West Point Magazine Spring 2022

Page 38

In This Issue: USCC: The Four Regiments

2022 Ring Melt


A Publication of the West Point Association of
1Potential average annual savings, rounded to the nearest $25 increment, based on countrywide survey of new customers who switched to USAA and self-reported savings from March 11, 2019 to March 18, 2021. Individual savings may vary and isn’t guaranteed. Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change. Automobile insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company, based in San Antonio, TX; USAA Limited (UK) and USAA S.A. (Europe), and is available only to persons eligible for P&C group membership. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products. West Point Association of Graduates receives financial support from USAA for this sponsorship. © 2021 USAA. 275125-1121-WPAOG DEDICATED COVERAGE FOR THE ONES WHO NEVER QUIT Don’t stop now. Start getting the service you deserve. Members switched and saved an average of $7251 per year on USAA Auto Insurance. Visit USAA.COM/ WPAOG or call 877-584-9724 USAA AUTO INSURANCE

The mission of West Point magazine is to tell the West Point story and strengthen the grip of the Long Gray Line.


West Point Association of Graduates

Todd A. Browne ’85, President & CEO


Jaye Donaldson editor@wpaog.org


Keith J. Hamel


Patrick Ortland ’82 Samantha Soper

Terence Sinkfield ’99


Marguerite Smith


Jaye Donaldson Erika Norton

Keith Hamel Brian Wetzler


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Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, policy, or attitude of the U.S. Army, United States Military Academy, West Point Association of Graduates, its officers, or the editorial staff. The appearance of advertisements in this publication does not necessarily constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Army, United States Military Academy, West Point Association of Graduates, its officers, or the editorial staff for the products or services advertised.


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ON THE COVER: CDT Sierra Zoe Bennett-Manke ’25 descends the stairs of Davis Barracks with about 50 lbs. on her back to take part in an early morning ruck. Photo: Chris W. Pestel ’03

USCC: The Four Regiments 2022 Ring

7 COVER STORY | From Cadet to Corps: The Evolution of the USCC Brigade

A look at how the Academy went from two cadet companies in 1817 to four regiments and 36 cadet companies today.

12 First Regiment

14 Ring Melt for the Class of 2023

On January 21, 2022, the West Point Association of Graduates’ Class Ring Memorial Program once again brought cadets, donors and their families together to participate in the annual Ring Melt ceremony.

18 Cadet Company Barracks Assignments

20 Making it Relevant, Making it Real: The Brigade Tactical Department Members of the BTD potentially have more of a role in shaping cadets throughout their 47-month experience than any other officers at West Point.

24 Fourth Regiment

26 A USCC Regimental Roundtable

32 Moments That Matter: WPAOG’s Strategy to Unlock the Power of the Long Gray Line

36 Cadets Discuss Today’s Corps

Eight cadets, two from each regiment and a pair from each academic year, discuss the kind of lives members of today’s Corps lead.

46 Second Regiment

50 Company Culture at USMA

56 Third Regiment

60 Gray Storm Rising: Army West Point Swimming and Diving

3 From the Chairman

4 From the Superintendent

30 Gripping Hands

30 WPAOG Military Retiree Recognition Program

31 Parents Corner

34 Poster: West Point in Spring

48 WPAOG News

55 Mailbox

58 West Point Authors Bookshelf

66 Be Thou at Peace

67 Past in Review

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Why the West Point Association of Graduates Matters

Dear Fellow Graduates:

As the Chairman, President, and CEO of The Procter & Gamble Company, I had the privilege to travel the world, meeting government and business leaders, and the first question I would be asked was about my experience at West Point. People weren’t interested in my experiences living and working in Canada, the Philippines, Japan, or Belgium. They weren’t interested in the P&G brands, even though over five billion people on the planet use at least one P&G product every day. The most recurring question I was asked was how to create an institution like West Point that consistently creates leaders of character despite the pace of our changing world, because leaders of character are the world’s scarcest resource. This reflection provided a full appreciation for me of how unique the West Point experience is and the need to sustain it for decades to come. As General MacArthur said in his famed “Duty, Honor, Country” speech: “From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts...would rise...thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.” My wife, family, and I have dedicated ourselves to this noble endeavor.

When I left office as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I was nominated to the Board of Directors of the West Point Association of Graduates. This year, as Chairman of the Board, I’m grateful for an even greater opportunity to give back to an institution I respect and admire and to be a part of ensuring that future cadets are given an even better character-building experience. West Point is the preeminent leader-development institution in the world. Its values are immutable despite the changing world around us, and its mission to develop leaders of character who will guide our country has remained steadfast.

The WPAOG Vision is inspiring: To be the most highly connected alumni body in the world. Through WPAOG’s 50-Year Affiliation Program, I had the honor of joining my class, the Class of 1975, and the Class of 2025 on the March Back last summer. Together, we are proudly helping to create leaders of character, united in a common purpose of service—Duty, Honor, Country.

Similarly, our WPAOG Mission is motivating: To serve West Point and the Long Gray Line. In 2018 the Board employed a best-inclass customer service methodology called Human-Centered Design. The idea is simple: put the customer (the West Point graduate and community) at the center of everything we do. Journey map the alumni experience from their first visits to USMA as a candidate until the day we hope to support their families with burial ceremonies at the West Point Cemetery, and identify the touchpoints throughout that long, challenging yet joyous journey.

Gain insights from alumni on the “Moments that Matter” throughout that journey, and work to improve alumni delight during those moments; seek to create touchpoints, and truly deliver on the Vision of the most highly connected alumni body in the world. This strategic direction, under the terrific leadership of President and CEO Todd Browne, has demonstrated WPAOG’s ability to create connections among grads that are improving their journeys every day. The Board and staff are committed to this Vision.

WPAOG’s 2030 Strategic Plan, “Unlocking the Power of the Long Gray Line,” which was created in tandem with Superintendent LTG Darryl Williams’ strategic plan for the Academy, is designed to make progress towards this Vision and Mission. We want to serve the Long Gray Line by providing new and expanded services that focus on the moments that matter—life transitions, visits to West Point, online services for volunteers and Societies, engaging communications and more. We want to continue to serve West Point by delivering on the seven-year development campaign that will provide funds for Margin of Excellence (MOE) programs. Cadets today benefit from academic programs, travel, building enhancements, clubs, and athletic programs that have been thoughtfully funded by MOE donations. The Class of 1975 Terrace outside of the Haig Room overlooking The Plain from Jefferson Library is one example of how MOE funds have been used to enhance the cadet experience. None of this would happen without your generosity, WPAOG, and the Margin of Excellence programs.

The third pillar of our strategic plan is to provide for WPAOG’s future. The greatest test of leadership isn’t what cadets do while they’re at West Point, it’s the competence they build that stands the test of time. As my friend Jim Collins wrote, “Are you building a clock or telling time?” At WPAOG, we are building a clock.

I would like to close by thanking you for the trust you have put in me as the Chairman of the WPAOG Board, in the Directors, and in the WPAOG staff. Together, we will work hard to achieve our Vision and Mission, to serve you and to serve West Point. We believe in inclusion, everyone and every idea is valued. We also believe in the power of diversity. Diversity yields innovation. For this reason, I encourage each of you to share your ideas. Please reach out to me (ramwp75@gmail.com) and our Directors with suggestions and/or concerns. In the meantime, let us all rededicate ourselves to the ideals of West Point—Duty, Honor, Country—and continue to stand out as leaders of character inspired by values which are selfless and immutable even in changing times. Let’s rise above the fray and demonstrate the way.


Fellow Members of the Long Gray Line:

On behalf of the West Point Team, I extend our thanks to the many West Point Societies across the nation for allowing us to be part of your Founders Day celebrations this spring. We appreciate the opportunity to share our alma mater’s demonstrated excellence, while gripping hands to celebrate the strength and resiliency of the Long Gray Line.

This semester, we hosted the Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth for her first official visit to the Academy. Speaking to the Corps of Cadets at the annual Flipper Dinner, she challenged them to “…be worthy and well qualified of your commission. Be confident in what you’ve accomplished and be excellent. Your time here has prepared you to be future leaders for the Army and our country, and to make a difference in the world. I have every confidence that each of you is up to this task and will answer the call.”

In February, Secretary Wormuth laid out six objectives to guide the Army through a complex and unpredictable future. These objectives, built on the Army’s foundational priorities of people, modernization, and readiness, ensure the Army continues to be a strong and agile force, ready when called upon to fight and win.

At West Point, we contribute to each of those objectives through our mission to educate, train and inspire leaders of character for the Army and through each of our four developmental programs. As warfare shifts and modernizes, so too does our approach to cadet development. Central to this shift is the intellectual capital we develop, leverage, and produce through our academic program.

Our academic program develops leaders who can fight and win in complex environments on the 21st century battlefield. Our curriculum exposes cadets to a broad range of academic disciplines to provide them the intellectual foundation necessary to be agile and innovative.

Through classroom discussion, debate is encouraged, ideas are challenged, and honest feedback from both peers and professors is expected. General Martin Dempsey ’74 (Retired), one of our most distinguished graduates and a former instructor himself, best described our academic program while recalling his own experience as a cadet. “Those days [back at West Point],” he said, “were the beginning of a journey in learning to listen, to learn, to question, to argue, to communicate, to apply knowledge and skills to real-world problems honestly and with an open mind.”

To facilitate this bedrock approach, our instructors foster a classroom atmosphere conducive to civil discourse that is consistent with the Army’s values. We prepare our cadets to view complex problems from multiple perspectives. But always at the forefront of our curriculum is the United States Constitution. The professionalism and excellence found in the classroom permeates throughout the entire Academy. By doing so, we develop officers who are committed to serving the Constitution and the ideals of our nation.

We also leverage our intellectual capital to have an impact now West Point serves as the intellectual engine of the Army’s innovation ecosystem. Cadets learn beyond the classroom with tremendous access and applied research opportunities unlike any university. West Point contributes to Army readiness and modernization efforts through partnerships and cutting-edge research and hosts world-class workshops and conferences. This approach ensures that West Point is closely in-tune to the needs of our Army, provides disciplinary expertise necessary to solve the Army’s toughest problems, and, most importantly, prepares our cadets to think critically and creatively.

West Point injects readiness and intellectual capital into the Army through the “second graduating class.” This “class” is comprised of rotating faculty and staff members who return to the operational force as senior staff officers and battalion and brigade commanders. Their expertise, gained from their graduate study, application of their knowledge in the classroom, and research experience, enables them to become operational and strategic in their thinking.

Another powerful example of the intellectual capital West Point produces is our cadets’ ability to compete at the highest levels. West Point’s reputation in this area is without question. This year, USMA leads the nation with the most combined Rhodes and Marshall Scholars. Scholarship winners will go on to strengthen our international partnerships, working closely alongside our allies as they tackle some of the world’s most challenging issues. These scholars will then go on to use their advanced education and research into the operational force for the benefit of the Army.

As always, we remain committed to developing smart, thoughtful, and innovative leaders of character who are “worthy and well qualified of their commissions,” and who live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence as officers ready to fight and win in the 21st century crucible of ground combat.

Thank you for all you do for the Corps of Cadets, the Academy, and the Long Gray Line.

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From Cadet to Corps: The Evolution of the USCC Brigade

When Joseph Swift, the first member of the Long Gray Line, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1802, there was no such thing at West Point as a cadet company, regiment, or brigade. In fact, when the Academy formally began instruction on July 4, 1802, after being created on March 16 by an Act of Congress, there were only 10 cadets present at West Point, not even enough for a platoon!

Subsequent Acts of Congress, first in 1803 and then in 1808, increased this number, but cadets were authorized and organized by branch—40 from the Artillery, 16 from the Cavalry, 100 from the Infantry, 20 from the Light Artillery, and 20 from the Riflemen—not by any unit military system internal to the Academy. As it turns out, only a few of these cadets were actually

appointed, and during 1811 and part of 1812, West Point was without any cadets.

On April 29, 1812, Congress passed the “An Act Making Further Provisions for the Corps of Engineers” bill, which Major General Emory Upton, Class of 1861 and author of The Military Policy of the United States From 1775, the first systematic examination of

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 7 Images: Courtesy of the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy
Above: (inset) BVT
BG Joseph G. Swift (oil on canvas by Thomas Sully, 1829) was the first member of the Long Gray Line. Swift later served as USMA Superintendent. An early view
cadets on the Plain (oil on canvas by George Catlin, 1827).

the nation’s military history, called, “next to the [one] which created the Military Academy…the most important in its history.” This bill had three major effects regarding the evolution of what the Corps of Cadets was to become: first, it increased the number of cadets to 250; second, it provided that cadets would be appointed “in the service of the United States,” not a specific regiment or branch; and, third (according to Stephen Ambrose in his book Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point), it ordered the Superintendent to establish regulations for the cadets and to organize the cadets into companies. It wasn’t until September 13, 1817, however, and the Superintendency of then Captain Sylvanus Thayer, Class of 1808, who had assumed command of the Academy two months earlier, that the order was given to divide cadets into two companies, designated “First” and “Second” companies.

In 1827, cadets were divided again with the expansion to four numbered companies (“First” through “Fourth”), with the new First and Third companies comprised of cadets from the old First Company, and the Second and Fourth companies comprised of cadets from the old Second Company. In 1831 these numbered companies were redesignated in alphabetic order (“A” through “D”). Together, this four-company battalion remained the norm at USMA for the remainder of the century, thanks in particular to the formalization of the congressional nomination system in 1843, which fixed the number of cadets at West Pont to the number of representatives and delegates in Congress (plus 10 from the United States at large). In 1843, that number equaled 220 cadets.

By the turn of the century, 19 more states had joined the Union, and the number of cadets at West Point grew to 492. According to Ambrose, with America becoming a colonial force after its 1898 war with Spain, the Army needed more officers, and the Corps was to begin a period of rapid expansion, one that lasted through World War I. Perhaps anticipating such an expansion, USMA General Orders No. 21 went into effect on September 1, 1900, reorganizing the battalion of cadets from four to six companies (“A” through “F”). USCC Orders No. 76, dated August 27, 1900, stated that cadets were to be reassigned to the new companies based on physical stature, thus to “equalize” the battalion. During the 1908-09 academic year, the six companies divided into two battalions. By the start of the Great War in Europe, there were 748 cadets at the Academy, a number

that nearly doubled (to 1,332) by 1916 when legislation specified that U.S. representatives and senators now could send two cadets each to the Academy. With more cadets came more companies: first eight (USMA General Orders No. 28, August 26, 1916), then nine (USMA General Orders No. 20, June 6, 1917). This last change prompted the Academy to divide the cadets into three battalions, and on July 18, 1919 (per USMA General Orders No. 32) three more companies were added to the ranks, increasing the total number of cadet companies to 12 (“A” through “M”).

The strength of the U.S. Corps of Cadets remained stable at around 1,350 cadets for approximately two more decades. During his Superintendency, Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, tried to petition Congress to match the size of the Corps of Cadets to the Brigade of Midshipmen (3,000-plus at the time), but to no avail. The next step in the evolution of the Corps occurred in August 1942. In that year, an Act of Congress increased the number of cadets per congressman and senator to four each, and the size of the Corps grew to 2,496 cadets (an earlier act in 1935 increased the congressional nomination system to three and the Corps to 1,960 cadets). Such an increase forced a change to West Point’s one-regiment system. Instead of a 12-company regiment with lettered companies from A to M, the 1942-43 academic year introduced a brigade of two regiments, each comprised of two-four company battalions. Now, for the first time in West Point history, a regimental number followed a company letter (“A-1” to “H-2”). “The din of battle became a rumble as a thousand new faces eager to join the Long Gray Line changed our Regiment to a Brigade,” notes the Company C-2 history in the 1943 January Howitzer. Sizing of the Corps continued to follow precedent, with the “flankers” in

100 years ago the Corps of Cadets was organized into one regiment with 12 companies. 1922 Regimental Staff.

