West Point Magazine Spring 2023

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SPRING 2023 In This Issue: USMA Then & Now: 1940-present A Publication of the West Point Association of Graduates WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S
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 The only military career fair exclusively for Federal Service Academy Graduates.

 Meet one-on-one with corporate recruiters looking for the unique skills and experience of Academy graduates.

 Get peer advice on managing the challenges of career transitions.

 Learn how to get your foot in the door for your desired civilian career.

 Explore graduate school options.

To register for any SACC as an attendee or employer, go to sacc-jobfair.com For

more information about WPAOG Career Services: wpaogcareers.org | 845.446.1618 | careers@wpaog.org Planning a career transition? Start here. Washington, DC May 11–12, 2023
CA Aug 17–18,
Dallas, TX Nov 9-10, 2023 2024 schedule TBD

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, The Honorable & Mrs. Robert A. McDonald ’75 President & CEO


Jaye Donaldson editor@wpaog.org


Keith J. Hamel


Patrick Ortland ’82 Samantha Soper

Terence Sinkfield ’99


Marguerite Smith


Keith Hamel Jenn Voigtschild ’93

Erika Norton


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West Point Association of Graduates

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Marilee Meyer HON ’56 and ’62

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WPAOG programs, including communications, made possible by William D. Mounger, Class of 1948.

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.


WestPointis published quarterly in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Send address changes to: WestPointmagazine, West Point Association of Graduates, 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996-1607

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Subscriptions may be ordered for $25 (domestic mail) online at WestPointAOG.org; by calling 800.BE.A.GRAD; or by sending a check to WPAOG, WestPointmagazine, 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996-1607.

ON THE COVER: The Old Library and Observatory (inset) was retired in 1961-62; today, Jefferson Hall, completed in 2008, houses the USMA Library (in between the two, Building 757, built in 1964, served as the cadet library). Photo: WPAOG archives.




USMA Then & Now: 1940-present

USMA Then & Now | 1940-present

From the moment the Academy officially commenced operations on July 4, 1802, it has been in a perpetual state of evolution, and many of the changes have occurred in the last 80-plus years.

7 The Evolution of Military Training

14 Who Remembers…? Teaching Tools at USMA

18 Changes to the Physical Development Program

24 Honoring the Fallen: Ring Melt for the Class of 2024

In 2023, sixty-seven rings were donated to the WPAOG Ring Memorial Program, which will now continue in perpetuity for future generations of the Long Gray Line thanks to generous support from the Class of 1966.

28 West Point, A Changing Landscape

36 Say Again?

A list of “Cadet Jargon.”




52 Not Your “Old Grad” AOG

Internal data reports show that “Old Grads” have very positive associations with WPAOG, but are they familiar with all the services now offered to them?

56 Declare It!

20 Years of Women’s Army Rugby

60 West Point’s Most Winning “Brotherhood”

3 From the President

4 From the Superintendent

22 WPAOG News


39 Mailbox

2 WestPointAOG.org SECTION : TITLE
VOLUME 13, ISSUE 2 • SPRING 2023 Send your thoughts about West Point magazine to editor@wpaog.org or @WPAOG on Twitter. View the online version of this magazine at WestPointAOG.org/wpmag Highlights and videos may be found on WPAOG Social Media. From Your West Point Association of Graduates
Fourth Class to Four Class Leadership
Take Seats! Mess Hall Traditions
Cadet Talents with Army Demands
Talent-Based Branching: Aligning
12 Gripping Hands
WPAOG Military Retiree Recognition Program
34 Poster: Doodler’s Map 1940
46 West Point Authors Bookshelf
Thou at Peace
Past in Review DEPARTMENTS ADVERTISERS Balfour 21 Battle Monument Group C4 Citizens Watch 5 Falcons Landing 21 The Gift Shop 1 Herff Jones 21 SACC 1 USAA C1, C3
65 Be

Dear Fellow Graduates:

Opportunities to gather and connect have always been sacred to the Long Gray Line. On Founders Day, when grads of all ages come together to celebrate the greatest leader development institution in the world, they often compare notes on what their cadet journey was like. This issue of West Point magazine will take a deeper dive into this topic.

I arrived at West Point as a new cadet in the summer of 1981, returned as an Admissions officer in 1994, taught in the Department of Social Sciences, and served graduates for the last 22 as the Director of Academy Advancement, then COO and CEO of WPAOG. Time does not stand still, and current challenges demand that institutions adapt, but what has always remained constant at the United States Military Academy is the steadfast commitment to Duty, Honor, Country.

This summer I will be stepping down as President & CEO of the West Point Association of Graduates. During my tenure it was my privilege to lead a talented and dedicated group of professionals who, with your support, have made significant progress advancing WPAOG’s Mission of Serving West Point and the Long Gray Line. We have also made meaningful progress toward the Vision we put in place seven years ago, for the Long Gray Line to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world. During this time, we have greatly enhanced Alumni Support with new programs designed to move us closer to this aspirational vision. These new programs include the Rockbound Highland Home Program (Grad Pass, Grad Perks, Grad Insider Tour), Grad Link, Sallyport, Career Navigator, Grads Helping Grads, Military Retiree Recognition Program, Gripping Hands, Shared Interest Groups, CONNECT, and the Hudson Valley Project. It’s WPAOG’s goal to continue to design alumni support programs around those moments that matter in a graduate’s life journey. Keeping graduates connected is the most important thing we do at WPAOG because a connected Long Gray Line is a force for good in support of West Point and each other.

Our accomplished graduates’ affinity for our alma mater, as reflected by the percentage of graduates who

donate each year (participation rate), is a competitive advantage for USMA. In fact, West Point has moved up to No. 8 in the nation for participation rate according to U.S. News & World Report. Your support of Margin of Excellence programs improves cadet preparation to serve as leaders in our Army and allows the Academy to compete with other top-tier universities.

Your generosity has supported facilities, cadet internships and overseas experiences, athletic teams and cadet clubs, and research centers and academic programs. I thank you—the more than 55,000 living members of the Long Gray Line, your spouses and families, and parents of current cadets—for your tremendous support of the Academy and WPAOG.

The Mission of the West Point Association of Graduates makes us an esteemed organization. Now in its third year, West Point Ready—an ambitious, comprehensive fundraising campaign is poised to help graduates and friends make an even greater impact on West Point.

My time as President & CEO of WPAOG has been an honor. Raising my family at West Point has been a privilege. I want to thank the Board for the support and counsel they have provided and the devoted staff at the Herbert Alumni Center for all their hard work and daily commitment to WPAOG’s mission and vision. Lastly, I thank all of you for allowing me to serve two of America’s greatest national treasures: the United States Military Academy and the Long Gray Line. I know that you will extend this support to my successor. While I will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of WPAOG, I will stay on in a leadership role with the Hudson Valley Project.

Grip Hands!



Long Gray Line Teammates:

It was truly an honor to engage with so many of you this spring at Founders Day events across the nation. We enjoyed the many opportunities to grip hands with you to celebrate the founding of our alma mater and the strength and timelessness of the Long Gray Line. More importantly, we appreciated the opportunity to thank you for all you do for our Academy and the Corps of Cadets through your continued and generous support, as well as your example of honorable leadership and selfless service.

While it was an honor to grip hands with all of our alumni, one in particular I would like to acknowledge is our oldest living graduate, BG (R) Paul Phillips ’40, who recently celebrated his 105th birthday. We had the opportunity to meet him in conjunction with Founders Day events in Denver and to talk about his experiences at West Point and throughout his amazing career. The short time we spent with him and hearing his stories of selfless service, resilience, and leadership was incredibly inspiring.

Through the many engagements with our “Old Grads,” a common theme that resonated with all of us was how the Academy has evolved through the years. If you’ve been back to West Point recently, you’ve certainly noticed how much has changed since you were cadets, from the infrastructure to the training and curriculum.

Change and evolution has long been a part of the USMA story, but we don’t change simply for the sake of it. It is necessary. We have transformed our training and curriculum to keep pace with technology, as well as the changing global environment and character of warfare. Today’s battlefields—and today’s threats—are different than those of the past. They not only include the traditional “land-air-sea” domains many of us are familiar with, but also space and cyber.

Most importantly, we evolve to ensure we continue to meet the needs of the Army, especially as the Army undergoes its own transformation and builds the Army of 2030 and beyond.

However, change does NOT mean “easier” or “less effective.” Today’s cadet experience is as rigorous as those of past classes, perhaps even more so. What you will see here at USMA is a tough and robust 47month character-centric experience that extends from the classroom to the training range to the “fields of friendly strife” to prepare future officers for the rigors and demands of leadership and warfare in the 21st century.

The methods, technology and infrastructure may have changed, but our core mission and purpose have not: developing leaders of character who will support and defend the Constitution; prepared to live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence; and committed to selfless service, Army Values, and Duty, Honor, Country.

In this issue, you will read about some of these changes, and I hope you’ll see that the quality of today’s cadet and USMA’s product is as strong as ever. We invite you to visit your Rockbound Highland Home and see that firsthand, because what remains steady is the importance of our graduates gripping hands with and inspiring the Corps. You are, and always will be, our exemplars of excellence and service.

Finally, please join me in expressing our deepest thanks to Todd Browne ’85 as he prepares to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer of the West Point Association of Graduates. For more than two decades, Todd has been on the front lines in supporting our alumni, both at USMA and WPAOG. We are all truly grateful for his leadership and selfless service to the Academy, the Corps of Cadets, and the Long Gray Line. We wish him and Janet all the best in their future endeavors.

Thank you all for your continued support!


"To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."

—USMA’s Mission

Photo: U.S. Army

USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present

Graduates are likely familiar with the catchphrase, “West Point…200-plus years of tradition unmarred by progress.” A new cadet who came in with the Class of 1968 reports hearing this adage during Beast Barracks, and it was a popular refrain among women in those first few classes after President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-106 admitting them to the service academies. Given that “unmarred” denotatively means, “not altered or changed from an original or pristine state,” this statement suggests that nothing has ever transformed or progressed at West Point. Not true.

From the moment the Academy officially commenced operations on July 4, 1802, it has been in a perpetual state of evolution. Like biological or geological evolution, it typically takes generations to recognize significant changes, but they’re always occurring. Some of these changes, such as increasing the size of the Corps to 250 cadets in 1812, are due to external factors (the impending War of 1812); some of them, such as learning how to fire new weapons, are due to technological factors; some of them, such as Sylvanus Thayer (Class of 1808) setting new standards for academic rigor, are due to leadership factors; and some of them, such as the rapid modernization of West Point during the 1850s, are due to factors of necessity.

This issue of West Point magazine is dedicated to chronicling some of the changes at the Academy that members of the Long Gray Line have seen in their lifetimes. It examines some of the physical changes at West Point. While the footprint of West Point has certainly changed thanks to the 1964 expansion of the Corps, leading to the construction of new barracks (Eisenhower-1968, MacArthur-1968, and Bradley-1972) and new Academy buildings (Washington Hall Complex-1965 and Mahan Hall-1972), and thanks to Margin of Excellence funding, which resulted in several new athletic facilities (e.g., Lichtenberg Tennis Center-1999, Foley, Enners, Nathe Lacrosse Center-2016, Anderson Athletic Center-2020) and a new visitors center (Frederic V. Malek West Point Visitors Center-2017), this issue marks the physical changes at West Point by looking at how West Point’s monuments have been moved around over the years.

The issue also examines the “pillar” changes at the Academy. For academics, the issue details the evolution of teaching

tools in math, geography, and more (of course, the slide rule is mentioned!); for military training, the issue does a “then” and “now” look at Cadet Summer Training (who remembers “red rocks” and “chicken heads?”); for the physical pillar, the issue notes changes to the IOCT and the mandatory swimming class; and, finally, for character, the issue charts the evolution of the Fourth Class System and plebe duties to the Four Class System and leader development for each class during the 47-month West Point experience (yes, cadets still need to know that there are “340 lights”).

Mixed within these feature articles, readers will find (and hopefully enjoy) articles detailing some of the cadet terms (slang) of yesteryear and today and some of the significant activities that still occur in the Mess Hall. There is also an article on the changes to branching and one on the evolution of programs and services that WPAOG provides for members of the Long Gray Line.

While there have been a myriad of changes at West Point over the years, far too many for this issue of West Point magazine to cover in a single issue, the purpose and mission of the Academy have endured throughout time. Sure, the wording of each may have been modified slightly, but their essence is eternal: the purpose of the United States Military is to provide the nation with leaders who will serve for the common defense; and its mission is to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army. It’s a mission that has been progressing unmarred for 221 years and counting. 

6 WestPointAOG.org

The Evolution of Military Training

Modern day military training at the U.S. Military Academy began in 1920, when Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, West Point’s Superintendent at the time, moved cadets from summer encampment around the Plain to various internal and external training sites.

While the subsequent Superintendent reinstated summer encampment, other Academy leaders sent First Class cadets to Army posts for part of the summer. When construction began on a training camp around Lake Popolopen in the early 1940s, the age of summer encampment was over. Since then, due to the ever-changing nature of war, USMA has undergone significant changes in the ways in which cadets are prepared for the Profession of Arms during their summer training.

AOT Becomes CTLT

In 1951, the Academy sent a limited number of First Class cadets to Fort Dix, New Jersey and Sampson Air Force Base, New York to act as junior officers training recruits in active-duty units. Lieutenant General Garrison Davidson ’27, Superintendent, and Brigadier General John Throckmorton ’35, Commandant, expanded on the program in 1958, sending approximately twothirds of Second Class cadets to one of three divisions—2nd

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 7 Photos: Submitted; WPAOG archives
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above: The Engagement Skills Trainer at the West Point Simulation Center is one of the latest developments in the evolution of military training at the Academy.
Cadets from the Class of 1957 on their First Class trip to Fort Bliss, TX watch the refueling of a Nike missile.

Infantry, Fort Benning, Georgia; 101st Airborne, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and 82nd Airborne, Fort Bragg, North Carolina—to see the Army “under fairly realistic conditions.” The program was dubbed “AOT,” Army Orientation Training, and grew so that approximately one-half of First and Second Class cadets were receiving AOT assignments each summer. Performing many officer duties during their 30-day tour, AOT cadets were treated as a “third lieutenant” platoon leader in their Army unit and enjoyed privileges as such. In the early 1970s, AOT became known as “CTLT,” Cadet Troop Leader Training,

and hundreds of First and Second Class cadets were sent to more than a dozen Army posts, including ones in Alaska, Hawaii, the Canal Zone, and Europe. Today, CTLT is managed by the Brigade Tactical Department’s Leader Development Branch, wherein rising cows get to experience the roles and responsibilities of a second lieutenant within one of their topthree branch preferences, and it is one of the Military Program’s three graduation requirements.

Summer Training Trips

Starting in the 1950s and lasting for almost two decades, cadets of the upper two classes embarked on either a combined-arms or joint-service training trip during the summer, visiting numerous Army posts or spending time onboard a Navy transport or at an Air Force base. The Class of 1957, for example, travelled to Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (and the Class of 1958 sailed to Norfolk, Virginia onboard the USS Tarawa). While they got the chance to witness field artillery demonstrations, fire the M48 Patton battle tank’s 90 mm gun, and visit wind tunnels and testing facilities, reports of these trips also note downtime for hops, golf, and barbecues. What started out as four-week trips shortened considerably by the 1970s. In the summer of 1970, for example, Second Class cadets spent only six days visiting the Signal School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and the First Class cadets went on a two-and-a-halfweek trip to Forts Benning, Bliss, Knox, and Sill and received infantry, artillery, armor, and air defense training.

Superintendent William Knowlton ’43JAN ended the summer Members of the Class of 1958 on the deck of the USS Tarawa as they sailed to Norfolk, VA to see naval operations as part of their Second Class trip in the summer of 1956.
| 1940-present
TCCAT at Fort Knox for the Class of 1980.

trip program in 1973, citing various reasons for doing so: cost, redundancy of the Camp Buckner branch training experience, and after-action grievances from cadets.

“Best Summer of Your Life” (Camp Buckner)

Cadet Field Training (CFT), a military training staple at West Point since 1821, underwent several changes post World War II. A major one occurred in the summer of 1960, when the Class of 1963 participated in the week-long Advanced Individual Infantry Training (Ranger) program. Known thereafter as “RECONDO,” the training involved exercises in combatives, mountaineering, expedient stream crossing, and survival techniques. It also included tactical speed marches, a 72-foot rappelling exercise, a water confidence course walk, and the renowned Slide for Life. RECONDO training concluded with a two-day extended patrol, which (starting in 1965) meant tactical missions in a mock-Vietnamese village. Class histories from this time period cryptically mention “red rocks” and “chicken heads” when discussing RECONDO. Camp Buckner also had Engineer training, Signal training, and Artillery training. While it did have Armor training in the 1950s, this ended due to the expense of transporting tanks. Instead, West Point began sending Third Class cadets to Fort Knox for a week at the start of CFT. During “TCCAT,” Third Class Combined Arms Training, cadets drove tanks, fired large-caliber weapons, and spent a day partaking in air defense artillery training. Today, CFT exposes rising yearlings to Combat Arms and multi-domain operations involving basic and advanced rifle marksmanship, land navigation, patrolling, and fire support. One thing that hasn’t changed for CFT over the years is physical training. Since the

origins of CFT, the Office/Department of Physical Education (OPE/DPE) has been using CFT to conduct the confidence course, the obstacle course, reveille PT, and instructor training.

