West Point Magazine Winter 2023

Page 26

In This Issue: Defense and Strategic Studies
A Publication of the West Point Association of Graduates
WPAOG Annual Awards
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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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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 WestPointis printed by Sheridan NH.


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.

Defense and Strategic Studies

WPAOG Annual Awards

5 COVER STORY: DSS: Teaching the Next Generation of Warfighters for the Last 15 Years

The Defense and Strategic Studies major tackles national and international security issues via a number of methodological approaches, preparing cadets for full careers as military officers and defense intellectuals.



2022 Thayer Award: Philanthropist Kenneth Fisher

2022 Nininger Award: LTC Robert A. Beale ’02

20 DSS: Interdisciplinary Students of War, Peace, and Strategy

24 From Chalkboard to Tree Line: How DSS Supports Cadet Summer Training

30 Recapping #123 With 1-2-3

34 Fort Benning Becomes Fort Moore

The home of the Infantry until 2005 and now the home of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence is receiving a new name in 2023.

36 The Modern War Institute: USMA’s Military Think Tank

39 DSS By the Numbers

42 Leadership Matters

44 Internships for the Next Generation of Warfighters

47 BOOM! AAH! USMA! Putting Cheer in Hearts of Gray For more than 100 years, both on and off the field, the Rabble Rousers have been leading the Corps and the Long Gray Line in cheering for Army teams.


3 From the President

4 From the Superintendent

14 Gripping Hands

15 WPAOG Military Retiree Recognition Program

23 Parents Corner

28 Poster: 2022 Army-Navy Game

40 WPAOG News

2 WestPointAOG.org SECTION : TITLE
VOLUME 13, ISSUE 1 • WINTER 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
ON THE COVER: A cadet on the marksmanship range during the Fall Sandhurst competition, held on October 28 and 29, 2022. Photo: CDT Noah Murray ’25/USMA PAO
54 Be Thou at Peace
55 Past in Review
Monument Group 13 Century 21 C2 Falcons Landing 19
Gift Shop C4 Herff Jones
Colony 15 SACC 53 USAA 1, C3
ADVERTISERS Balfour 19 Battle
19 Patriots

Dear Fellow Graduates:

To the more than 55,000 members of the Long Gray Line: Happy New Year! Together, we will make 2023 another great year for each other and our beloved alma mater.

With your support, your West Point Association of Graduates had an outstanding year in 2022, enabling us to better “Serve West Point and the Long Gray Line.” As outlined in our 2030 Strategic Plan, several initiatives were launched; classes gave in record numbers and engaged with their Association like never before. WPAOG garnered key industry awards for its programs and services. In 2022 we launched the Hudson Valley Project (HVP), an initiative to improve the vitality of the Town of Highlands, which is critically important to the long-term health of the Academy. HVP aids in recruiting cadets, as well as staff and faculty, and it aims to make graduates’ visits to their Rockbound Highland Home more enjoyable, thus encouraging a closer connection to the Academy. With the HVP goals in mind, WPAOG launched CONNECT, a five-daya-week after-school program that provides Highland Falls Intermediate School students with high-quality academic and enrichment experiences to improve their educational experience and enhance the school’s reputation. Often graduates and members of the West Point community, including cadets, volunteer to support the CONNECT staff. In 2022, WPAOG brought back the Rockbound Highland Home Grad Insider Tour after a nearly two-year pause due to COVID-19 and unveiled Career Navigator, a more comprehensive career transition service that goes beyond just job placement. We also launched Grads Helping Grads, a program intended to truly unlock the power of the Long Gray Line by connecting those looking for advice with grads who have the experience and expertise to help. What’s more, staple WPAOG events continued in 2022, with the Distinguished Graduate Awards in May and the Thayer and Nininger Awards in October helping to fulfill the USMA mission to inspire the Corps of Cadets (read about the Thayer and Nininger awards in this issue). WPAOG supported more than 3,000 graduates at 16 reunions last year. Finally, in July 2022, WPAOG was awarded three CASE awards and four American Business Awards (also known as “Stevie Awards”), including one for Non-Profit of the Year, well deserved awards in recognition of our committed WPAOG staff.

Looking forward to 2023, we’re excited to find new ways to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision “To be the Most Highly Connected Alumni Body in the World.” In pursuit of this we look forward to obtaining approval for a five-year Grad Pass, focusing attention on the economic line of effort for the Hudson Valley Project, and celebrating a groundbreaking for the Michie Stadium Preservation Project.