A-1 and H-2, and the “runts” in H-1 and A-2. “F Company— pardon us, Company H-1—is even more runty than ever, with the first half of the Corps divided into eight rather than six companies,” states H-1’s history in that year’s annual. Concerned that the change would kill the traditions established in the old M Company, firsties in the Class of 1943 January wrote in their Howitzer history: We thought we had seen everything—no furlo [sic], aviation at West Point, and even early graduation—but when they changed M Co. to H-2—Amen, brother, Amen! M Co. men from Australia to Ireland will writhe when the doleful news reaches their ears. But wait, take heart you M Co. men of yore, the spirit you left behind lives yet in H-2; for that spirit can never die. Why now we are more flankerish than ever after giving our runts to G-2 and we are still last home from the parade and last into the chapel. But we are still first in the spirit of comradeship that has for years been synonymous with M Co. At the start of the 1946-47 academic year, K, L, and M companies “returned,” per regiment, with the change from two 8-company regiments to two 12-company regiments.

Another two decades went by before the next step in the evolution of the Corps of Cadets took place. Major General William Westmoreland ’39, channeling his inner MacArthur, might have had a hand in this next step. According to Brigadier General Lance Betros ’ 77 (Retired) in his book Carved in

Granite, Army leaders had wanted to expand the Corps to around 4,500 cadets in 1961. At the 1962 Army-Navy Game, Westmoreland tried to enlist President John Kennedy’s support in making this happen. “Navy has 2,000 more men to draw from for a football team,” Westmoreland reportedly told Kennedy when the president came over to sit with the Corps of Cadets during the second half of the game. “That is one of the reasons we are getting the hell kicked out of us today” (Army lost the game, 34-14). In February 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-276, which increased USCC’s authorized strength to 4,417, adding additional cadets to the Academy each year (beyond normal new cadet enrollment; e.g, 991 in 1964, 1,137 in 1965, etc.) until the maximum strength was reached in 1972. “Ultimately, we will admit some 1,380 plebes each year,” Major General James Lampert ’36 announced to approximately 800 graduates during the Association of Graduates’ annual June Week meeting in 1965.

To accommodate this change, effective at Reveille on July 1, 1965, via General Orders No. 13, the Corps of Cadets became a brigade with four regiments, with two six-company battalions (“A” through “F”) per regiment. “With few exceptions, companies of the newly formed 3rd and 4th Regiments were made up from Companies G through M of the existing two regiments,” notes a “Bulletin Board” entry in the 1966 Winter

USCC BRIGADE Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives
The 1942-43 academic year introduced a brigade of two regiments, each comprised of two four-company battalions. Lloyd Asbury ’63 points to himself as a cadet, when he was the regimental commander of Second Regiment and escorted President John F. Kennedy to the Army side of the stands at the 1962 Army-Navy Game.

issue of ASSEMBLY magazine (see figure 1). “The old L-1 was transformed, in name only, to Company C-3,” wrote the Class of 1966 firsties in the company history section of the 1966 Howitzer. Similarly, those in C-4 wrote how “Plebe and yearling years had passed, and we were cows, coming together in M-2… Cow year passed, another September came, and we were together again in a new company, C-4,…a new company in an expanding Corps.” The 1965 super scramble marked the temporary end of G through I companies, but these companies soon returned with the expansion the Corps in 1967, which added two companies per regiment (“G-1” through “H-4”), and in 1969, which introduced the four I companies and added a third battalion to each regiment. Companies K through M, however, were permanently deactivated with the reorganization of the Corps in 1965. Despite this, their legend lives on in their former members, who have held company mini reunions over the years. Former members of Company K-2 (“Kappa Dos” and “West Point’s only fraternity”), for example, gathered in March 2008 to celebrate the 86th birthday of Colonel Thomas G. McCunniff ’45 (Retired), K-2’s tactical officer from 1956 to 1960. During the event, several highlights from K-2’s history were recalled: some famous (e.g., called the best marching unit by President Harry Truman during a parade in his honor, winning the Academy’s Banker’s Trophy both in the company’s first and last years of

Class of 1966 showing company flags from the four regiments for the first time. Figure 1: General Orders Number 13, showing the lineage of USCC’s current cadet companies.

existence, and being selected to represent West Point during the interment of the unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War at Arlington on Memorial Day 1958) and some infamous (e.g., the Great Pants Swipe Caper, the midnight swim to paint a white “’62” on a Constitution Island rock, and the “borrowing” of the breechblock of the Reveille canon and leaving it in a variety of places—the Ordnance Department display case, the poop deck in Washington Hall, and hanging from a gargoyle on the Grant Hall clock tower). “Kappa Dos lives, as does its motto: Illegitimus non Carborundum !” wrote Brigadier General Gene Witherspoon ’61 (Retired), Colonel Phil Walker ’60 (Retired), Lieutenant Colonel Jack Bohman ’59 (Retired), and Tom Leo ’59 in the May/June 2008 issue of ASSEMBLY

Since 1969, the Corps of Cadets has pretty much stabilized into its current form: four regiments, 12 battalions, and 36 companies. The one change came in 1998, when the Corps was reduced to 32 companies with the deactivation of I companies; however, these companies returned to the Corps 13 years later.

“MacArthur Barracks is freezing over as the company returns to rule another Ice Age,” wrote Bre Boswell ’12 in the inaugural (April 2011) I-3 Icemen Inquirer, a company newsletter. “The Icemen look forward to the start of the semester and developing their own identity, while looking to connect with I-3 Old Grads

to bring in the legacy and history!” This is exactly what each company of every regiment has done in the 220-year history of West Point forged an identity for itself while always realizing its ties to those early graduates who identified themselves not as members of A-1, B-2, C-3, or D-4, but as members of what became the ultimate company, battalion, regiment, and brigade in the history of West Point, the Long Gray Line. 

Class of 2012 firsties from I-3, the Icemen, the first class to graduate from I-3 when the company returned to the brigade in academic year 2011-12.


First and Proud”

Highest Ranking Grads Currently Serving

12 WestPointAOG.org
Photos:Chris W. Pestel ’03; WPAOG archives; U.S. Army; U.S. Department of Defense
Last First Captain from First Regiment: David Bindon ’19 (H-1) GEN Daniel R. Hokanson ’86 (C-1) Chief of the National Guard Bureau GEN Paul J. LaCamera ’85 (E-1) Commander, United Nations Command, ROK/US Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea GEN Richard D. Clarke ’84, (F-1) Commander of United States Special Operations Command

Scholarship Recipients: (From the Class of 2021)

Robert Blackwell (G-1) PMRI

Cali Evans (D-1) Anna Sobol Levy

Talley Griffith (I-1) Anna Sobol Levy

Christopher Herbert (G-1) Fulbright

Rachel Kinnison (F-1) National Science Foundation

Connor McQueen (H-1) PMRI

Michael Moore (G-1) MIT Lincoln Labs

Benjamin Siegel (E-1) MIT Lincoln Labs

Tyler Skidmore (F-1) GEM

Joseph Zuccarelli (F-1) Draper Lab

Cadets from First Regiment who scored Perfect 600 on ACFT:

Andrew Dawson ’23 (A-1)

Donovan Hinton ’22 (B-1)

Issac Hagberg ’22 (D-1)

Tyler Hetzel ’22 (D-1)

Crayton Wise ’22 (D-1)

William Coletti ’25 (H-1)

Highest Scoring Sandhurst Team in Fall Competition: F-1 (second overall)

Most Popular Company Patch: (According to the 2020 “April Madness Company Logo Competition)

Corps Squad Team Captains: (All from the Class of 2022 unless otherwise noted)

Jack Brown (C-1) Wrestling

Joshua Caldwell (C-1) M Basketball

Matthew Meehan (C-1) M Rugby

Marshall Beatty (D-1) Cross Country

Marquel Broughton ’23 (F-1) Football

Nolan Green (F-1) M Rugby

John Weigand (F-1) M Lacrosse

Eric Butte (G-1) Hockey

Madelyn Gilmore (G-1) Softball

Arik Smith (G-1) Football

Anna Tovkach (H-1) Track & Field

Carter Kowalewski (I-1) M Soccer

Photos: Army West Point Athletics; Chris W. Pestel ’03; WPAOG archives; USMA PAO Company H-1 Mascot: Root Hawgs Madelyn Gilmore ’22 Anna Tovkach ’22

Ring Melt for the Class of 2023

The tradition of collegiate class rings originated at West Point in 1835. Those worn by West Point graduates are the rings of heroes, leaders and loved ones who have forged their own history and place in the Long Gray Line, and each ring is an honor earned. When a donated ring is melted for the West Point Association of Graduates’ Class Ring Memorial Program, it is also an honor returned.

OnJanuary 21, 2022, the West Point Association of Graduates’ annual Class Ring Memorial Program once again brought cadets, donors and their families together to participate in the Ring Melt ceremony, during which graduates’ donated class rings were melted so that they can be later mixed with the gold used to create the rings of the rising First Class and future graduating classes.

This year, the Ring Melt ceremony set a donation record of 71 rings, 11 of which were donated by the Class of 1973, the 50Year Affiliation Class for the Class of 2023. Over 200 attendees participated—cadets, living donors and honored guests—with

many speaking in personal reflection of the West Point experience and the meaning of the Long Gray Line.

Brothers Colonel Jim F. Holcomb Jr. ’72 (Retired) and Lieutenant Colonel Bob C. Holcomb ’73 (Retired) attended this year, donating the ring of their late father, Lieutenant Colonel James F. Holcomb ’45 (Retired). “We decided to gift his ring this year, rather than in 2021 to my affiliate year, because of COVID restrictions that wouldn’t allow in-person attendance,” said Jim Holcomb. “The Ring Melt is a very special and grand tradition, and at the heart and soul of it is the inclusion of shavings of past rings that in a tangible sense echoes the spiritual binding together of the Long Gray Line.”

14 WestPointAOG.org
Above: COL (R) George H. Seaward ’90 and his daughter, CDT Haley Seaward ’23, salute after placing the ring of MAJ (R) Howell H. Jordan Jr. ’57, Seaward’s uncle and his daughter’s great-uncle, into the crucible at the 2022 Ring Melt ceremony. Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG

Bob Holcomb also pointed out that the 50-Year Affiliation Program is a key component. “It left a strong impression on both of us,” he said, “realizing that the challenge will extend to the members of this year’s class, who will ‘grip hands’ in half a century with the Class of 2073.”

Both agreed: “It was also a far more emotional experience than we anticipated.”

Pat Kane, President of the Class of 1973, also emphasized the importance of linking with the Class of 2023. “We’re honored to be linked to the Class of 2023,” he said. “What it

emphasized for me is that everybody—graduates, donors and their families—embodies degrees of West Point connectivity; that we’re never very far from being able to touch across generations.”

Cadet Haley Seaward ’23 presented a donated ring with her father, Colonel George H. Seaward ’90 (Retired), on behalf of his uncle and her great-uncle, Major Howell H. Jordan Jr. ’57 (Retired). “Before going into this I was extremely excited,” she said, “and I’m honored that I’ll be wearing the gold of my family member and the many people who have given their lives before—I was extremely moved by the ceremony.”

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG
Top left: COL (R) Jim F. Holcomb Jr. ’72 and LTC (R) Bob Holcomb ’73 place the ring of their father, LTC (R) James F. Holcomb ’45, into the crucible. Top right: CDT Malic Belong, President of the Class of 2023, addresses those gathered for the 2022 Ring Melt ceremony. Bottom: Members of Class and Ring Committees, Cadet Company Ring and Crest Representatives, Class Officers and WPAOG staff pose on the steps of Crest Hall after the 2022 Ring Melt ceremony.
“I’m honored that I’ll be wearing the gold of my family member and the many people who have given their lives before—I was extremely moved by the ceremony.”
— CDT Haley Seaward ’23

Her dad agreed: “When I saw family members and graduates get up there and speak about what the experience meant to them, the meaning of the Ring Melt came together for me.”

The experience hit home with many cadets who hadn’t perhaps yet grasped the deep significance of the event beforehand.

Cadet Jeidy Reyes ’23 expressed it well: “Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to touch my heart as much as it did. It made me realize how important it is to keep the connection to the Long Gray Line. Hopefully, in 50 years after I graduate, I’ll be able to donate my ring to my affiliate class.”

The 71 donated rings were placed one by one into a crucible by family members and cadets, and this crucible was later taken to Bartlett Hall, where the rings inside were melted and then formed into a single gold bar. Following a lunch for the assemblage in Eisenhower Hall, Cadet Lucas Semon, the Deputy Ring and Crest Chair for the Class of 2023, walked the transformed 4.073 lb. ingot into the main room where the audience was again seated. Before presenting the gold ingot to the Herff Jones ring company, Cadet Melic Belong, President

for the Class of 2023, echoed the sentiments of so many cadets who had gathered for the ceremony:

“I am so grateful to the donors and the donors’ families for entrusting my classmates and me with such a precious possession. We take very seriously this awesome responsibility of safeguarding the legacy. In good time, may we take the cue from you all and give as you have given.

Enshrined in gold, each donor’s ring joins the timeless family, for they will live on for generations to come. They live on in the lives of those not yet born, destined for new beginnings, in familiar places. Each year, emerging from the crucible, destined to be born and born again, they march with us into futures unknown.” 

Watch a video of the Class of 2023 Ring Memorial Program. Open the camera on your smartphone or tablet. Hold over the QR Code image at right. A link will appear Or go to bit.ly/ringmeltusma2023

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG Top left: CDT Belong adds the Legacy Gold to the crucible after all donated class rings had been added. Top right: A ring is placed into the kiln to be melted. Bottom left: A technician pours the gold from the melted rings into a mold. Bottom right: CDT Lucas Semon, Deputy Ring and Crest Chair for the Class of 2023, holds the newly created gold bar.
“I was one of four people to see the rings melted. It is deeply meaningful that our predecessors have entrusted my fellow cadets and me to carry on and continue to remold the legacy they have bestowed to us.”
— CDT Lucas Semon, Deputy Ring and Crest Chair for the Class of 2023

The Legacy Gold Tradition

In 2002, the West Point Association of Graduates inaugurated a yearly, meaningful tradition, the Class Ring Memorial Program. Today, the program has grown to a total of 740 gifted rings by donors and their families, ranging over three centuries, from the Class of 1896 to the Class of 2004. Each new class ring is thus born containing a portion of molten gold from every ring donated, a material bond reflecting the crucible of the West Point experience—values instilled and the eternal bond of “gripping hands” that binds the brothers and sisters of the Long Gray Line, past, present and future.

Every year, the West Point Association of Graduates receives and stewards rings from donors living and deceased who contribute to the tradition. These contributors and their families are encouraged to attend the Ring Melt ceremony,

where the rings are placed individually into a cauldron and forged as a single gold ingot which will forever enshrine their place in the future rings of the Long Gray Line.

To donate a ring or to learn more about the Class Ring Memorial Program, please visit: WestPointAOG.org/RingMemorialProgram, email RingMemorialProgram@wpaog.org, or call 845.446.1614

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives WPAOG Director of Class Services Cathy Kilner ’90 (standing, center) hosts the 2022 Class Ring Memorial Program, commonly referred to as the “Ring Melt.”
18 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Submitted


Throughout the West Point Cadet Barracks Upgrade Program, a 10-year effort to completely renovate and modernize all existing cadet barracks, cadet companies have been moved in and out of the various barracks at USMA. The barracks assignments represented by this chart show the locations of cadet companies for the 2021-22 academic year.

Lee Barracks: F-3

Grant Barracks: G-2, H-2, I-2

Sherman Barracks: G-1, H-1, I-1

Davis Barracks: A-1, B-1, C-1, D-1, E-1, F-1

Pershing Barracks: G-3, H-3, I-3

Eisenhower Barracks: A-2, B-2, C-2, D-2, E-2, F-2, Hhc

Macarthur Long Barracks: A-3, B-3, C-3, D-3, E-3

Macarthur Short Barracks: A-4, B-4, C-4, D-4

Scott Barracks: E-4, F-4, G-4, H-4, I-4

Bradley Barracks: Will be reoccupied 8/22/22


Making it Relevant, Making it Real: The Brigade Tactical Department

Every regiment at West Point has 20 active duty officers and non-commissioned officers who work with cadets daily to make relevant the profession upon which they will enter at graduation. These officers are known as “TACs,” an abbreviation for “tactical officer,” but more aptly an acronym for “teacher, advisor, coach.” All nine companies per regiment have a TAC and a TAC NCO (non-commissioned officer), and these company TAC teams are led by an RTO (regimental tactical officer), who is assisted by an executive officer. Added together, the 80 officers in all four regiments form the Brigade Tactical Department (BTD), which is led by the BTO, or brigade tactical officer, an O-6 former Brigade Combat Team commander and Division Chief of Staff who reports directly to the Commandant of Cadets.

