady ’91

BG Windsor S. Buzza ’88 (USAR)

BG Curtis A. Buzzard ’92

BG Michael K. Hanifan ’86 (ARNG)

BG Kipling V. Kahler ’87 (ARNG)

BG Joseph A. Ryan ’91

BG Michelle A. Schmidt ’92

BG Brett G. Sylvia ’94

BG Todd R. Wasmund ’91

For promotion to the rank of brigadier general:

COL Robert A. Borcherding ’93

COL Rose P. Keravuori ’97 (USAR)

COL Michael J. Karwatka ’95 (ARNG)

COL Cristina M. Moore ’95 (ARNG)

COL John R. Pippy ’92 (ARNG)

The Chief of Staff of the Army announces the following officer assignments:

MG David C. Hill ’90 to Commandant, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

60 WestPointAOG.org GRIPPING HANDS Photos: Submitted
“Grip hands—though it be from the shadows—while we swear as you did of yore, or living or dying, to honor the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.” —Bishop Shipman, 1902

The Thunderstorm Outside the CAVE:

WPSC’s Partnership with Penn State’s ARL

Thebest partnerships evolve. Such is the case with the partnership between the West Point Simulation Center (WPSC) and the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory (ARL). The relationship between WPSC and ARL goes back more than five years to when ARL constructed West Point’s CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) at a Department of Defense facility and moved it to WPSC through a donation from Bob Acevedo ’75. Since then, ARL has been supporting WPSC’s visualization efforts, and it is because of this ongoing relationship that ARL got WPSC and West Point cadets involved with supporting the Thunderstorm Technology Demonstration Program.

Operating under the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Thunderstorm is an opportunity to inform and accelerate

modernization through innovative discovery, demonstration, and experimentation. “The Thunderstorm Program has been going on for more than 10 years, and Penn State’s Applied Research Lab has been involved from day one,” says Dr. Vaughn Whisker, the head of the Visualization Technology Department at ARL. According to a request for information paper regarding Thunderstorm 22-1, “Thunderstorm provides an opportunity for technology developers to demonstrate and experiment with new and evolving technological capabilities in an operationally relevant environment, as well as to obtain insight into federal technology gaps and emerging needs.” “We’ve seen counternarcotics measures in Key West, Florida; border security initiatives along the Southwest border in Texas and Arizona; counter unmanned aircraft systems; technology discovery for Special Ops; see-through-walls technology and more—all as

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 61 Photo: Submitted
Above: A cadet from the Future Applied Systems Team trains on the 3-D VR simulation system, a product introduced during Thunderstorm 21-1.

part of the Thunderstorm Program,” says Whisker. In recent years, Thunderstorm, which is open to a wide range of approved participants (mostly small business), has demonstrated approximately 75 new technologies per year.

In 2019, ARL asked WPSC if the Academy would be interested in hosting a Thunderstorm event. “West Point is a fantastic venue for Thunderstorm,” says Whisker. “Vendors can interact with cadets who, as commissioned second lieutenants, are the end users of this technology when it is fielded in a few short years.” Preparations began, and although plans were disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions, WPSC and ARL virtually presented Thunderstorm 21-1, “Virtual Reality Tools in Support of Enhancing Small Unit Lethality,” during the second week of October 2020. Over the course of five days, nine vendors selected by RRTO showcased their wares to cadets, USMA faculty, and invited government POCs, with several of the vendors sending demo devices so that participants could experience the technology firsthand.

For each Thunderstorm event, RRTO solicits participation from companies to solve DoD problem sets. In the case of the 2020 West Point Thunderstorm, RRTO wanted to see how virtual reality technologies could be incorporated into small unit tactics on the battlefield. “Specifically, last year’s event looked at technologies that could collect data on West Point’s Aachen training area, process that data, and then render the building’s environment as virtual reality in a matter of days, versus weeks or months,” says Lieutenant Colonel Chris Johnes, Director of the West Point Simulation Center. Upon receiving the virtual model from the vendor, cadets from the Future Applied Systems Team got to train on the 3-D VR simulation of the target building in

Left: LTC Chris Johnes, the director of the West Point Simulation Center, and a representative from the Penn State Applied Research Lab conduct a video chat with vendors who participated in Thunderstorm 21-1. Center: The Penn State Applied Research Lab constructed the West Point Simulation Center’s CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment, a gift from Bob Acevedo ’75. Thunderstorm 22-1 provided an opportunity for cadets from different academic departments to use technology that could be related to their capstone research projects.