If you would like to become more involved with WPAOG and our exciting future, I encourage you to consider applying for election to the WPAOG Board of Directors or Advisory Council. Grads who participate in WPAOG governance describe it as an unique and rewarding experience, during which volunteers have the opportunity to support cadets, meet the needs of the ever-changing Long Gray Line, and shape the future direction of WPAOG. Look for an announcement in the 2023 Spring issue of West Point magazine for more information. You can also visit WestPointAOG.org/VolunteerOpportunities to learn more. Finally, I would like to highlight something new that you may have noticed on the masthead in West Point magazine. WPAOG has received financial support through a significant planned gift from the late William D. “Billy” Mounger ’48. This recognition is fitting as Billy’s passion was communication and the written word. During his lifetime, he also supported the USMA Department of English & Philosophy, and the West Point Writing Program’s writing center is named in recognition of this support. WPAOG is grateful for his gift, which will also be recognized on a plaque in the Office of the WPAOG Vice President of Communications & Marketing.

Grip Hands!


Long Gray Line Teammates:

I hope you and your families enjoyed a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. It has been great to see so many of you at West Point and across the country. Thank you for your continued support to our alma mater and the Corps of Cadets and especially for engaging with and inspiring these outstanding future leaders of our nation.

The Corps and the entire West Point Team tackled the fall semester with a tremendous amount of energy and motivation, demonstrating excellence from the classroom to the fields of friendly strife. This year’s academic program theme, “Called to Serve: Military Leadership in a Democratic Republic,” is providing the Corps with a foundation on the importance of civil-military relations and our responsibilities to the Constitution through conferences and guest lecturers. The Class of 2023 received their branch assignments during Branch Night in December, and I’d like to extend my thanks to the Class of ’73 for their excellent support of this milestone event. We capped off an outstanding fall semester as we Beat Navy in an intense, historic doubleovertime win in Philadelphia.

Now, after a well-deserved holiday break, the Corps and the West Point Team are headed into the spring semester with the same energy and motivation as they showed in the fall.

We are conducting reviews across the Academy, to include our institutional assessment processes. Everything is on the table, to include our mission and vision statements, strategy and campaign plan, and internal processes. Additionally, we are building an external review team that will examine various institution-level areas to provide us with another perspective at how we are operating and where we might innovate to be more effective. These assessments, along with the review team’s recommendations, will better posture the Academy to meet the needs of an Army in transformation, both as the Army’s “gold standard” for leader development, as well as its center of intellectual capital.

Transformation is the center of the Army’s new Campaign Plan, which emphasizes building the Army of 2030 and developing the Army of 2040 and beyond. As we consider the evolving threats of Russia and China, the Army is undergoing its most significant transformation since the end of the Cold War to maintain superiority over any potential adversary and to ensure our ability to fight and win on both traditional battlefields and in the new frontiers of space and cyberspace.

This transformation includes reorganizing forces, developing new equipment with innovative technology, adopting new doctrinal concepts on how we fight, and most importantly, investing in people. It underscores the importance of USMA’s mission to prepare future officers to lead, fight, and win in the Army of 2030 and beyond. It also presents an opportunity in our role as an Army center of intellectual capital. We are finding that more and more Department of Defense agencies are seeking the tremendous intellectual capital that exists within our faculty, and our faculty are delivering and meeting these demands. They are ensuring this research is integrated into the cadets’ courses and capstones to enhance cadet development.

Another way in which we are preparing cadets for the Army of 2030 and beyond is through our Defense and Strategic Studies major, the focus of this issue of West Point magazine.

This interdisciplinary major draws from the fields of military science, political science, international relations, economics, history, anthropology, and sociology. It equips graduates to understand the enduring problems and emerging trends in security studies, from theories of warfare and civil military relations to strategic decision-making and Information Age war. Graduates are versed in the relevant human, moral, and geographic implications of conflict, and, most importantly, are prepared to lead in the complex environments of the 21st century.

As we begin this new year, we humbly request your steadfast advocacy for both USMA and the Army in sharing the value of service with young Americans and assisting us in identifying and recruiting qualified talent with the desire to serve. Additionally, we continue to seek alumni to join the ranks of our Field Force, particularly those with recent Army experiences who can leverage their knowledge and current changes within the Army. If you are interested in becoming a Field Force rep, or know someone who is interested, please contact LTC Rance Lee, our Deputy Admissions Director, at rance.lee@westpoint.edu.

On behalf of the West Point Team, thank you for all you do for our Academy and the Corps of Cadets. Best wishes to you and your families for a happy and healthy 2023. We look forward to engaging with you during Founders Day events this spring.


"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

DSS: Teaching the Next Generation of Warfighters for the Last 15 Years

In2022, the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program, the only academic major within the United States Military Academy’s Department of Military Instruction, celebrated its 15th year of existence. The program evolved from the Military Arts & Science field of study (MA&S), which was established in 2004 and administered by the Department of History on behalf of the Department of Military Instruction. The mission of MA&S was to provide cadets with a greater doctrinal understanding of tactics, operations, and strategy relevant to the current and future U.S. Army in order to produce leaders with a significant edge in professional military development. While MA&S gained a reputation among the Corps as being the major for combat arms, today’s DSS major is one that frames and analyzes national and international security issues by emphasizing a wide array of methodological approaches—not

only military science but also political science, international relations, economics, history, anthropology, and sociology. “Today, DSS is preparing its cadets for a full career as both military officers and as defense intellectuals in the civil sector,” says Lieutenant Colonel Keith Carter, DSS Director.