“TACs integrate cadet development across all pillars at the Academy,” says Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Richardson ’00, First

Regiment RTO. With a continual focus on leader development, TACs oversee each cadet’s individual development in the academic, military, physical, and moral-ethical dimensions within the framework of their cadet company, and they enforce and educate cadets on military standards and discipline, continually stressing to them (as noted by Major Josh Bowen ’10 and David Weart ’08, both former TACs) that professional bearing, attention to detail, and Army courtesies matter. Furthermore, as their legal commanders, company TACs are responsible for ensuring the safety, health, and wellbeing of the cadets in their company. “A lot of officers engage with cadets in fun and challenging ways at the Academy, but none of them are responsible for a cadet’s safety, wellbeing, and overall development in a way that a TAC is,” says Richardson.

“We have more of a role in shaping cadets throughout their 47month experience than any other officer at West Point,” says

20 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG COL Wilson Rutherford ʼ93, BTO, at his desk in Washington Hall.

Captain Fallon Hayes, the TAC for Cadet Company A-2. TACs are on the job 24/7. Everything cadets are doing, TACs are doing too. “Due to this professionally intimate relationship— one in which TACs get to know every single cadet in their company on a one-to-one level—TACs are uniquely able to mold cadets and help them develop as leaders from the time they arrive at West Point as new cadets until they walk across that stage on Graduation Day and pin on their second lieutenant bars,” says Fallon.

Just as TACs are grooming cadets for the Profession of Arms, the senior officers of BTD are mentoring TACs in their transition from company commanders to field grade officers. “As an RTO, I am able to bring 20 years of experience to my role as a mentor to both cadets and TACs,” says Richardson. “TACs are mostly coming from company command, and their role—leading 120 cadets—is similar to the assignment they just had; but going forward they will be required to understand that there is a larger team concept at play.” Richardson acknowledges that such a transition must occur between company command and organizational-level leadership. At West Point, TACs have an opportunity to practice this every day. “Our TACs will not be successful if they are only worrying about their company,” says Richardson. “They have to understand that there are stakeholders all across West Point, and thus they need to understand what is going on with their cadets in the classroom, on the athletic field, and within USCC chain of command.” In other words, if TACs can navigate all the directorates that place

demands on cadets, which meticulously script their time at the Academy, it is great training to becoming a field grade officer in the Army.

Additional training is provided by the Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP). Upon becoming selected as a West Point TAC, these transitioning (branch qualified or soonto-be branch qualified) officers must first complete a 12-month, 45-credit graduate program in social-organizational psychology.

“Branches want West Point TACs entering their formations,” says Colonel Wilson Rutherford ’93, the current BTO. “They know these officers come with an understanding of the current operational environment and of the young leaders who will lead in the next fight.” This understanding comes from both mentorships with senior officers at West Point and through ELDP classes conducted jointly by the Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, USMA. These classes educate the emerging TACs in organizational dynamics and change, executive coaching and leadership, and behavioral research and adult learning. “Bottom line,” says Bowen and Weart in their post for the From the Green Notebook Army Broadening Series, “ELDP officers are learning the science of leading and developing organizations.”

“I am able to put my ELDP lessons into practice daily,” says Captain Chris Hardee ’12, the TAC for Cadet Company B-3. “ELDP’s executive coaching lessons in particular have exposed me to some of the frameworks I now use to listen to and

“Due to this professionally intimate relationship—one in which TACs get to know every single cadet in their company on a one-to-one level—TACs are uniquely able to mold cadets and help them develop as leaders from the time they arrive at West Point as new cadets until they walk across that stage on Graduation Day and pin on their second lieutenant bars.”
—CPT Fallon Hayes
LTC Joshua Richardson ’00, First Regiment RTO CPT Fallon Hayes, Company A-2 TAC

understand cadet concerns.” Hardee is hoping that his time as a West Point TAC working with cadets will help him understand the next generation of 18- to 24-year-old soldiers and what makes them “tick” when he returns to the operational force. “Cadets are always asking ‘why?’” he says. “Leaders need to make decisions, but given how today’s generation follows, leaders need to make decisions that make sense in regard to the ‘why?’” Some may question whether this approach goes against the need to follow orders in the Army without question, but Hardee doesn’t believe the two concepts are mutually exclusive. “Hopefully, through the orders that come out or how things are run, this younger generation will see that everything we do is for the right reasons, and explaining why orders matter now makes it instinctive in those future crucial moments so that soldiers are mentally prepared to act without asking ‘why?’”

In an effort to prepare cadets for their roles as future platoon leaders, Hardee often reverses the question when cadets ask “why?” For example: “Why do you think this is not important?” or “Why do you doubt these values being taught at West Point?”

“TACs want to empower cadets and get them into a lieutenant mindset, and there is no better way to do these than continually asking them, ‘What do you think?’” he says. “We give them the hard questions now, having been in their shoes and recently having walked the path they are about to take, and give them the opportunity to respond to some of the real situations we’ve experienced.” By doing this, Hardee hopes that he is making the Army and their future duties relevant to cadets, making them real. “We want them to be successful, not for the institution and not for themselves, but for their future soldiers,” he says.

The needs of soldiers are also on the mind of the noncommissioned side of the company TAC team, the TAC NCO. “Officers can provide big-picture expectations from the commander, but NCOs let cadets know what soldiers will want from their platoon leaders,” says Sergeant First Class Steven

Wagner, the TAC NCO for Cadet Company D-4, who brings 16 years of experience and three combat deployments to his current assignment. “I am up front and honest with what cadets can realistically face as they meet their platoon for the first time.”

Wagner also poses questions to cadets, especially during summer training, in an effort to prepare them as platoon leaders.

“Summer training is when cadets learn how to manage soldiers in the field, and they soon learn there is a great difference between writing an op order and pitching it to their unit,” he says. “Can a private in the real Army stay awake, listen and retain what you just briefed?” he often asks cadets. “It’s about making cadets understand that what they will soon be doing is not for their battalion commander and not for getting a grade, but it’s for that low-ranking private who knows very little, and it’s about how well he understands your orders.” Based on some “bad experiences” he had with his platoon leaders, Wagner also wants cadets to understand that they must be humble leaders who are available 24/7 for their soldiers. “Sometimes you are going to have to drop everything to attend to your soldiers’ needs,” he says. And Wagner practices this leadership-bypresence model himself. “I tell new TACs and new TAC NCOs that the key to gaining cadets’ trust and respect is by being present and available, especially after 1600, the time when cadets are out of class and looking to bring up issues with their company TAC team.”

“I didn’t know what to expect as a TAC until I got into the position,” says Hayes, who commissioned via ROTC and lived the life of a typical college student. “It was a lot of on-the-job training, and, when I first took over A-2, I think cadets were a bit reluctant to come talk to me.” But now, after having months of one-on-one conversations with the cadets in her company, bonds of trust and respect have been established. “I interact with my cadets every day,” Hayes says. “I teach them that a leader should

SFC Steven Wagner, Company D-4 TAC NCO CPT Chris Hardee ’12, Company B-3 TAC

be approachable, and I model this by providing the cadets my attention as soon as I see they are trying to get it.”

Both Hardee and Hayes say that the most rewarding part of being a TAC is when cadets voluntarily come to his or her office to seek an opinion or to share great news of an achievement. Rutherford, the BTO, who is often “stuck in meetings and brigade boards,” wishes that a few of these rewarding opportunities with cadets found their way into his office. “When I counsel the TACs, I challenge them to help me catch the good with cadets,” he says. “The most rewarding aspect of my assignment is when I can get a brief moment alone with cadets, perhaps at a football game or walking across the apron, and have a conversation with them about their future.” But Rutherford notes that these moments are also his biggest challenge, as he often uses them to get cadets to grasp what really matters in the Army—accountability. “I want them to understand and be ready to someday give the right order that may put soldiers at risk of harm or worse, but know it is the right thing to do to complete the mission that must be done and protect those to their left and

right,” he says. “This is a discussion that must and is occurring more often now at West Point.” Rutherford calls this his “Why we are here” lesson and ties directly into BTD’s motto of “Never Quit.” “There are a number of non-Army reasons for coming to West Point—getting a world class education without the debt, playing a Division I sport, and more—but it is BTD’s job to get cadets to understand the real reason we are here, which is to create the leaders that will see us to success in the next fight and beyond,” Rutherford says, “and to remind cadets to never quit: on themselves, on their buddies, on their team or on their mission.” To make his point he keeps a box on his desk containing the memorial programs of soldiers who died based on orders he had to give in battalion and brigade command, and he is always prepared to share his story and experience with cadets. “In the end, these soldiers and the ones that make it back are more important than anything we do here at West Point,” he says, “and any second that BTD spends not getting cadets ready to take on this mission and lead soldiers in a crucible event, one so difficult that they can’t even fathom it yet, is not time well spent.” 

A Perfect Place for Everyone

Although Tony (USMA ‘58) and Gabrielle Nadal have diverse interests, both benefit from their community’s shared service to country.

Tony enjoys every learning opportunity he can find, while his wife Gabrielle prefers to stay home, read and garden. Patriots Colony offers a wide array of clubs and activities to suit every interest.

Patriots Colony is a Riverside Health System active retirement community whose Independent Living is exclusive to former military officers, federal civil employees and their spouses or widow(ers). Enjoy gourmet dining options, an enriching social and activities calendar while being close to all the culture of this historic area.

“It is BTD’s job to get cadets to understand the real reason we are here, which is to create the leaders that will see us to success in the next fight and beyond, and to remind cadets to never quit: on themselves, on their buddies, on their team or on their mission.”
— COL Wilson Rutherford ’93
Schedule Your Personal Tour Today | 800-716-9000 | PatriotsColony.com
“At Patriots Colony you always feel included and welcome. Everybody looks out for you.”

Conquer Regiment, Go Fourth and Conquer”

24 WestPointAOG.org Photos:CDT
Tyler Williams ’23/USMA PAO; Submitted;
Scoring Sandhurst Team in Fall Competition: B-4
Ranking Grads Currently Serving:
Last First Captain from Fourth Regiment: Daine Van de Wall ’20 (H-4)
(3rd Overall) Highest
GEN Joseph M. Martin ’86 (B-4) Vice Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Edward M. Daly ’87 (A-4) Commander, U.S. Army Materiel Command

Cadets Who Scored a Perfect 600 on ACFT:

Jaxon Jones ’22 (A-4)

Luke Whitman ’22 (A-4)

Cody Lockard ’22 (D-4)

Andrew Dawson ’23 (E-4)

Scholarship Recipients: (From the Class of 2021)

Ryan Hetrick (I-4) MIT Lincoln Labs

Denton Knight (B-4) Barry

Jeffrey Mayolo (F-4) MIT Lincoln Labs

Langdon Ogburn (B-4) Marshall

Stone Stephens (A-4) MIT Lincoln Labs

Teasia Stewart (E-4) GEM

Company G-4 Mascot: Guppies

Most Popular Company Patch: E-4 (According to the 2020 “April Madness” Company Logo Competition)

Corps Squad Team Captains: (All from the Class of 2022 unless otherwise noted)

Cam Cerruto (G-4) Baseball

Sarah Bohn (F-4) W Basketball

Joshua Davis (B-4) Gymnastics

Daniel Haider (H-4) Hockey

Ceara Sweeney (E-4) W Lacrosse

Brooke Allen (C-4) W Lacrosse

Larry Williams Jr. ’23 (B-4) M Rugby

Rebecca Syrup (A-4) W Rugby

David Dickerson (E-4) Sprint Football

Xander Sobeski (F-4) Sprint Football

Jackson Beal (D-4) Sprint Football

JC Watson (F-4) Sprint Football

Nick Isenhower (B-4) Swimming & Diving

Abigail Green (B-4) Track & Field

Jamir Gibson (B-4) Track & Field

Emily Barnhorst (E-4) Volleyball

Sayler Butters ’23 (B-4) Volleyball

Ben Sullivan (I-4) Wrestling

Valentina Vincent (D-4) Strength

Photos: Army West Point Athletics; Chris W. Pestel ’03; WPAOG archives Jamir Gibson ’22 Ceara Sweeney ’22

A USCC Regimental Roundtable

Each West Point cadet is a member of one of 36 cadet companies, and each cadet company is aligned with one of four regiments. Therefore, every cadet company is identified with both a letter and a number: A-1 through I-4, nine lettered companies per regiment. And each regiment, comprised of approximately 1,000 cadets, is led by a cadet regimental commander and a cadet command sergeant major.

26 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG


From leading a staff of 25 to motivating and empowering subordinate leaders in a way that positively impacts the quality of life for all members of the regiment, the duties are vast and varying for the cadets that command their regiment.

“My main duty is setting a tone for the regiment that’s nested within the brigade commander’s intent,” said Cadet Alex Denha ’22, commander of Third Regiment.

“But what makes regimental command different is that while the brigade pushes out the initiatives it has for the Corps in terms of West Point leader development, the regiment has the ability to shape this in its own identity,” said Cadet Donovan Hinton ’22, commander of First Regiment.

“Exactly,” said Denha. “I listen to what the First Captain wants to achieve, and then it’s my responsibility to figure out how the regiment can make it happen.”

“I’m constantly working to get every company in the regiment to accomplish what the brigade leadership desires, but doing so in a way so that we come together as one unit,” said Cadet James Bieler ’22, command sergeant major for First Regiment.

“At the regimental level, it is about thinking organizationally,” said Cadet Diego Soto ’22, commander of Second Regiment. “For me that means trying to find ways to incorporate our regimental motto, ‘Second to None,’ into our organization and its culture.”

“Because the Corps rarely forms up as a full brigade, the regiment is the highest echelon of pride among cadets on a daily basis, especially morning and lunch formations,” said Cadet Nicholas Isenhower ’22, command sergeant major for Fourth Regiment. “We are constantly looking to work ‘Go Fourth and Conquer,’ our regimental motto, within our area of operations.”

“Ultimately, for me, it is making sure that our regiment is prepared to perform at its best capacity and ready to perform well within the established standard,” said Cadet Leah Erickson ’22, command sergeant major for Third Regiment.


Reflecting on their time at West Point, these regimental leaders recognize that the multitude of experiences that they have had has prepared them well for their current assignment.

“It starts as soon as you get here,” said Cadet Kennedy Warren ’22, commander of Fourth Regiment. “One’s squad leader at Beast is meant to be an introduction to West Point leadership and to perpetuate the culture and identity of the Academy.”

“Summer training is a vital time for learning and practicing leadership lessons,” said Cadet Mirriam Tolston ’22, command sergeant major for Second Regiment. “As a platoon sergeant for Cadet Field Training, I learned a lot of lessons, namely to be humble, be kind, and be hard.”

Recently, West Point magazine had an opportunity to meet these eight stellar leaders and ask them about their duties, how their West Point experiences prepared them for their roles, the goals they identified for their regiment, and the challenges they need to overcome to realize these goals.
The 2021-22 regimental command teams (L to R): CDT Mirriam Tolston, CSM 2nd Reg; CDT Diego Soto, CDR 2nd Reg; CDT Leah Erickson, CSM 3rd Reg; CDT Alex Denha, CDR, 3rd Reg; CDT Nicholas Isenhower, CSM, 4th Reg; CDT Kennedy Warren, CDR, 4th Reg; CDT Donovan Hinton, CDR, 1st Reg (not pictured–CDT James Bieler, CSM, 1st Reg).

“And academic year leadership experiences are different than summer leadership experiences,” said Hinton. “It’s military training versus figuring out ways for cadets to be successful in their own spaces during the academic year.”

“The academic year is about building mentorships,” said Isenhower, “and classes, such as PL300: Military Leadership, expose us to different leadership perspectives through case studies.”