WPSC’s CAVE before executing a live tactical exercise. The after-action report for the exercise noted that the simulation allowed the team to walk through the building model together and rehearse how its members wanted to secure it, including their approach from the wood line and the path each member of the team would take through the building.

Thunderstorm 21-1 was a great success, and planning was soon underway for another Thunderstorm exercise at West Point in early October 2021. In December 2020, ARL and WPSC started having discussions regarding what Thunderstorm 22-1 would look like, settling on the theme “Modernizing Combat Planning and Operations by Leveraging Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning Enabled Extended Reality Technologies.” There was an initial planning conference in April, a midplanning conference in June, and a final planning conference in August. According to Johnes, “By our mid-planning conference we knew who our vendors were, and we started to discuss what scenarios we want to execute in a live environment, such as training vignettes.” With this information confirmed, Johnes and his team began planning all the logistics needed to execute Thunderstorm 22-1, such as securing facilities and ranges, and they started pushing out information across USMA academic departments to let interested parties know which vendors were coming to West Point to demonstrate products. “Knowing the theme of the exercise and what vendors and types of products are involved, departments could identify what cadets and faculty members might be interested in attending, with perhaps the intent of using the demonstrated technology in a capstonerelated research project,” says Johnes.

According to Whisker, the West Point Thunderstorm exercise is a win-win for both demonstrators and cadets. “Vendors love it because cadets provide valuable feedback on the relevance and quality of the demonstrated products,” he says. Vendors incorporate such feedback into improving their product or improving the use of their product in an operationally relevant environment, as most vendors do not have access to the kinds of ranges available at West Point or to the end-users of their product. “Cadets enjoy Thunderstorm because they get exposure to modern technologies,” says Whisker, “helping them understand what is the art of the possible, so when they are commissioned and out leading in the field they have had exposure and understand how to leverage these products that, for all intents and purposes, are science fiction brought to reality.” In other words, Thunderstorm shows cadets today what the battlefield is going to look like tomorrow.

The partnership between ARL and WPSC is also a win-win for both parties. “For ARL, it is rewarding to see the future of DoD in West Point cadets,” says Whisker. “Observing how cadets interact with the products demonstrated during Thunderstorm helps us see which innovative technology is worth pursuing from a user perspective.” For WPSC, which is a Margin of Excellence developmental program, the team at ARL has proved invaluable as the Simulation Center continues to make improvements to the CAVE and looks forward to the technological advancements in store for Bradley Barracks in three to five years. Says Johnes, “We lean heavily on ARL’s expertise and look forward to continuing our partnership with them for the foreseeable future, especially as we start to discuss what could be the next evolution of our partnership beyond the Thunderstorm exercise.” 

Cadets from the Future Applied Systems Team execute a mission on a building using a close quarters strategy they perfected virtually on the 3-D VR simulation system, which gave them a better understanding of the building’s layout and increased spatial awareness of the building before actually entering it.

The Virtual Leaders Conference

The Virtual West Point Leaders Conference was held on August 12. Over 200 Class, Society, and Parents Club Leaders attended the Conference, sponsored by the Class of 1967. Leaders from all over the United States and across the globe (as far as 5,000 miles away!) received updates from our Academy and WPAOG Leader Team and had the opportunity to network with each other in breakout sessions geared towards their respective leadership roles. WPAOG also recognized 60 Distinguished Societies and 16 Parents Clubs in an award ceremony.

BBQ for Class of 2025 and Old Grads

The WPAOG hosted the Cadet Basic Training (CBT) BBQ for the Class of 2025 at Lake Frederick on August 8, the afternoon before their March Back.

1,482 new cadets and cadet cadre, members of the USCC staff, USMA leadership, and participants in the Grad Marchback (including members of the 50-Year Affiliate Class of 1975) attended the event.

64 WestPointAOG.org WPAOG NEWS
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives

West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) Annual Meeting and Election

All USMA graduates are encouraged to vote in the WPAOG 2021 Annual Election. No later than October 16, 2021, proxies will be emailed or mailed to each graduate. Graduates whose email address is on file at WPAOG will receive an email that contains a link to the personalized, confidential online voting site maintained by Amplitude Research, Inc. Other graduates will

2020 Report of Gifts

receive paper proxies via the U.S. Postal Services. Voting closes at 5pm ET on November 15, 2021, the evening before the WPAOG Annual Meeting and Election, which will take place at 5pm ET on November 16, 2021. This year the Annual Meeting will take place at the Herbert Alumni Center.