The vision of today’s DSS major is to give cadets the skills to succeed anywhere. “DSS is all about the critical thinking skills, communication skills, and all the other skills our graduates will need for the Profession of Arms as well as for the workforce they will enter when they transition from the Army,” says Carter. “We ultimately want DSS cadets to develop an analytical mindset— the ability to appropriately frame hypotheses, devise strategies to gather evidence that supports or disproves the hypothesis, and then evaluate in a rigorous way.”

WEST POINT | WINTER 2023 5 Photos: iStock

DSS majors begin developing this mindset in DS320: Intro to Strategic Studies. A study in strategy through the levels of war, DS320 covers foundational topics in the field and introduces cadets to the theory, principles and doctrinal concepts surrounding international relations, geopolitics, military theory, and grand strategy. Within DS320, cadets are introduced to the ideas of Sun Tzu, Antoine Henri Jomini, and Karl Von Clausewitz. “DSS emphasizes fundamental strategic thinkers, just like any program in strategy would,” says Carter, “and it uses emerging historical case studies to further develop its cadets’ intellectual acumen.”

instruction from DS320, DS370, and Academy core courses on leadership and strategy to explore how emerging technologies interact with the contemporary international environment to influence the character of war. “When DSS was launched more than a decade ago, cyber, machine learning and technology topics were touched upon but not too deeply,” says Carter. “Now those topics are a regular part of our curriculum, plus we have added topics on the Space Force and the concept of multidomain operations.”

DS320 is followed by DS370: Strategy and Policy (a course on the foundational concepts within national policy, strategic theory, and military strategy), DS495: Research Methods (which teaches cadets about the different research methodologies for the strategic studies field), and, during the spring semester of one’s firstie year, DS498: Leadership in Future War (the DSS major’s integrative experience). This latter course combines previous

Finally, rounding out DSS’s program, cadets in the major need to take three complementary support courses from a list of 11, representing nine USMA departments. They also need to take four DSS-specific electives, and two additional electives. Approximately three dozen courses from nearly every academic department at USMA can fulfill this last requirement. “Over the years, DSS has developed good working relationships with our fellow academic departments,” says Major Matthew McClary ’10, DSS Deputy Director. “Last year, when we holistically reviewed the program, we examined our elective course offerings and picked new contemporary topics that DSS leadership thought would be relevant to developing a securityminded professional.”

For the most part, DSS stresses many of the similar topics one would see in security studies courses across a lot of graduate programs. When designing the DS320 course, for example, DSS looked at 12 different strategic studies programs, all at the master’s degree level (Kings College, Harvard, etc.), and created

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
“Today, DSS is preparing its cadets for a full career as both military officers and as defense intellectuals in the civil sector.”
—LTC Keith Carter, DSS Director
MAJ Matthew McClary ’10, Deputy Director of the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program, discusses the DSS major with members of the Class of 2026 at the USMA Majors Fair Open House last fall.

a Venn diagram and used the intersection of these programs to determine the foundational topics for this course.

If this sounds challenging, that’s because it is. “Being a DSS major has meant much more work than I anticipated,” says Cadet Chaney Lieberman ’23. “I put in way more work into my DSS classes than in any of my other classes at the Academy.”

Lieberman’s classmate Thomas Gabriele ’23 agrees, saying, “Due to the intensity of the major, there are some in the Corps who believe that ‘DSS’ stands for ‘Don’t Stop Studying.’”

Despite its demanding courseload, the number of cadets majoring in DSS has grown exponentially in its 15 years of existence. Last year, it became the second most popular major at the Academy for the Class of 2025, and for the last few years it has been consistently among the top five for all classes combined. One hypothesis for its popularity is that those majoring in DSS know that their coursework will pay immediate dividends in the profession they will enter upon graduation. “While there is a lot of work, the lessons in DSS are very applicable to being a young officer in the Army,” says Lieberman. Gabriele takes this even further. “I believe that this is the most professionally relevant major at the Academy,” he says, “and, as a DSS major, I am seeing that there is a lot more to being an Army officer than just ‘Army stuff.’”

The rise in the number of cadets majoring in DSS has necessitated an expansion of the DSS faculty. “Selecting the faculty is one of the most important things we do on an annual basis within DSS,” says Carter. “We scrutinize candidate packets closely to ensure that we are bringing in a good mix of

LTC Keith Carter, Director of the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program, briefs a plebe on the courses and opportunities available as a DSS major. Below: An international cadet from the Class of 2026 reviews DSS literature handed out at the USMA Majors Fair Open House.
“I believe that this is the most professionally relevant major at the Academy.”
—CDT Thomas Gabriele ’23


8 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; submitted Above: Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) faculty in the field (clockwise): MAJ Sean Marquis, MAJ Grant Barge, LTC Keith Carter, MAJ Matthew McClary ’10, MAJ Evan Dawson, and MAJ Melanie Gouthro ’10. Below: Members of DSS faculty gather on the Class of 1975 Terrace on the sixth floor of Jefferson Hall.

academically minded, operationally relevant officers with complementary interests to the department.”