“I was fortunate to take PL350: Advanced Military Leadership before my leadership detail, so I was able to write out my leadership tenets and figure out who I wanted to be as a leader before going out into the field,” said Tolston, “and I believe this helped me be successful as a leader and prepared me for this role.”

“Regarding mentorships, I was a platoon sergeant for the spring semester last year,” said Isenhower, “and being counseled by my TAC NCO was really critical to learning how to lead at that level ,and it prepared me to know that echelon and its perspective when I moved to a higher level this year.”

“Also, eyes are on us, even when we don’t think they are,” said Erickson. “At this level of leadership in the Corps, it’s easy to think that your role doesn’t impact the lowest level, but at the start of my yearling year Cadet Command Sergeant Major

Connor Long ’20 came to my room and took the time to get to know me and my roommates, and, reflecting now, if I can remember that experience from two years ago, that orients me to the way that my regiment’s plebes and yearlings see me now.”

“I lived on the same floor as my regimental command team and saw them throughout my first three years at the Academy,” said Bieler. “They were definitely inspiring role models, and mimicking their leadership has been a goal of mine.”


At the start of the academic year, the regimental leaders participated in the Gettysburg Staff Ride and worked on developing goals for their particular regiment.

“At Gettysburg, we spoke about a team mentality, wanting to set a climate so that cadets can succeed on their own,” said Denha.

“Cadet Soto and I wrote out a vision for Second Regiment,” said Tolston: Second Regiment produces leaders who live honorably by creating a family and service-oriented organization that is grounded in readiness and discipline. We will consistently and selflessly add value to people’s lives by maintaining a positive attitude and being authentic “We wanted then and still want now to be one of the most wellprepared regiments in the Corps.”

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG (L to R): CDTs Bieler, Hinton, Soto, Denha, and Warren.
“Ultimately, for me, it is making sure that our regiment is prepared to perform at its best capacity and ready to perform well within the established standard.”
— CDT Leah Erickson ’22, command sergeant major for Third Regiment

“Our goals focus on unit discipline, excellence, and readiness, with a subgoal of accountability—100 percent accountability, 100 percent of the time,” said Soto. “We want the cadets in our regiment to take ownership of their respective job, just as the commander and CSM own the responsibility of the regiment.”

“Accountability is also important to Fourth Regiment, as we want to leave the regiment better than we found it,” said Warren. “We want the team to be better, so the goal is to create a family environment in which members hold each other accountable.”

“Furthermore, our vision is to own the legacy of and honor the Buffalo Soldiers and making sure that this goes down to the lowest echelon of our regiment,” said Isenhower. “And we developed an initiative to come up with a ‘Hero of the Week’ from the 9th Cavalry Regiment so that even the newest members of our team can own that legacy and follow the examples set for them.”

“I think it is important that we align Fourth Regiment with an example and a legacy,” said Warren. “At the end of the day, this place isn’t about the individual: it’s about the legacy of the Academy, the Army, and the Long Gray Line.”

“Our main goal for the year is to empower leadership at every single level,” said Hinton. “At times it can be hard to see who gets a chance to lead, in terms of giving our subordinate leaders space to be creative and pro-active regarding the decisions they have to make at their level; that is, to empower the battalion leaders to have their own specific ideas and in turn empower the company leaders to set their company identity, which we feel allows First Regiment to operate best as a cohesive unit.”

“Through our goal to empower leadership down to the lowest level, it has been Cadet Hinton’s and my mission to be in service to the regiment,” said Bieler. “Through our staff, which meets on a weekly or even a daily basis, our ultimate goal is to work for cadets to ensure the overall success of our regiment.”

“I think we all have that ‘people first’ mentality,” says Soto. “Getting results and moving the organization forward is a priority, but we are also about enabling that plebe to do what he or she needs to do to be successful.”


With all their duties and the lofty goals they have set for their units, there are bound to be stressors in the lives of those leading West Point’s four regiments.

“I never feel that I have enough time,” said Hinton. “My job requires me to be present as much as I can in order to get the

most feedback to make the most informed decision as possible, but that is always a challenge.”

“For me, it is making sure that I make my rounds to each of the companies; making sure that I am motivating and empowering subordinate leaders,” said Soto. “Motiving others to accomplish a task that they otherwise don’t want to accomplish is a constant challenge.”

“We entered the semester with a certain level of naivety and now realize that not everyone rises evenly to meet a goal,” said Erickson. “We have to challenge different companies, different units, independently, and we learned that we have to adapt our goals so that everyone is being considered, that we are all moving forward, rather than falling short.”

“Accountability and communication are challenging priorities,” said Isenhower, “as is getting cadets motivated to want to be here and do great things for their company, battalion and regiment— moving beyond the bare minimum of passing, getting the small things right, pulling together as a team—but this is what makes Fourth Regiment special.”

“Getting the pulse of the 1,000 cadets in the regiment is a difficult thing to do, but the CSM has to understand the morale of the unit and the level of motivation in the regiment,” said Bieler.

“We want to make sure our regiment is prepared to demonstrate itself at its best capacity and performs well within the standard,” said Erickson. “This is sometimes a challenge with plebes, but they are still learning and adapting.”

“Also, we might be under a bit more scrutiny from faculty and USCC leadership than other cadets, even regarding the little things,” said Soto, “but we apply for these roles, so we have to own them.”


While there are great challenges to being part of a regimental leadership team, there are also unique rewards. After all, there are not many cadets at the Academy who meet regularly with and receive direct mentorship from the Commandant of Cadets, the brigade tactical officer and their regimental tactical officer. Perhaps Cadet Isenhower said it best for all the regimental command teams: “This role is great preparation for what the future holds for us and has been a significant part of our leadership development at West Point.” 

“This role is great preparation for what the future holds for us and has been a significant part of our leadership development at West Point.”
— CDT Nicholas Isenhower ’22, command sergeant major for Fourth Regiment

Gripping Hands

2022 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients Announced

WPAOG’s annual Distinguished Graduate Award is bestowed upon those West Point graduates 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.” Please join us in congratulating the 2022 Distinguished Graduate Award recipients:


The awards will be presented in a ceremony at West Point on May 17, 2022, with further coverage in the 2022 Summer issue of West Point magazine. Visit WestPointAOG.org/ dgarecipientannouncement2022 to learn more about the Distinguished Graduate Award and this year’s recipients.

1978 Bulls Named Chairman of the Board at Fluence Energy Inc.

Herman Bulls ’78, Vice Chairman, Americas, and founder of JLL’s Public Institutions Business Unit, is serving as Chairman of the Board at Fluence Energy Inc. Prior to joining JLL, Bulls completed nearly 12 years of active-duty service with the U.S. Army. He retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves in 2008 and received the Legion of Merit award for his leadership and strategic thinking skills. This January, Bulls also began a three-year term as the ViceChairman of the West Point Association of Graduates, with whom he has been involved since 1996.

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.

Name Class

COL Robert T. Phillips 1992

COL Kirk J. Venable 1993

30 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
Rebecca S. Halstead ’81 Alex Gorsky ’82 Nadja Y. West ’82 Frederick C. Lough ’70 Lee A. Van Arsdale ’74 John F. Campbell ’79 Frederick C. Lough ’70 Lee A. Van Arsdale ’74 F. Campbell ’79 Rebecca S. Halstead ’81 Alex Gorsky ’82 Nadja Y. West ’82

General Officer Announcements

The following officers were confirmed by the U.S. Senate:

LTG Michael E. Kurilla ’88 for appointment to the rank of general and assignment as Commander, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL

MG Douglas A. Sims II ’91 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Director, J-3, Joint Staff, Washington, DC

MG Christopher T. Donahue ’92 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, NC

BG (USAR) Ernest Litynski ’94 for promotion to the rank of major general COL (USAR) Jon E. Solem ’90 for promotion to the rank of brigadier general

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

MG Charles R. Miller ’90 to Director, Strategy, Plans and Policy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army, Washington, DC

MG Curtis A. Buzzard ’92 to Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, United States Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, NC

BG Lori L. Robinson ’94 to Deputy Commanding General (Support), 2nd Infantry Division (Combined), Eighth Army, Republic of Korea

Parents Corner

WPPC-MDDCVA Boodle Event

The West Point Parent Club (WPPC) of Maryland, DC, and Virginia (MDDCVA) were on post in February for a “Gloom Period Boodle Event.” One Amazon wish list plus 22 boodle packers, four boodle drivers, and 300 boodle boxes translated into countless cadet smiles! Through generous donations from WPPC-MDDCVA parents, each cadet from that area received a personal boodle box. The WPPC-MDDCVA parents also provided cookies and treats to any cadet that stopped in front of the USMA Library on that rare, sunny February Friday afternoon. “We’re glad to help the cadets ‘beat the gloom’ with our delivery of boodle to West Point,” said Jim Mach, a parent of a Class of 2024 cadet.

To the Class of 2022 Parents

Congratulations on the upcoming graduation of your son or daughter! We hope that West Point magazine has helped you feel more connected to the Academy over the past four years. This will be your last issue, as the 2022 Summer issue will be addressed to your newly commissioned lieutenant!

If you would like to keep receiving the magazine, please visit WestPointAOG.org/subscribe before June 15, 2022 to guarantee that you don’t miss an issue.

West Point Parents Club of MD, DC, VA
James Mach, Webmaster,

Moments That Matter:

WPAOG’s Strategy to Unlock the Power of the Long Gray Line

Moments That Matter, a new West Point magazine department, will provide insights into the strategy and implementation behind many of the programs the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has and continues to develop. What’s interesting about this new department is that Chairman Bob McDonald referenced Moments That Matter in his debut Chairman’s letter (page 3) without knowing the magazine’s plans. While he and the magazine did not partner in any way on this topic, both deem it an important WPAOG strategy that should be openly shared.

In 2019 WPAOG embarked upon a year-long exercise to determine the most effective ways to serve and engage across our 76-year spectrum of living graduates. It was a HumanCentered Design initiative that created an obsessive focus for the WPAOG leadership team to design products, services, systems and experiences that address the core needs and desires of our most important constituents—our graduates. We answered tough questions; forced ourselves to think deeply; examined the good, bad and ugly perceptions of WPAOG; and spoke with a diverse cross section of graduates and other

32 WestPointAOG.org Photos: WPAOG archives; Shutterstock
“WPAOG creates and facilitatates a [marketplace] that allows cadets and graduates to connect with each other in order to give and receive help."
— Human-Centered Design Study

constituents to gain insights on what mattered to them about their cadet and military experiences, as well as what it means to be a West Point graduate.

Following this deep-dive discovery, an objective to design “ interventions” that drive alumni engagement was defined.

This objective ties seamlessly to both our Mission and our Vision.


Executing on WPAOG’s mission … Serving West Point and the Long Gray Line



…creates ENGAGED users …

“Engagement” is defined by the user as:

Participating in WPAOG events (e.g., reunions, tailgates, award ceremonies)

Leveraging services provided by WPAOG (e.g., RBHH, Career Services, SACC)

Communicating Actively listening and speaking to WPAOG (e.g., e-mail, social media, publications)

Volunteering to support and promote USMA (e.g., society president, board, class leader)


…who further the Mission & Vision


To serve West Point and the Long Gray Line


To be the most highly connected alumni body in the world

More satisfied with WPAOG

More connected with each other

More willing to volunteer and support

The most compelling part of this exercise was identifying six stages when people go through significant personal and professional change. Moments That Matter are the moments on a graduate’s journey that disproportionately affect their experiences in relation to West Point and WPAOG. These moments have become the platform by which all WPAOG programs, services and initiatives are developed and implemented, as the graphic below illustrates.

WPAOG is implementing 16 initiatives (interventions) tied to these Moments That Matter, all with the goal of serving and connecting graduates to one another, the Association and the Long Gray Line.

Over the next several issues, West Point magazine will share stories of how WPAOG programs have impacted moments that matter for our graduates and their families; stories of connectedness and strengthening the Long Gray Line. 

Description Customer Journey Stages Before attending West Point, typically during high school Tenure at West Point Active duty military career Transitioning out of the Army and adapting to civilian life Stability, purpose, a sense of “team” and identity have been achieved as a civilian No longer required to work, allocates more time to legacy and volunteering Pre-Reception Cadet Serving Transition Civilian Life Retirement ➃ Finding My Next Mission ➄ Homecoming ➀ First Impression of Long Gray Line Opportunity ➂ Transition ➅ Memorializing ➁ Navigating Early Army Career Moments that Matter (moments that disproportionatley affect the customer’s experience)
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
“There's nothing that keeps its youth, So far as I know, but a tree and truth.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Cadets Discuss Today’s Corps

As any West Point graduate knows, the United States Military Academy is not the typical college experience. Cadet life is extremely busy and demanding—academically, physically and mentally. Schedules vary depending on a cadet’s class year, regimental or company leadership position, academic major, sports teams, and clubs; and all cadets are busy with duties, homework, after class activities, and leadership training. Working with the Brigade Tactical Department, West Point magazine had an opportunity to interview eight cadets, two from each regiment and two from each academic year, about the kind of lives members of today’s Corps lead. From participating in an exciting Army-Navy boxing competition, to training for Sandhurst, and running experiments in the lab, or to carrying out one’s company duties, cadets are always using their time to improve individually and in support of the Corps. They all lead exceptional lives and play important roles within their regiments and their companies.

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Photo: Chris W. Pestel ’03

Firstie Kristina Mackey ’22 is her company’s executive officer, a role she describes as being “the right-hand man to the company commander.” “When company staff have their specific jobs to do, I delegate things to them,” she said. “And then if they have questions, I can pass it up through the executive officer chain to get more information from them and vice-versa. If I need to get information from people in the company, I’ll pass that to the CO or the first sergeant.” Mackey said that one of her duties is keeping track of company

members signing up for assignments or taking part in military training. If there is a company event, she is also the member of the company staff that coordinates which cadets in the company are responsible for planning such an event. “Being the keeper of company information, I’m constantly in contact with the chain of command, even on the weekend.”

While her company duties take up a lot of her time, Mackey has support from fellow cadets to help her in other areas. “I’ve been on the Crew Team for the last three-and-a-half years, and within the Crew Team there’re a lot of team members who are in my regiment,” she said. “If I have problems with the IOCT or something, or if I want to do more workouts for the ACFT, these are the people that I turn to for help.”

Mackey says that such support is an important part of the culture of Fourth Regiment, and she thinks that the companies in the regiment are pretty supportive of one another. “When we do regimental activities, Fourth Reg is pretty tight knit,” she said. “I know for at least for my class, we have bonded across companies thanks to the spirited culture of Fourth Reg.”

Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03
CDT Kristina Mackey ’22 Company H-4

CDT Crayton Wise ’22

Company D-1

In the spirit of his company’s motto, “Family and Fitness,” Cadet Crayton Wise ’22 usually works out in the morning. But on this particular morning, Wise is going to take his firstie photo for the Howitzer yearbook. Wise is D-1’s company commander, which, according to Wise, puts him in charge of everything that happens in that company.

“It’s a lot of communicating and making sure the company culture is what we want it to be, because the leader sets the culture of the unit,” said Wise. “The company motto is ‘Family and Fitness.’ Those are the two biggest elements that I think D-1 exemplifies, and I’ve made them my priorities.”

Wise is also conscious of First Regiment’s priorities and incorporating them into his daily activities, both for himself and for D-1. “As far as the regiment, “First and Proud” is our saying:

we set the example; we start everything off—first on, first off,” he said.

Wise looks forward to First Regiment’s barbecues because he gets to see all the different companies, but more important to him are the times when D-1 is brought together. “Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner are two special occasions I really enjoy,” he said.

“West Point is a unique institution, but I think the most important thing about it is the people who are here,” Wise said.

“Every single day someone helps me, or I help someone, and it could be as simple as just having a conversation with your best friends. It’s tough at times, and what gets you through the 47month experience are the people around you in your company and regiment. It may be that you’re struggling academically, so you go to a cadet in your company and ask him to help tutor you or to figure out a problem. Or you’re struggling physically, so you ask somebody in the regiment who’s more physically fit to help you, or you watch what they’re doing. Sometimes it’s just a smile. You just see someone smile at you, and it goes a long way if you’re feeling down. Every single day we help each other out: upperclassmen helping underclassmen, and once you’re finally the upperclassman, it’s your turn to be that pat on the back. It’s really simple, nothing crazy.”