Cadet Military Skills Program Becomes MIADs

In 1971, a select group of Second Class cadets were permitted to attend the Army’s Airborne School at Fort Benning and receive parachute training. A few years later, Second Class cadets were

During CLDT 2021, cadets trained to become competent and confident small unit leaders capable of operating in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment.
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Air Assault trainees descend from the South Dock Field rappelling tower on July 13, 2022.

allowed to attend one of six military training courses: Airborne, Ranger, Northern Warfare, Jungle Operations, SERE, and Flight. Under the auspices of the Cadet Military Specialty Training program these cadets were allowed to learn a military skill to further develop their leadership before attending CTLT or fulfilling cadre duty during summer training. By the end of the 1970s, Second Class cadets were also allowed to participate in Air Assault Training, Drill Cadet Leadership Training, and the Cadet District Engineer Program. Today, the Academy has the Military Individual Advanced Development (MIAD) program instead of the Cadet Military Specialty Training program, although it is essentially the same opportunity. When the Academy transitioned to the three-block summer cycle circa 2008, yearlings were also allowed to participate. That year, USMA sent more than 1,800 cadets to military schools, including the Sapper Leader Course and the Chilean Mountain Warfare Course. According to the Department of Military Instruction, MIADs enhance cadets’ technical and tactical proficiency as well as provide valuable leadership opportunities. Currently, the program is divided between “military courses” (Airborne and Air Assault) and “competitive courses” (Combat Dive Qualification Course, Machine Gunner Leaders Course, French Commando School, Army Space Cadre Basic Course, and 11 others). Air Assault, which is conducted at West Point using Air Assault Mobile Training Team instructors from the Sabalauski Air Assault School of the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, typically has the most slots available (around 750), while the competitive courses conducted off post have a mode of five cadets per course.


In 2008, Brigadier General Robert Caslen ’75, Commandant, sought and Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck ’71, Superintendent, approved a new three-week training requirement for rising firsties called Cadet Leader Development Training, or CLDT. “Its focus is an intense small unit leadership experience that mirrors Ranger School in many ways,” said Caslen. During CLDT, cadets rotate through 12-hour leadership positions and execute integrated mission scenarios such as platoon raids and ambushes. Lane evaluators score cadets in leadership positions by how well they take charge of the platoon and integrate tactics, as well as in their leadership attributes (leading under adversity, peer leadership, presence, etc.). Only a third of First Class cadets participated in CLDT in its first summer iteration; today, it is a graduation requirement, which a majority of rising firsties and a select group of rising cows complete each summer. With its complex realistic scenarios, many taking place in a multidomain operating environment with a near-peer adversary, CLDT forces cadets to make quick decisions under stress. That’s what CLDT is all about—tactical problem-solving and individual technical proficiency under great amounts of physical and mental stress—and it is why CLDT is the pinnacle of cadet summer training, designed to test everything cadets have learned related to leadership from their West Point experience.

West Point Simulation Center

If there is one thing that demarcates the difference between military training at West Point decades ago and that within the last 15 years or so, it’s the West Point Simulation Center. With

Photo: U.S.Army photo
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Cadets attending the Army Space Cadet Basic Course, a 2022 MIAD, presented by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense School at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

more training repetitions within a shorter amount of time, the Sim Center adds greatly to the efficiency of summer training. Starting with Beast Barracks, all new cadets conduct rifle training on the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) prior to live fire. New cadets, many of whom have never used a physical map before, also participate in virtual land navigation training at the Sim Center before going out into the woods alone. Cadets return to use the EST again during Cadet Field Training as part of their rifle training. CFT cadets also use simulations during artillery training, calling for fire using simulations run on a scenario developed in-house via the Virtual Battle Space (VBS) software. The simulation, which is modeled after the artillery training area at West Point, is conducted in a training building on the artillery range, right next to the guns they will use for a live fire exercise. The Sim Center also sets up cadets for success in CLDT. During MS300: Platoon Operations, cadets use a commercial version of VBS software to execute a simulated mission (namely, a platoon raid or a platoon ambush), with certain cadets assigned to leadership roles. After completing the simulated mission, the MS300 instructor facilitates an afteraction review, and the cadets try the mission again. The Sim Center also recently has obtained Combat Mission Professional, a new simulation software package that allows a cadet to control an entire platoon by giving orders to the squads (artificial intelligence dictates how soldiers respond in each simulation).

Cadets attempt their own platoon level tactics, building skill through repetition and learning from their mistakes—perfect for preparing for CLDT. In the future the Sim Center will incorporate augmented, virtual, and mixed reality into Cadet Summer Training.

West Point Summer Leader Detail

While much has changed during Cadet Summer Training during the past 60 years or so, one thing has remained constant: the practical experience of leadership that comes from upperclass cadets training subordinates in military tasks. Since the days of summer encampment on the Plain, First Class cadets have been responsible for leading new cadets through their first summer of training at West Point, under the supervision of the Commandant and a cadre of tactical officers and military instructors. Throughout the century, the West Point Leadership Team has used the summer detail to accelerate the leadership development of upper-class cadets, eventually assigning members of the Second Class to New Cadet Barracks to serve as squad leaders and giving as much of the command, administrative, and training duties to First Class cadets as possible. In time, the focus of training at Camp Bucker/CFT was redirected to provide a leadership opportunity for First and Second Class cadre members as well. Today, the West Point Summer Leader Detail (which also includes leading Cadet Candidate Basic Training at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School) is a graduation requirement, helping to train First and Second Class cadets to lead small units in complex environments, maintain and enforce standards of excellence, and prepare, conduct and assess the training of subordinates. In other words, to prepare them, as all USMA military training does, to become leaders of character who are prepared for careers of professional excellence and service to our nation as Army officers. 

USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Left: A cadet uses “extended reality technology” to plan a combat operation before executing it during summer training. Right: An upper class cadet (center) leads a squad of new cadets from the Class of 2025 as part of his Summer Leader Detail, a graduation requirement.

Gripping Hands

Happy Birthday Oldest Living Grad

BG (R) Paul D. Phillips ’40, the Oldest Living West Point Graduate, celebrated his 105th birthday on March 9th. Commissioned in the Field Artillery upon graduation, he fought in the Battle of the Philippines on Mindanao and was taken prisoner by Japanese forces in 1942. He endured three years as a POW, being rescued in mid-August 1945 in Manchuria by a five-person team that included one of Phillips’ classmates, James Hennessy. Phillips retired from the Army in 1966 after a 26-year career and then worked as the Deputy Head of Research for Analysis Corporation and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army until 1979. In 1978 he was awarded the Castle Award by the West Point Society of DC. General Phillips currently resides in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.


LTG Telita Crosland Becomes Director of the Defense Health Agency

On January 4, 2023, LTG Telita Crosland ’89, one of only six woman three-stars in the Army, became the fourth director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), which was mandated by Congress in 2017 to directly manage all military hospitals and clinics around the world and care for approximately 9.6 million active-duty service members, military retirees and their families worldwide. According to Crosland, West Point prepared her well to lead a team successfully in such a demanding mission.

“From your first days at West Point, the way you win is by being part of a like-minded group working toward a common goal, and this is a lesson I apply to my position as DHA director,” Crosland says. “The Academy’s disciplined and thoughtful approach to leader development helped me build confidence and faith in myself, which has contributed to who I am as a senior leader today.” She also notes that the academic program at West Point taught her not to quit when she hit the first wall, a lesson that helped her obtain her medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, selecting family medicine as her specialty.

“I learned that when you are faced with not being as

successful as you thought you were, you need to pick yourself up, drive on, and thrive,” she says. Before becoming DHA director, Crosland served as the Army’s deputy surgeon general and as the deputy commander of the Army’s medical command. She holds a doctorate of medicine, a master’s of public health, and a master’s of science in national resource strategy. Crosland is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and a recipient of the Army Surgeon General’s “A” proficiency designator. Her awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.

12 WestPointAOG.org GRIPPING HANDS Photos: WPAOG archives; U.S. Army
“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

General Officer Announcements

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

MG (USAR) Joseph D’Costa ’89 to Deputy Commander-Support (Troop Program Unit), 412th Engineer Command, Vicksburg, MI

MG Walter T. Rugen ’89 to Director, Army Aviation, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, United States Army, Washington, DC

MG David C. Hill ’90 to Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, United States Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC

MG Mark H. Landes ’90 to Commandant, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

MG Christopher G. Beck ’93 to Commanding General, United States Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Leonard Wood, MO

MG Peter N. Benchoff ’93 to Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, United States Army, Washington, DC

MG Patrick L. Gaydon ’94 to Lead Cross Functional Team, Joint Futures, J-7, Joint Staff, Washington, DC

BG Philip J. Ryan ’92 to Commander, Special Operations Joint Task Force-Levant, Operation Inherent Resolve, Kuwait

BG John M. Cushing ’93 to Commanding General, Combat Capabilities Development Command, United States Army Futures Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

BG Michael J. Simmering ’93 to Commandant, United States Army Armor School, United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, GA

BG Kimberly A. Peeples ’94 to Commanding General, Mississippi Valley Division, United States Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, MS

BG (USAR) Charles R. Phariss II ’94 to Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6 (Individual Mobilization Augmentee), United States Army Europe-Africa, Wiesbaden, Germany

BG Lori L. Robinson ’94 to Commandant of Cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

BG James B. Bartholomees III ’95 to Chief of Staff, United States Army Pacific, Fort Shafter, HI

BG Jonathan C. Byrom ’95 to Commanding General, United States Army Combat Readiness Center/ Director of Army Safety, Fort Rucker, AL

BG Jason A. Curl ’95 to Director, CJ3, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq

BG Mark C. Quander ’95 to Commanding General, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, United States Corps of Engineers, Cincinnati, OH

BG Jeffery A. VanAntwerp ’98 to Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, United States Army Pacific, Fort Shafter, HI


Who Remembers…?

Teaching Tools at USMA

In1971, Colonel William Luebbert ’49, the Director of the Instruction Support Division in the Office of the Dean, wrote:

“Good teaching involves much more than a professor standing up and lecturing to a class. It is a leadership challenge that involves developing and managing a total learning environment (system) in which faculty and students work together to achieve specific educational objectives, making full use of whatever technological aids are available and appropriate.” Every graduate has been through USMA’s academic system, yet the technological aids they have used to make it through that system have depended on when they were a cadet. The following passages describe the notable teaching tools used in certain academic departments through the years, with some detailing the tools of today that have replaced them.


The United States Military Academy entered the computer age in December 1962 with General Order 151. This order established the Academic Computing Center (ACC), the central feature of which was a General Electric 225 digital mainframe computer that was available to all cadets and faculty. The Department of Electricity was the first to employ this computer in coursework (EL483: Digital Computers). In AY 1962-63, the entire Fourth Class was given a GE225 computer assignment as part of their plebe math course. The purpose of the assignment was to compute to seven digits of accuracy the natural logarithm of the numbers 251 through 360. Cadets fed the mainframe with stacks of bubble-filled cards, which provided instructions to the computer. By 1965, the ACC had added two more GE225

USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above: A cadet shows guests the Academy’s latest technology during a 1973 June Week academic open house session. Inset: The Zenith Z-180 portable computer, a 24 lb. laptop that cadets could purchase at their own expense (approximately $1,000).

systems, which were processing approximately 3,500 cadet programs annually. Three years later, this number jumped to 100,000 programs, and by 1974 USMA mainframes were processing 450,000 programs annually—a nearly 13,000 percent increase in 10 years. In 1980, the Academic Board required computers to be used in 11 core courses, which put a tremendous amount of stress on the (then) antiquated mainframe time-sharing terminals. To compensate, the Academy installed approximately 100 Terak “microcomputers,” configured with 56,000 characters of storage and 8-inch floppy disk drives (cost=$8,935 per unit). In 1985, Academy Leadership mandated that each cadet and faculty member should have personal networked computers. The Class of 1990 was the first to purchase such computers: the Zenith 248 IBM-PC clone, complete with Microsoft Windows v1.0 and Word v1.0 (cost≈$1,700). At their own expense, some cadets purchased the 24 lb. Zenith Z-180 “laptop” computer, at a cost of nearly $1,000. According to Colonel Tina Hartley ’90, Professor and Mathematics Department Head, “With the introduction of personal computers, the use of computers as part of the core math curriculum really began to take off.” Software on these machines, such as Derive, was used for plotting, symbolically calculating derivatives and integrals, computing limits, and other math tasks. In the fall of 1999, the Math Department, in conjunction with the Economics Department, issued laptops to 32 cadets in the Class of 2002, who were then grouped into separate sections for their Multivariable Calculus and Economics courses. The Class of 2006 was the first class to be issued laptops

as their personal computers: a Dell C840 with a Pentium IV processor and 256 megabytes of memory.


Drawing was one of the first subjects taught at the Academy. A Teacher of Drawing was hired in 1803. For over a century, drawing included technical engineering products, basic concepts such as perspective, and map making. Cadets of the past spent long hours in the drawing labs mastering ink pens and lettering by hand or with Leroy lettering sets. They also made military maps in the field. Charles Dudley Rhodes, Class of 1889, wrote

Photo: Erika Norton, Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above: Various versions of the atlases that the Academy has used to teach the History of the Military Art (including the newest version, a digital tablet [left]). Below: Since 2006, cadets have been issued laptops as their personal computers.

of a field mapping exercise using a compass, barometer, and drawing materials. Mandatory engineering drawing ceased in the 1970s, but mapping continued for another two decades in EV203: Terrain Analysis. Old Grads may remember using a compass and pace count to produce a map of Trophy Point in the MAPEX lessons. Computer mapping applications started to be taught by the late 1970s, and today’s instructors teach cadets to use ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS StoryMaps. Global Positioning System technology has also made field mapping much easier and is integrated into many pieces of equipment. Through classes and research projects, cadets gain exposure to the tools of the modern-day cartographer: digital mapping software, the Global Navigation Satellite System, highresolution satellite and aerial imaging, geospatial analysis, and remote sensing.

Military History

In 1947 Colonel Vincent “Mike” Esposito, Class of 1925, was appointed Professor and Deputy Head of the Military Art and Engineering Department at the Academy. During the next 16 years he established himself as one of the country’s foremost educators in the field of military history. Graduates from the 1950s through the 1970s will remember his West Point Atlas of American Wars as a mainstay on their cadet bookshelves. At the time, it was a revolutionary new concept in teaching the history of military art. By the mid-1980s, the large hardbound atlases were replaced by spiral-bound books for each epoch of course instruction, making them slightly easier to bring to class. Maps

were updated by the Department of History’s cartographer as new information came to light and, as the internet advanced, some maps were placed online as part of the department’s Digital Map Collection. In AY 2013-14, the Academy issued tablets to each cadet enrolled in the History of the Military Art, and in the following year all cadets in the course were using version 1.0 of the West Point History of Warfare. The tablets allow cadets to access digital lesson content, which includes text, imagery, callout “widgets” and updated interactive maps that feature contextual explanations to accompany time-phased animated movement of units. Edited and compiled by Department of History faculty, the West Point History of Warfare has won several awards for innovation in digital and military history.


Surveying has been taught at the Academy since 1802 and for decades was taught over multiple years, beginning with mathematical foundations and progressing to equipment and field procedures. The tools available to instructors in the 19th century were essentially a compass, measuring chain, barometer, and theodolite backed up by mathematics. Over time, steel tape replaced chains, and theodolites became the modern engineer’s transit. Total stations, integrating angle and distance measurements, were introduced in the 1970s, and by the 1990s global positioning systems became available for civilian applications and were soon being leveraged by surveyors across the nation. Today’s robotic total stations can be completely operated using a mobile device, and the Global Navigation

Photos: Submitted; Rebecca Rose/WPAOG; WPAOG archives
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above left: CDTs Cameren Petterson ’23 (left), Thomas Vo ’24 (sitting) and Bogdan Daniliuc ’23 (right) use a Trimble SX10 total station during a class in surveying on Trophy Point. Top right: A surveyor’s transit housed at the West Point Museum. Bottom right: A cadet uses such an instrument circa 1953.

Satellite System gives instructors the ability to quickly bring high spatial accuracy to cadet research projects. Practical work in the field has always been part of surveying instruction; cadets surveying on the Plain or Trophy Point is a common subject of old photos. The total station instruments used by cadets today have integrated terrestrial laser scanning (a.k.a. Lidar) that facilitates panoramic 3D imaging of a surveyed area. When combined with traditional surveying fundamentals, the resulting high-resolution 3D geometry can be used to generate accurate models of buildings, trees, topography, and ultimately a digital twin of the real world.