With seven full-time instructors and seven more from the Modern War Institute (MWI) who teach courses, DSS has a wide range of talent on its staff. “Our instructors are a blend of historians, political scientists, economists, and anthropologists,” notes McClary. “We have multiple Ph.D.’s in our program, and we also have practitioners who speak from experience in the classroom.” Regarding this last point, leadership within DSS proudly points out that it strives for diversity in its faculty among military specialities too: it currently has a logistician, a civil affairs officer, an air defense artillery officer, and several Special Operations officers. This last point is what influenced Cadet Lieberman to become a DSS major.

“When I went to the majors fair in 2019, I was very impressed with DSS’s instructors,” she says. “Most were Special Forces or did something in Special Operations, and they had all these dynamic stories about their time in the Army.”

Of course they would: DSS is housed within USMA’s Department of Military Instruction (DMI), which aligns the major with MWI, the Accessions Division, and DMI

Headquarters—units heavily populated with Army officers. “DSS does not view itself as advanced Military Science and Training, which is what DMI teaches to all cadets,” says Carter, “but being in DMI is critical for DSS because it allows the major to stay connected to the operational Army in a way that is essential for the development of contemporary course offerings.” While being in DMI provides DSS with resources and personnel from USMA’s Military Program, led by the Commandant, DSS also reports to USMA’s Academic Program to ensure that it is meeting all the Dean’s initiatives. “We exist in a really good space,” says Carter. “Being fully integrated on both sides increases the opportunities available to our majors and makes DSS unique among all the majors offered at the Academy.”

Because DSS has only been in existence for 15 years, it doesn’t have enough data to backup its effectiveness to the operational Army yet. However, anecdotally, some DSS graduates who have returned to the Academy recently as tactical officers have selfreported that DSS has prepared them well as officers. After all, this is the goal. “The reality is that all cadets become a DSS major on the day they graduate,” says Carter. “Some will just be better prepared for that reality than others.” 

Core Courses

Complementary Support

Courses (Choose 3)

CY460: Cyber Policy, Strategy, Ops

EV365: Geography Global Cultures

EV482: Military Geography

HI301: History of Mil Art to 1900

HI347: Asian Warfare and Politics

HI357: Decolonization / Cold War

LW482: National Security Law

LX300: 3rd Sem. Foreign Language

MA376: Applied Statistics

SS366: Comparative Politics

SS381: Cultural/Political Anthro

DSS Electives (Choose 4)

DS345: Military Innovation

DS350: Persuasive Communication

DS360: Special Operations / LIC

DS399: Strat Studies Internship

DS455: Comparative Defense Pol.

DS460: Insurgency and COIN

DS475: Strategic Decision Making

DS485: Sea and Air Power

DS496: Strategic Studies Thesis

DS497: Strategic Studies Capstone


(Choose 2)

40+ course options available from most academic departments at West Point!

“When I went to the majors fair in 2019, I was very impressed with DSS’s instructors. Most were Special Forces or did something in Special Operations, and they had all these dynamic stories about their time in the Army.”
—CDT Chaney Lieberman ’23
DS320 Introduction to Strategy DS370 Strategy and Policy DS495 Research Methods DS498 Leadership in Future War

2022 THAYER AWARD Philanthropist Kenneth Fisher

When2022 Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient Kenneth

“Ken” Fisher walked into the Thayer Award Room in Taylor Hall to see his newly hung portrait on October 6, 2022, he said that he never thought his picture would be up there. And when he addressed the U.S. Corps of Cadets later that night after receiving his award, he confessed that he struggled for months to find the right words to describe his feelings, because he never considered himself worthy of an award whose past recipients include President George W. Bush (2017), General Ann Dunwoody [Retired] (2019), the Honorable Condoleezza Rice (2014), and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker (2020).

“It remains difficult to imagine that my name will be added to a list that includes former presidents, generals, cabinet secretaries, diplomats—all giants from different walks of life who devoted their lives to serving this nation,” Fisher said. “As I

stood in that majestic Thayer Award Room and gazed at the 63 portraits of past honorees, I realized how honored I will be to walk in the shadow of giants.”