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Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03
“It’s tough at times, and what gets you through the 47-month experience are the people around you in your company and regiment. ” — CDT Crayton Wise ’22

Weekends are a great time to get some homework and studying done and to prepare for the upcoming week, especially when you’re a busy company first sergeant. The company first sergeant is the most senior, noncommissioned officer in the company and works with the NCO chain, all the way from the privates to the cows of the company, such as platoon sergeants and squad leaders. “We do formations every morning and at lunch, and I’m in charge of running those,” Cadet Isabella Rohling ’23 said. “I also complete personnel reports and make sure cadets are doing trackers or picking up uniforms as needed, but usually I’m working with my company commander and our executive officer to make sure everything’s done right in the company.”

According to Rohling, it’s a lot of work. Last year she was a team leader and only in charge of one cadet; then she did her leadership detail last summer as a platoon sergeant for Beast II, and it helped her prepare for her current assignment.

“Having this responsibility was hard at first, balancing school and a social life, but I learned that it’s really about delegating duties. We have four platoon sergeants, and they each have a platoon of 30 to 40 cadets. I’ll text them and inform them on what needs to be done. The fact that I’m working with those

four cadets breaks down the work, which allows me to look at the big picture.”

Rohling’s class also underwent a scramble last semester. For her first two years at West Point, all she knew was C-1. “The rule was no one could scramble into their same regiment, and I went from First to Third Regiment. It was kind of scary at first, but then I was excited to meet new people because I felt like, being in First Reg or even in my company, you only knew those people. Going into F-3, I was exposed to a whole new wave of people. The other cows scrambling in with me all had the same experience of leaving the companies in which we were comfortable and being kind of uncomfortable in our new companies. The firsties have been really welcoming and have made sure that we don’t feel like outsiders.”

According to Rohling, Third Regiment, which is known as “The Wolfpack” and has the motto of “Work Hard, Play Hard,” has a strong identity. “We have regimental lunch formations on Fridays, and someone is always yelling, ‘Go Wolfpack,’” she said. “In First Reg, we still had a regimental culture, but it wasn’t totally the ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ mindset, demonstrating that the regiments value different things.”

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 39 Photos:
Chris W. Pestel
CDT Isabella Rohling ’23 Company

CDT Calvin Lu ’24 Company

Yearling Cadet Calvin Lu ’24 is a team leader in Company I-2. Last year, as a plebe, Lu was an “MOS” (member of squad), but this year, as a team leader, he has his own MOS that he’s in charge of and he is tasked with helping that cadet develop as a plebe.

“A lot of my time as a team leader is just me with my plebe, helping out with academics, personal development, and helping them get the right resources,” Lu said. An example of this is when Lu helped his plebe with a history paper, despite having two WPRs the following day.

“It was mid-September, and he had an important history paper due the following afternoon,” Lu said. “I dropped everything I

had and helped him sort through all his resources and frame and conceptualize the essay—how to phrase and organize it. It was rewarding to watch him grow academically because he was previously homeschooled and missed a lot of that ‘traditional’ development. This is his first time actually being at a school. It was interesting to help him through that transition. And then the next morning he sincerely thanked me for helping him. That was one of the best moments I’ve had so far in my leader development.”

Lu is on his company’s Sandhurst team with his regimental commander, with whom he has gotten close and greatly respects. “His biggest emphasis is accountability within your chain of command,” Lu said, “being there for your subordinates and also making sure they’re doing the right thing.”

Even though it may sound cliche, Lu describes his company, especially his class, as “a family.” “I know people throw that term around, but anytime I need to rely on them—at the drop of a hat, they’re there,” he said. “Last semester, my roommate and I were stuck in quarantine for two weeks—two weeks, just us in the room. We were going through some rough patches, and he was there to help me overcome some personal matters and motivated me to keep moving forward.”

40 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03
“A lot of my time as a team leader is just me with my plebe, helping out with academics, personal development, and helping them get the right resources.” — CDT Calvin Lu ’24

Boxing is a huge part of Cadet Ruby Romsland’s ’23 life as a cadet, and she loves that her company, H-2, is so supportive of each other’s teams, especially when they get the chance to BEAT NAVY.

“Our company motto is ‘Happy as Hell,’ and everyone is actually happy,” Romsland said. “Whenever there are events, not just my sporting events, but everybody’s sporting events, emails get sent out, announcements get made—even from the First Captain, which is a big deal—calling on the Corps to support their teammates, especially this weekend with the Army-Navy Boxing event. Everyone just leans on each other, and it’s great.”

This year, Romsland is a peer support counselor. “We’re advocates for all of the resources at West Point. We all wear yellow ribbons, and we’re there for the underclassmen who might need emotional support. I’ve tried to make myself available by walking the hallways. It’s a lot of checking in on the plebes, just to make sure they’re able to cope with the assignments and everything right. It’s people-to-people connections and building trust within the company, which I think is awesome. Sometimes there are crises, but a lot of the little things are just getting to know the plebes on a personal

CDT Ruby Romsland ’23

Company H-2

level. If they’re struggling with something like school or family life, I connect them to the multiple resources available at the Academy, some of which I didn’t even know existed before this assignment: we have chaplains, military and family life counselors, and the CPD (Center for Personal Development).”

Romsland’s class was scrambled going into her cow year, which was an adjustment, but she really likes the company culture of H-2. “We moved to a new building, met new people, and experienced new everything. I walked into the new company not knowing anybody, but after a semester everyone bonded so quickly, and it was great to see. I just really like how positive people are here.”

Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03
“We’re advocates for all of the resources at West Point. We’re there for the underclassmen who might need emotional support.”
— CDT Ruby Romsland ’23

CDT Alexis Bradstreet ’24 Company B-4

Like all West Point cadets, Cadet Alexis Bradstreet ’24 is an athlete a member of the Women’s Handball Team. When she’s not practicing or hanging out with her teammates, Bradstreet is a team leader for B-4. “I look after a plebe,” Bradstreet said. “In the beginning of the year, you have to help them out with everything, but at this point in the year, they’ve got their own schedule, their own process, and I just check in from time to time and make sure everything’s okay and push anything with which they need help up our chain of command. Now, it’s pretty hands off, but I’m still there to help when they need it. I also picked up a role in my company to execute environmental initiatives, which involves running the recycling program for our company with assistance from one of B-4’s plebes.”

Bradstreet enjoys being in Fourth Regiment and especially enjoys living in North Area. “I think Fourth Regiment has bonded over the experience of living in North Area because there’s always something going on that relieves the tension of cadet life; for example, cadets dress up in costumes or plebes run around with laundry carts,” she said. “I think we bond over sharing that square, and I think that probably gives us more of a culture than the other regiments because we have that peculiar North Area location.”

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Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03

Timothy Godsil ’25 is a plebe in F-3. “We’re like the baby troopers as plebes, but our company commander has made it known and apparent that everyone has a role in the company,” Godsil said. “Everyone plays an important role in defining F-3’s culture, whether it’s showing up to events or sports activities.” According to Godsil, plebes “feed the fire” of Third Reg, “The Wolfpack.”

“In Third Reg, we’re full of energy,” said Godsil, citing the lunch formation ritual mentioned earlier by Rohling as evidence. “And then there’s always the little Wolfpack signs,” he said. “Our regimental commander promotes selfless service, and every week we have a certain cadet that either has a story or something they’ve done or that they’ve been doing that highlights selfless service. By recognizing and appreciating them in this way, we are really trying to promote that culture in Third Reg, which is awesome.”

Godsil said that he enjoys the regimental cookouts, as well as the other activities Third Regiment has, such as volleyball games, flag football and dodgeball. “Our leadership is always promoting that competitive culture while also bringing us together. I don’t know everyone in the regiment, so it’s nice to have these opportunities to build relationships.”

CDT Timothy Godsil ’25 Company F-3

Godsil’s battalion academics officer lives a few doors down from him and, earlier this year, invited him to a club meeting, which has been a highlight of his time at West Point so far.

“Coming here, you don’t know exactly how to get into that initial group, and through his invitation I found a place where I could take an intellectual deep dive in physics and space science research,” he said. “Eventually, I had the opportunity to join a research [group] for the whole semester, and I’m probably going to continue next semester, which is exciting because I’ll be able to present our work at a physics conference. He really helped me find a home here.”

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 43 Photos: Chris W.
Pestel ’03
“Our regimental commander promotes selfless service, and every week we have a certain cadet that either has a story or something they’ve done or that they’ve been doing that highlights selfless service.”
— CDT Timothy Godsil ’25

CDT Sierra Zoe Bennett-Manke ’25

Company C-1

As a plebe, Cadet Sierra Zoe Bennett-Manke ’25 helps take care of the shelf over on Davis Barracks and helps take care of the company’s area of operations. So far she enjoys life in C-1.

“We’ve had a pumpkin carving contest for Halloween, and recently we’ve been hosting movie nights on weekends,” Bennett-Manke said. “We also held a Thanksgiving dinner last semester, which was really nice.”

Bennett-Manke has also seen how the firsties in her company have helped plebes adjust to life at West Point, and even helped her roommate through a difficult challenge.

“My roommate was having a pretty tough time,” BennettManke said. “She endured a concussion in plebe boxing and fell behind in school. We went up to one of the firsties’ rooms, and he talked to her and helped her catch up with her studies. That was a good experience, and it demonstrated the connection the firsties have with us.”

Like these eight cadets, all members of the Corps have challenges they must overcome every day of their 47-month West Point experience, but, like these eight cadets, they have support from fellow cadets in their regiments, in their companies, on their sports teams, in their classes, and within their clubs to turn those challenges into valuable lessons in leadership. This teamwork and support for one another prepares cadets for Army life and living out the values of “Duty, Honor, Country.” From team leaders, company executive officers, company commanders, peer support counselors, and company first sergeants, everyone has a role in supporting their regiment and the Corps. It is through these bonds between plebe and yearling, the chain of command, and company- and regiment-mates, that West Point cadets not only survive their time at West Point but thrive, have fun and become leaders of character. 

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Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03
WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 45 OFFICIAL CLASS RING SUPPLIER OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY 2003 20042005200620102011201220142013 2020 194319441945194619471948195019521951 195419531955 195619581960196119621963196419661965 196919681970 197119751976197719791981198219851984 198819861999 Balfour can replace Class Rings, Miniatures and Wedding Bands for the above listed back dated classes. Contact Jayne Roland at (201) 262-8800 or balfourna@optonline.net 0319. 28989 ©2019 Balfour. All Rights Reserved OFFICIAL WEST POINT RINGS & JEWELRY
to replace a lost ring, or buy a special gift? As o cial supplier to the U.S. Military Academy, Her Jones can provide graduates with class rings and jewelry for the following graduation classes. 1954 1957 1959 1967 1974 1978 1980 1983 1987 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1998 2001 2002 2008 2019 2022 CONTACT ROBERT VAZ 800.451.3304, ext. 401289 • rmvaz@her jones.com Grip Hands! WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S Welcomes the Spring Reunion Classes of ’45, ’46, ’47, ’52, ’57, ’62 & ’72


“Second to None”

Highest Scoring Sandhurst Team in Fall Competition: D-2 (6th Overall, shown above)

Highest Ranking Grads Currently Serving:

Current First Captain from Second Regiment: Holland Pratt

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Photos: U. S. Army photo by CDT Ellington Ward ’22; John Pellino, Elizabeth Woodruff/USMA PAO; U. S. Army
’22 (G-2) GEN James C. McConville ’81 (D-2) Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Michael E. Kurilla ’88 (F-2) Commander, U.S. Central Command

Scholarship Recipients: (From the Class of 2021)

Tyrese Bender (D-2) Rhodes

Ryan Benz (F-2) MIT Lincoln Labs

Taylor Bradley (B-2) GEM

Curtis Manore (H-2) MIT Lincoln Labs

Nico Manzonelli (F-2) MIT Lincoln Labs

AnnMarie Moolenaar (G-2) Fullbright UK

Ryan Murphy (H-2) Carnegie Mellon

Maxwell Myers (E-2) Rotary

George Pavlakis (C-2) Rotary

Trevor Powers (G-2) MIT Lincoln Labs

Jessica Rawls (B-2) GEM

Pedro Santiago (E-2) Anna Sobel Levy

Kalista Schauer (H-2) Knight Hennesy

August St. Louis (H-2) GEM

Taylor Vessel (C-2) GEM

Evan Walker (H-2) Rhodes

Dean’s Team CICs:

Alexa Zammit ’22 (A-2) American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Alvin Ye ’23 (B-2) Chinese Language

Chris Erb ’23 (C-2) French Language

Mercedez Fernandez ’23 (G-2) Portuguese Language

Niara Pelton ’23 (E-2) Portuguese Language

Jeilyn Haynes ’22 (C-2) Debate Team

Dennis Rice ’22 (B-2) Model UN

Most Popular Company Patch: C-2 (According to the 2020 “April Madness” Company Logo Competition)

Company H-2 Mascot: Happy Deuce

Corps Squad Team Captains: (All from the Class of 2022 unless otherwise noted)

Anthony Loricco (I-2) Baseball

Declan Henriques (D-2) Gymnastics

Nolan Cockrill (A-2) Football

Colin Bilek (F-2) Hockey

Daniel Kielbasa (F-2) M Lacrosse

Brendan Nichtern (D-2) M Lacrosse

Kyle Kutz ’24 (A-2) Rifle

David Gorshein (H-2) M Tennis

Kersten Douglas (D-2) Track & Field

Kevin Sembrat Jr. (E-2) Track & Field

Peter Ogunsanya Jr. (B-2) Wrestling

Mirriam Tolston (C-2) Rabble Rousers

Taylor Topping (H-2) Rabble Rousers

Photos: Army West Point Athletics; Chris W. Pestel ’03; WPAOG archives Colin Bilek ’22 Mirriam Tolston ’22

WPAOG Launches CONNECT Program

On February 1, 2022, the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG), in partnership with the Highland Falls Intermediate School (HFIS), launched CONNECT—an after-school program to provide HFIS students high-quality experiences that support their academics and expand their interests. The theme of this first CONNECT session was discipline, health, and fitness, with West Point cadets leading middle school students in sports activities and discussions on nutrition. The CONNECT program continued in March using a STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, and math) to teach an aviation session, complete with flying drones! “Over the long-term we believe that enhancing educational opportunities for our children has a direct positive effect on the vibrancy and prosperity of our community,” said Todd Browne ’85, WPAOG

CEO and President. The prosperity of USMA’s neighboring communities is fundamentally linked to the success of the Academy. CONNECT directly addresses USMA strategy lines of effort and the views of many alumni that neighbor communities are important partners of the Academy and vital team members of the West Point community.

The WPAOG Entrepreneur Summit will be held in Washington, DC in the fall of 2022. Hotel reservations at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor are now open. Registration for the summit to open this summer.

Visit WestPointAOG.org/2022EntrepreneurSummit for more information.

48 WestPointAOG.org WPAOG NEWS Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG
WPAOG Entrepreneur Summit, Washington, DC, October 6-7, 2022

Thank You!

In 2021, the Long Gray Line and friends and families of West Point gave with loyalty, with generosity, and with unwavering support, raising $55.3 million in cash receipts for the Academy and WPAOG. Your gifts and participation strengthen the Academy’s Margin of Excellence programs for cadets, sustain the traditions that pay tribute to generations of West Point graduates, and allow for new opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise.

Watch our thank you video at bit.ly/WPAOGThankYou2021

Fisher to Receive 2022 Thayer Award

WPAOG is pleased to announce that philanthropist, business leader and Chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, Kenneth “Ken” Fisher will receive the 2022 Sylvanus Thayer Award. The award will be presented on October 6, 2022 during ceremonies hosted by LTG Darryl A. Williams ’83, 60th Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

2022 WPAOG Election— Call for Nominations for Board and Advisory Council

All USMA graduates may apply for election to the WPAOG Board of Directors and/or for elections to the WPAOG Advisory Council. In 2022, the WPAOG Nominating Committee will nominate graduates for five Director positions and six Advisor-at-Large positions. To apply, please see the instructions posted at WestPointAOG.org/ NominationPolicy. The deadline for graduates to submit their completed application is July 1, 2022. The 2022 nomination and election process will conclude on November 15, 2022 at 5pm EST, when the Annual Meeting of the Association of Graduates will take place at the Herbert Alumni Center.