R-Day Ice Cream Social

WPAOG’s R-Day Ice Cream Social for the parents and guardians of the Class of 2025 was held June 26-28 in front of the Malek Visitors Center at West Point. WPAOG staff was on hand to offer information on how families can help support their cadets over the next four years. The WPAOG R-Day Ice Cream Social was also made possible by the 50-Year-Affiliation Class of 1975.

2020 was a year like no other and despite the challenges that accompanied it, the Long Gray Line, families, and friends of West Point stepped up and demonstrated their unwavering support and generosity. The Annual Report of Gifts reflects the commitment of 25,804 individuals, organizations, and classes who are dedicated to making this institution we love even stronger, contributing $44.7 million in cash for the Academy and WPAOG. In 2020, our alumni participation rate continued to grow and reached 37.8 percent, once again our highest level on record.

Thank you, again, to our alumni, families, and friends for your generosity and devotion to West Point. Whether through unrestricted annual fund gifts such as the Superintendent’s Annual Fund, Parents Fund, Long Gray Line Fund, or Army A Club, or contributions to specific academic departments, facilities, cadet clubs, or teams, you make a difference for the Corps of Cadets, the Academy, and the Long Gray Line. To reduce costs, the 2020 Report of Gifts is available online only this year at WestPointAOG.org/WestPointRecognition.

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 65 WPAOG NEWS Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives

The Tale of the Tooth Mouse

This fascinating glimpse into history helps parents answer a child’s frightening concerns about their primary tooth loss. The tale, based on the fabled Medieval character, a clever, mischievous mouse, will help both parent and child navigate this most important “rite of passage” and make “growing up fun.” Masterfully told by the author with exceptional full-color illustrations, it is a mustread that will satisfy the curiosity and adventurous spirit for readers of all ages.

Available at Amazon.com

Long Trail to the Promised Land

Follow the long journey of this graduate’s German Immigrant ancestors, who faced hostile encounters with Native tribes, Civil War battles in New Mexico, and long wagon trips through arid prairies and deserts. Jacob and Charlotte Stenger faced many challenges and hardships on the long trail to Council Grove, Kansas. This “last chance” outfitting post on the Santa Fe Trail became their “Promised Land.” Their story and countless others chronicled the great American opening of the West.

Available at Amazon.com

Winning After Losing: Building Resilient Teams

Individuals, teams, and organizations must become more resilient in today's world. Each will experience failure at some point. Resilience is the capacity to recover. It is the effort expended to bend but not break despite trauma, tragedy, adversity, or crisis. Resilience is adapting based on lessons learned, to bounce back stronger than before. If you like winning, learn as much as possible from the experience of losing...that is what resilient teams do so well.

Available at ThomasPBositck.com

Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking is a memoir of Frank Cloutier, USMA1960. His story ranges from the Aleutians to Islamabad, from Biloxi to Brussels, and Maine to Mississippi. It spans his time from student to assistant professor, from field engineer to vice-president, and from author to program manager. Included are some memorable Alaskan adventures as well as a lifetime of RVing. Along the way he enjoyed a six decade marriage to Durelle; raised two kids and four grandkids, college graduates all; and now has three great-grandkids.

Available at Amazon.com?

The Vicar of Pineyville

Anne Cartwright, a forensic accountant, discovers the pastor of her New Jersey church driving a $95,000 BMW. With the parish millions of dollars in debt, she is determined to uncover the source of his wealth. Working with her husband Ethan, a Penn history professor and Angelo Orsini a retired Philly police detective, they discover the pastor, and a corrupt law firm are engaged in a conspiracy to financially prey on wealthy widows. When the conspirators learn of the investigation, the hunters become the hunted and the story turns deadly ending is a bizarre twist of fate.

Available at Amazon.com


Julie Wolfe, 24 years old, is arrested in Thailand for smuggling heroin. If convicted, she faces a long prison term. Her mother, retired film star Kay Moore, terrified for Julie’s safety, hires Lee Perry a consultant with high level contacts in Thailand to gain her release. Lee’s discovery of the bizarre terms of actor Reggie Daniel’s $100 million estate reveals a family facing bankruptcy with destructive personal relationships and decades old secrets that threaten the success of his mission and Julie’s safety.

Available at Amazon.com

A State of Mind: Faith and the CIA

This memoir is also a journey of faith. The meaning of the West Point honor code— “Duty, Honor, Country” was challenged by real world events during the waning years of the Cold War and its aftermath, the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001, and the wars that followed. The duties of a CIA officer were tested, and ultimately strengthened, by the faith and obligations between an individual and God.