Mathematic Calculations

The Department of Mathematics has used several tools to teach math concepts during its more than two centuries of existence. Two of these tools will be very familiar to most grads: either the slide rule or the electronic calculator. According to Colonel Tina Hartley ’90, Professor and Mathematics Department Head, the earliest reference to teaching the slide rule at West Point dates from 1905. “It almost certainly had been used earlier,” notes Hartley, “for by then half of the engineering schools in the United States used slide rules.” She also says that the department once had a Thatcher cylindrical slide rule produced by Keuffel & Esser, model 1741, which dates from the period 1892-1900; this historic artifact was gifted to the Smithsonian in 1958. The amount of time devoted to the slide rule in plebe mathematics varied over the years from five to nine classes (with a maximum

of 12 hours). The department also had twenty-seven 8-foot slide rules for demonstration purposes, one in each classroom. On October 30, 1974, the Applied Science and Engineering Committee and the Basic Sciences Committee recommended that cadets be allowed to use “electronic calculators” beginning in 1975. “From that time forward, the calculator will replace the slide rule as the principal computing device employed by cadets, and cadets will not be required to own a slide rule,” says the committee report. The committee did not specify a brand or model of calculator, but there was only one that fit the specifications: the Texas Instruments model SR-50, which was sold through the mail at $169.95. The first class to be issued these calculators was the Class of 1979, and the model used in math classes varied over the next two decades. In the fall of 1999, plebes were issued the TI-89, a graphing calculator with a computer algebra system; however, with the rise of personal computers, tablets and smart phones, calculators soon went the way of the slide rule. 

West Point magazine would like to thank COL Will Wright ’99, MAJ Jordan Laughlin ’11, CPT Victoria Gramlich ’13, CPT Carter Kelly ’13, Dr. Matt O’Banion, and Dr. Jon Malinowski from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering; COL Tina R. Hartley ’92 from the Department of Mathematics; COL Bryan Gibby ’93 from the Department of History, and Michael Diaz from the West Point Museum for their assistance with this article.

USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
photos: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
Top left: The slide rule once belonging to CDT Martin Dempsey ’74 who ultimately served as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is housed at the West Point Museum. Bottom left: The electronic calculator and the slide rule were familiar math tools to thousands of West Point cadets during the 20th century. Right: Jack Engeman, Mathematics problem solved with the aid of the reliable slide rule, ca. 1956. Digital positive from a 2 ¼” negative. Jack Engeman collection, The Photograph Collections, Collection 118, Special Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD). Coll118_B89_E13_531.

Since the beginning of the Academy, an integrated curriculum of physical education, testing and competitive sports have been core components to cadet physical development at West Point. When Herman J. Koehler was appointed Master of the Sword in 1885, he established a high-quality physical education program to match the rigorous academic program at West Point. Daily exercise regimens brought a dramatic improvement in cadet strength and endurance, and in 1905 physical education became mandatory for all cadets. Later, in 1919, then Superintendent Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, established a mandatory program of competitive athletics. To this day, “every cadet physically fit” and “every cadet an athlete” remain central to cadet education at West Point.

Changes to the Physical Development Program

Changes to the IOCT

Administered by the Department of Physical Education (DPE), the Indoor Obstacle Course Test (IOCT) is a test of full-body functional physical fitness and is considered to be one of the best evaluations of total body fitness given in the Army. West Point began administering the IOCT and a five-minute swim test in 1944 to bring about a more comprehensive measurement of cadet physical ability. Over the decades, the IOCT has not changed much. In 1948, military specific items in the IOCT were replaced by a series of obstacles that measured agility, strength, technique and cardiovascular ability. The next major change didn’t occur until 1975, when the dive roll was replaced by the tunnel crawl due to a concern about the potential for

Color photo: USMA PAO
Above: Cadets must successfully maneuver the balance walk on the horizontal or “H” bars as part of the Indoor Obstacle Course Test at West Point, which has been part of the test since its implementation in 1944. Inset: Jack Engeman, The “dive and roll” is a test of coordination, ca. 1956. Digital positive from a 2 ¼" negative. Jack Engeman collection, The Photograph Collections, Collection 118, Special Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD). Coll118_B89_E11_002 USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Norton , WPAOG staff

injury during the dive roll, which started the course. Additionally, the cargo net used to reach the balcony if the rope or shelf could not be negotiated was replaced by stairs. In 1979, the stairs were replaced by a ladder.

The most significant changes occurred in 1981. The IOCT was modified slightly to accommodate the physiology of women, who were admitted to the Academy in 1976. To reduce the emphasis on upper body strength and to include additional tests of balance and agility, the parallel bar walk was eliminated and a tire run and balance beam were added. This resulted in a sharp decline in IOCT failure rates for both men and women. In 1982, the passing time for men was 3:19, and for women it was 6:28. This changed in 1985, with the women’s passing time decreasing to 5:29 (in 2003, the passing time for men changed to 3:30). In 1986, the cargo net was re-inserted to replace the ladder for those cadets unable to negotiate the shelf or rope climb to reach the balcony. Additionally, automatic IOCT failure was enacted for any cadet who fails to reach the balcony using the cargo net. Currently, cadets who earn an A− or higher are authorized to wear the IOCT Badge on their athletic shorts. In 2012, the IOCT became a graduation requirement. In 2014, yearling cadets were required to take the IOCT. Most recently, in 2020, Military Movement was moved to yearling year so the

stand-alone IOCT was eliminated for Third Class cadets, but they are introduced to the IOCT during the course and get an opportunity to practice negotiating its challenges and are graded accordingly.

New Company and Club Athletic Teams

As Superintendent, MacArthur established a mandatory program of intramural athletics in 1919. “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory,” MacArthur said. Koehler implemented MacArthur’s order, and the program was very successful. Today, all cadets are still required to participate in the Competitive Sports Program if they are not already participating in intercollegiate/varsity athletics.

In Company Athletics, formerly known as intramurals, cadets compete against other cadets as part of their company teams. The choices have greatly expanded for cadets. Sports offered in the fall include submission grappling, flag football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and functional fitness. Spring sports include orienteering, area hockey, team handball, flickerball, and ultimate frisbee.

In Competitive Club Athletics, cadets compete against other universities within sanctioned club leagues and at the

Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Left: The choices for Company Athletics, formerly known as intramurals, have greatly expanded since their mandate in 1919. One of the newest offerings is ultimate frisbee. Inset: Jack Engeman, There are many intramural soccer teams as well as the varsity one, ca. 1956. Digital positive from a 2 ¼” negative. Jack Engeman collection, The Photograph Collections, Collection 118, Special Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD). Coll118_B89_E7_387

national level. The Department of Cadet Activities sponsors 15 Competitive Clubs: Boxing, Climbing, Crew, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Judo, Marathon, Orienteering, Powerlifting, Men’s Team Handball, Women’s Team Handball, Triathlon, Men’s Volleyball, and Water Polo.

Swimming in Yearling Year

When the IOCT was created in 1944, West Point also began administering a five-minute swim test, which was given annually. The Advanced Swimming Program for First Class cadets included certification by the American Red Cross as swim instructors. Physically deficient cadets attended special exercise sessions twice a week in lieu of other physical activities. Deficient swimmers met four times a week for remedial instruction.

Currently, Survival Swimming is required during yearling year, and it is designed to expose cadets to real-life battle scenarios where they must think, analyze, and react under duress in less-than-optimal conditions. In the early 2000s swimming was moved from plebe year to cow year to provide less courses during plebe year and balance the schedule. In 2014, it was decided that swimming was better placed in yearling year to balance the more rigorous courses throughout the 47-month experience. It also now serves as a prerequisite for lifetime physical activity aquatics experiences.

Color photo: WPAOG archives
 USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Jack Engeman, “Abandon ship” practice is a part of the cadet swimming program, which includes life-saving and survival training, ca. 1956. Digital positive from a 2 ¼" negative. Jack Engeman collection, The Photograph Collections, Collection 118, Special Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD). Coll118_B89_E11_029. Survival Swimming is now required for cadets during yearling year and is designed to prepare cadets for real-life battle scenarios.

Remember the coin tests? Hospital corners? White glove inspections? Well, at Falcons Landing you can leave the field day to us. We’ll make sure housekeeping and maintenance are kept squared away, so you have more

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 21 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 O FFICIAL W IN T Y Looking to replace a lost ring, or buy a special gift? 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 2023 CONTACT ROBERT VAZ 800.451.3304, ext. 0186 •rmvaz@herffjones.com (without
A NON-PROFIT LIFE PLAN COMMUNITY Independent Senior Living | Potomac Falls, VA
devote to your favorite pursuits—and can rest easy knowing your
will always be ready to pass inspection with flying colors.

2023 Thayer Announcement

WPAOG is pleased to announce that the Honorable Elizabeth Dole, who has spent nearly six decades of her life serving the public in both the executive and legislative branches at the federal level as well as leading both national and international non-profit organizations, will receive the 2023 Sylvanus Thayer Award. The award will be presented on September 21, 2023 during ceremonies hosted by Lieutenant General Steven W. Gilland, Class of 1990, 61st Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Commemorating Graduates and Never-Quit Grit

The WPAOG Podcast, a strategic initiative focused on tailored audible communications that inform graduates on current WPAOG projects and USMA updates, is continually adding fresh and engaging episodes. One recent episode features an interview with COL (R) Berry Morton ’66, M.D., and LTC (R) Alan Nason ’66, who talk about their highlights from attending West Point, their experiences serving in the Vietnam War, and how the West Point Class Ring Memorial Program contributes to the continued legacy of the Long Gray Line. In another,

Laura McKenna ’01 interviews MAJ Nargis Kabiri ’10—an Army marketing officer who immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 1986, enlisted in the Army at age 17, and later played basketball for West Point—about the trials and tribulations of growing up as an Afghan American and how her commissioning as a Field Artillery officer (a litmus test for the Army to lift the Combat Exclusion Policy in 2012) helped her on her path towards entrepreneurship as the co-founder of Zanbazan, a nursing apparel startup.

Thank You!

In 2022, the Long Gray Line and friends and families of West Point gave with loyalty, with generosity, and with unwavering support, raising $78.8 million in cash receipts and gifts in kind 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 initiatives that would not have been possible otherwise. Watch our Thank You video at bit.ly/WPthankyou22

22 WestPointAOG.org WPAOG NEWS Photos: Submitted; WPAOG archives
Listen to these WPAOG podcasts and more. Scan the QR code or visit bit.ly/WPAOG-Podcast


2023 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 2023 Distinguished Graduate Award recipients:

HON James B. Peake ’66

LTG (R) David F. Melcher ’76

Mr. Richard L. Dalzell ’79

Mrs. Marene N. Allison ’80

GEN (R) Daniel (Dan) B. Allyn ’81

GEN (R) Austin S. (Scott) Miller ’83

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at West Point on May 23, 2023, with further coverage in the 2023 Summer issue of West Point magazine. Learn more about the Distinguished Graduate Award and read the bios of this year’s recipients. Scan the QR code above or visit WestPointAOG.org/dgarecipientannouncement2023

2023 WPAOG Election: Call for Nominations

All USMA graduates may apply for election to the WPAOG Board of Directors and/or for election to the WPAOG Advisory Council. In 2023, 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, 2023. The 2023 nomination and election process will conclude on November 14, 2023 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; 845-4461523) if you have any questions.

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

Mrs. Marene N. Allison ’80 GEN (R) Daniel (Dan) B. Allyn ’81 GEN (R) Austin S. (Scott) Miller ’83 HON James B. Peake ’66 LTG (R) David F. Melcher ’76 Mr. Richard L. Dalzell ’79 COL Jason A. Charland 1993 LTC Scott E. Simpson 1990

Honoring the Fallen: Ring Melt for the Class of 2024

Nearly every member of the West Point Class of 1966 served in Vietnam, and one in five classmates from that class were killed or wounded during the war.

This year’s West Point Association of Graduates’ Ring Memorial Ceremony began with a special tribute to the fallen brothers of the Class of 1966. This year, our nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American combat troops from Vietnam (March 29, 1973).

Annually, the Ring Memorial Ceremony is a time to honor the service, sacrifice and valor of graduates who cherished their gold class rings throughout their lives. To honor the memory of their fallen brothers and to never forget the 30 men (29 in Vietnam and one in Korea) who lost their lives in service to our nation, the Class of 1966 created a legacy endowment, ensuring that the Class Ring Memorial Program will continue in perpetuity for future generations of the Long Gray Line. With their stories, they hope to inspire future leaders and to ensure that the supreme sacrifice of their classmates is never forgotten.

“Without our classmates, we wouldn’t have made it,” said Colonel Fritz Ernst ’66 (Retired) in a video shown during the January 13, 2023 Ring Memorial Ceremony. “And if new graduates can draw on their legacy with what they wear on their hand, that’s a good thing.”

This year, 67 rings were donated to the WPAOG Ring Memorial Program, bringing the total number of donated rings since the program began in November 2000 to 807 rings. At the Ring Memorial Ceremony, family, friends, cadets, and USMA staff each placed a donated ring in the crucible,

24 WestPointAOG.org
Above: West Point staff, faculty, cadets and graduates attended the
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
West Point Association of Graduates Ring Memorial Program on January 13, 2023. Members of the Class of
attendance and honored their fallen classmates with a video tribute during the ceremony.

taking the opportunity to honor the legacy of someone who was greatly loved.

These rings were melted and will be added to the gold that will be used to forge rings for the Class of 2024, forever tangibly connecting its members to the Long Gray Line.

“We are grateful to receive the rings that served as a daily reminder of the years spent earning your place in the Long Gray Line,” Cadet Sayana Lopes ’24, Ring and Crest Chair, said during the ceremony. “For some of you these rings are remembrances of your loved ones since passed. I can assure you that these rings have come back home. We are ready to welcome the rings all back into the Long Gray Line, where they will

continue to serve with my classmates. My class is honored to be able to continue the legacy of the Long Gray Line and will strive to live up to the legacy set by those before us.”

This tradition began with the Class of 2002, and, since then, WPAOG has accepted donations of rings from West Point graduates, both deceased and living, and melted those rings into a gold bar to be used in making the next generation’s West Point class rings. Annually, gold shavings, known as the Legacy Gold, are added to the crucible of rings to be melted. These shavings literally contain gold and symbolically contain the essence of each grad wearer from every ring that has been donated since the Ring Memorial Program began. This year’s Legacy Gold

Photos: Erika Norton; Rebecca Rose/WPAOG Top left: West Point graduate and 50-Year Affiliate Jay Joyce ’74 placed his classmate LTC (R) Steven M. Di Silvio’s ring into the crucible during the ceremony. Top right: CDT Keyton Brown ’24 salutes the ring of Class of 1974 ring donor LTC (R) Victor W. Roeske. Bottom: Ring Memorial Ceremony attendees enjoyed a luncheon before the freshly melted gold ingot was presented to the West Point Class of 2024.
“My class is honored to be able to continue the legacy of the Long Gray Line and will strive to live up to the legacy set by those before us.”
— CDT Sayana Lopes ’24

contained trace elements of gold from class rings spanning the classes of 1896 to 2006.

While cadets and attendees enjoyed a luncheon in Ike’s Riverside Cafe, Lopes and others transported the 67 donated class rings and Legacy Gold to Bartlett Hall, where they were melted and molded into a single gold bar by a technician from Jostens, the company that will be making the Class of 2024’s rings. Shavings from this new gold bar were then taken so they can be incorporated into next year’s ceremony, ensuring that gold from every Ring Memorial Ceremony continues to be used in making every West Point class ring.

Cadet Cody Morris ’24 donated the ring of his grandfather, Colonel Thurman W. Morris ’36 (Retired). When Morris enlisted into the Army in 2015, his father, a retired Army officer himself, gave him his grandfather’s ring.

Morris had carried that ring around with him throughout his military career, but when he began his education at West Point and heard about the Ring Memorial Ceremony, he thought the program would be a great way to incorporate his family’s legacy of service into not just his ring, but into the rings of his entire class. At the ceremony, Morris got to interact with other ring donor families.

“It's one thing to see a picture and hear a name, but actually getting to connect with those people who knew them and learn about who they were as a person—it feels like I have more of a

personal charge to uphold, and live honorably with the ring,” Morris said. “The gold feels so much more symbolic.”

Kevin Kelley placed a ring into the crucible as well—the ring of his uncle, Lieutenant General David J. Kelley (Retired), from the Class of 1966. Only a few months before the ceremony, Kelley was buried in the West Point Cemetery. Kevin’s uncle served in Vietnam, like much of the Class of 1966.

Kelley went on to make incredible contributions to the future Army, including developing computing and data management concepts for the Army’s National Training Center and command, control, and communications capabilities with the Defense Information Systems and as vice president of Lockheed-Martin.

Kevin remembers how his uncle loved West Point and how he would talk about his graduating class and the Vietnam War.

“I can remember him telling me stories about how his class lost the most men in that conflict, and he would get visibly upset about it, and he normally didn’t show emotions like that,” Kelley said at the ceremony. “But he wanted to pass his ring onto the next generation.” 