Please contact Laurie Fontana (Laurie.Fontana@wpaog.org; 845.446.1523) if you have any questions.

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 49 WPAOG NEWS Photos: Submitted; WPAOG archives

Company Culture at USMA

There are 36 cadet companies within the U.S. Corps of Cadets. Some are considered “hot,” which in cadet parlance means they have more walking tours; a few are considered “chill,” meaning they run a degree or two below the hot companies; but most are of the “work hard, play hard” variety, emphasizing standards and discipline 24/7 but also engaging in fun, creative and spirited events in order to build company morale.

50 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: Chris W. Pestel ’03, Mike Strasser, Pointer View Above: A 400-pound Moose was delivered to West Point from Maine by the parents of Stephen Zachensky III ’14, and it has since become the mascot of I-2 and brought by its members to Friday formation. Left: The company patch of B-4, the Buffaloes.

No matter how a company is classified, each one of West Point’s cadet companies owns a unique culture. A company’s culture can be defined in several ways. Most cadets base a company’s culture on its mascot. The “Guppy” is iconic to Company G-4, for example; Company C-2, “Flying Circus,” is renowned for its “Red Baron” Snoopy mascot, the patch for which Colonel Gus Stafford ’81 designed as a cadet after obtaining permission to use the famous cartoon dog from Peanuts creator Charles Schulz; and everyone at West Point knows I-2 from the 400-pound taxidermied moose it rolls down to Friday formation (“The Moose is Loose”). A company’s culture also tends to be determined by where its members live. Some members of the Corps believe that Company C-4’s “fired up” mentality stem from it living in the rather out-of-the-way North Area (Lost Fifties). Finally, some contend that each company’s culture is a mix of tradition and innovation; that is, how each year’s company leadership team incorporates their company’s history into their overall strategy for the company. Through the cooperation of the Brigade Tactical Department, West Point magazine was given access to a point of contact in four cadet companies, one from each regiment, and asked him or her about the culture of that company.

G-1 “Greeks”

“G-1 is a pretty spirited company,” says Cadet Emily Robinson ’22, company commander of “the Greeks,” “and we are a tight-knit family that takes care of its members in-house.” The company occupies Sherman Barracks, one of the few barracks at the Academy that has yet to be part of the Cadet Barracks Upgrade Program (CBUP), which began in 2013 (Sherman and Lee Barracks will be the last barracks to be part of CBUP, which is expected to conclude in 2024). “We use the barracks situation

as part of G-1’s identity,” says Robinson. “Not living in new or updated barracks requires us to own what we have.” Robinson and her first sergeant set up a system for all the different areas in the company and tasked squad leaders for keeping these areas clean. “The second we don’t keep up with cleaning or leave trash out too long is when problems start showing up,” she says. Sherman’s sweltering environment is also a reality all Greeks must endure and own. “Cadets who live in Sherman need to keep one or two fans in their window from at least August through October,” says Robinson. “I keep mine on all winter.” When she learned that she was going to be G-1’s commander, Robinson established a program for which outgoing firsties donated their fans to the incoming cows, who were scrambled into the company at the start of the 2021-22 academic year. “This again speaks to the family culture of the Greeks,” says Robinson.

CDT Nola Dix
’22, CDT Stephen Litterini ’24/USMA PAO; Erika Norton/WPAOG
CDT Emily Robinson ’22, CDR, briefs the members of G-1. Left: This “trophy” hangs in the G-1 barracks space. Right: The company patch of G-1, the Greeks. Cadets dressed as their company's mascot pose for photo.

Speaking of family, each platoon in the company has selected a Greek “Old Grad” after whom to model themselves. G-1 also has its own version of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization. “We’ve had a firstie-plebe mentorship program every year I’ve been with this company,” notes Robinson. This program might explain G-1’s recent success in First Regiment’s Primus Cup Competition, a contest in which each company gets points for excellence among USMA’s pillars of leader development: academic, military, physical, and character. “We have been down at the bottom in past years, but G-1 has stepped it up of late, mainly due to the cows who scrambled into the company this year,” says Robinson. She also says that, Monday through Friday, the Greeks have been hitting all their tasks, meeting all their deadlines, and filling out all their trackers: “On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll relax standards just a bit and allow cadets to take pass.”

E-2 “Brewdogs”

“E-2 is one of the oldest and most proud companies in the Corps,” says Cadet Mitchell Walker ’25, one of the newest members of the company. “We’ve had the same mascot, a Saint Bernard ‘Brewdog,’ for decades, since the 1960s.” Given its mascot and the small barrel of brandy featured around a Saint Bernard’s neck in popular media, some in the Corps mistake E-2 for having a bibulous culture. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” says Walker. “E-2’s standards and discipline are high, and we are a company of high academic achievers and physical studs.”

Walking through the 5th and 6th floors of Eisenhower Barracks, the home of E-2, one notices several Brewdog barrels, each

representing graduated companymates. Each time First Class cadets from their company graduate, E-2 sets up a new barrel in its halls. Every barrel features the signature of a particular class of Brewdogs. “We don’t carry around a sword or a battleax as some other companies do, but our barrels are significant aspects of E-2’s material culture,” says Walker.

E-2 also has the “Dog Vision,” a mantra created by the company’s 1998 command team, who later gave their lives serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The mantra is recited by members of the company during every Friday formation: “The Corps’ best cadet company, showing pride through excellence, taking part in a winning team of teams, doing the right thing in caring leadership and having fun. Go Brewdogs!” While “fun” is mentioned in its mantra and the company’s motto is Facilis Venire Facilis Exire (“Easy Come, Easy Go”), there is an expectation that cadets in E-2 will be squared away—“doing the right, at the right time, and for the right reasons,” says Walker.

E-2’s culture has been a fixture in Second Regiment for decades. A number of former Brewdogs have served with distinction in Korea, Vietnam, and the Global War on Terror. “We have a

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG Above left: The company patch for E-2, the Brewdogs. Center: A mural of E-2’s mascot, the Brewdog, on the wall in the company’s day room on the 5th floor of Eisenhower Barracks. Right: One of E-2’s "barrels" that adorn its company area. It is signed by company firsties who graduated in a particular year.
“E-2 is one of the oldest and most proud companies in the Corps. We’ve had the same mascot, a Saint Bernard ‘Brewdog,’ for decades, since the 1960s.”
— CDT Mitchell Walker ’25

lot of tradition to live up to, and everyone in this company is aware of that fact,” says Walker. “And we are very proud of that fact too.”

D-3 “Dinos”

D-3’s motto is “Back for More,” and in the past few months the company has been “back” for a lot. In the fall semester D-3 won the Brigade Championship in basketball, and last spring it won championships in flickerball and foundations of fitness. The director of the Department of Military Instruction also awarded D-3 a pillar last year for its military performance during summer training, which was based upon individual performances and averaged across the company. “D-3 is determined to be highly competitive in all brigade-wide endeavors,” says Captain Craig Champlin ’13, TAC officer of D-3. “They take a lot of pride in the company.”

Another source of that pride is their mascot, the “Dinos.” “We used to be the ‘Devils,’ then the ‘Dragoons,’ and now we’re the ‘Dinos,’” says Champlin. D-3’s “Dino mentality” is strong, and the company focuses its attention in four key areas: ownership (being a cadet-run organization that is proactive and accountable), peer support (being a tight-knit group with classes priding themselves on teamwork and humility), professionalism (with cadets taking their leadership positions seriously as well as taking pride in representing the company), and discipline (with the company always seeking high performance and avoiding major disciplinary infractions). Champlin indicates that the company also regularly discusses a fifth area of focus with its “Dino mentality,” the company’s distinguished history. “D-3 has a high percentage of general officers from USCC among its lineage,” he says.

D-3 “Dino” pride is also on display in the company’s new living quarters, MacArthur Long Barracks. The Dinos have decorated the hallways of Mac Long using a dinosaur motif, putting “dino facts” on the wall and placing “dino footprints” in visible areas, for example. The pride also manifests itself in company greetings—“Have a great Dino day!” is one of them—and down to the nicknames they use at the platoon and squad levels. “All of our company units are named after a particular type of dinosaur, such as raptors or T-rexes,” says Champlin. He also happily reports that there have been no Dinos on any recent delinquency reports: “They even seem to take pride in working me out of a job!”

by CPT Craig Champlin, TAC officer for D-3 Above: Members of D-3, company athletics brigade champions in basketball in the fall of 2021, pose with their trophy, their third company athletics trophy in the last two semesters. Below: A hallway in MacArthur Long Barracks is decorated with a D-3 Dino mural. Bottom: The company patch for D-3, the Dinos.
“D-3 is determined to be highly competitive in all brigade-wide endeavors. They take a lot of pride in the company.” — CPT Craig Champlin ’13, TAC officer of D-3

F-4 “Frogs”

Every cadet in the Corps knows of F-4 for one reason: Frog Week! “We get up at 0500 and do all kinds of events, including one morning going through all the barracks and waking up cadets with air horns and other noisemakers,” says Cadet Danielle Wortman ’22, the F-4 Spirit Officer. The company is famous for creating such traditions throughout the years. “The Corps recognizes our company as being very friendly and very outgoing and for having lots of events throughout the year,” says Wortman. “We have movie nights, a pumpkin carving competition, a Christmas tree decorating contest, a Valentine’s Day event, and lots of company BBQs.”

Living in the divisions of the Lost Fifties (part of Scott Barracks), some might think it difficult to foster such an active company culture, but as the signs posted throughout F-4’s company area playfully state, “Can’t stop the hop.” F-4 celebrates its culture with paintings, pictures, flags, and lots of frog decorations. The company even customized two cornhole sets with frog embellishments for outdoor company activities. “All of this comes from an earlier command team who challenged the company to be more spirited,” says Wortman. The company even has a group chat, “Frog Forum,” which helps overcome some of the personal communication challenges that come from living in divisions.

Last year, F-4 took to social media to encourage Frog alumni to post memories regarding their time in the company. This developed into a “remembrance meeting,” during which 15 “Old Frogs” (most from the Class of 1997) logged on to MS Teams and connected with current F-4 cadets to discuss life in the company now and then. “Their version of Frog Week was a lot different than ours,” says Wortman. “Let’s just say that today’s Corps should appreciate how restrictive we’ve become celebrating Frog Week—although their version sounded like so much fun!”

Take the cultures identified above and multiply them by nine to get a sense of overall company culture at West Point. From the blurbs written for each company each year in the Howitzer, to the many mini-reunions held throughout the years for company alumni, through the way that one’s company is discussed in a deceased graduate’s Memorial Article, the culture of one’s company is a tangible aspect of being a member of the Long Gray Line. Company culture becomes part of a West Point cadet’s identity, and thus has become part of a grad’s identity: Go Vikings! Go Spartans! Go F-Troop! Go I-Beam! And “Go” any and all of the 32 remaining West Point companies! 

Photo: Submitted by CDT Danielle Wortman ’22 Top left: The company patch for F-4, the Frogs. Above: Members of F-4, the Frogs, pose for a picture during "Frog Week," a longstanding tradition in the Corps.


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: Bob Allbright ’72

I am writing to complement you and your team on the 2022 Winter issue of West Point magazine. I was struck by the quality and level of research and writing that came through for me in all the articles in this issue, especially the articles dealing with subjects near and dear to all of us who are graduates, such as the Cadet Honor Code, Cadet Character Development and the Superintendent’s Capstone Course on Officership. These articles provide us “Old Grads” with valuable insight into the actual way today’s cadets are being educated and prepared to become U.S. Army officers. Additionally, the articles about the 2021 Nininger and Thayer Awards help keep us informed on how West Point is recognizing both graduates and non-graduates who have distinguished themselves in their military career or in civilian life. You are doing a valuable service to the Long Gray Line by publishing this information for all of us to share.


We love to receive letters such as this. It validates all the work that our small, yet mighty, magazine team does “to tell the West Point story and strengthen the grip of the Long Gray Line.” Thank you!

FROM: Bob Ballagh ’64

I read with great interest the article about the Equestrian Team’s accomplishments and especially about the Cashmans’ contributions and the new Crosbie E. Saint Equestrian Center. Those grads who were Equestrian Team members for the previous 54 years before its dedication can really appreciate the new facility while also saying “The Corps has” because the present members of the team don’t have to put up with trying to hone their skills outdoors in the winter. I was dismayed, however, that the article had not even a single sentence about the team’s first 15 years. Jumping 40-plus years from the 1940s to the 1980s is flat out wrong. The Equestrian Club started in 1967 with borrowed horses and grew by the perseverance of the founding coach, who had the foresight to join the IHSA as well as teach the early riders the mounted cavalry saber drills that they demonstrated annually on the Plain. The story of the first 15 years would fill a couple of pages by itself. Those years laid the foundations upon which the Cashmans have built the current excellent program.


Being the magazine’s quarterly sport feature, the article on the Equestrian Team did focus more on the lessons being taught to current team members than on the history of the team (although part of the article captures some reflections from former team members). Your letter does indicate, however, that there may be enough material surrounding the team’s history for a future “Past in Review” article. Thank you for the suggestion.

“No excuse, sir or ma’am!”

West Point magazine regrets the following errors in the 2022 Winter issue:

• The “Gripping Hands” headline box for Robert A. McDonald on p. 14 should have stated “1975.”

• In the “2021 Thayer Award” article, the caption on p. 52 should have read “…and BG Shane Reeves ’96, Dean of the Academic Board:… .”

• The year of Thayer Hall’s construction is incorrect in the Equestrian Team article (pp. 56-61). It was built between 1908 and 1911. It ceased being a riding hall in 1946.

• Lastly, we received a call from Major General John S. Grinalds ’59 (Retired), who indicated that the sentence, “The last time West Point had four Rhodes Scholars in one year was in 1959,” in the “Margin of Excellence Program Aids 2022 Rhodes Scholars” article (p. 15), is misleading. As he informed us, the Class of 1959, had five Rhodes Scholars. Indeed, a photo found in the 1959 Summer issue of ASSEMBLY magazine (below) confirms his great memory. “Technically we had six,” he said. “I was the sixth, but I commissioned to the Marine Corps and delayed acceptance by a year.”

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 55 MAILBOX Photo: WPAOG archives
The Dean bids farewell to five Rhodes Scholars from the Class of 1959 (left to right): CDTs Gillette, Dawkins, Ray, Kanarowski and Hutton.

“The Wolfpack”

Highest Ranking Grads Currently Serving:

Highest Scoring Sandhurst Team in Fall Competition: C-3 (1st Overall)

56 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; John Pellino/USMA PAO; U.S. Army
LTG Theodore D. Martin ’83 (D-3) Commanding General of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College LTG Daniel L. Karbler ’87 (C-3) Commanding General, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Last First Captain from First Regiment: Reilly McGinnis ’21 (I-3)

Scholarship Recipients: (From the Class of 2021)

Anthony Giachin (C-3) Rotary

Charles Harrington (C-3) Draper Lab

Bennett Hellman (B-3) MIT Lincoln Labs

Adam Hoxeng (E-3) Fulbright

Andrew Mizell (G-3) MIT Lincoln Labs

Daniel Muncaster (A-3) Rotary

William Nevils (F-3) Anna Sobol Levy

Mia Padon (G-3) Southampton

Cheyenne Quilter (A-3) Rotary

Cadets Who Scored a Perfect 600 on ACFT:

Jack Fisher ’22 (A-3)

Javan Guevara-Cragwell ’25 (D-3)

Zachary Kirk ’24 (F-3)

Trevor Manning ’25 (I-3)

Elijah Tucker ’24 (E-3)

Most Popular Company Patch: I-3

(According to the 2020 “April Madness” Company Logo Competition)

Corps Squad Team Captains: (All from the Class of 2022 unless otherwise noted)

Aaron Duhart (B-3) M Basketball

Alisa Fallon (H-3) W Basketball

Jordan Jones (B-3) Cross Country

Cedrick Cunningham (G-3) Football

Thomas Katsenes (C-3) Golf

Sidney Weigand ’23 (B-3) W Lacrosse

Anastasia Osborne (H-3) Rifle

Hope Moseley (A-3) W Rugby

Jacob Suppiah (F-3) M Soccer

Daniela Mendoza (D-3) W Soccer

Kevin Lin (G-3) Swimming & Diving

Sam Kesti (B-3) M Tennis

Company G-3

Mascot: Gophers

Stephanie Dolehide (I-3) W Tennis

Caroline Vincent (B-3) W Tennis

Ryan Hogan (C-3) Track & Field

Chandler Jones (I-3) Rabble Rousers

Benjamin Meure (E-3) Strength

Photos: Army West Point Athletics; Chris W. Pestel ’03; WPAOG archives Aaron Duhart ’22 Stephanie Dolehide ’22 Cedrick Cunningham ’22

Authors Bookshelf

A West Point magazine supplement featuring books by West Point graduates and faculty.