And while Fisher hasn’t served his country in any of those particular capacities, his name is likely familiar to many West Point graduates and U.S. military families for serving his country in a different way—by helping to care for military families of wounded warriors during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

Fisher serves as Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, a network of nearly 90 “Fisher Houses” throughout the United States and abroad. Fisher Houses provide comfortable accommodations for military and veterans’ families to stay at no cost while a loved one receives medical treatment. Founded in 1990 by his great-uncle, Zachary Fisher,

10 WestPointAOG.org
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; Kyle Osterhoudt/USMA PAO Above: (left to right) Mr. Todd Browne ’85, the Honorable & Mrs. Robert A. McDonald ’75 President & CEO of the West Point Association of Graduates; LTG Steven W. Gilland ’90, 61st Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Mr. Kenneth Fisher, 2022 Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient; and the Honorable Robert A. McDonald ’75, Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates; stand in front of the newest Thayer Award portrait in the Thayer Award Room, located in Taylor Hall. Inset: Fisher addresses the Corps of Cadets.

Fisher Houses support more than 28,000 military families each year, with approximately 1,300 military family members staying at a Fisher House on any given night. Over the years, the Fisher House Foundation has provided more than eight million nights of lodging, saving military and veterans’ families more than $400 million in out-of-pocket expenses.

Since 1958, the Thayer Award has been awarded annually by the West Point Association of Graduates to an outstanding U.S. citizen whose character and accomplishments exemplify personal devotion to the West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” The Fisher House Foundation, under Fisher’s leadership, demonstrates these values in the innovative ways it has served this country. In the last decade, the Fisher House Foundation has partnered with the Department of Defense to establish the Hero Miles (2004) and the Hotels for Heroes (2011) programs, which allow military families to use donated

frequent flyer miles to purchase airline tickets and help provide them hotel lodging when a Fisher House is not available.

Fisher also serves as Co-Chairman of the Intrepid Museum Foundation and has helped lead the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum into becoming a unique nonprofit educational institution that provides award-winning STEM programs to thousands of New York City public school children. He also served as the Chairman of the 2016 Invictus Games, an annual international multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

He has continued his family’s legacy of philanthropy and stewarded Fisher House Foundation into a world-class organization, although when he saw his Thayer Award portrait, he said, “You do this because you love what you do.”

Photos: Christopher Hennen, John Pellino/USMA PAO
Top: (left to right) LTG Steven W. Gilland ’90, 61st Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Mr. Kenneth Fisher, 2022 Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient; the Honorable Robert A. McDonald ’75, Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates; and CSM Major Michael J. Coffey, 21st USMA Command Sergeant Major; review the Corps of Cadets. Above left: Cadets march on the Parade Field during the Thayer Award Cadet Review. Above right: Gilland welcomes Fisher and has him sign the guest book in the Superintendent’s office.

That love can be felt in each Fisher House every night. While speaking with West Point cadets from the Black and Gold Leadership Forum before the award ceremony, Fisher recalled a story Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth told him after she stayed in a Fisher House following the severe injuries she sustained in Iraq. Duckworth said her family was doing laundry and having dinner when they had to rush to the hospital because she was in distress. Thankfully, most Fisher Houses are within walking distance of hospitals. When her family got home, their dinner was wrapped up in the fridge and their laundry was folded on the dryer. Many military families can attest to how meaningful these acts of service are to families dealing with medical crises.

Because of the growing need for more housing, Fisher said the houses became bigger—from an average of four rooms to about 20 rooms.

“The houses started to grow in size, but they never lost their feeling of intimacy,” Fisher said, “and a support system would form in each and every house. When a new family came in, that family would be embraced by others. Each house was its own community, and that was the ‘X factor’ that I think has made Fisher House successful.”

That “X factor” has been felt by many West Point graduates and military families over the years. Many Old Grads and veterans shared their gratitude for Fisher Houses on WPAOG’s social media sites when Fisher was announced as the 2022 Thayer Award recipient.

Captain Emily Miller ’08 (Retired) posted, “Fisher House was a godsend for my family when I was injured and MEDEVAC’d from Afghanistan. It enabled my mom to be a caregiver for me in North Carolina while I recovered.”

Captain Daniel Pesature ’05 posted, “I stayed at a Fisher House in Bethesda when I went through the National Intrepid Center of Excellence. It was amazing.”

“We felt the warmth that Kenneth Fisher ensured through his incredible staff at every Fisher House we were honored to stay at during our wounded warrior’s hospitalizations,” Major Karee White (Retired), a post-9/11 veteran, commented.

“Fisher House was unbelievable when my dad had a transplant during one of the toughest times in our family,” Army Engineer Andrew McLane ’16 shared.

Shannon M., a Class of 2014 graduate, said, “It was our home in a time of absolute crisis and we couldn't be more thankful.”

In his speech to the Corps upon receiving the Thayer Award, Fisher said he believes the chasm between American civilians and those who live more exclusively in the military and veterans’ community has grown too wide. According to Fisher, Fisher House Foundation’s mission isn’t simply to relieve families from their financial burden in their time of need and provide free lodging; it is to strengthen the bridge between these two communities and represent the promise of how America’s civilian community can make good on the debt of gratitude owed to those who defend U.S. freedom—“a debt that can never fully be repaid.”