Watch a video of the Class of 2024 Ring Memorial Program. Scan the QR code or go to bit.ly/WPRingMelt24

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG Top left: Class President CDT Thomas Ward ’24 places the Legacy Gold into the crucible to be melted with the donated rings. Top right: The newly donated rings are prepared before being melted. Bottom left: After being melted at 2,050 degrees Fahrenheit, the molten gold is poured into a mold to create a gold ingot. Bottom right: Ring and Crest Chair CDT Sayana Lopes ’24 holds the freshly made gold ingot, tangibly “gripping hands” with the Long Gray Line.

The Legacy Gold Tradition

In November 2000, 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 807 gifted rings by donors and their families, ranging over three centuries, from the Class of 1896 to the Class of 2006. 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 Memorial

Ceremony, where the rings are placed individually into a crucible 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

Erika Norton/WPAOG
Class of 2024 Class Officers and Ring and Crest Representatives, ring donors, and USMA and WPAOG staff pose with the newly created gold ingot, which will be used to create all future West Point class rings.

West Point, A Changing Landscape

While West Point’s internal values are permanent and timeless, its external face and footprint are perpetually changing. One way to mark the physical changes at West Point is to look at where its famous structures, namely its monuments, used to be located versus where they reside today, as well as to examine how some of these monuments have been altered over time.

Wood’s Monument (1816)

Named in honor of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Eleazer Derby Wood, Class of 1806, who was killed at the Siege of Fort Erie during the War of 1812, Wood’s Monument was erected at West Point in 1816, making it the oldest monument at the Academy. According to Colonel George S. Pappas ’44 (Retired), the late founder of the U.S. Army Military History Research Collection (now known as the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center), Wood’s Monument originally stood in front of South Barracks, at the approximate site of Eisenhower Barracks today. Sylvanus Thayer, Class of 1808, had the monument moved to a knoll on the southwest corner of Trophy Point, where it was placed next

to West Point’s flagpole. Reports suggest that Wood’s Monument was used as a navigational aid for ships on the Hudson River, and the 15-foot-high, four-sided obelisk was prominently positioned for visitors ascending to the level of the Plain via a dirt road that led up from the post’s dock. During his first tour as Superintendent (likely when the Ordnance Compound was being built [1838-40]), Richard Delafield, Class of 1818, wanted to move the monument to the West Point Cemetery and level the mound upon which it stood, but graduates strongly objected to this. In 1885, however, with the Academy expanding, Delafield’s plan was put into effect. Wood’s Monument was moved to the cemetery, where it is currently near the graves of Susan and Anna Warner.

Photo: WPAOG archives
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above: Thayer Monument in front of the Old Gymnasium circa 1900.

Kosciuszko Monument (1828) (1913)

Originally merely a base and fluted column, the Kosciuszko Monument was dedicated on July 4, 1828. It was designed by John H.B. Latrobe, an ex-cadet from the Class of 1822, and paid for by cadets, who volunteered 25 cents each from their monthly allotment. The eight-and-a-half-foot bronze statue of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish officer and engineer who assisted the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, was mounted on top of the column 85 years later, upon the initiative of Polish American clergy and laity who raised the necessary funds. Since then, local Polish American communities of New York have been holding regular observances at the monument. In 2021, during an annual inspection of all West Point monuments, the column and base of Kosciuszko’s Monument was found to have developed structural cracks. Accordingly, the statue and column were removed and placed in storage until the base can be repaired. The monument is appropriately located on the site where Fort Clinton, the Revolutionary War fortification designed by Kosciuszko, once stood.

Dade Monument (1845)

According to Pappas, “Dade’s Monument should have been mounted on a wheeled pedestal.” It was erected in 1845 to commemorate Francis L. Dade and 108 troopers under his

command (including four graduates: George Gardiner, 1814; William Basinger, 1830; Robert Mudge, 1833; and John Keais, 1835), who were killed on December 28, 1835 while attempting to force Seminoles off their land in Florida. The monument originally overlooked the Hudson River, located on a grassy hill surrounded by trees near where Cullum Hall stands today. It was then placed across the road from Cullum Hall in 1898. In 1917, it was moved to the front of the Old Cadet Library. Finding that it interfered with baseball games on nearby Doubleday Field, the Academy had the Dade Monument moved in 1950 to its current home near the entrance to the West Point Cemetery.

Sedgwick Monument (1868)

Sedgwick Monument was erected by officers and soldiers of the VI Army Corps to commemorate their commander, Major General John Sedgwick, Class of 1837, who was killed during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in 1864. Dedicated in 1868, the statue is rumored to be cast from a Confederate cannon captured by VI Corps. The Sedgwick Monument was originally located on the northwest edge of the Plain, which made it easier for academically deficient cadets (in full dress, under arms) to reach it and spin the statue’s moveable spurs, fulfilling the lore that doing so would help them pass a term end exam. However, around 1970, when the Thayer Monument was moved to the northwest edge of the Plain to make room for

Osterhoudt/USMA PAO; WPAOG
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Photos: Kyle
Left: In June 1965, Thayer Monument was moved from the southwest corner of the Plain. Right: Thayer Monument now resides on the northwest corner of the Plain and is the site of an annual wreath-laying ceremony.

Washington’s Statue in front of the Mess Hall, the Sedgewick Monument was moved east along Washington Road and placed just south of (and across the street from) Battle Monument.

Custer Monument (1879)

The original Custer Monument was designed rather similarly to the Sedgwick Monument: a life-sized bronze statue atop a granite pedestal. It originally stood across from the old Cadet Mess (on what would be the site of today’s Bartlett Hall), with Custer, the last man in his June 1861 Class, defiantly facing the river and not the Academy, perhaps the least in a series of controversies surrounding the monument. Even before the statue was erected in August 1879, the surviving spouse of the commander of the 7th Cavalry at the 1876 Battle of the Little Big Horn objected to the way her husband was depicted. The

sculptor, James Wilson MacDonald, relied on inaccurate drawings of Custer made by William Cary, causing him to make several troubling design choices: the uniform he was wearing, the weapons he was holding (and their position), and the expression on his face. Petitioning the highest authorities, Mrs. Custer succeeded in her efforts to get the Academy to remove the statue. In 1885, the base of the Custer Monument was moved to his grave in the West Point Cemetery, and Mrs. Custer had a stone obelisk added to the base in 1905. But what happened to the statue of Custer? In 1898, West Point’s Quartermaster consulted Mrs. Custer about removing the statue’s head and mounting it for display, to which she agreed. Two years later, Stanford White, the architect for Cullum Hall, was asked to supervise the project. He discreetly moved the statue to New

| 1940-present
Top: The Dade Monument across the road from Cullum Hall circa 1900-10. Below left: The original location of the Dade Monument, on a grass hill overlooking the Hudson River near where Cullum Hall stands today. Below center: The Dade Monument at its current site, near the entrance to the West Point Cemetery. Below right: The original Custer Monument, standing where Bartlett Hall is today and showing the controversial bronze statue of the commander of the 7th Cavalry approximately 25 years before it vanished under mysterious circumstances, later to be replaced with a stone obelisk.

York City but was murdered on June 25, 1906, and the secret of the final disposition of Custer’s statue died with him.

Thayer Monument (1883)

Thayer Monument was unveiled on June 11, 1883. After a dedication speech in the Old Cadet Chapel by George Washington Cullum, Class of 1833, who funded much of the monument’s cost, a ceremonial party, led by the West Point Band, marched to the southwest corner of the Plain, near what is now Washington Hall, where the Thayer Monument was draped in flags. After a 10-gun salute, the monument was unveiled. Photos from the Academy’s centennial show the monument in front of the Old Gymnasium, which was built in 1891 just to the west of the Cadet Barracks (later known as Central Barracks). When the Corps expanded in the mid-1960s, Thayer Monument was moved to a small rise near Trophy Point. It’s position there was only temporary, however, as Academy leadership decided that the monument should be on the parade ground, nearer to the cadet area (and to the Superintendent’s Quarters). Thayer Monument was moved to the northwest corner of the Plain, its current home, after June Week 1973. This prominent site makes the monument visible to both cadets and visitors, and it is convenient for alumni ceremonies honoring “Colonel Thayer, Father of the Military Academy.”

Washington Monument (1916)

A replica of a bronze monument that was sculpted by Henry Kirke Bowne and erected in New York City’s Union Square in 1856, West Point’s Washington Monument was obtained by an anonymous “patriotic citizen” and unveiled at the Academy on May 19, 1916 (according to that year’s Annual Report of the Superintendent). Memorializing the commander of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States,

Washington Monument first resided at the intersection of Washington and Cullum roads in front of Trophy Point, on the north end of the Plain. In the early 1970s, Washington Monument was moved to its current location at the entrance to the Mess Hall. Interestingly, a 1966 “Monuments Study” by O’Connor & Kilham, the architects who changed the traffic pattern around the Plain, recommended moving Washington

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 31 WEST POINT, A CHANGING LANDSCAPE Photos: WPAOG archives; USMA Library Archives and Special Collections
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Left: The Sedgwick Monument in its original location, on the northwest edge of the Plain. Right: The Sedgwick Monument today, across the street from Battle Monument. Below: The Washington Monument stands in front of Washington Hall and faces the Plain.

Monument to the former West Point Hotel site, calling it “the most important site on the Main Post.” While the realignment of the road between Trophy Point and the Plain is the literal reason for its repositioning, the symbolic rationale—placing the statue in front of the building bearing Washington’s name and having the advocate for the founding of the U.S. Military Academy face the Plain to watch over the cadets as they march on the famous parade ground Revolutionary soldiers once trod—gives more credence to its prominent position.

L’Ecole Polytechnique (aka “French”) Monument (1919)

Presented to the Academy in 1919 by the cadets of the French School, L’Ecole Polytechnique Monument is a full-size replica of a statue at France’s military academy that commemorates the cadets of that French school who died in defense of their country in 1814. It first stood along Old Diagonal Walk, on the south edge of the Plain right across the street from the central sally port of Old Central Barracks. With its golf-leaf finish gleaming in the sun, cadets nicknamed the monument “Gold Tooth”; however, Navy midshipmen doused the statue in blue paint prior to an Army-Navy Game in the 1940s, and the monument’s gold plating wore off when West Point removed the paint. When the Corps expanded in the mid-1960s, the Old Central Barracks were demolished, and the new construction forced Diagonal Walk to cut into the Plain. As a result, the French Monument was moved to its present location, inside Central Area next to the original 1st Division, where its sculpting mistakes—cannon balls too large for the cannon, straight scabbard yet curved saber, unbuttoned coat, and wind blowing the tails of the cadet’s uniform backward while the flag is blowing forward—can only be seen by members of the Corps.

Photos: USMA Library Archives and Special Collections; WPAOG archives;
Chuck Howgate/Lupini Construction
& NOW | 1940-present
Top: Across the street from Malek Soccer Stadium at Clinton Field and along the bend in West Point’s Cullum Road, the Kosciuszko Monument stands facing the Hudson River. Below, left: The statue of Tadeusz Kosciuszko was extracted from its base in September 2021 so that its nearly 200-year-old base and fluted column could undergo repairs. Below center: Nicknamed “Gold Tooth,” L’Ecole Polytechnique Monument used to reside along old Diagonal Walk on the south edge of the Plain and across from the central sally port of Old Central Barracks. Below right: The “French” Monument currently resides next to the original 1st Division Barracks building.

Patton Monument (1950)

The Patton Monument was dedicated by the famous World War II general’s surviving spouse, Beatrice, in 1950. It was originally located east of Thayer Road opposite the Old Library. In fact, Patton’s statue faced the library. It is rumored that the decision was made to have the statue for George S. Patton Jr. be facing the library because he was turned back to the Class of 1909 for being academically deficient. Therefore, his statue, sculpted with binoculars in his hands, was deliberately placed so that “he” could always locate the library. In 2004, when construction began on Jefferson Hall, the new USMA Library, the Patton Monument was placed into storage. On May 15, 2009, approximately one month to the centennial of Patton’s graduation day, his monument was placed in a new location on the northwest corner of Jefferson Hall. This location was only meant to be temporary. The monument’s permanent location was supposed to be near the right field foul pole of Doubleday Field, facing northwest towards the Plain, but for the last 14 years and counting Patton hasn’t been able to escape the pull of the library.

Buffalo Soldier Rock (1973) Monument (2021)

In 1973, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point became the first institution to memorialize the achievements of Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiments, who once taught horsemanship to cadets (1907-47). The Cavalry Plain on the south side of post was renamed Buffalo Soldier Field and a memorial rock was placed in the northeast corner of that field. Decades later, members of the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point began working to transform Buffalo Soldier Field’s “Memorial Rock” into

a more visible monument. At the 57th annual Buffalo Soldier Memorial Ceremony, Major General Fred Gorden ’62, West Point’s 61st Commandant, remarked, “What we would like to do is transfer the rock, because…this rock is insufficient and not a fitting representation of the Buffalo Soldiers—we need a statue.” A monument featuring a Black trooper mounted on horseback was unveiled on the west side of Buffalo Soldier Field in September 2021, with the plaque from the original rock mounted on the base of the new statue. 

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 33 WEST POINT, A CHANGING LANDSCAPE Photos: USMA Library Archives and Special Collections; John Pellino/USMA PAO; WPAOG archives USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above: West Point’s newest monument, the Buffalo Soldier Monument, was dedicated in September 2021 and resides on the west side of Buffalo Soldier Field. Top right: The original memorial rock on the northeast corner of Buffalo Soldier Field. Center right: The original location of Patton Monument, opposite the Old Library. Below: Patton Monument is now on the northwest corner of Jefferson Hall.

The Academy in 1940: Note the different location of monuments and other landmarks (or absence of) between now and then.

William J.D. Vaughan ’41 created numerous whimsical cartoons for The Pointer, Howitzer and the 1941 Reunion books. Many of the drawings featured hidden “doodlebugs.” How many can you find in this 1940 map of West Point?

Illustration: William J.D. Vaughan/WPAOG archives
“Do not mistake adherence to successful tradition for a fear of change... Tradition and change are not antithetical.”
—Barbara Jordan (from her 1995 Thayer Award acceptance speech)
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present

Say Again?


Because you have reverted to “Cadet Jargon,” using words that, outside of West Point, have very different meanings…or no relevant meaning at all. Some of these terms have changed over time, falling into disuse or morphing into terms that are barely recognizable from their original phrase. It is no surprise that a cadet dictionary has been included in Bugle Notes for over 80 years, and the current WPAOG Parent Handbook has a four-page glossary to help parents understand their cadet’s expressions better. Here are just a few cadet terms that have appeared frequently in Memorial Articles or Old Grad tales.

Area Bird: A cadet who is serving punishment tours by being obliged to walk on the Area (at one point, plebes walked tours in North Area and upperclassmen in Central Area). Cadets can join the “Century Club” after walking off 100 hours or more. Too many area tours endanger a cadet’s graduation with his or her class.

36 WestPointAOG.org SAY AGAIN?
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Graduates, cadets, and parents alike have all had this experience—you are telling a West Point-related story and a few people are looking at you as if you are speaking Greek.

BAG: The Barracks Arrangement Guide was used to ensure all cadet rooms were arranged to the same standard, whether it was where your shoes went (and in what order), where to put a toothbrush, or how many knickknacks were allowed.

Bone: To study; to strive for something; such as class standing, more physical strength, or better marks in cadet duties.

Boodle: Cookies, candy, ice cream, snacks, etc. Until 2003, Building 720 had a store named “Boodler’s,” and cadets could purchase snack items at this location (the building was imploded and roads by Davis Barracks are in that location now). Currently, cadets can purchase boodle from Grant Hall, proving that history repeats itself, since Grant Hall was a sort of “student center” in the 1970s with pizza and burgers (and beer). There was also a pizza shop in the basement of the 1st Division Barracks.

Flanker: A tall cadet. The antonyms, “Runt” or “Gnome,” were used for shorter cadets and, since cadets up to the early 1960s were assigned to cadet companies by height, became slang for “end” companies of Flankers or “middle” companies of Runts during a Cadet Review.

Fried egg: The USMA insignia on the tarbucket or cadet hat; due to its gleaming finish when issued it no longer needs to be shined before use.

Ghost: A plebe who hides in his or her room to avoid upperclassmen or to shirk duties. Can also be an upperclass cadet who is rarely seen around the cadet company area. Possible inhabitant of Scott Barracks, Room 4714, or the basement of Quarters 100.

Gray Hog: An extremely USMA-oriented cadet or Old Grad.

Brown Boy / Green Girl: A green, brown or tan cadetissued comforter (color depending on the class year) will be fondly remembered by graduates.

Butt: The remains of anything, such as the butt of a month or the butt of a cigarette. Used in reciting “The Days” to acknowledge the day an event happens (“There are 12 and a butt days until Army beats Navy!”).

COR: Cadet Observation Report, electronically submitted on a cadet to provide feedback on a positive or negative event or attribute concerning that cadet. It replaced USMA Form 2-1 and is used for all four classes, not just plebes.