The Everlasting Spring: Beyond Olympus

Volume One, Benjamin & Boudica by Francis Audrain ’68

The Everlasting Spring Beyond Olympus is an epic trilogy in three sagas inspired by actual events, during the tumultuous rise of Western Culture. In the formative era of the first century Benjamin and Boudica become the first of three couples whose heroic lives reflect thousands of others who made world changing history by following the dream that eventually led to the founding of the United States of America.

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

The Everlasting Spring: Beyond Olympus

Volume Two, Colton & Blue Star by Francis


Long after the era of Benjamin and Boudica, European explorers took to the sea seeking new resources for their growing population. They found a “new world” across the Atlantic; and it was there that Colton and Blue Star emerged in the saga of the American West, as Western Culture continued to spread from the former British Colonies to a wild-land replete with conflict, and opportunity.

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

The Everlasting Spring: Beyond Olympus

Volume Three, Aaron & Alana


After the seminal eras of Benjamin & Boudica, and Colton & Blue Star, Aaron and Alana emerge. Both are born in 1941 at the onset of the Second World War; and then come the conflicts in Korea and Southeast Asia where Aaron is wounded in Vietnam; ends up in Hawaii and soon realizes his trauma has radically affected the trajectory of his life. Then he meets Alana and miraculously, his soul begins to heal.

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

Gray Horse Troop

During three continuous weeks of combat in February 1968, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry conducted six battalion attacks, defeated the 5th NVA Regiment, and reached the northwest bridge into the Citadel of Hue—a unique period during a war fought at company and platoon level. Soon thereafter they led the massive air-assault campaign by the 1st Cavalry Division to un-encircle Khe Sahn; and again on 19 April into the infamous A Shau Valley. Gray Horse Troop is a personal account by the battalion’s Operations officer.

Available at Amazon.com

From Berkeley to Berlin

Think the Cuban Missile Crisis was the ultimate nuclear crisis of the Kennedy years? A crisis one year earlier was more dangerous, and few know about it. Kennedy met with General Lucius Clay and thought about having to use tactical nuclear weapons against Red Army formations. This is the story of how some hard-working Americans, including five West Pointers, met the challenge of a Communist thug and helped avert a nuclear war. Our first Thayer Award was given to the man who orchestrated this achievement.

Available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and local bookstores

Accomplishing the Impossible: Leadership That Launched Revolutionary Change

Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism and Terrorism

A Rock in the Clouds

Rapp ’84 Rapp draws contemporary leadership lessons from the events and people that were central to the early American Revolution in New England. From 1774 to 1776, the uprising in Boston became an American war, the Army came into being, and leaders like Adams, Washington, and Knox proved remarkable in doing the impossible. A staff ride in prose, Rapp cuts through the popular mythology around the Boston Campaign and applies these lessons to challenges faced by today’s business and public leaders. Forward by the former CJCS, Gen (Ret) Joe Dunford.

Available at many online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, etc.

From 1995 to 2020 small groups of more than 3,000 Russian and American scientists and engineers convened at over 150 venues to improve understanding of global trends in violent extremism and terrorism. They visited more than 100 research laboratories, development and industrial facilities, and analytical centers in the United States, Russia, Europe, and the Middle East. The program continues to be sponsored by the U.S. and Russian National Academies of Sciences.

Available at National Academies Press

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 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 from Koehler Books

58 WestPointAOG.org SECTION : TITLE
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

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

LinkedIn: The 5-Minute Drill for Executive Networking Success

Level Up your LinkedIn Presence in 5 Minutes a Day!

by Lori Ruff and Joe Frankie ‘68

Does your LinkedIn profile look like your service record? Lori Ruff and Joe Frankie ‘68 offer you a one hour read for your Transition Translation. LinkedIn: The 5-Minute Drill for Executive Networking Success gets you from the war room to the boardroom.

If its not on LinkedIn, you’ve never done it! Translate those accomplishments on LinkedIn in a way everyone will see YOU ARE READY for the civilian sector. This is a must read!

Get your copy today at 5minutedrill.com

Tales from the Cold War

A memoir of life and service in West Germany during the Cold War. Mahler spent over a decade in Germany, where he raised his family and later commanded the 3rd Armored Division’s cavalry squadron at Büdingen. In his memoir, Mahler reflects upon training on a war footing before the Berlin Wall was built, the littleknown background of a battle group’s movements down the Berlin corridor, and the near disastrous impact of the Vietnam years.

Available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and others

Warp Speed:

Inside the Operation that Beat COVID, the Critics, and the Odds

A riveting account from the inside of how a small group of leaders from the military, industry, and government designed the most successful publicprivate partnership since World War II. Operation Warp Speed did not happen by accident. It was the result of inspiring leadership, a deliberate strategy, exacting execution, and exceptional teamwork. The result: hundreds of thousands of American lives, and trillions of dollars of economic output, saved.

Available at Amazon.com

Life Lessons and Lost Wars

by COL (R) David Mosinski ’81

Enlightening accounts from a U.S. Army soldier covering an unusual range of assignments, training events, operations, military intelligence work, and engagements with America’s allies over a span of five decades. Readers may well be surprised by revelations of certain underlying factors behind the success or failure of U.S. military operations in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Liberia. Episodes offer various life lessons—applicable to soldiers and non-soldiers alike—and emphasize the good moral code.

Available at Amazon.com & Barnes&Noble.com

Northwest Epic

Northwest Epic is the sweeping history of the construction of the Alaska Highway, the most ambitious road ever built in North America. Heath Twichell’s book tells not only the story of one of the most challenging macro-engineering feats undertaken in the twentieth century, but also provides an insightful account of Alaska at mid-century, a territory at its historical crossroads.

With over 70 original photos, maps and illustrations.

Available at local bookstores or online retailers

The Third Force

In the final chapter of the Gisawi Chronicles, American spies, diplomats, and soldiers wage a quixotic campaign to thwart superpower rivals in a remote corner of Africa. But nothing is what it seems in a game of geopolitical intrigue and deception, and no one can be trusted.

“A cautionary tale about nationbuilding run amok. Fiction often gets to a higher truth. The Third Force proves it.”—Kevin Maurer, NY Times Bestselling co-author of No Easy Day.

Available at Amazon.com

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

TAPS magazine

West Point Association of Graduates

TAPS is the official memorial magazine of the Long Gray Line, and contains the fascinating and inspiring life stories of West Point graduates. Every graduate’s memorial article is personally written by family members, classmates or class presidents. Memorial articles are also posted online under “Be Thou At Peace” on the WPAOG website. A commemorative parchment copy of each memorial article is given to the next of kin in a keepsake folder. Families and friends may purchase additional parchment copies for a nominal fee.

To pre-order the 2022 TAPS magazine or learn more, call 845.446.1645

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 59 SECTION : TITLE 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


Army West Point Swimming and Diving

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Photos: Mark Wellman

The Old

On August 23, 1944, near Fountainbleu, France, Lieutenant Colonel Kelley Lemmon, U.S. Army, had a problem. Tasked with attacking across the Seine River, Lemmon and his infantrymen discovered that the bridge they had planned to use had been effectively blown to pieces. Spying a group of small civilian boats tied up on the far shore, Lemmon waded into the Seine and began a 350-yard swim to the enemy-occupied riverbank. Arriving at the boats, he quickly tied five of them together and, under constant small-arms fire, towed them back to his astonished troops. With those boats, the Americans would begin their crossing and establish a beachhead on the opposite shore. Kelley Lemmon, West Point swimmer, Class of 1937, is just one of what today’s Army athletes call, “the Ghosts in the Rafters.”

“The legacy of the team is critical,” says Kevin Lin ’22, one of four Army West Point Swimming and Diving Team captains this season and team record holder for the men’s 200m freestyle. “We place great emphasis on the legacies of the people this program has produced, and the sacrifices they have made.” The emphasis can be, at once, both evident and subtle. From the annual Lemmon Challenge (an internal team competition that recreates Lemmon’s crossing), to cemetery visits, to absorbing the extensive history recorded on the walls of Crandall Pool, home of the Swimming and Diving Team, inspirations are plenteous. “We dedicated this whole season to the memory of First Lieutenant Dennis W. Zilinski II ’04, wearing his unit crest, the 101st Airborne, on our caps when we compete,” explains Nick Isenhower ’22, a team captain, who also serves as

the Fourth Regiment command sergeant major. Zilinski, a former team captain, was lost to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005. And there are others. Never too far from the minds of Army athletes, Zilinski, Lemmon, and the full complement of fellow Ghosts are constantly on watch and, no doubt, are very excited about what they’re seeing these days.

The New

Army West Point Swimming and Diving Head Coach Brandt Nigro arrived at the Academy from NC State in September 2019, already 50 days into the fall schedule. This year, he is coaching what may rightfully be called his first “real season” at West Point. Vacating his “dream job” at a swimming powerhouse like NC State was initially nowhere in the cards for Nigro, especially to take the reins at a program about which he knew very little and that had no national presence in NCAA swimming. West Point didn’t seem like a professional fit for Nigro, but fate had a different plan: “When I came to interview, I saw all the pieces necessary to compete at a national level. The potential was unbelievable. I thought, ‘We can do some really special things here.’”

New blood followed new blood as Coach Nigro began building a coaching staff who mirrored his passion. As the staff arrived and adapted in the weeks and months before COVID, the initial collisions of culture bordered on the comical. Backstroker and team captain Lauren Carag ’22 recalls, “I remember the coaches asking, ‘Firsties can skip Branch Night and make it to practice, right?’ It was pretty funny.” Then, a few short months later, the season, and the world, completely derailed. Nigro explains, “We had gotten to know them for five or six months, and we had

Photo: U.S. Naval Academy Athletics Department
Previous page: Army West Point diver Acacia Chai ’22 and swimmer Riley Worshek ’24 (inset) in action at Crandall Pool, where the Black Knights posted a 6-1 home record this season. Above: Evan Zhang ’22 (right) leads the charge into the water against Navy at Annapolis. Zhang is the Army record holder in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and scored two individual race victories against the Midshipmen.

already talked about big summer training plans, everybody was on board, and then, they disappeared for five or six months. It was all kind of lost.”

Nigro, his staff, and his athletes found themselves in uncharted territory. When the 2020 fall season arrived, it was like nothing anyone had imagined before. “The COVID season was just crazy,” says Carag. “Everyone was all over the place and, at times, we had no idea what we were supposed to be doing.” Activities at the pool were heavily restricted, quarantine continually claimed athletes from the ranks (they “disappeared”), and events that were not cancelled became virtual. “We’re supposedly racing another team, but we can’t actually see them—it was really strange,” recalls Carag. Gone also were the intangible benefits that come with regular team meetings, meals, and simply hanging out together. It was not a mentally healthy environment, so to speak. “It was my hardest time here,” says diver and team captain Acacia Chai ’22, “because you could see the impact on people that you love.” Lin adds, “We learned just how precious the team was.” As uncertainty ruled the day, Coach Nigro and his soon-to-be team captains focused on what they could control and controlled it.

The Turn

“I remember going into one of the first meetings with Coach Brandt and the other new captains when Coach said, ‘I want you to take this program in a new direction,’” recalls Carag. Lin adds, “At that point, many of the underclassmen had never really seen a normal year; so, it really fell to our class to figure out

which parts [of team culture] we were going to keep, and which ones we were going to let die with COVID.” The team captains got to work. They agreed that consistent accountability for things like missed practices, and other occasional missteps, was something that the team could improve. Accordingly, they quickly codified clear expectations and standards in the form of appendices to the team handbook. “We wanted the incoming plebes to know what kind of family they were getting into,” says Chai. Right behind the words, actions followed. “We started holding each other accountable for the standards we had created for ourselves,” says Carag. “That was the only way we were going to make each other better.” Meanwhile, expectations and standards were weighing on the minds of the coaching staff as well. The “first real season” was about to begin.

The Bar Is Raised

“Coach Brandt, you’re crazy!” was the first thing that came to Carag’s mind. Early in the 2021-22 season, the Black Knights would go up against powerhouse programs, including the defending national champions on the women’s side, the University of Virginia. “UVA? We had no business being in the pool with them,” says Carag. Interestingly, the team swam faster at that meet than it had at any other time during the season. “So, I’m swimming against an Olympic silver medalist, whatever,” says Carag. “Once you get over the ‘wow’ factor, it is just like any other race.” It was all part of Nigro’s plan. “We’re putting these kids in this challenging environment, against kids they just saw

Photo: U.S. Naval Academy Athletics Department The Army West Point Swimming and Diving Team rocks Lejeune Hall with a thunderous “On Brave Old Army Team” prior to squaring off with Navy.

in the Olympics two months before,” he says. “They swam their best, and the competition didn’t rattle them.”

After UVA, the team headed to the NC State Invitational, where they faced off against national brands such as NC State, Stanford, Arizona State, and Duke. Army held their own, with plebe Meghan Cole ’25 breaking the Army program record for the women’s 200m individual medley on the first day of competition. “It was my first suited-up college meet,” Cole recalls. She bested the former record by more than a full second. “It hurt more than any event I have done in my entire life, but it felt good.”

“NC State and UVA were huge,” recalls Isenhower. “We really got to see what these other programs do, not only during races, but during warmup, warm-down, recovery, cheering from the sidelines. What do they do to get the extra edge? I’ve seen several of the underclass swimmers and divers adopt those techniques, and I think that’s making a difference. It’s all in the margins.”

Youth and Truth

Of course, putting the team up against top-tier competition is simply one component of Nigro’s strategy, and it rests, as it must, on the more fundamental challenge—building and training the team you plan to put there. “Our staff is ‘all in’ on recruiting,” Nigro says with conviction. If the current roster is any indication, the recruiting efforts have not disappointed. In fact, of the 60 total spots on the current men’s and women’s combined roster, nearly half (29) are plebes. “I like the way [the coaches] train,” says Cole. “I like the individuality. Everyone needs something different to be the very best they can. The fact that the coaches teach that is a big reason I wanted to come here.”

“They were interested in me as a person,” adds plebe Owen Harlow ’25, current plebe record holder for the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle. “When they called, they weren’t just talking about swimming and my grades; they wanted to know about how I was doing; what my plans were for the weekend, and life outside of swimming.” Harlow points out that he did not receive such attention when he talked to Navy or Air Force. “They seemed like they had [their own] priorities, and that’s all they wanted to talk about,” he says.

There is no bait-and-switch. The hype, they say, is real. Harlow attests, “I’ve never experienced coaches who are so dedicated and focused on each individual swimmer.” Cole echoes her classmate, “I can come up with any concern to any of the coaches and they will help me through it. I really think that for every single swimmer, they take it so personally.” Another simple and effective tool is “the truth.” Team confidence is grounded in merit. “I like the honesty,” says Harlow. “Coach Brandt is always honest with us.” Critical feedback regarding performance and

expectations is not necessarily considered negative, but as a simple tool to remain focused on the maximum benefits they can wring from any given match-up, win or lose. That’s why, prior to the Navy meet, when Nigro told the men’s team, “This is one of the best chances we’ve got to beat Navy,” they absolutely believed him.