“I may be a civilian, but ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ is how I have tried to live my life as well,” Fisher said. “And as I look at you who will take your place in that incredible Long Gray Line, I marvel that you all feel that way at such an early stage of your lives. It takes a great deal of courage and conviction to make sacrifices on behalf of our freedom, while your peers are enjoying those freedoms we all take for granted. That is exactly why being among you is so special for me.” 

Photo: Christopher Hennen/USMA PAO Mr. Kenneth Fisher, the 2022 Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient, speaks with cadets from the Black and Gold Leadership Forum in the Superintendent’s Conference Room in Taylor Hall.
CELEBRATING 7 YEARS OF STABLE YIELD We're looking for a few Associates to take part in our growth. Contact us!

Gripping Hands

WWII Grads Recognized

Two of the group of surviving West Point World War II veterans were nationally recognized last year. In November, COL (R) Herb Stern ’41, 103 years old and the last surviving member of his class, was interviewed for Veterans Day on the CBS Evening News. Stern spoke about fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, detailing the brutal cold during the six-week battle and the Germans’ deadly artillery rounds. Earlier, MG (R) John C. Raaen Jr. ’43JAN was one of the then living 13 Army Rangers who received the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the actions of the nearly 7,000 Rangers who served during World War II. Raaen, 100 years old, landed at Omaha Beach and scaled the 100-foot cliffs at Pointe du Hoc in 1944. The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.

WPAOG Annual Meeting Election Results

On November 15, 2022, at the WPAOG Annual Meeting, the following members were elected to positions on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Council:

For three-year term as Director beginning January 1, 2023:

Keirn C. Brown Jr. ’69

Guy C. Swan III ’76

James A. Gates ’81

Leopoldo A. Quintas Jr. ’86

Peter Carey ’92

For three-year term as Advisor-at-Large beginning January 1, 2023:

Richard J. Wolff ’76

James B. Hill ’81

Degas Wright ’85

Stephen B. Rubright ’97

Joseph A. Simonelli Jr. ’87

Samantha Turner ’09

General Officer Announcements

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

MG Antonio A. Aguto ’88 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Commander, Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, Germany

MG Patrick E. Matlock ’88 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, United States Army, Washington, DC

MG Telita Crosland ’89 for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as Director, Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, VA

For promotion to the rank of major general: For promotion to the rank of brigadier general:

BG (USAR) Joseph D’Costa ’89

BG (USAR) Jack A. James ’92

BG (USAR) Scott M. Sherman ’92

BG Ryan M. Janovic ’93

COL Jeffrey A. VanAntwerp ’98

COL (USAR) Nicholas P. Jaskolski ’96

COL (USAR) Jose D. Rivera ’96

COL (USAR) Timothy M. Brower ’98

14 WestPointAOG.org GRIPPING HANDS Photos: WPAOG archives
“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
1941 1943 JAN
COL (R) Herb Stern ’41 MG (R) John C. Raaen Jr. ’43JAN

A Shared Common Bond of Service


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

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

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.

The following graduates retired from active, reserve, or National Guard duty. We thank you for serving this great nation, and the Association looks forward to serving you. 

Name Class

MG Mark W. Palzer 1982

LTC Robert W. Brinson Jr. 1991

LTC Michael H. Carr 1991

COL Amy C. Brinson 1992

COL Nicole S. Jones 1996

Schedule a Virtual Personal Tour Today | 800-716-9000 | PatriotsColony.com
For (USMA ‘58) and Gabrielle Nadal, Patriots Colony’s welcoming community of peers is a perfect fit.
“At Patriots Colony you always feel included and welcome. Everybody looks out for you.”


LTC Robert A. Beale ’02

As the recipient of the 2022 Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms, Lieutenant Colonel Robert A. Beale ’02 is charged with representing all West Point-commissioned officers who have heroically led soldiers in combat. “Never in a million years did I think I’d have such a responsibility,” Beale said. After serving for nearly a decade with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) [SOAR (A)], Beale considers himself to be a typical Special Operations officer—a quiet professional. “Going from the quiet professional to a representative who has to speak in front of the Corps of Cadets on behalf of all grads who have led soldiers in combat is a bit daunting,” he said. As it turns out, West Point prepared him well for both roles.

Beale came to the U.S. Military Academy from Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. He originally wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Yet, when he attended the West Point Summer Leaders Experience between his junior and senior years

of high school, he never looked back. “All I could talk about during my three-hour ride home was West Point,” Beale said. As a cadet, Beale majored in foreign languages (German and Spanish), and he was a four-year member the German Club, the String Quartet, and Company C-2. As a yearling, he joined the Crew Team after his roommate urged him to try out. “I was a swimmer growing up but not good enough to make the Swim Team, so rather than compete in the water, I competed on top of the water,” he said. Little did he know then, the skills he was learning from Army Crew would help him as a pilot and air mission commander (AMC) for the 3-160th SOAR (A). “A Chinook is very similar to a crew shell; but instead of eight rowers and a coxswain, we had two pilots, four crewmembers, and two medics,” said Beale. “Just like the perfect row of a crew shell, everyone in a Chinook has their duties at their various locations, and everything was humming that day.”