Available at Amazon.com and other book outlets

Eternal Impact

Drawing on three decades of reflection and positively influencing people, Troy Nix shares his unique philosophy that will inspire, inform, motivate, and empower readers. With a mix of compelling stories, humor, and practical advice, Nix demonstrates how to make changes to positively affect more people.

Available at TroyNix.com

66 WestPointAOG.org Inclusion of these books in West Point magazine is a paid advertisement and is not an endorsement of the contents or values expressed in the books. Descriptions have been provided by authors or publishers and should not be considered a review of the book. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S A West Point magazine supplement featuring books by West Point graduates and faculty.

To learn more about Bookshelf advertising, contact ads@wpaog.org or call 845.446.1646

Lessons from Thor

Kim starts by sharing her story from childhood to medical retirement from the Army for PTSD. She openly talks about her struggles with mental health and how she found the courage to seek treatment. Kim learned that trauma isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. She then transitions to share life lessons her service dog Thor has taught her to include: enjoying the present moment, licking stress in the ear, being a good listener to those struggling, etc.

Available at Amazon.com



For Life:

Military Lessons to Survive Your Life Challenges

Angels in Combat Boots

The Adventures of Cadet Cody

In January 2017, the Olsavsky family welcomed their first pet a bundle of canine joy named Cody. Two significant life changing events also began the year: spinal fusion surgery for their youngest child, and the countdown to Reception Day at West Point for Nate, their middle child. The Adventures of Cadet Cody recounts the family’s experiences leading up to the sendoff, goodbye, and journey for Nate as he embarks on his future in the US Army. A compilation of illustrated volumes of Cadet Cody letters are included in the book.

Available at Amazon.com, Google play, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble

‘86 (CNQ) West Point, Army, and life lessons, tactics, and experiences to help survive a “Battle For Life.” Faced with a lethal diagnosis of advanced stage cancer and an ensuing series of life-threatening circumstances, Michael shares his personal, West Point, and Army lessons that facilitated his “Battle For Life.” These lessons could help anyone who is involved in their own “Battle For Life” or could help a family member, loved one, or friend with their “Battle For Life.” Info@MyBattleForLife.com

Available at Amazon.com

In 1978, the academy’s first women’s cross-country team turned heads as they outran many of their male classmates on their way to becoming one of the most successful teams in West Point’s history, including a win over Navy. Along the way, their dedication and athleticism changed many minds about women at West Point as they proved women could complete the physical requirements for cadets. And yes, they ran the 2-mile PT test in boots. This is the story of those women who took one small step for themselves that ultimately led to a giant leap for young women across the country.

Available from Xlibris Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Life and Art of Wilson Hurley: Celebrating the Richness of Reality


Outside the Wire in the Second Iraq War

Dispelling Hollywood clichés about the Global War on Terrorism, Dodgebomb is a satirical war novel that captures what it meant to serve in Iraq. This realistic, relatable story follows a lieutenant and his platoon as they go out on patrol each day and try to stay alive. It reveals the trials of the regular guys; unassuming, ordinary soldiers who fought Al Qaeda, broke bread with sheiks, and tried to understand what it all meant.

Available at Amazon.com

Better Government Through Better Hiring

When our Capitol was under siege, were you alarmed about what the future holds for you, your loved ones, and our country? Our election system produced that heartbreaking madness and perpetuates intolerable dissention and gridlock. It must be changed. With entertaining and enlightening stories, the author probes the problem and suggests a methodology for reengineering the system. The objective is to find and hire the leaders America must have for a better and more secure future.

Available at Amazon.com


Roembke Hurley, wife of Wilson “Pat” Hurley ’45 Hurley saw the world from the vantage point of a pilot. His 40-year career of recording iconic views throughout the American West and in outer space places him at the forefront of America’s greatest landscape painters, both past and present. With 380 pages and 212 color illustrations, this magnificent tome is beautifully produced and will inspire generations to come.

Available at Amazon.com & UNM Press

Letters to Imogene

Three Army officers (including two grads), united by blood and through marriage, fight on the ground and skies of the ETO, often in the same battle space, from North Africa to Sicily to Normandy, Belgium, and Germany. Their letters to and from Imogene lend personal perspectives to the combat narrative. Several prominent and lesser known battles are described in detail, often at the unit level, including Bizerte, Troina, Cherbourg, Brest, and the Huertgen Forest.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others

WEST POINT | FALL 2021 67 Inclusion of these books in West Point magazine is a paid advertisement and is not an endorsement of the contents or values expressed in the books. Descriptions have been provided by authors or publishers and should not be considered a review of the book. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION—CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Patriotic Illusions

While distracted by international terrorists and resurgent communism, the United States has failed to address urgent domestic matters. Enduring racism, cybercrime, COVID-19, and out of control government spending threaten our existence. COL (R) Mark Talbot ’93 exposes the enemies in our ranks—weak and corrupt leaders who wrap themselves in the flag, divide Americans for selfish and political purposes, and promote the status quo. Explore his powerful arguments, examples and reforms and join the movement to reclaim our Nation’s soul.