Drag: As a noun, this term refers to a young lady whom a cadet is escorting; as a verb, it means to escort a young lady. This term is no longer used by current cadets.

Dress off: The specific way a White over Gray or As for Class shirt used to be tucked into trousers for plebes; the sides were pulled out then folded to the back creating a very tight fit in the front of the shirt and a smooth appearance so that the shirt was not baggy.

Hive: To understand, to comprehend; an intelligent cadet or one who learns quickly.

Hotel night: The one night a week before laundry was sent out the next morning that cadets would “break sheets” and sleep within their sheets instead of on top of their perfectly made bed.

Photos: WPAOG archives; Tyler WIlliams ’23/USMA PAO
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present

IRP! Immediate Response Please!

Juice: EE302 - Introduction to Electrical Engineering; at one point a class mandatory for all cadets.

Mil Art: HI301 and HI302 -The History of the Military Art; HI302 is mandatory for all cadets and is not, as commonly thought outside of USMA, an art history class. Instead of the box of atlases, cadets now use interactive map models to learn important events in military history.

OAO: One and Only (a cadet’s significant other).

Odin: The Norwegian god to whom cadets appeal for rain before parades, reviews, in-ranks inspections, etc.

Spoony: Neat in personal appearance. Also refers to the Full Dress Gray button that cadets used to give to their significant other.

Tenth: A tenth of one unit, one thirtieth of the max; the smallest division of the system of marking. Highly important when cadets were graded daily in class and order of merit lists published; today replaced by the Cadet Performance Score.

Yearling: A member of the Third Class (since they have completed one year at USMA); currently shortened to “yuk.” The Yearling Winter Weekend formal is commonly referred to as “Y-dubs.”

Old Grad (OG): A graduate of USMA, whether it is someone who has just tossed their hat in the air or the Oldest Living Graduate of the Long Gray Line.

Ping: Under the Fourth Class System, a plebe’s way of walking at 120 steps per minute.

Plebe Beating, Plebe Drowning, Gymspastics: At one time, plebe Department of Physical Education classes in Boxing, Swimming, and Military Movement, for which a “high zero” was a badge of honor.

Poop Deck: The balcony in the Cadet Mess Hall where orders are published and information is disseminated; originating from the Poop Deck of a ship. “Poop” is commonly used to describe information that must be memorized; a Poop Sheet is a page of information.

Rack: As a verb, to rack means to take a nap; as a noun, it refers to a cadet’s bed (not to be confused with the saber/rifle rack, also in a barracks room).

RD=FC: Rough draft=final copy; frequently used in the past by cadets who were still honing their time-management skills.

Slug: A special punishment for a serious offense in cadet discipline (sometimes referred to as “sluggo”).

You fly, I buy: You pick up the food, I will buy it (from Boodler’s, Grant Hall, or a delivery vehicle). Commonly heard by the “Boodler’s Runner” of a cadet project team. 

Did we miss your favorite cadet term?

Email us at editor@wpaog.org and let us know!

38 WestPointAOG.org SAY AGAIN?
Photos: John Pellino/USMA PAO; WPAOG archives
| 1940-present
Jack Engeman, A cadet regimental commander is about to issue the order: “Take Seats” in the dining hall, ca. 1956. Digital positive from a 2 ¼" negative. Jack Engeman collection, The Photograph Collections, Collection 118, Special Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD). Coll118_89_E5_513.


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: LTC (R) Charles Coates ’57

I would love to see two spirit activities revived for the cadets and more specifically by the Rabble Rousers, the cheerleading group so well depicted in the 2023 Winter issue of West Point magazine. The first is the fight song “Fight Away,” inadvertently deleted from Bugle Notes around 1975, but restored two-to-three years ago after I reported the item absent. The Spirit Band has the music, but the song has been absent so long that nobody at the Academy knows it. The second is the “Napkin Cheer” in the Mess Hall, which was much like the wave perform by fans in sport stadiums today. It likely disappeared due to mandatory meals being reduced to one a day, as I understand it. For this cheer, cadets from one table stand at one end of the Mess Hall, wave their napkins, and cheer, “Beat Navy!” (or other opponent). They then sit while cadets from the next table perform the act, and the cheer continues around the dining hall.


Thank you for your letter. We are thrilled that the article “BOOM! AHH! USMA! Putting Cheer in the Hearts of Gray” prompted you to propose these suggestions. Of course, West Point magazine is powerless to revive these practices, but maybe someone of authority from the Academy will read your letter here and work to bring back “Fight Away” and the “Napkin Cheer.” If so, we’ll post the performances of each on WPAOG’s social media channels.

West Point magazine regrets the following errors or omissions in the 2023 Winter issue:

• The Class of 1977 celebrated its 45th reunion last fall and should have been included as part of the “Fulling the Vision” post in the WPAOG News department.

• In the “Fort Benning Becomes Fort Moore” article, GEN George W. Casey Jr. is erroneously listed as a member of the Class of 1970. He is not a grad, but his father, MG George W. Casey, was a classmate of LTG Hal Moore, Class of 1945.

• In the chart labeled “DMI AIADs for 2022-23” found in the “Internships for the Next Generation of Warfighters” article, four

of the AIADs listed are sponsored by academic departments other than DMI: the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering hosts both sessions of the “Israel Through the Strategy and Policy Lens” AIAD, the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering hosts the “Nuclear Triad Staff Ride” and the “NPS Strategic CBRN Wargaming Course” AIADs, and the Department of Systems Engineering hosts the “Center for Army Analysis Wargaming” AIAD.

• The 2022 Nininger Award recipient is LTC Robert K. Beale ’02, not Robert “A.” Beale. We have amended the online edition of the 2023 Winter issue to correct this error.

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 39 MAILBOX Photo: WPAOG archives
“No Excuse, Sir Or Ma’am”

Fourth Class to Four Class Leadership

The Fourth Class (Plebe) System

For the longest time, going all the way back to the Thayer era of the Academy (1817-33), West Point had molded cadets using the Fourth Class System. Sometimes referred to as the Plebe System and based upon traditions and customs, this method of leader development had new cadets learning their role in the Corps from upperclass cadets. Prior to its official sanctioning in 1919, the Fourth Class System required plebes to perform certain duties, many of which were of a personal servitude nature (carry water, make beds, clean equipment). The Fourth Class system also put restrictions on plebes, making their new environment an obstacle to overcome. Some upperclass cadets took advantage of the system and occasionally harassed plebes, believing they were doing so for the benefit of the Academy and the Corps. The thinking was that those who could take the pressures of the

Fourth Class System would make a worthy cadet and future officer. As such the Fourth Class System was seen as an attritional model, “weeding out the weak.”

When Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, became Superintendent in 1919, he appointed a committee of cadets to codify the customs and traditions that should be handed down from class to class through the Fourth Class System. His codification was also designed to end practices that were receiving negative scrutiny from a public unfamiliar with the traditions of the Academy. As sanctioned by MacArthur, the Fourth Class System dictated when plebes were to report to formation, what duties they were to perform in the Mess Hall, how they were supposed to carry themselves at certain times,

40 WestPointAOG.org
Above: A First Class cadet (wearing the red sash) leads a new cadet company onto the Parade Field before the Acceptance Day Review.
The U.S. Military Academy has always developed leaders for the Army and the nation, but the way in which it has conducted this mission has evolved over time, changing several times in the last hundred or so years.
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present

what knowledge they needed to retain, and what menial tasks they were required to do for their company (i.e., mail carrier, minute caller, laundry, etc.).

The sanctioned Fourth Class System underwent numerous reviews after 1919 (1941, 1946, 1962, 1969, 1979). With the 1969 report, certain activities—such as bracing, shouting at plebes, and the memorization of copious amounts of plebe knowledge—were supposed to be eliminated; however, opponents within the Academy resisted any changes to the long-standing traditions of the Fourth Class System. Still, according to Lori Stokan’s (Class of 1986) report “The Fourth Class System: 192 Years of Tradition Unhampered by Progress from Within,” at the start of the 1980s more emphasis within the system was being placed on creating a more realistic seniorsubordinate relationship between upperclassmen and plebes and on positive leadership, and the results of the 1986 First Class Questionnaire indicated an 88 percent approval of the updated system. Despite general approval of the Fourth Class System as a “rite of passage,” a 1988 USMA Inspector General report found very little leadership development value in the system for upperclass cadets, and a 1989 Institutional Self Study recommended that the Commandant review the impact of the Fourth Class System.

Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS)

In 1989-90, Lieutenant General Dave Palmer ’56, the Superintendent at the time, directed a full review of the Fourth Class System, appointing three committees—one consisting of cadets, another of faculty and staff, and a third of alumni—to recommend improvements. The result was a new, developmental model of leadership called the Cadet Leader Development System, or CLDS. Intended to be “evolutionary, not revolutionary,” CLDS retained some of the elements of the traditional plebe experience, yet it also set progressively higher levels of expectations on the cadets of the Third, Second and First classes. Focusing on the “Be” component of the Army’s

“Be-Know-Do” model for leadership, CLDS was primarily about what it means to be a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.

“CLDS will significantly enhance our ability to inculcate within cadets of all four classes those values, ideals, and principles that are integral to the exercise of effective leadership,” wrote Brigadier General David Bramlett ’64, the Commandant of Cadets, in the January 1991 issue of ASSEMBLY. He returned to this topic in the September 1991 issue, saying, “Each year the development process actually intensifies in a different way, as each cadet assumes a leadership role both in a specific position and by being a member of a particular class.”

With CLDS, West Point progressed from a “Fourth Class System” to a “Four Class System,” establishing a roadmap for leader development throughout the entire four-year experience focusing on posture/bearing, cadet mess policies, knowledge, discipline, duties, restrictions, and customs/courtesies. CLDS coordinated and integrated cadet developmental activities across the entire West Point experience by essentially funneling the competencies (intellectual, military, physical) and character traits (human spirit, moral-ethical, social) needed for officership through progressively narrower targets from a cadet’s Fourth Class year to his or her First Class year so that each cadet, upon commissioning, identifies as a warrior, leader of character, servant of the nation, and member of the Profession of Arms (see graphic on page 42). Writing in 2012, Brigadier General Lance Betros ’77 (Retired), said, “CLDS represented the most coherent and progressive system of overall leader development ever established at West Point.”

West Point Leader Development System

Interestingly, just as Betros was making his pronouncement, the Academy was introducing its third major change to the way it conducts its leadership development mission. Called the West Point Leader Development System, or WPLDS, this model is the integration of individual leader development across USMA’s four pillar programs (academic, military, physical, character) with leader development opportunities throughout the West Point 47-month experience in a culture of character growth. WPLDS is both influenced by Army doctrine and based on research of individual and organizational development (e.g., Kegan’s stages of adult development, relational development systems theory, and more).

Building off CLDS, WPLDS sets high standards, allows cadets to learn from failure, and makes cadet leader development a community-wide initiative (establishing a role for all USMA staff and faculty). As originally defined, WPLDS had eight outcomes for West Point graduates: 1) live honorably and build trust; 2) demonstrate intellectual, military, and physical competence; 3) develop, lead, and inspire; 4) think critically and creatively; 5) make sound and timely decisions; 6) communicate and interact effectively; 7) seek balance, be resilient, and demonstrate a strong and winning spirit; and 8) pursue excellence and continue to grow. When WPLDS was

A new cadet “braces” on R-Day in the 1940s—bracing being one of the customs and traditions handed down through the Fourth Class System.

re-evaluated in 2017-18, these outcomes were revised to three simple directives: live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence.

Today, an Academy Character Program, led by the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic, supports WPLDS and helps cadets understand what it means to be a commissioned leader of character who lives and leads honorably by educating them on the professional standards, organizational values and personal virtues that comprise “honor” in the Army profession. According to the USMA Goldbook, which details the tenets of USMA’s character pillar, in supporting WPLDS, “the Character Program operates along three deliberate, progressive, and mutually reinforcing lines of effort: 1) Stewardship of the Cadet Honor Code, 2) the Cadet Character Education Program (placing specific emphasis on the Army value of Respect, especially as it relates to eliminating attitudes and behaviors that contribute to

trust-shattering misconduct such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unjust discrimination), and 3) the Superintendent’s capstone course, MX400: Officership.” Finally, WPLDS adds to Army doctrine by integrating into its framework five facets of character—moral, civic, performance, social, and leadership— which help operationalize character into observable behaviors and provide a way to gauge character development.

“Developing West Point graduates for an uncertain and complex future is a daunting but achievable goal,” notes Developing Leaders of Character, the Academy document that codifies WPLDS. “WPLDS develops leaders who will thrive in complex, decentralized operating environments, maintain the high standards of the Army profession, and meet the expectations of the nation they serve as trusted Army professionals.” 

“CLDS coordinated and integrated cadet developmental activities across the entire West Point experience by essentially funneling the competencies (intellectual, military, physical) and character traits (human spirit, moralethical, social) needed for officership through progressively narrower targets from a cadet’s Fourth Class year to his or her First Class year so that each cadet, upon commissioning, identifies as a warrior, leader of character, servant of the nation, and member of the Profession of Arms.”

Photo: John Pellino/USMA PAO Cadets stand in front of a plaque at Honor Plaza that displays the Honor Code each upper class has been tasked to steward and pass on to junior classes of the Corps through each one of the Academy’s leadership systems.
| 1940-present

Take Seats! Mess Hall Traditions

Local families housed and fed the earliest cadets, and cadet letters and memoirs are peppered with accounts detailing the wide variations in the style, quality, and amount of food at the Academy before a cadet mess was built in 1852. Washington Hall, built in 1926 and enlarged in 1967, has housed the cadet mess for all living graduates and current cadets. Its walls, ceiling, floor and mural may be the same; however, some of traditions emanating from the cadet mess have changed over the years.

When queried on social media, dozens of graduates fondly remember singing the “Twelve Days of Christmas” during the holiday dinner before Winter Break. With 12 battalions currently in the Corps, it is easy to assign a day to each one (although this was more complicated when there were only eight battalions). Instead of “stacking tables” during the song as cadets of an earlier day did, current plebes are encouraged to decorate their tables before the meal with festive holiday trimmings. After

the holiday dinner, many cadets gather on the Apron to smoke cigars and celebrate the approaching end of the semester.

During class reunions, some graduates note a small but noticeable change when they sit down to their meal—their table of 10 has now become a table of 12! Time to get two more floaters to make up the difference! The change to a slightly larger table was made to maximize efficiencies with food delivery by the cadet mess staff so that all cadets receive their food in a timely manner.

Alas, when those reunion classes ask the cadet at their table if he or she wants to “flip” for the leftover chicken patty or dessert, they will probably get a blank stare. Instead of throwing butter knives on the table on cue to determine if you are “up” (blade pointed away from your plate) or “down” (blade pointed in) and thus who wins the prize, cadets now have a polite conversation about leftovers.

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 43 Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present Above: Company D-3 enjoys lunch in the cadet mess.
The place, the menu, and mandatory meals may change over time, but cadet mess memories, traditions, and stories are some of the continuities within the Long Gray Line that are shared during alumni gatherings.

Twelve-person tables, pre-cut desserts, and cell phone apps have also relegated the “dessert template” to an icon of the past (probably to the benefit of germ control). Although some grads probably still have their template stuck in their hat or folded neatly in their Bugle Notes and promise to set it on scrap pieces of bread or sugar packets and not directly on the dessert, cadets now turn the engineering and dexterity challenge of cutting seven even pieces of a pie into a classroom problem. Gone are the days when a plebe would have to apologize to General Washington (at his statue) for “ruining his wife’s cake” or saw through a dense chocolate walnut brownie dessert with a butter knife.

Numerous traditions in the cadet mess are centered on a cadet’s class year. The most visible are the class lights on either side of the Poop Deck. Firsties knew they had finally almost made it through the Academy when the top light was lit, signaling that the First Class could leave their table.

Firsties are also assigned as the Table Commandant, regulating behavior and conversation at the

table, and they are always positioned facing the Poop Deck.

The Fourth Class, on the other hand, at one point could not survey the cadet mess and had to stare at the crest at the 12 o’clock position on their plate. One plebe famously answered the trivia question, “What color is the ceiling of the Mess Hall?” correctly by seeing its reflection in his spoon. Upperclass cadets ensured plebes were sitting up straight by requiring a “fist check” (one fist-width between a plebe and the table, another fist from his or her back to the chair) at random times throughout the meal. Napkin checks, silverware at a precise 45-degree angle on the plate, and bites small enough to be chewed three times and swallowed were all hallmarks of plebe dining practices in the cadet mess.