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Above: (left to right): LTG Steven W. Gilland ’90, the 61st Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, LTC Robert A. Beale ’02, the recipient of the 2022 Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms, and Mr. Todd Browne ’85, the Honorable & Mrs. Robert A. McDonald ’75 President & CEO of the West Point Association of Graduates, during the presentation of the Nininger Award. Inset: CDT Lauren Drysdale ’23, First Captain of the Corps of Cadets, presents Beale with a cadet bust, a gift from USCC. Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG

The day of which Beale spoke was September 14, 2011. On that day, while assigned to the Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Beale was commanding a unit of five MH-47G Chinooks for the 160th SOAR (A), the “Night Stalkers.” His team had already successfully completed a planned mission that night and was flying back to Kandahar after executing an emergency resupply, their second mission that night. During their return to the airfield, the team heard a 9-line MEDEVAC request coming over SATCOM. As the AMC, Beale did a quick calculation and, even though it was close to dawn and daylight was a risk factor to the safety of his helicopter assault force, he requested approval from his task force commander to assist. “He replied with one word,” said Beale: “Execute.”

Beale’s Chinook and another helicopter proceeded to the CASEVAC location, while the other three flew back to Kandahar to stage, as Beale put it, “just in case something happened to us.” Once at the CASEVAC site, Beale’s Chinook took evasive maneuvers as insurgent RPGs started whizzing across the front of his aircraft. “They looked like flaming Nerf footballs,” he said. Upon learning of the severity of the casualty (a Navy EOD tech wounded by an improvised explosive device) from ground forces, Beale and his team attempted a hoist operation. Once the medic was on the ground, however, he determined that there was no way to hoist the wounded service member up safely, so Beale and his copilot needed to find a place to land. The crew noticed a field about 50 meters from the casualty. Once it was on the ground, Beale’s helicopter started receiving heavy fire. The second Chinook provided overhead support, and Beale himself had to

Top: LTC Robert A. Beale ’02, the recipient of the 2022 Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms, leads the official party into Washington Hall for the Nininger Award ceremony. Above, left: Beale is recognized on the field during the Army-Louisiana Monroe football game on October 22, 2022. Above, right: Beale posses with cadets in Washington Hall after the Nininger Award ceremony. Photos: Erika Norton, Rebecca Rose/WPAOG

pull security, aiming his M-4 out his pilot seat window. As they waited for his medic and ground forces to deliver the casualty over the rough terrain, his crew chief called out exploding mortar rounds on the right side of the aircraft—0.3 miles out, then 0.2 miles out—and then Beale himself could see armed insurgents getting closer and closer. “It felt like we were in this situation for an hour, but I realized later based on the video taken from the camera we have on the front of the aircraft that it was less than 10 minutes,” Beale said. Once the tech was “secured enough,” Beale’s Chinook went ramp up, laid down suppressive fire, and pulled max power in taking off. “We exited so fast, the second Chinook couldn’t keep up,” he said. It was an eight-minute flight back to Kandahar, getting the tech to the hospital in time to save his life.

“This unplanned mission highlighted the traits we want to see in our soldiers and leaders,” Beale told the Corps of Cadets during his acceptance remarks for the Nininger Award, relating the events of September 14, 2011 to the tenets of the Army Warrior Ethos, especially the “I will never quit” and the “I will never leave a fallen comrade” principles. For example, Beale said, “My classmates and I felt the pressure to take an easier approach to life, to seek less work and more fun, but after the hard work was over and the task accomplished, we always seem to reflect on the value of those tough times and recall how those experiences made us better people, better leaders, and better prepared to handle the uncertainty that life seems to send our way.” Similarly, for “I will never leave a fallen comrade,” Beale brought up the current epidemic of veteran suicide. As the current representative of all West Point-commissioned officers who have heroically led soldiers in combat, Beale spoke with authority when he said, “We owe it to our soldiers, our friends

and classmates, and our families to look out for each other and make the world a better, a more resilient place.”

Prior to Beale’s remarks, Lieutenant General Steven Gilland ’90, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s 61st Superintendent, also related the Nininger Award to Army values. “Tonight is a celebration of courage,” he said. “As one of our seven Army values, we are expected to be examples of personal courage ourselves.” Gilland then told the cadets about Second Lieutenant Alexander R. “Sandy” Nininger Jr. ’41, the award’s namesake and the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in World War II. In January 1942, during the early days of the Battle of Bataan, Nininger volunteered to serve with a unit that was being attacked by an enemy force with superior firepower. Under intense heavy fire, he advanced in a counterattack, resorting to hand-to-hand combat as a final measure, destroying enemy positions until he was killed. Nininger, Beale and the previous 16 Nininger recipients (including then Major Christopher Dean, Beale’s classmate and the 2015 recipient) chose courage. “They chose to embrace and live the values and ideals that define us as Army professionals,” the Superintendent said. “We look to them as exemplars of courage and character, inspiring us as we in turn aspire to their example.”