Available at Amazon.com

Author blog: http://metalbot.net/

A Rock in the Clouds

When the Caribou crashes into the side of a mountain, Joe survives, but the violent crash kills thirteen soldiers in this Vietnam wartime tragedy. For 45 years, Joe searches for details of the crash, resulting in a story of faith highlighting GI grit, humor, and patriotism. Trying to make sense of his survival leads to his faith-based purpose and destiny: bringing hope and inspiration to Vietnam-era veterans, their families, and all people of faith.

Available at Amazon.com and booksellers nationwide

Iraq and the Politics of Oil: An

Insider’s Perspective

Vogler spent 5 months in prewar oil planning at the Pentagon, then 75 months in Iraq executing oil reconstruction under DOD between 2003 and 2011. During all this time and through 2014, he denied that our government had a hidden oil agenda in Iraq. While researching his book, Gary discovered something of significance: an oil plan that will surprise most Americans. The book attempts to correct history and set the record straight.

Available at Thayer Hall Bookstore & Amazon.com

West Point

West Point Association of Graduates

West Point is the official alumni magazine of the U.S. Military Academy. It is published quarterly and mailed free of charge to more than 57,000 readers, including all West Point graduates, cadet parents, widowed spouses, and friends of West Point. Circulation also includes USMA staff and faculty and cadet companies. If you enjoy receiving West Point, please consider a donation to support the magazine fund. Subscriptions are available on our website at:

WestPointAOG.org/ WestPointmagazine

Inclusion of these books in West Point magazine is a paid advertisement and is not an endorsement of the contents or values expressed in the books. Descriptions have been provided by authors or publishers and should not be considered a review of the book.

Parents Corner

WPAOG Resources for Cadet Parents

It’s the start of a new academic year at West Point, and WPAOG offers many resources for cadet families. A Parent Portal on WPAOG’s website is packed full of useful resources for cadet parents. Visit WestPointAOG.org/ ParentResources to find all this and more:

• Listings for more than 75 West Point Parent Clubs nationwide

• Link to the most current Parent Handbook

• Archives of Parent Review, our monthly enewsletter exclusively for parents

WPAOG Social Media

Follow WPAOG on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates on West Point cadets and the Long Gray Line. We also post exclusive photos and videos on our Flickr and Vimeo accounts.








We regret that, because of limited space, we cannot publish all letters received. Letters may be edited and shortened for space. Submit comments or questions to Editor@wpaog.org, or chat with us on one of our WPAOG social media channels.

FROM: Mac Love ’70

Having delved into our own family trees, my wife Lydia and I enjoyed the “Lost and Found: Legacies of the Long Gray Line” article in the 2021 Summer issue. Intrigued to learn more about Brigadier General Lawrence Guyer ’29 (Retired), the original owner of the cadet saber covered in the article, I checked the Register of Graduates and read his memorial article on WPAOG’s website. Soon I was diving into old articles from The Infantry Journal, The Coast Artillery Journal, and more.

In July 1942, a training memorandum Guyer wrote was published in The Infantry Journal under the title “Think It Over.” It was initially issued as simply “Notes on Training” within the Coast Artillery Command and outlined the obligations an officer has to his men for their training and safety. When it was submitted to the Journal, the editors thought of editing it to give it an Infantry slant. However, they soon decided it was too good to change and figured readers wouldn’t have trouble applying it to themselves where it fit. The article was so well received that commanders throughout the Army were contacting the Journal ’s editors for permission to make copies for distribution to their units. Eisenhower had the article printed in England prior to the invasion of North Africa and included a forward in which he urged all officers to read the article and use it as a leadership guide. According to his memorial article, Guyer considered the article to be the most important contribution of his military career.


When it comes to members of the Long Gray Line, it’s always amazing how just one puzzle piece can help others start to fall into place and bring a new picture of the graduate into focus. Thank you for adding a new layer to Brigadier General Guyer’s already impressive portrait.