On very rare occasions plebes could earn “big bites” by accomplishing table duties with precision (Cold Beverage Corporal, Hot Beverage Corporal, and Gunner) or regaling their table with “Humor, Wit, and Wisdom” (jokes, trivia, puns, and skits). Sometimes, however, getting to eat a lot was not a coveted prize but a challenge to be endured, such as the dreaded White Tornado. In this case, the Table Commandant has decreed that everything on the table must be consumed, including all the condiments (the name comes from the white tablecloth and the

Erika Norton/WPAOG;
| 1940-present
Top left: Cadets practice flipping for leftover food. Top right: We have a winner! Bottom left: Fist checks. Bottom right: Table duties performed by the Cold Beverage Corporal, Hot Beverage Corporal, and Gunner. Right: Historic version of a dessert template. Class lights on the Poop Deck.

ensuing mess). Although the instances of a plebe asking to “validate the hot sauce” (gulping down the entire bottle) generally only occur now during Spirit Dinners, it is even rarer for cadets to partake in the food fights that once caused disarray, havoc, and renumeration from the Corps. The two most notable food fights occurred in 1963 and 1972 during Spirit Dinners before football games. Every cadet was docked $2.55 to repair the damage from the 1963 food fight, which included firing a cannon inside the cadet mess and stacking tables as high as the Poop Deck.

A relatively new and treasured tradition, which made its debut around 2004-05, is the Graduation Day breakfast, consisting of waffles, strawberries, and ice cream. All four classes use it to mark the next step in their cadet experience or their final day in gray! Older grads would notice that “Sammy” is served with that breakfast—“Sammy” being the traditional nickname for syrup (molasses in the late 1800s), originating from the serving pitcher used in the old cadet mess, which was introduced by mess officer Lieutenant Samuel Mills.

Although a few traditions might be missing or unfamiliar to someone eating in the cadet mess today, there is still one perpetual line heard, “Table Comms report to the Poop Deck to pick up floaters!” 

Sons of slum and gravy

Will you let the Navy

Take from us a victory? Hell no!...

But what exactly is “slum?” Many a new cadet required to practice Army Cheers has pondered this but were not willing to ask. According to Bugle Notes and The Pointer, it was a stew made from various leftover earlier meals, not very palatable and containing numerous ingredients that were not identifiable. This is very different from today when the stew/soup tureen is spotted upon the table, and happy plebes can be heard bellowing out throughout the mess hall:



Norton/WPAOG; WPAOG archives; Tyler Williams ’23/USMA PAO
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Left: Cadet mess ready for a meal. Top right: Graduation Day breakfast. Bottom right: Current condiments available on each table.

Authors Bookshelf

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

The Legacy Business

It has been said that when we are born, we look like our parents, but when we die, we look like our choices. The author uses his own personal journey to help others course correct on their own Christ-centered legacy building endeavors. He considers questions like: How can you become more purposeful as a leader, father, husband, son, brother, and friend? What simple, but impactful, things can you do now to find more purpose and fulfillment in life?

Available at Amazon.com


It is the mid-22nd century, the Earth is dying, and humankind is out of time. The only ray of hope is the Human Resiliency Program—a conglomeration of lastditch efforts to preserve human life. Sam Richmond is one of its rising stars until those close to him disappear, his headquarters is attacked, and he learns that all is not as it seems.

Jeanne Hull Godfroy is combat veteran from the West Point Class of 2000 who enjoys history, international relations, and counterinsurgency. Midgard is inspired by her love of science fiction and her concern about humankind’s treatment of its habitat.

Available at Amazon.com and be-stirred.com

A Jew at the Point

A vivid description and historical account in 1961 of a young, Jewish teenager “at the point” of making major decisions affecting his future.

Paul Kantrowich’s narrative describes a roller-coaster wave of emotional and physical hardship in taking on the challenges of “Beast Barracks” and Plebe year at the finest military institution in the United States, West Point. This memoir’s assertions pull no punches in the author’s cathartic effort to recognize the touchstone moments of his past.

Available at Amazon.com

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

Rank Absurdity: An Irreverent Military Memoir

"Much of the history we teach at the United States Military Academy was made by the people we taught." But what about the rest of us? Rank Absurdity: An Irreverent Military Memoir is the story of one grad’s long, strange trip through West Point and the Army that will never make its way into the Academy’s curriculum in a million years. You might, however, discover that it’s worth a good laugh.

Available at Amazon.com

Zero Percent Chance

A Tribute to the Heroes of Cross Functional Team Manbij: A Soldier’s Memoir

An American special operations team leads the fight to remove ISIS from Manbij and the surrounding region in Syria. Turnbull is injured and blinded in a suicide bombing, and given no chance of surviving. Find out how God stepped in to work miracles in the life of a soldier who was given a zero percent chance of surviving in this book that celebrates freedom, faith, and heroes.

Available at Amazon.com, Westbowpress.com, and Barnes & Noble.com

Iraq and the Politics of Oil: An Insider’s Perspective

Vogler spent 5 months in prewar oil planning at the Pentagon. This was followed with 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 agenda 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. Additional parchment copies are available for a nominal fee.

To order TAPS or learn more, call 845.446.1645

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

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

Centurion Witness

A Tale of Resurrection and Redemption

An Amazon #1 Bestseller. The centurion is a seasoned warrior of Rome’s frontier army, decorated for saving the lives of ambitious generals, yet haunted by the harm he caused during a recent battle. His last assignment is to again be a bodyguard for the powerful. Quickly he is entangled in the security conflicts between Rome’s governor in Judea and its religious leaders who want Jesus of Galilee killed for sedition.

Kindle version available at Amazon.com or physical copies available at booksbyedmitchell.com

Flying Under the Radar:

The Men, the Mission, and the Aircraft of the Department of State Air Wing, 1983-2013

by LTC (R) Paul F. O’Sullivan, Jr. ’74

There exists in the State Department an obscure aviation program that has performed dangerous missions and has flown under the radar for over thirty-five years. Founded as an aviation counter narcotics program, it quickly grew to include counter terrorism, border security, and air transportation in war zones. It’s a story of dangerous missions, dangerous countries, and extraordinary people.

Available from Hellgate Press or at Amazon.com

Elite Souls

GEN (R) Martin Dempsey: “An important glimpse into the character of some of America's best soldiers.”

Former West Point Superintendents:

LTG (R) Dan Christman: “A compelling read about how twenty first century leadership is taught at West Point.”

David Huntoon: “A gripping story of battlefield heroism and selfless service.”

William Lennox: “A true guide as to what it takes to develop leaders of character.”

Former Dean, BG Dan Kaufman: “A must read for anyone interested in servant leadership.”

Available wherever books are sold

What Abides

It is June 6, 1962, Graduation Day at West Point. With the Cold War raging, President John F. Kennedy told us that “above all, you will have a responsibility to deter war as well as to fight it.” After over sixty years and so many wars later, I asked my dimming memory how we got from there to here.

What abides?

West Point does. An honorable place without need of keys or locks. What Abides marks a journey before, to, through and after West Point. Come with us.

Available at Amazon.com and other on-line distributors.

WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S Welcomes the 2023 Spring Reunion Classes of ’48, ’53, ’58, ’63, ’73 Grip Hands!

Talent-Based Branching: Aligning Cadet Talents with Army Demands


MostUSMA Old Grads will remember the USMA Order of Merit List (OML) with either trepidation or validation. OML was used to determine a cadet’s branch and post before graduation and commissioning. However, starting with the Class of 2020, the evolving talent-based branching (TBB) process that USMA adopted in 2013 incorporated an automated matching mechanism to determine initial assignments rather than the traditional OML. This new Armymandated mechanism improves the process by mimicking a job market that requires input from the employers (Army branch proponents), applicants (cadets), and career counselors (Accessions Division and USMA mentors) to determine initial assignments.

at the U.S.

The TBB concept was introduced by the Army’s Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA). From 2013 to 2019, the process allowed branch proponents to view talent data within the USMA branching population but minimized their ability to influence initial branching results. In 2020, TBB evolved to fully implement the matching mechanism as a more refined way to assign branches that replaced pure OML. The Army’s intent for TBB was to increase talent matches and positively influence retention of junior officers past their fiveyear Army commitment. Most importantly, TBB would ideally provide more effective and motivated leaders within their respective branches. Based on the USMA results in 2020, ROTC fully implemented the market mechanism in its 2021

48 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Above: Class of 2023 cadets from Company B-3 show off their branch notification letter, which informed them in what branch each will be commissioned come graduation.
Branch Night
a time-honored tradition
Military Academy (USMA) that signifies a tangible step toward the Profession of Arms for the graduating class.

branching process as well. Currently, OEMA provides Army oversight and guidance for the TBB process, while the Accessions Division within the Department of Military Instruction (DMI) manages it for USMA.

In preparation for the branching process, cadets fill out a branching file to develop a comprehensive talent resume that consists of their scores within the USMA academic, military, and physical pillars; extracurricular activities; a Cadet Talent Evaluation (CTE) completed by TAC officers, a Talent Assessment Battery (TAB); mentor recommendations; personal statements; and interviews with various branch proponents. Additionally, a cadet’s summer training experiences, such as Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) or selection for competitive Military Individual Advanced Development (MIAD) schools, are included in the resume. Branch representatives within the Accessions Division educate and mentor cadets on the branching process to enable them to start building a strong file as early as their plebe year. USMA provides multiple leadership opportunities during a cadet’s 47-month tenure and branch reps are available to help them integrate their experiences into their talent resume.

The available branching options have increased over the years and now include 17 branches, each represented by a proponent. Old Grads will remember most of the available options, with the newest being the Cyber branch, which was introduced in 2014. Furthermore, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), which falls under the Ordnance branch, can be selected as a distinct preference. Lastly, as of 2021, women are no longer able to opt-out of Infantry and Armor, so the branches will consider all genders equally. The branch proponents are responsible for disseminating the knowledge, skills, and behaviors (KSBs) and talent priorities they are seeking in their future officers. This includes relevant education, training, and certifications that cadets could acquire during their time at USMA. Proponents also educate cadets on their respective branches through online forums and in-person discussions at USMA Branch Week and during Cadet Summer Training. When cadets effectively utilize information from the branch proponents and the Accessions branch reps to determine branch preferences and build their branching file, they dramatically increase the likelihood of receiving a suitable branch that matches their talents and interests.

The two most significant ways that cadets increase their chances to receive a high branch preference is by annotating a willingness to accrue a “Branch of choice Active Duty Service Obligation” (BRADSO) for certain branches and/or by annotating a willingness to branch detail. A BRADSO adds three years to their initial active-duty service obligation for a total of eight years. A branch detail does not include an additional duty service obligation but requires an officer to initially serve in a detail branch (IN, AR, FA, CM) for up to three and a half years before transitioning to a base branch (AG, CM, EN, FC, MI, SC) as a captain.

Old Grads will remember that time is the most important commodity for USMA cadets as they strive to meet deadlines. The Accessions Division ensures cadets are informed of the branching timeline and requirements so they can plan accordingly. During the second semester of cow year, the branch proponents conduct an initial review of cadet talent resumes. At this point, a strong talent resume should include a completed TAB; updated military, physical, and academic scores; complete CTE; extracurricular activities; and branch preferences. Cadets then conduct online interviews with branch proponents during the summer between their cow and firstie year. During the first semester of firstie year, cadets submit their final talent resumes with recently completed interviews and updated branch preferences. Branch proponents then review all files and provide a branch rating of “Most Preferred,” “Preferred,” or “Least Preferred” for each cadet. Additionally, the USMA OML still matters because it is used as a tie breaker within each of the above branch rating categories. Once cadets receive their branch ratings, they have the final vote to refine their branch preferences one last time before all data is inputted into a matching mechanism managed by OEMA.

After the matching mechanism is run by OEMA, a “Perfect Match” occurs when a cadet receives a No. 1 branch preference in which he/she was rated as “Most Preferred.” The matching mechanism results are then reviewed by the USMA Branching Board as the final human check of the branching process. The results are approved by the USMA Superintendent and the Army G-1 prior to official notification of cadets on Branch Night.

While most cadets will serve as a second lieutenant in one of the 17 Army branches, some choose to apply for an inter-service commission (ISC) into the Navy, Marines, or Air Force. In the future, Space Force could become an option pending official Army guidance. Highly qualified ISC candidates must coordinate with the respective service liaison at USMA and

USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Branch selection for the Class of 1975.


submit a packet no later than the end of their cow year. The Accessions Division conducts an annual ISC board to review packets and interview candidates before providing recommendations to the Superintendent. Final approval authority for ISC candidates lies with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

The talent-based branching process allows both cadets and branch proponents to provide inputs that will align talent and provide the right leader in the right branch for the overall benefit of soldiers. Since its inception, the TBB process has consistently achieved a “Perfect Match” percentage of 60 percent or higher. By comparison, the last OML-based process in 2019 achieved a “Perfect Match” percentage of 35 percent. Additionally, 84 percent of the cadets in the Class of 2023 received a branch in which they were “Most Preferred” by the branch proponent and 92 percent of cadets received a top-five branch preference. When officers in the Class of 2020 complete their initial five-year commitment in 2025, OEMA will have indicators to determine if improved talent matches result in increased retention of junior officers. In the meantime, branch proponents will consistently find talented cadets that are “Most Preferred” across the entire distribution of the graduating class because they are able to determine the KSBs they seek. Likewise, cadets realize that no branch is off limits to them if they possess the right talents. 

LTC Eric J. Gust ’02 is the Chief of Accessions at the United States Military Academy. He graduated from USMA in 2002 and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. Before his arrival to USMA in 2020, he led the targeting cell for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (NATO) in England. His passion for mentorship is actualized every day in the preparation of cadets for the branching process and, most importantly, for their future roles as officers.

Class of 2023 Branching Results

50 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
After being informed of their branch selection on Branch Night, Class of 2023 cadets who branched Field Artillery gather and receive FA swag from their branch representative.
IN 185 AR 92 FA 146 AV
AD 53 Ml 61 SC 38 CY 40 Branch Allocations AG 16 QM 16 TC 18 OD 12 EOD 13 MP 10 MS 20 CM 8 FC 6

May 7 – 11, 2023

We are preparing for the annual West Point Challenge from May 7 – 11. ROLL CALL! SOUND OFF!

It’s all about participation. Donations of any size, to any fund, count! For more information, call 845.446.1657 or email westpointchallenge@wpaog.org. #WestPointChallenge

Roll Call! Sound Off! May 7 – 11, 2023 WestPointChallenge.com WEST POINT CHALLENGE

Not Your “Old Grad” AOG

InDecember 2019, Donald K. Woodman ’62 passed away. In addition to being an outstanding Air Force officer and later a lawyer, Woodman was a performer. While many might not know his name, they likely remember his face: Woodman was the “father” in the 1988 “This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile” commercial, a slogan that could easily be modified to today’s West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG).

Surveys show that “Old Grads” have very positive associations with WPAOG, yet many do not grasp the mission and vision of today’s Association of Graduates. Part of this likely has to do with WPAOG’s spectacular growth in the last 30 or so years, during which time its support and services for alumni have expanded exponentially. Based on recent surveys, many members of the Long Gray Line are not familiar with several of the services offered through WPAOG, as they were not available to grads of previous generations.

50-Year Affiliation Program

In 1999, the Class of 1949 asked the Superintendent if four members of the class could present second lieutenant bars to the graduates of the Class of 1999. The bars were inscribed with “4999,” marking the beginning of WPAOG’s 50-Year Affiliation Program, the purpose of which is to strengthen the ties between the graduates of yesterday and the cadets of today as both groups work together to strengthen the Long Gray Line as it serves the nation. The program soon expanded to include a class flag presented to the yearling class as it completed Cadet Field Training and a class coin presented to the cow class after its Affirmation ceremony. Today, the 50-Year Affiliation Program features eight formal events and a handful of unofficial events at which cadets “Grip Hands” with those of the Long Gray Line who preceded them a half-century earlier. To date, 54 classes have been on one side or the other of the 50-Year Affiliation Program. In a little more than two decades from now, the Class

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
Above: Cadets from the Class of 2025 assist students from the Highland Falls Intermediate School with a lesson on robotics as part of WPAOG’s Hudson Valley Project CONNECT Program in March 2022 (learn more on page 55.)
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present

of 1999 will be the first to have participated as the “cadets of today” before becoming “the graduates of yesterday.”

Career Services

Survey after survey, grads have reported that the type of support they want most from WPAOG is career services. Many would be surprised to learn that WPAOG has long offered such services to alumni. In 1994, WPAOG partnered with the other federal service academies to offer a quarterly Service Academy Career Conference (SACC), a job fair exclusively for service academy grads. Hundreds of grads transitioning from military service to the corporate environment have found success through SACC. Today, WPAOG continues to offer SACC, while at the same time offering enhanced career services to help graduates through all kinds of career transitions. Grads can enroll in the WPAOG Career Transition Program, which will guarantee them access to a dedicated transition coach and unlimited one-on-one assistance to support them in every step of their job search: resumebuilding, interview prep, salary negotiation, and more. This program also gives them access to Korn Ferry Advance, a

Photos: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG; Ryan Hall/United States Air Force Academy Association of Graduates
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
LTC (R) Dan O’Brien ’74 interacts with members of his 50-Year Affiliation Class, the Class of 2024, at their Affirmation Ceremony in August 2022. Jamal Robinson ’10 (left) takes part in networking, advising and mentoring at the Washington, DC SACC networking event in May 2022.

professional career training program offered via WPAOG’s partnership with Korn Ferry, a top global executive search firm. Finally, WPAOG’s enhanced career services program includes the Transition Navigator initiative, which allows job-seeking grads the ability to leverage WPAOG’s 50,000plus geographical and industry grad-advisor networks to obtain more holistic transition support, beyond the simple career search.