Center stage poolside, surrounded by an electrified capacity crowd, the Army West Point team gathered tightly around their captains and burst into a leaping, ear-splitting rendition of “On Brave Old Army Team.” As the last echoes faded across Navy’s Lejeune Hall, the cadets slowly dispersed, their war faces on. They were deep in hostile waters. “I’ve never experienced a meet like that,” says Harlow. “I was so nervous on the block that my leg was bouncing; I was that nervous.” Meanwhile, the crowd and the Army team became locked in an hours-long cheering (screaming) competition. Cole’s Mom called her after the meet: “That was so exciting; the stands were shaking!” As the dives and races ticked off, the men’s team scored dramatic win after dramatic win: Daniel Alaimo ’22 on the 1m board; Harlow, Evan Zhang ’22, Tanner Falls ’23, Harlow, again, Zhang, again. Two hours into the meet, the men’s result was still in question. Then, at the end, something strange happened. During the very last race, the men’s 400m free relay, the Army foursome touched first, amid wild cheering from their teammates. Much of the Navy crowd stood stunned. What just happened? Did Army win the meet? Some Army fans were equally confused: did we win the star? Everyone knew it was still super close, but the running score of the meet was not actually posted anywhere. It took several moments for everyone in the building to understand what was happening. Apparently, Navy had secured the victory, at 152 points, with a first-place touch in the race immediately prior. It was that close. “I don’t think there was anything else anyone could have brought,” says Harlow. “We gave it our all.” Yes, they did.


One can only imagine the current chatter buzzing through the Rafters’ locker room, as the Crandall Overwatch excitedly discusses the rising fortunes of their beloved program. Meanwhile, on the terrestrial side, all indicators seem to suggest that Coach Nigro’s initial instinct was correct: “If you want to be part of something really special, and be part of building the future, this is a great place to do it. We work really hard, we have fun, and you can take your swimming and diving goals to the highest levels here.” The residents of the Rafters are likely unanimous in their agreement. 

“If you want to be part of something really special, and be part of building the future, this is a great place to do it. We work really hard, we have fun, and you can take your swimming and diving goals to the highest levels here.”
— Brandt Nigro, Army West Point Swimming and Diving Head Coach
64 WestPointAOG.org Another year, another graduating class joins the Long Gray Line. What better way to celebrate your Old Grad status than with official swag? Use our handy checklist to ensure you are current on all the latest Old Grad gear. Great for new and not so new Old Grads! CONGRATULATIONS USMA 2022! Shirts Mugs Hats Bumper Stickers Pins Glasses WPAOGGiftShop.com 1.800.426.4725 OLD GRAD CHECKLIST Order your copy of the 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 Copies Are Still Available…

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Be Thou at Peace

Mr. Leon A. Cookman


COL Donald E. Fowler USA, Retired 1945

LTC Joseph P. O'Hanlon USA, Retired 1945

BG Louis J. Schelter Jr. USA, Retired 1945

COL Richard C. Williams USA, Retired 1945

MG Hal E. Hallgren USA, Retired 1946

Mr. George Silides 1946

LTC Thomas B. Cormack USA, Retired 1948

LTC Peter A. Abbruzzese USA, Retired 1950

COL James A. Curtis USA, Retired 1950

COL David D. Joy USA, Retired 1950

LTC Dan R. McDaniel USA, Retired 1950

COL Bruce E. Petree USA, Retired 1950

Mr. James W. Stuff 1950

Mr. Clyde Cocke Jr. 1951

Lt Col Robert F. McDonald USAF, Retired 1951

Mr. John L. Ross 1951

Mr. Charles J. Satuloff 1951

Maj Gen Gerald J. Carey Jr. USAF, Retired 1952

BG Arthur G. Jackson USANG, Retired 1952

BG James B. Lee AUS, Retired 1952

COL Henry G. Moseley USA, Retired 1952

LTC Thomas A. Rehm USA, Retired 1952

COL George R. Underhill USA, Retired 1952

COL Charles R. Wallis USA, Retired 1952

LTG Robert L. Wetzel USA, Retired 1952

Mr. Wayne N. White 1952

MG Drake Wilson USA, Retired 1952

Col Burden Brentnall USAF, Retired 1953

COL Carson E.R. Holman AUS, Retired 1953

LTC Thomas P. McKenna USA, Retired 1953

Mr. Arthur R. Phipps 1953

COL Luke L. Callaway Jr. USA, Retired 1954

Col William M. Egan USAF, Retired 1954

COL Franklin A. Hart USA, Retired 1954

LTC Robert A. Ironside Jr. USA, Retired 1954

LTC Francis J. Percy USA, Retired 1954

LTC Robert C. Riese USA, Retired 1954

Mr. Francis E. Armour 1955

Mr. Carl J. Bossert 1955

Col Robert A. Meisenheimer USAF, Retired 1955

COL David L. Pemberton USA, Retired 1955

COL Michael A. Stevenson USA, Retired 1955

COL Rudolph B. DeFrance USA, Retired 1956

Mr. George W. Lee Jr. 1956

Lt Col Alan L. Thelin USAF, Retired 1956

Lt Col Martin G. Bradley USAF, Retired 1957

Dr. Gerald W. Chase 1957

Deaths reported from December 16, 2021 – March 15, 2022

LTC Theodore D. Felber USA, Retired 1957

LTC Harry C. Goodson III USA, Retired 1957

COL Robert E. Leard USA, Retired 1957

COL Richard W. Pfeiffer USA, Retired 1957

Col Douglas W. Stockton USAF, Retired 1957

Dr. Robert K. Tener 1957

LTC Jerry W. Betts USA, Retired 1958

Mr. Troy D. Chappell 1958

LTC Robert G. Finkenaur Jr. USA, Retired 1958

COL William S. Graf USA, Retired 1958

Col Jerry N. Hoblit USAF, Retired 1958

Dr. James W. McCauley MD 1958

Mr. Charles H. Oxrieder 1958

Mr. John H. Roe Jr. 1958

MG John O.B. Sewall USA, Retired 1958

Mr. Wilbourne A. Kelley III 1959

Mr. Alvin J. Morefield 1959

COL Patrick F. Passarella USA, Retired 1959

Mr. Reginald W. Rhein Jr. 1959

LTC Joseph E. Todaro USA, Retired 1959

LTC William H. Zierdt III USA, Retired 1959

Mr. Robert D. Eckert 1960

Mr. William P. Fay 1960

Mr. Frederick J. Lynn 1960

COL Michael T. Plummer USA, Retired 1960

LTC Thomas F. Schatzman Jr. USA, Retired 1960

LTC Robert A. Burns USA, Retired 1961

MG Travis N. Dyer USA, Retired 1961

Mr. Howard D. Himes 1961

Mr. Robert E. McCarthy 1961

COL Frank C. Rauch USA, Retired 1961

Col Emmanuel J. Scivoletto USAF, Retired 1961

COL Gerald A. Vick USA, Retired 1961

Mr. Joel D. Froeschle 1962

Mr. Dennis W. Gilstad 1962

COL Robert S. McGurk USA, Retired 1962

LTC John W. O'Neal USA, Retired 1962

LTC Thomas D. Pearson Jr. USA, Retired 1962

COL Robert J. Weinfurter USA, Retired 1962

Lt Col Robert F. Wells USAF, Retired 1962

Mr. William H. George 1963

LTC David W. Knowlton III USA, Retired 1963

MG Pat M. Stevens IV USA, Retired 1963

Mr. John S. Waller 1963

Dr. Stephen E. Draper 1964

BG Frank R. Giordano USA, Retired 1964

Mr. James A. Kofalt 1964

Mr. Leonard A. Kresefski 1964

Dr. Randy K. Nanstad 1964

Mr. Howard W. Wilson 1964

Mr. Karl R. Wilson Jr. 1964

COL Steven C. Harman Jr. USA, Retired 1965

COL Arthur C. Hester USA, Retired

COL Stephen J. Kempf USA, Retired

Mr. Wayne W. Marsh

Mr. James D. Fowler Jr.

MAJ Robert D. Herb USA, Retired

Mr. Dean M. Kunihiro

Mr. Joseph M. Dooley

Mr. Jon K. Stallings

Mr. Robert S. Hoffman

Mr. Stephen C. McGue

Mr. Gregory N. Edwards

COL Kurt B. Reineke Jr. USA, Retired

COL Gene C. Barton USA, Retired

Mr. Roy L. Hiter

LTC Ronald F. Nicholl USA, Retired 1972

LTC Mark D. Brigham USA, Retired 1973

LTC Robert T. Tapp USAR, Retired 1973

LTC Michael R.U. Clifford USA, Retired 1974

LTC Marvin K. Decker USA, Retired 1974

Mr. Howard J. Bush 1975

Mr. Douglas W. Dupree 1975

Mr. Malcolm O. Everett 1975

MAJ Michael R. Girrard USA, Retired 1975

MAJ Robert J. Harren USA, Retired 1975

MAJ Carl R. Johnson USA, Retired 1975

Mr. William R. Kline 1975

Mr. James L. McIntyre 1975

MAJ Gary M. Nicholas USA, Retired 1975

Mr. Matthew D. Matey 1976

COL Reginald A. Grant USAR, Retired 1978

Mr. Robert E. Mathis 1979

LTC Todd E. Ostheller ANG, Retired 1980

MAJ Robert J. Barnhill Jr. USA, Retired 1982

Mr. Steven C. Phelps 1983

Mr. Robert F. Muska 1984

Mrs. Rhonda M. Harmon 1985

Mr. Phillip E. Mitchell 1987

COL Donovan D.J. Ollar USA, Retired 1993

MAJ Darren R. Baldwin USA, Retired 1998

Mr. Choyce J. Moon V 1999

MAJ Clint T. Olearnick USA, Retired 2002

CPT Shaun P. Wheelwright USA, Retired 2004

66 WestPointAOG.org BE THOU AT PEACE

Past in Review Battle, March, Remember: The Plight of West Pointers in the Philippines During WWII

On December 7, 1941, just nine hours after they carried out their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck the Philippines. Supremely confident, their timetable called for the Philippine Islands, then a U.S. commonwealth, to be conquered within 50 days. Against all odds, and despite being seriously under-supplied and illprepared for battle, the weaker American-Filipino force fought back stubbornly and tenaciously for 150 days before succumbing. This delay was to throw off kilter Japan’s strategic plans to permanently control all of resource-rich Southeast Asia.

Defending the Philippines was the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), which was comprised of roughly 31,000 U.S. troops and

100,000 members of the Philippine Army. Among these troops were 299 graduates of the United States Military Academy (USMA). Before war’s end, 179 of these West Pointers would make the ultimate sacrifice. To put this into perspective, a grand total of 487 West Pointers died from war-related activities during World War II; the Philippines cohort accounted for more than a third of these deaths.

On July 26, 1941, former Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, who had retired from the Army in 1937, was recalled to active duty and given command of USAFFE. Then, on December 8, at about noon Manila time, Japanese bombers flew over the island of Luzon, the largest in

the archipelago. Upon reaching Clark Air Base, they found all the American planes neatly lined up on the tarmac. Unloading their bombs on the inviting target, they damaged or destroyed the majority of the B-17s, in addition to putting 50 pursuit planes out of commission.

Captain Colin P. Kelly Jr. ’37, a pilot from Heavy Bomber Group 19, 14th Bomb Squadron, was destined to become America’s first mega-hero of World War II. On December 10, piloting a B-17, Kelly and his crew took off from Clark. Coming upon several enemy vessels, they unleashed their bombs. Through the smoke, flak and fog of battle, it appeared that they had hit a large battleship and caused sufficient damage to sink it.

Returning to base, Kelly’s Flying Fortress was intercepted by several Japanese pursuit planes and was severely shot up. Realizing that he would not be able to land, Kelly maintained control long enough for his crew, but not him, to bail out. When the plane crashed, Kelly died upon impact. For his selfless act, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Kelly was not the only Philippine-based hero of headline proportions from the Long Gray Line. The first American soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II was Second Lieutenant Alexander (Sandy) Nininger, a member of the Class of 1941. Despite multiple wounds and disregarding his own personal safety, Nininger managed to neutralize several well-positioned snipers who had been raising havoc on his men, at the cost of his own life. Two other West Point graduates, both high-profile, were also to be awarded the Medals of Honor for their accomplishments during the Battle for Defense of the Philippines, namely MacArthur and General Jonathan Wainwright, Class of 1906.

The USAFFE troops, which were scattered throughout Luzon at the start of the war, retreated into a 30-mile-long by

WEST POINT | SPRING 2022 67 PAST IN REVIEW Photo: U.S. Air Force photo
in the Air Power
at the National
of the U.S. Air
CPT Colin P. Kelly Jr. ’37, as painted by Deane Keller of Yale University and featured

15-mile-wide strip of land bordering Manila Bay that is known as the Bataan Peninsula. Facing a hopeless siege situation, this was to be the battlefield upon which the U.S. troops would make their stand.

Cut off from reinforcements and with no realistic hope of being resupplied, they took to calling themselves the Battling Bastards of Bataan: “no mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam; no pills, no planes, no artillery pieces; and nobody gives a damn.” Nevertheless, they stood strong and refused to give up.

Although the Japanese plan called for conquest of the Philippines by January 15, which would allow their troops to be re-positioned to other strategically important locations, it wasn’t until April 9 that General Edward King, commander of the joint Philippine and American force on Bataan, was finally forced to surrender. USAFFE troops on the nearby island of Corregidor, which guards the mouth of Manila Bay, continued to hold out until May 6.

The Japanese forced the tens of thousands of USAFFE troops from Bataan—most of whom were already suffering from severe malnutrition as well as malaria, dysentery, and other debilitating diseases—to walk 100 kilometers to a poorly constructed camp known as O’Donnell.

Although April is the Philippines’ hottest and driest season, many of the guards refused to allow the captives to stop to drink water, even as they passed

many streams and plentiful artesian wells. It is estimated that more than 600 Americans and possibly as many as 10,000 Filipinos died in what is now commonly referred to as the Bataan Death March.

As terrible as the Death March was, however, it is crucial to recognize that it was not an isolated incident. The fact is that the Bataan Death March was just one short and ugly chapter in the POW’s excruciatingly long journey of torture and deprivation, which only ended with the ultimate defeat of Imperial Japan, three and a half years later.

When the POWs arrived at O’Donnell, many were barely alive. The camp had but one working water faucet and lacked all sanitary facilities. The Americans would remain there until June, during which time 1,547 died. O’Donnell was even worse for their Filipino comrades-in-arms. By late July, when the Filipinos were paroled and allowed to reintegrate into Philippine society, some 26,000 had died there. Following O’Donnell, the Americans were transferred to a camp named Cabanatuan, where an additional 2,656 POWs died.

By autumn of 1944, when Allied troops landed on the island of Leyte to liberate

the Philippines, Tokyo decided to transport all remaining able-bodied Americans, many of whom were field grade officers, to Japan. Unfortunately, between October 1944 and January 1945, 156 USMA graduates died horrendous deaths aboard transport vessels, commonly referred to as Hell Ships, or in the aftermath of such voyages.

Of the nearly 299 West Point grads who were stationed in the Philippines on December 8, 1941, More than 60 percent would die from their ordeals by war’s end. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine the suffering endured, both physical and emotional, by the survivors, which included General Wainwright, the highest-ranking American POW during the war. The story of their courage and the sacrifices they made is an important chapter in the annals of West Point, and one that must never be forgotten. 

Jerome Kleiman is an insurance professional and an independent historian and photojournalist. His articles have appeared in several periodicals, including the Washington Times and the Army Engineer Magazine , and his photos have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally.

68 WestPointAOG.org PAST IN REVIEW
Photos: Jerome Kleiman; Wikimedia Commons A monument on the grounds of Cabanatuan Camp # 1 of Corregidor Island, Philippines, that honors all West Point graduates who died in the Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII, either in combat against the Japanese or as a POW in one of their internment camps. GEN Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, and then LTG Jonathan Wainwright, Class of 1906, embrace each other upon Wainwright’s release as a Japanese POW.


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