FROM: Stephen Astemborski ’09

The 2021 Summer Past in Review, “Thayer’s March to Perfection: The Corps’ 1821 March to Boston” is one of my favorite pieces I’ve read in West Point magazine. I must be from a different time, because the idea of Thayer’s P.R. marches to introduce the Academy to the American public sounds like something I would have loved to be a part of. As a cadet, when I had the option, I gladly volunteered to parade because I knew how important it was to those that came to see us! The duty to proudly present West Point and the Corps to the American public is a privilege for a cadet to hold. Now that the great Lake Frederick tradition is back, I say it’s time for the Superintendent to take it a step further and bring back this West Point tradition too, and, if he does, I would gladly lead the Old Grad Platoon over the 230 miles from Albany to Boston!


Given the number of grads who’ve completed the March Back the past few years, it’s likely you’d be leading the Old Grad Brigade, as we are sure there are untold number of the Long Gray Line who feel as you do when it comes to their duty to represent West Point in the best light. Yours is the “perfection” Thayer envisioned 200 years ago.


The caption for the picture on page 17 of the 2021 Summer issue should read: “2LT Kevin King ’21 and his cousin Dan Berschinski ’07 after King’s graduation,” not “2LT Peter King… .” West Point magazine has apologized to 2LT King and his cousin for this error and has corrected the mistake in the digital edition of the 2021 Summer issue, which can be found at WPAOG’s website: WestPointAOG.org/ WestPointMagazinepastissues.