Rockbound Highland Home Program

Launched in 2017, WPAOG’s Rockbound Highland Home (RBHH) Program is a tripartite service designed to maintain graduates’ connection with the Academy and to enrich their experience during visits to West Point. One component is the Grad Pass, which helps graduates navigate post security procedures. Filling out an online form at least three days before their visit (but no more than 120 days before), grads can apply for a temporary alumni pass that will allow them (with photo identification) 14-day access to post, or they can apply for a local area credential card that will allow them a badge good for a year. Grad Perks, another RBHH service, offers graduates special access to MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) facilities and services - such as ice skating at Tate Rink, working out at the fitness center or camping reservations at Round Pond - just by showing their Grad Pass. Finally, the Grad Insider Tour offers exclusive, guided, behind-the-scenes access to locations on West Point not open to the general public, including Washington Hall, the Thayer Award Room,

and the Cadet Uniform Factory. Tours are offered twice daily, Monday through Friday, and must be reserved three days in advance. For more information on all RBHH programs, visit: WestPointAOG.org/RockboundHighlandHome.

Class of ’46 Great Hall Rental

WPAOG’s internal data shows that very few graduates are aware that they can rent the Class of ’46 Great Hall at Herbert Alumni Center for various functions. The room accommodates up to 120 people (seated) with a dance floor, 160 without a dance floor, and up to 200 people (standing) for a cocktail reception, making it the perfect venue for wedding receptions, graduation parties, guest lectures, class reunions, military promotions, retirement ceremonies, and more. Rental of the Great Hall includes the use of the room (tables, chairs, sofas), the entry rotunda, and the back patio. Caterers must be approved and hired separately; however, they can use the bartenders’ kitchen and the caterers’ kitchen at no cost. Booking the Hall must be done at least six weeks before a function to ensure proper staff coverage. For more information on the Great Hall, grads are encouraged to contact Great-Hall@wpaog.org.

Sallyport and Grad Link

Perhaps nothing helps WPAOG fulfill its vision “to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world” better than the upgraded West Point AOG Sallyport app including Grad Link. Available on both iPhone and Android devices, this app provides contact infomation and thus can strengthen grads’ relationships with former classmates, West Point Society members, and the entire Long Gray Line. More connections with simplified communications, enhanced events, and frequent news updates are just a few of the brand-new resources available to grads who use this app. With one login, grads can take the USMA community with them wherever they go.

Grads Helping Grads

Related to Grad Link, Grads Helping Grads is a service available on the West Point AOG Sallyport app. Stemming from the introduction of WPAOG’s Gripping Hands program in 2017, which connected members of the Long Gray Line willing to help with those in need after a natural disaster, the Grads Helping Grads program keeps with the spirit of being the most connected alumni body in the world by offering graduates a way to stay connected in times of need beyond disaster assistance. Grads Helping Grads confidentially connects members of the Long Gray Line with each other in areas of veteran services, mental health, non-transition-related issues, and more. Those graduates needing assistance, or those wanting to help other graduates, can identify themselves within the Sallyport group. There are options for assistance related to a specific topic area as well as general assistance. Non-financial in nature and geared toward maintaining connections within the Long Gray Line as well as building new connections, the intent of the Grad Helping Grads program is to help connect

Photo: WPAOG archives
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
Jennifer Read (right) a staff member from WPAOG’s Alumni Support department, prepares to embark on a Grad Insider Tour, one of the services offered through the Rockbound Highland Home Program.

graduates with information and resources. For more information about the program, graduates can email GHG@wpaog.org or use the blind messaging option in the Grad Link feature of the Sallyport app.

Hudson Valley Project

Like other world-class higher education institutions, West Point and its graduates recognize that the prosperity of local communities has a fundamental effect on the success of USMA. Accordingly, the latest WPAOG initiative, the Hudson Valley Project (HVP), is designed to assist in the economic, educational, and social development of West Point neighbor communities, in particular the Town of Highlands. The HVP directly addresses WPAOG’s strategic goals to serve the West Point Strategy and the Long Gray Line. Thriving local communities support USMA admissions by making West Point more appealing to cadet candidates and their parents, support the Dean by attracting accomplished relocating staff and faculty, and support graduates by improving their experiences when returning to their alma mater.

Among the HVP initiatives are efforts to improve local education and economic development. For example, WPAOG identified the Highland Falls Intermediate School (HFIS) as a lynchpin for both the social and economic development of the

Village of Highland Falls. Significantly resource-challenged, the HFIS comprises students from third to eighth grades, 56 percent of which live under the poverty level, and the school’s poor ratings discourage many families from moving to the area. In September 2022, WPAOG launched CONNECT, a five-day per week, after-school program free for all HFIS students. Today, 80 percent of eligible HFIS students are enrolled in CONNECT, which offers learning experiences in science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts, math, physical fitness, and nutrition; incorporates participation by the community, USMA cadets, and USMA alumni; and complements the local school district curriculum. The HVP advocates for the town’s economic development as well, actively working to improve infrastructure, parks, tourism, and civil society organizations and serving as a catalyst to strategically improve the commercial climate of the village and attract investment, entrepreneurs, and philanthropy. 

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 55 NOT YOUR “OLD GRAD” AOG WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S Grads Helping Grads works to connect grads in need of assistance with information that may help or with grads who can assist. The program matches offers and requests based on need. Many of the individuals involved don’t know each other but they are forever connected through the Long Gray Line! WestPointAOG.org/gradshelpinggrads GHG@wpaog.org | 845.446.1677 VETERANS CRISIS LINE : Call 988, Option 1 Offer or Find Help with the Grads Helping Grads Program
USMA THEN & NOW | 1940-present
WPAOG’s mission is to serve West Point and the Long Gray line, and its vision is to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world.

20 Years of Women’s Army Rugby Declare It!

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Mahan ’70 (Retired) entered the Eisenhower Hall Ballroom in the fall of 2002 and was shocked at the sight before him. The tables for formal dinners had been cleared to the side; there was no band playing for a hop…instead there were 40 cadet women reading over a rugby manual, then enacting the different plays detailed in the book. Mahan was hooked, and he volunteered on the spot to be their first coach until they could find a full-time one. It was an inauspicious beginning for what would become, 20 years later, the Academy’s winningest women’s team, with 12 assorted championship titles. No one except the players knew it then, but a team of champions and warriors had just been born.

Kafi Joseph ’03 was the driving force behind those first practices and requests for coaching and support from the Academy. In November 2002, she asked the Commandant, Brigadier General

Leo Brooks ’79 (Retired), to come watch their first scrimmage on Daly Field. Wearing cold weather gear and borrowed jerseys, the “Founding Forty” women cadets battled it out against each other in calf-deep snow, earning Brooks’ approval to start a Women’s Army Rugby (WAR) competitive club team. Rarely does the chance to do something totally unique and new appear at the Academy, but Joseph consulted the Center for Enhanced Performance and took that exceptional opportunity to craft a team name, creed, and traditions in order to ensure that the team was cohesive and mission-focused from the very beginning, traits West Point teaches and tries to inculcate in future Army officers who will be leading teams after graduation. Joseph, the first team captain, stated, “We coined the phrase ‘Declare It!’ as our battle cry because each time you step on the pitch you are facing an opponent, you are battling for victory! We affectionately referred to members of the team as W.A.R.riors.”

56 WestPointAOG.org
Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
Above: Attendees of the Women’s Army Rugby Reunion gather in front of the newly unveiled
display about the
West Point Museum

With such a strong beginning, success came quickly and has not faltered in the last 20 years. Lieutenant Colonel Tia Terry ’04, the first regular season team captain, remembered, “What we lacked in skill, we made up for with our athleticism.” In their first game the team tied 5-5 against Columbia University. They defeated Rutgers University a month later for their first win, and by the end of that first season the team had won the MET-NY 15s Championship. Head coach Major Leland “Butch” Stedge ’72 (Retired), who took over running the team from Mahan, stated, “In our game against Navy, things were going well, it was a lot of running, tackling, and hitting people, and WAR was good at that! However, the other team started kicking the ball, and we knew we needed to learn some new skills.” Working hard and adhering to their creed, by the next season they defeated the Navy squad, ranked No. 6 in the nation. The next year, in just their third competitive season, the team won its second MET-NY 15 Championship and its first Northeastern Championship, qualifying for the round of 16. The 2006-07 team included four-year ruggers, and members started qualifying for the Under-19 Women’s National Team.

The club team was practicing in numerous locations, including Daly Field and the parade field at Camp Buckner. Finally, they found a home field, locker rooms, and a dedicated space when the Anderson Rugby Complex (funded by Lee Anderson, Class of 1961, and his wife, Penny) was completed in 2007 on what had been part of Target Hill Field. The first rugby game played on Warrior Field, the main turf field, was a Women’s Rugby Team victory against the U.S. Air Force Academy, the first in team history against that rival.

Thanks to the amenities of the Anderson Rugby Complex and WAR culture, the women’s club team perpetually attracted new cadets to the squad. It also continued to win numerous local and regional championships and a place in the national championships. Captain Triada Cross ’13 was a yearling on the 2011 National Championship Team and recalled, “It’s that bond that won us the championship. I watched my sisters play harder than I’d ever seen them play before. I watched them become beasts and throw themselves into scrums. I saw tackle after tackle go down, knowing that one of my teammates was going to be there to clear over the ball and protect her sister.” Army beat Penn State 33-29 to win their first national championship.

In 2014 both the Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams moved from being Directorate of Cadet Activities competitive club teams to being managed by the Army West Point Athletic Department

“We coined the phrase ‘Declare It!’ as our battle cry because each time you step on the pitch you are facing an opponent, you are battling for victory! We affectionately referred to members of the team as W.A.R.riors.”
— Kafi Joseph ’03
Team photo of the inaugural 2002-03 Women’s Army Rugby Team.

(formerly ODIA). Since the move, the Women’s Rugby Team has been undefeated against both Navy and Air Force. In their first season as a varsity team in 2015, the 7s team (7 players per team on the field) defeated Norwich University, who entered the game on a 63-match unbeaten streak and as the three-time reigning national champions. WAR went 6-0 in American Collegiate Rugby Association’s 7s Championship, wresting the title away from Norwich. The team continued to dominate, going undefeated in both 15s and 7s in the 2020-21 season, outscoring their opponents 465-25 over both the fall and spring seasons.

Current head coach Bill LeClerc has an over 70-percent winning record since the team became a varsity sport in 2014 and is also an assistant coach to the United States Women’s National Team. Under his coaching, First Lieutenant Samantha Sullivan ’20 was selected as a three-time NIRA 15s All-American, the first-ever

recipient of the Prusmack Award (given to the top 7s collegiate player by the U.S. Rugby Foundation), and the only rugby player (men’s or women’s) to be selected for the Army Athletic Association Award.

From November 4-6, 2022, alumni, current team members and coaches from the Women’s Rugby Team gathered to celebrate exactly 20 years of women’s rugby at West Point. The weekend included a rugby practice and game, a welcome reception and viewing of the new Women’s Army Rugby exhibit at the West Point Museum, and a banquet with the Honorable Sue Fulton ’80, keynote speaker for the event. Additionally, a jersey ceremony was held during which Joseph, Terry, and Sylvia Thomas McDonald ’11, first national championship team captain, presented jerseys from their teams to the current cocaptains, Cadets Kaylee Cargile ’23 and Julia Riekena ’23.

Photo: Army West Point Athletic Department
“It’s that bond that won us the championship. I watched my sisters play harder than I’d ever seen them play before. I watched them become beasts and throw themselves into scrums. I saw tackle after tackle go down, knowing that one of my teammates was going to be there to clear over the ball and protect her sister.”
— CPT Triada Cross ’13
Women's Army Rugby defeats Harvard 21-19 on Senior Day in October 2022.

Women’s Rugby at the Academy has not only contributed to the athletic laurels of the Black Knights but also to the skills learned on the pitch that have contributed to grad success in the Army. The team’s emphasis on building off these skills have influenced hundreds of women graduates who have gone on to lead in today’s Army as Rangers, Sappers, combat arms officers, commanders, the corporate and non-profit sectors, and as Olympians and elite-level athletes and coaches.

Excerpt of the W.A.R.rior Creed:

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 59 DECLARE IT! TWENTY YEARS OF WOMEN’S ARMY RUGBY Photos: Army West Point Athletic Department
W.A.R. is about desire
W.A.R. is about leadership
W.A.R. is about camaraderie
W.A.R. is building & leaving a tradition for future
W.A.R .riors to live up to
The 2022-23 team just before the start of their first match of the 2022 fall season, a decisive 62-7 win over Mount St. Mary’s University at Anderson Rugby Complex. Members of the 2016-17 team take possession of the ball.

West Point’s Most Winning “Brotherhood”

West Point’s most winning men’s team added a top trophy to their case in 2022 when they won the Men’s Division 1A Rugby National Championship for the first time in program history.

60 WestPointAOG.org

Last year was certainly a special season, and the lessons, relationships and memories will be with us forever,” Sherman said. “We’ve tried to keep the same approach—to be the best team we can be. Our vision is to develop the best leaders in the nation through developing the best team in the country and cadets in the Corps. We focus on achieving that goal by being laser-focused on our behaviors as teammates and men, by contributing toward a culture of excellence, and by being the fastest improving team we can be.”

According to Sherman, the team uses three values to guide the behaviors its athletes hope to live by, and to develop the habits they aim to build: trust, commitment and love. Their focus is on the process.

“I think if we get our process right, and we do become the best team we can be, we might be capable again of being the best team in the country,” Sherman said. “But we acknowledge that’s out of our control, and we focus first and foremost on beating ourselves every day.”

Before reaching national champion status, West Point’s rugby program started in 1961 as a club sport. In 2007, the Anderson Rugby Complex opened at West Point, thanks to lead donors Lee Anderson ’61 and his wife, Penny (the Andersons have also generously supported the Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams’ endowments). The dedicated facility and field allowed an already

winning club program to develop into a Division 1 team in 2010 (which later became Division 1A) and a corps squad team in 2014.

Williams was a key player for the Black Knight’s 2022 championship win. So much so that as a junior playing the prop position, he won the Rudy Scholz Award, named after two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Rudy Scholz, who played for Team USA in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic games. The award is given to the collegiate player of the year.

“Winning the national championship was a surreal feeling,” Williams said. “Every team in the country obviously plays their season in the hope that they get to that moment, and there was no doubt within our team that we would get there and be victorious. Everyone bought in to getting better from day to day, and I think this is what led to such great success. It was amazing being able to share that moment on the field with so many alumni of the program, and with my teammates who have given their blood, sweat and tears to the sport.”

As team captain, Williams said he feels his role is to help lead the team toward their vision and goals. He said he sees his role as a bridge between the coaches and the players, one in which he acts as advocate on his teammates’ behalf. His goal is to be approachable, so players feel comfortable coming to him for advice or for help. Williams also believes it is his role to help ensure that team motivation stays high despite any adversity or challenges they may face along the way.

“As a team, we do not like to discuss the championship from last year very often,” Williams said. “While it is awesome that we won and made history in the process, the focus has to be on today and now. The most important thing to us is the present. If we try to live in the past and dwell on our past success, complacency can set in, which, to be candid, happened to us toward the end of this fall season. I think that our focus has to be about us improving our personal best. It does not matter what

Photo: Army West Point Athletics
“Winning the national championship was a surreal feeling. Every team in the country obviously plays their season in the hope that they get to that moment, and there was no doubt within our team that we would get there and be victorious.”
— CDT Larry Williams Jr. ’23 (Rudy Scholz Award winner for collegiate player of the year.)
Fly half Ben Kelly ’22 helps the Army Men’s Rugby Team defeat St. Mary’s College of California by a score of 20-8 to secure the program's first D1A Men's Rugby National Championship.
Led by Coach Matt Sherman and Cadet Larry Williams Jr. ’23, Team Captain, this year’s team is attempting to keep that momentum going as they prepare for the road to the championship this spring.

opponent we are facing or the accolades and successes of the other team or of our previous team. We need to focus on improving ourselves.”

One word both Williams and Sherman use to describe the team is “brotherhood.” Sherman said that, while the team maintains a high caliber of athletes, he thinks there’s an attraction to the Army team because of its strong brotherhood, culture, and the warrior ethos that the team and sport embodies.

Williams said that the term “brotherhood” is thrown around to describe a lot of different sports, but he believes the true concept of brotherhood is not always captured when it’s used.

“I think brotherhood means that you love the people that you are with and would do anything to see them succeed or to ensure their well-being,” Williams said. “You buy into each of your brothers and become invested in their lives because you truly do care about them. A part that I think a lot of teams miss is the accountability part of brotherhood. You have to be willing to tell your brother the things that he does not want to hear so that he can get better. You have to be willing to confront your brothers when they mess up or stumble and be right there to pick them back up.”

Not only does rugby foster camaraderie, adaptability, and resiliency, but the sport itself is rich in traditions. According to Williams, after a rugby game, it is typical for the home team to host some sort of social event during which both teams have a meal together and get to know one another. He said it amazes him how two teams can go from beating each other down on the pitch to laughing, joking, and engaging in good conversation.

This culture of brotherhood is a great fit for West Point’s mission to develop both leaders of character and warriors prepared to fight and win the nation’s wars, according to Sherman.

“At its core, rugby is about a team trying to find cohesion in a very chaotic and stressful environment,” Sherman said. “On the coaching side, while it’s important to develop technical skills, a tactical plan, and physically capable players, what I really enjoy is developing the leadership behaviors and collective problemsolving capabilities to work through the challenges my players face, and how they work together to adapt and overcome those challenges. Processes for communication, problem-solving, opportunity identification, course correction, adaptation, etc. are critical to develop in the team and players, and they are a lot of fun to coach, especially given that they are our country’s most important future leaders.” 

Photo: Army West Point Athletics CDT Larry Williams Jr. ’23 holds the D1A Men's Rugby National Championship trophy after Army West Point’s historic win. Williams also won the Rudy Scholz Award, given to the collegiate player of the year.

“Our vision is to develop the best leaders in the nation through developing the best team in the country and cadets in the Corps. We focus on achieving that goal by being laser-focused on our behaviors as teammates and men, by contributing toward a culture of excellence, and by being the fastest improving team we can be.”


Code or go to bit.ly/ShermanAOGpod

Photos: Army West Point Athletics
— Coach Matt Sherman
“The Brotherhood” plays the U.S. Air Force Academy during their fall season. Army Men’s Rugby hopes to take the D1A championship trophy home again this spring. Coach Matt Sherman has coached the Army Men’s Rugby Team since 2015. to the WPAOG podcast featuring Coach Matt Sherman. Scan the QR

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Be Thou at Peace

COL Francis K. Newcomer Jr. USA, Retired 1939

Dr. Lincoln Landis


LTC Edward L. Winthrop USA, Retired 1945

COL Clair L. Book USA, Retired 1946

Mr. Charles H. McKnight 1947

Mr. John D. Naill Jr. 1947

MG Ennis C. Whitehead Jr. USA, Retired 1948

COL Marc R. Jartman USA, Retired 1949

Mr. Donald A. Coscarelli 1950

Mr. William A. Rapp 1950

COL Robert A. Shade USA, Retired 1950

COL Walter C. Stanton Jr. USA, Retired 1950

LTC Richard G. Steuart USA, Retired 1950

LTG Richard G. Trefry USA, Retired 1950

Mr. Louis F. Morin 1952

COL Robert L. Sears USA, Retired 1952

COL Edmund A. Thompson USA, Retired 1952

Dr. Harry L. Van Trees Jr. 1952

Lt Col James W. Woodward Jr. USAF, Retired 1952

Honorable Greeley H. Ellis Jr. 1953

Mr. Ralph S. Greer 1953

COL Francis A. Nerone USA, Retired 1953

LTC Peter G. Jones USA, Retired 1954

COL Jack R. Logan USA, Retired 1954

COL William V. Paul Jr. USA, Retired 1954

LTC John G. Porter USA, Retired 1954

Lt Col Arnold H. Winkelman USAF, Retired 1954

COL David A. McNerney USA, Retired 1955

COL James R. Miller USA, Retired 1955

Mr. Robert M. Sherman Jr. 1955

COL James P. Bolin USA, Retired 1956

Col Thomas J. Cody Jr. USAF, Retired 1956

MG Michael J. Conrad USA, Retired 1956

BG Albert J. Dye WVARNG, Retired 1956

LTC Gerald D. Goldberg USA, Retired 1956

COL William C. Haponski USA, Retired 1956

LTC Aaron B. Loggins Sr. USA, Retired 1956

LTC John S. Utz USA, Retired 1956

LTC Robert C. Allen USA, Retired 1957

LTC John H. Barbazette USA, Retired 1957

Mr. Malcolm M. Duffek 1957

Mr. John D. Ellington 1957

LTC Richard R. Manahan USA, Retired 1957

LTC Howard M. Martinez Jr. USA, Retired 1957

COL John M. McDonald USA, Retired 1957

LTC Donald R. Pope USA, Retired 1957

Deaths reported from December 16, 2022 – March 15, 2023

MG Richard E. Stephenson USA, Retired 1957

Mr. Carl H. Waldenmaier 1957

COL Dale S. Cockle USA, Retired 1958

COL Samuel P. Collins Jr. USA, Retired 1958

Col Charles H. Davis IV USAF, Retired 1958

Lt Col Henry P. Gardner USAF, Retired 1958

Mr. George C. Huff 1958

Mr. John L. Isaacson 1958

Lt Col Josef C. Krankel USAF, Retired 1958

Mr. Michael W. York 1958

LTC Russell T. Boyle Jr. USA, Retired 1959

COL Ronald W. Brass USA, Retired 1959

Mr. Robert W. Roth 1959

LTC John R. Burden USA, Retired 1960

LTC Richard L. Cox USA, Retired 1960

Mr. Rand Edelstein 1960

Dr. Ross A. Gagliano 1960

COL Darryle L. Kouns USA, Retired 1960

LTC Robert L. Leech USA, Retired 1960

Mr. Harold H. Lusky

Mr. Michael O. Preletz

COL John O. Turnage USA, Retired 1961

Mr. Morris E. Brown Jr.

Mr. Charles H. Ivy

LTC Marvin P. Norwood USA, Retired

LTC Will M. Remington USA, Retired

LTC Duane L. Slater USA, Retired

COL Michael B. Allen USA, Retired 1963

Mr. Lloyd T. Asbury 1963

LTC Allen R. Christensen USA, Retired 1963

COL William R. Kuhns USA, Retired 1963

COL Jan L. Senecal USA, Retired 1963

Mr. R. Gordon Waugh Jr. 1963

COL William H. Adair USA, Retired 1964

COL Jeffrey A. Larson USA, Retired 1964

Mr. Joseph G. Seeber 1964

Dr. Kevin C. Kelley

LTC Kermit M. Morgan USA, Retired

Mr. Lynn J. Perey

LTC James B. Allen USA, Retired

BG Robert F. Griffin USA, Retired

Mr. Rand K. Shotwell

LTC Forrest D. Williams USA, Retired 1967

COL Vincent P. Baerman USA, Retired 1968

Mr. Howard C. McElroy 1968

Mr. Donald J. McLane 1968

Mr. William S. Miller 1968

Mr. Gary L. Schappaugh

Mr. Ernest L. Albanese Jr.

Mr. Lenny S. Bay 1969

LTC William F. Friese Jr. USA, Retired 1969

COL John A. Gloriod USA, Retired 1969

Mr. Charles W. Leitzke 1969

Mr. Thomas E. Whitaker 1969

LTC William C. Bennett USA, Retired 1970

Mr. Sherman W. Crawford 1970

Dr. Thomas R. Hall

Mr. Roderick H. Morgan

LTC Robert E. Freeman USA,

Mr. William J. Tryon

Mr. Jeffrey B. Weinstock

Mr. William W. Britain

Mr. Robert E. Ludwig

COL Burton W. Tulkki USA, Retired

Mr. Keith W. Woznek

Mr. David J. Griffith Jr.

LTC Harold E. Hale USA, Retired

Mr. Mark J. Ivandick

Mr. Kerry M. Karnan

Mr. Steven P. Medaglia

Mr. Terry E. Smith

Mr. Jack R. Kromer Jr.

Mr. Thomas A. Leahy

Mr. John W. McCoy

LTC Charles W. Protasio USA, Retired

LTC Barry L. Scribner USA, Retired

COL Richard B. Bowman USA, Retired

Dr. William E. Eichinger

LTC Charles H. Ockrassa USA, Retired 1976

BG Thomas C. Lawing ARNG, Retired

Mr. Marvis Moseley Jr. 1978

COL Michael J. Neilson USAR, Retired 1978

BG Michael J. Silva USAR, Retired 1978

Dr. Michael R. Schaub

LTC John W. Garmany Jr. USA, Retired

Ms. Sharri J. Board

Mr. John M. Magness

Mr. Robert R. Soto

Mr. Todd D. Wielinski

MAJ Christian Nelson USA,


Retired 1971
Retired 2001
CPT Lyone Velez-Segarra USA
David A. Navidad Parra USA

Past in Review

West Point and the Vietnam War

Spanning the classes of 1941 to 1970, 333 West Point graduates died during the Vietnam War, which lasted from the formation of MAAG Vietnam (Military Assistance Advisory Group) on November 1, 1955 to the withdrawal of the last American combat troops on March 29, 1973. In 2012, the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress, marking a 50th anniversary commemoration period, and the Vietnam War Veterans

Recognition Act of 2017 designated every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The story of the Military Academy and its graduates is intertwined with the story of American involvement in Vietnam.

During the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, American involvement was limited to advisors working with the South Vietnamese military (ARVN—Army of the Republic of Vietnam). Victor Hugo ’54 spent 18 months (1955-56) training ARVN officers in the Philippines and in Vietnam. Volney Warner ’50 served as a province senior advisor in 1963 and noted that, in the beginning “you thought you could do more good for humanity in six months probably in that part of the world than you could in the rest of the world in a lifetime,” but over time he came to realize that “it’s hard to tell who’s on what side.” Advisors continued to serve with ARVN forces throughout the war, even as American troops were withdrawn. Mike Hood ’67 was an advisor to ARVN Rangers during his second tour

and was one of the last Americans in Quang Tri in 1972 when it was evacuated under fire. One of the last messages he received from his headquarters was “get to the citadel and we’ll try to get you out.”

In 1965, under the Johnson administration, the presence of U.S. combat troops in Vietnam increased, topping out at 543,000 in April 1969 (by comparison, U.S. troop strength in Iraq peaked at 168,000 and in Afghanistan at 110,000). During the height of the American War in Vietnam, U.S. units sought to engage the North Vietnamese Army (NVA or PAVN People’s Army of Vietnam) in large battles which favored American strengths in mobility and firepower. Any understanding of the Vietnam War would be incomplete without studying examples of the various branches of service within the Army.

Steve Darrah ’65 served two tours as an attack helicopter pilot. On one mission, his Cobra was providing support to a Huey that was trying to extract a Ranger team under heavy fire.

66 WestPointAOG.org PAST IN REVIEW Photos: Submitted
Left: Steve Darrah ’65 next to his Cobra in Vietnam. Right: Russ Campbell ’65 (foot on jeep) with the 101st in Vietnam. Victor Hugo ’54, assigned to the Old Guard.

Having expended his ammunition, Darrah volunteered to fly one more pass over the NVA guns while the Huey made a final attempt to rescue the Rangers. Darrah flew low and slow over the enemy with his searchlight on to draw fire, and the Huey was able to extract the Rangers. Russ Campbell ’65 served as an artillery forward observer and battery commander during his time in Vietnam. He highlights an especially poignant moment when, as a battery commander, he was faced with the decision of whether to fire into a “No-Fire Zone” at the request of an American lieutenant serving with the ARVN. Unsure of whether the lieutenant was engaged with the enemy or with another friendly force in the dark, Campbell “took a deep breath, looked at the fire direction center guys, and said, ‘fire’ and I just hoped.” The lieutenant replied, “Thank God, thank God,” and began directing the fire. No story of the Vietnam War would be complete without the Vietnamese perspective. Mike Eiland ’61 was serving with Special Forces in Vietnam when he met Chan in Saigon, and they began courting. When Mike was transferred to a Special Forces detachment in Thailand, they agreed to marry if they could not stand being apart. In December they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Nguyen Duc Huy was a Vietnamese nurse. He became especially close to an American civilian doctor, Pat Reardon, who was godfather to one of Mr. Huy’s

children. As the war became increasingly desperate for South Vietnam, Mr. Huy offered to let Dr. Reardon adopt his godson to give him the opportunity for a good life in America. Dr. Reardon’s adopted son, Patrick Reardon, graduated from West Point in 1986 and eventually returned to Vietnam as the senior defense official in Hanoi. As he was leaving Vietnam for America in April 1975, Huy Duc Nguyen gave his son a bracelet etched with the Vietnamese words for “work hard, be happy, be obedient.” Those words motivated him, setting him on the path to West Point.

Cadets of the era were well aware of what was happening in Vietnam. The Pointer, the cadet magazine, regularly posted articles about the situation in Vietnam (five in 1967 alone), and Vietnam grad deaths were announced from the Poop Deck during lunch. One Catholic chaplain, Cardinal O’Brien, was so moved by the number of funerals at West Point that he volunteered for service in Vietnam. Rich Enners ’71 remembers the day in 1968 when his tactical officer came to his room to tell him that his older brother Ray (USMA ’67) had been killed in Vietnam. Rich visited his brother’s grave daily in the West Point Cemetery, and Ray, a three-year letterwinner for the Army lacrosse program and a 1967 U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Honorable Mention All-American, is memorialized in the naming of the

Foley, Enners, Nathe Lacrosse Center, which opened in 2016.

In addition to seeing protests about the Vietnam War, cadets experienced the growing Civil Rights movement. Art Hester ’65 struggled with the decision to remain at West Point while demonstrations were increasing around the country, ultimately choosing to stay at West Point. After graduation, he deployed to Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, serving 34 years in the Army. Several West Point graduates deployed to places around the United States in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968.

Throughout the war, hundreds of Americans were held prisoner by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. The majority were pilots from all services who were shot down or forced to eject. Gene Deatrick ’46 (USAF) spotted escaped POW Dieter Dengler from his airplane, facilitating his rescue. Bob Jones ’65 was captured after ejecting from his damaged F-4 Phantom, enduring more than five years in the “Hanoi Hilton.” Describing his experiences in prison, he recalls, “Someone’s in the room and screaming, and all of a sudden you realize it’s you.”

He was finally released on March 14, 1973, noting, “That was a pretty good day.”

Throughout the war, families of deployed service members suffered as well. They dealt with forced relocation from military bases (family members

WEST POINT | SPRING 2023 67 PAST IN REVIEW Photos: Submitted
Left: Mike (USMA ’61) and Chan Eiland in 1973. Right: Pat Reardon ’86 at his graduation with both his birth parents, Nguyen Duc Huy and Nguyen Thi Pan, and his adoptive parents, Dorothy and Dr. Patrick Reardon.

were not allowed to remain on post when their spouses were deployed), protests, and death notices. Susie Rothmann (wife of Harry Rothmann ’67) describes driving to Washington, DC to support Eileen Kelly after her husband, John “Jack” Kelly, was killed in action. Kitsy Van Deusen Westmoreland grew up in an Army family and married William Westmoreland ’36. She describes her experiences as an Army spouse, including being the Superintendent’s wife, living in Vietnam, and serving on Red Cross flights bringing wounded servicemembers home. Stories from the home front help complete the larger narrative of the Vietnam War.

After the war, veterans sought to come to grips with their experiences, and a movement to establish a national monument gained momentum. Joe Zengerle ’64 was serving as an assistant secretary of the Air Force and

was working with Jan Scruggs on the idea for a monument. Zengerle provided hangar space for the architects to display their designs. After Maya Lin’s was selected, opponents sought to prevent the monument from being built. Tom Shull ’73, serving as a White House Fellow, was instrumental in securing the building permits at the last minute, allowing construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (dedicated in 1982) to begin.

The Vietnam War was a central experience in the careers of many West Point graduates from the 1950s and 1960s. It affected the lives of cadets, graduates, and their family members. Casualties from the Vietnam War rest in long rows in the West Point Cemetery and are memorialized on individual plaques in Cullum Hall. A tablet affixed to a rock next to Lusk Reservoir honors the classes of the 1960s and those who “fell in battle in

the Vietnam conflict.” Their stories of service and sacrifice continue to educate and inspire cadets today as the Long Gray Line continues. 

LTC (R) David Siry is the Director of the West Point Center for Oral History (COH) and an instructor in the Department of History. A 1994 graduate of West Point, he served 28 years on active duty. Full-length interviews with all the individuals mentioned in the article are available online at www.westpointcoh.org. Currently, COH has 834 interviews published online, with 361 of them pertaining to the war in Vietnam. Its online holdings even include a featurelength film documenting the experience of the Class of 1967 before, during, and after their service in Vietnam. COH’s Vietnam Archive (sponsored through Margin of Excellence funding from the West Point Class of 1965) provides a broad lens through which to view the war in Vietnam.

68 WestPointAOG.org PAST IN REVIEW Photos: Submitted
Top left: Kitsy Westmoreland, wife of William Westmoreland ’36, visits with a wounded American soldier. Top right: Bob Jones ’65, departing the Phillipines after being released from captivity. Bottom left: Ray Enners (#26) ’67, with classmates Ed Sullivan, Chris Pettit and Larry Izzo. Bottom right: Joe (USMA ’64) and Lynda Zengerle at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC in 1982.


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