Be Thou at Peace

COL Raymond Renola USA, Retired 1940

Dr. William H. Tomlinson 1943 JUN

Col Gordon E. Burrell USAF, Retired 1944

COL John W. Carley USA, Retired 1944

Brig Gen Geoffrey Cheadle USAF, Retired 1944

COL Levin B. Broughton USA, Retired 1945

Mr. Gabriel J. De La Guardia 1945

LTC Rabun W. Griffith USA, Retired 1945

Col John B. MacWherter USAF, Retired 1945

Mr. Marion W. Trotti 1945

COL Theodore J. Lepski USA, Retired 1946

MG William L. Webb Jr. USA, Retired 1947

LTC Robert E. Graf USA, Retired 1948

COL Richard N. Bundy USA, Retired 1949

Lt Col Peter B. Todsen USAF, Retired 1950

COL John F. Wassenberg USA, Retired 1950

COL Clinton E. Granger Jr. USA, Retired 1951

LTC Cecil W. Nist Jr. USA, Retired 1951

Mr. George P. Psihas 1951

LTG Robert G. Yerks USA, Retired 1951

Mr. George W. Bowman Jr. 1952

LTC Joseph A. De Angelis USA, Retired 1952

LTC John R. Espey USA, Retired 1952

Col Robert B. Kendall USAF, Retired 1952

LTC James M. Peterson USA, Retired 1952

COL Lawrence H. Putnam USA, Retired 1952

Mr. William R. Raiford 1952

COL William P. Snyder USA, Retired 1952

Maj Gen Robert B. Tanguy USAF, Retired 1952

Mr. Randolph V. Araskog 1953

COL Robert E. Butler USA, Retired 1953

COL Edgar H. Smith Jr. USA, Retired 1953

Mr. James A. Kriegh 1954

COL Richard E. Littlefield USA, Retired 1954

COL William S. Burrus USA, Retired 1955

LTC James A. Cooper USA, Retired 1955

Mr. Richard A. Fontaine 1955

Mr. Richard T. Lilly Jr. 1955

Mr. David W. Polly 1955

LTC Alfred J. Spaulding USA, Retired 1955

LTC Thomas M. Bowes USA, Retired 1956

Col Richard J. Daleski USAF, Retired 1956

Dr. Jerome G. Lake 1956

LTC Gerald A. Richardson USA, Retired 1956

Deaths reported from June 16 – September 15, 2021

COL Michael S. Sirkis USA, Retired 1956

LTC Donald C. Bowman USA, Retired 1957

Reverend Freeman G. Cross Jr. 1957

Dr. Francis L. Hanigan 1957

COL Edward I. Hickey Jr. USA, Retired 1957

Mr. Robert A. Langworthy 1957

COL James D. Powell USA, Retired 1957

Mr. Philip W. Ackerman 1958

Mr. Edward J. Lucci 1958

Col Richard R. Price USAF, Retired 1958

LTC Richard F. Reidy Jr. USA, Retired 1958

COL George W. Sibert USA, Retired 1958

Mr. Stuart N. Bennett 1959

Mr. George D. Kissinger 1959

Mr. Charles A. Millick 1959

MAJ Edwin M. Moorman Jr. USA, Retired 1959

COL John F. Orndorff USA, Retired 1959

COL Edward A. Bellis III USA, Retired 1960

Mr. Ora O. Caldwell 1960

LTC James P. Fero USA, Retired 1960

Mr. Ronald W. Halsall 1960

Mr. Arthur E. Judson 1960

Mr. Thomas E. Noel III 1960

COL Richard A. Buckner USA, Retired 1961

LTC Henmar R. Gabriel USA, Retired 1961

LTC Channing M. Greene USA, Retired 1961

Mr. James D. Jackson 1961

Mr. Gary W. Webster 1961

Mr. Roger W. Zailskas 1961

COL William H. Gavan USA, Retired 1962

Col Jan T. Molvar USAF, Retired 1962

Dr. Richard P. Rohrbacher 1962

LTC Thomas M. Brendle USA, Retired 1963

LTC Eugene D. Cargile USA, Retired 1963

Mr. Jack S. Davis Jr. 1963

Mr. Paul H. Henning III 1963

Mr. John J. Kauza 1963

LTC Malcolm D. Otis USA, Retired 1963

Mr. Joseph A. Mastriani 1964

LTC Ronald B. Bailey USA, Retired 1965

COL Robert D. Brown III USA, Retired 1965

CDR William E. Brush USN, Retired 1965

Mr. Samuel F. Champi Jr. 1966

LTC Richard D. Woodward USA, Retired 1966

LTC William T. McMahan USA, Retired 1967

GEN Montgomery C. Meigs USA, Retired 1967

Mr. Louis B. Trevathan Jr. 1967

Mr. Willard P. McCrone 1968

Mr. Stephen F. Davis 1969

LTC Max V. Terrien USA, Retired 1969

Mr. John H. Decker Jr.

Mr. Charles J. Armogida

Mr. John P.M. Hughes Jr.

Mr. Richard E. Rentz

Mr. Grant G. Hintze

MAJ David P. Inglee USA, Retired 1972

Mr. Mark McCauley

Mr. William E. Boerth

Mr. Hugh D. Bohlender 1973

COL James A. Herberg USA, Retired 1973

Mr. John A. Quartarone 1973

LTC Michael R. Stanton USA, Retired 1973

CPT Frank D. Cerny USA, Retired 1976

LTC Michael M. Frost USA, Retired 1977

LTC Frank R. Prautzsch USA, Retired 1977

Mr. Frank P. Vellella Jr. 1977

Mr. Joshua B. Burress 1978

Mr. Kurt K. Heinzerling 1978

Mr. Daniel L. Zimmermann 1978

COL James C. Scott Jr. USA, Retired 1980

Mr. Dennis F. Callahan 1982

COL Paul J. Wood USA, Retired 1982

Mr. Randy L. Smith 1984

Mr. John B. Laschkewitsch 1985

LTC Robert P. Fabrizzio II USA, Retired 1988

Lt Col Tyler L. Randolph USAF, Retired 1988

Mr. William E. Jones 1989

Mr. Peter W. Travis 1992

Mr. Brent T. Mumford 1993

Mr. Jeffrey M. Casucci 1994

COL William S. Downing USA, Retired 1994

Mr. William E. Rooker 1994

Mr. Roger L. Cravens 1999

MAJ Colin D. Hoyseth USA, Retired 2000

LTC Jacqueline S. Escobar USA 2002

CPT John T. Russell USA 2016

70 WestPointAOG.org BE THOU AT PEACE

Past in Review

No Fun Without Music, No Music Without Fun! The West Point Cadet Glee Club

Since the days of the ancient Greek and Roman armies, military musicians have been employed on the battlefield to convey orders through music, as well as to motivate troops as they entered the fray. While today we might think of drums and bugles as the quintessential military instruments, singing has also played an essential part in soldiering throughout history. Greek armies would recite heroic war tales to musical accompaniment as a form of oral tradition, and American soldiers have called cadence to keep marching formations in step since the 1940s.

The U.S. Military Academy is of course no stranger to these traditions. Whether shouting cadence on the march, reverently singing the West Point “Alma Mater,” or chanting fight songs in the stands of Michie Stadium, military musical traditions play an important

role in the heritage of the Long Gray Line. Some of USMA’s richest and most deeply embedded musical traditions have originated from the West Point Cadet Glee Club.

Music director Ms. Constance Chase has led the Glee Club in performances all over the country since she took on the role in 1999. “Making music at a wonderful level is such a joy,” Chase says. “I love working with the cadets because they will always give their best no matter what, and for every challenge that the Glee Club has faced, the cadets have risen to the occasion with professionalism and grace.”

The Glee Club is one of USMA’s most visible cadet organizations. For over 100 years, its members have moved audiences around the world with a model depiction of the U.S. Corps of Cadets through live performance in the

nation’s finest concert halls, national network and feature-film appearances, and CD and DVD recordings. Through its traditional and ceremonial duties at the Academy, the Glee Club enhances the cultural life of West Point and represents the Academy and the U.S. Army at official events around the New York region.

Evidence of group singing at West Point dates back to the 1820s, with cadets taking refuge from the military rigor of the Academy at the notorious Benny Havens Tavern and the consequent rowdy group singing that often emerges when pints have been poured. Perhaps inspired by fond recollections of these spontaneous serenades, various cadets attempted to officially form a chorus at West Point throughout the years.

Though one may find records of informal cadet choruses dating as early

Photo: Alex Werden ’18/USMA PAO
Above: The West Point Glee
at Lincoln Center.
Club performs

as 1870, the West Point Cadet Glee Club was formed in fits and starts, first appearing in 1903 for a short spell and then reappearing in 1908-09, 1919–20, and enduringly in 1928, when an official cadet Glee Club was authorized by the office of the Commandant. As described in a 1962 Glee Club concert program: “This slowness of official approval of a Glee Club was due in part to strong indications that the Tactical Department of the 19th century considered singing to be frivolous conduct. No doubt the association of such music with the infamous Tavern did not help matters.”

The club was established by 25 founding members; its origin story was published in the Academy’s yearbook, the Howitzer :

The Glee Club was started this year solely to fill a desire on the part of many for an opportunity to vent to those majestic barber shop chords that must of necessity be suppressed in the more formal choirs. It sort of began with spontaneous harmonics in the Area after supper and before CQ had sounded, was transplanted to a class club for the formality of a piano, and eventually came out into the open with about 25 members for a carol send-off on the night before Christmas leave. That one performance we hope will establish itself as a custom, for its success was more than gratifying. We graduate with the pleasure that the meetings have given us, and with every indication that the club

has strong chances of becoming a permanent, enjoyable institution. Since the club’s official establishment, it has become a permanent fixture at West Point, at times expanding to more than 140 members. Though in its early days the Glee Club sang almost exclusively at the Academy, in 1946 then director Captain Barry H. Drewes widened the range and scope of the club to performances outside the gates of West Point, making appearances at Carnegie Hall, the 1953 Inaugural Ball for President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Class of 1915), and dedication ceremonies of the Air Force Academy.

In 1957, the West Point Band’s commander, Major William H. Schempf, became the Officer in Charge of the Glee Club. He continued to broaden the club’s horizons by working on major pieces like Pachelbel’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom, and Vivaldi’s Gloria performed across the country. The Glee Club also made regular appearances on popular national television shows, including “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Perry Como Show,” “The Fred Waring Show,” and “The Bell Telephone Hour.” Many of these national performances took place during the 1950s and 1960s, and the Glee Club shared the stage with headliners such as Barbara Eden, Martha Wright, Pat Paulson, Roger

Williams, Raymond Massey, and Dinah Shore.

Today, the West Point Cadet Glee Club lives by its motto: “No fun without music; no music without fun.” When they are not studying, training, or participating in athletic events, these cadets can be found performing West Point songs and major choral works for local and national audiences. Officially classified as a support club, the Glee Club is not just an extracurricular organization for cadet development—it also serves a two-fold practical role for the Academy: providing musical support for ceremonial duties at West Point and, as a public relations arm for the Academy, representing the excellence and resilience of the Corps of Cadets to public audiences.

In the last decade, the Glee Club has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Library of Congress, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. In addition to regularly collaborating with their enlisted musicians-in-arms in the West Point Band, these cadets have performed with ensembles like the Boston Pops Orchestra, the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” and the Opera Orchestra of New York. They are also in frequent demand for performances at sporting events and have sung at the Super Bowl, BCS National Championship, National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Finals, Fiesta Bowl, Breeders’ Cup, and games for the New York Yankees, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Detroit Pistons, and New York Rangers.

SSG Natalie Wren holds a Doctorate of Music and a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music in oboe performance from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She joined the West Point Band in February 2014 and was a featured soloist in 2015. Currently, she performs on oboe and English horn and writes articles for the West Point Band’s “Echoes of West Point” website— westpointband.com/history.html.

72 WestPointAOG.org PAST IN REVIEW
The West Point Glee Club in 1955.
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