Earlier in the day, the 2022 Nininger recipient had an opportunity to inspire cadets one-on-one in the classroom, leading a PL300: Military Leadership section on small unit leadership, meeting with a contingent from the Black and Gold Leadership Forum, and conducting an Aviation branch engagement. Reflecting on these interactions, Beale said, “If I was able to inspire one cadet to commit to a lifetime of selfless service during my visit to West Point, I consider it a success.” 

LTC Robert A. Beale ’02, the recipient of the 2022 Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms (right, center) participates in an engagement session on small unit leadership with cadets taking PL300: Military Leadership. Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG

Your years of service taught you the importance of physical fitness and keeping your body ready for action.

At Falcons Landing this idea lives on, but we replaced the obstacle course with walking trails, drill sergeants with personal trainers and PT in the dirt with a state-of-the-art fitness center, including a Junior Olympic indoor swimming pool. You’ll still break a sweat, but now it will be with a smile on your face.

WEST POINT | WINTER 2023 19 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 E S T P O IN T R I N GS & J E WEL R 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 CONTACT ROBERT VAZ 800.451.3304, ext. 0186 •rmvaz@herffjones.com

DSS: Interdisciplinary Students of War, Peace, and Strategy

Interdisciplinary studies have become extremely popular in universities around the world during the past 10 years. At West Point, the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program had been offering such a cross-disciplinary major for years before “interdisciplinary studies” first broke into mainstream academic consciousness. One of the greatest strengths of the DSS program is the interdisciplinary background of its instructors. DSS faculty are equipped with the professional and academic experience to facilitate any research in which cadets are interested. DSS Program Director Lieutenant Colonel Keith Carter has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and the DSS faculty assembled around him have graduate degrees representing a variety of backgrounds and academic fields. The Modern War Institute (MWI) also provides its interdisciplinary expertise in support of DSS by teaching select courses.

The breadth of strategic studies encompasses history, economics, political science, geography, leadership, psychology, information

technology, ethics, and law to better understand the nature of conflict and the role of the military as an instrument of national power. “At first I wanted to major in history or international affairs when I arrived here, because I find geopolitics and grand strategy really fascinating,” says Cadet Michael Karshis ’26. “But once I heard about DSS from one of the upperclassmen in my company, I was amazed by the incredible opportunities and dedicated instructors that the program offers, and I immediately changed my planned major to DSS!” The Strategic Studies curriculum is designed to complement this interdisciplinary approach, with cadets choosing three complimentary support courses (CSC) from a choice of 11, ranging from law to geography. In addition to this, DSS majors must choose two out of approximately three dozen available electives, representing nearly every academic department at the Academy. “One of the greatest things about being a DSS major is the flexibility that cadets are given in designing our own schedules and academic focuses,” comments now Second Lieutenant Konrad Babraj ’22,

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Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
Above: CPT Peter Mitchell ’12 leads his DS320 Introduction to Strategic Studies class on a lesson regarding the importance of economic power to national strategy.

a former DSS major. “Many other academic majors offer the same curriculum for all their cadets, regardless of individual interests, but DSS is all about empowering cadets to study what they want to study.”

The DSS curriculum is based around two core introductory courses: DS320 and DS370. Cadets’ understanding of strategic studies begins in the fall semester of their Third Class (yearling) year with DS320: Introduction to Strategic Studies. DS320 is a survey course that covers foundational topics such as strategic theory and contemporary policy challenges encompassing history, theories of international relations, economics, and political science. After successfully completing DS320, cadets take DS370: Strategy and Policy in the spring semester of their yearling year. While DS320 is a more broadly diffused foundational class, DS370 takes a narrower approach to the upper-echelons of policy making, strategic theory, and military strategy—and all the contributing fields and disciplines that comprise the “bleeding end” of national policy. Major Matthew McClary ’10, the course director for both DS320 and DS370, took a survey of the top-20 strategic studies programs across the country and examined which source texts and concepts they all had in common. With these core fundamentals in mind, McClary then updated the curriculum to reflect the

ever-changing international environment to keep cadets abreast of the latest developments in great power competition and national policy. McClary then used his personal background in systems engineering to find the most efficient, quantifiable way to build the course syllabus. DSS’s full-time historian, Captain Peter Mitchell ’12, then brought his own background to contextualize the curriculum, rooting each political science and international relations theory and paradigm within discrete historical case studies. This attention to detail ensures that DSS is one of the most up-to-date and applicable majors available to cadets. “DS320 is all about giving cadets an overview of strategic studies and providing the necessary context for understanding advanced concepts,” says Cadet Aleksandre Jolia ’25, a DSS major. “Merely memorizing the names of theorists and their concepts isn’t enough for DSS students. We are expected to place these significant events in space and time and explain their significance. DSS really applies the lessons of history to present and future conflicts.”

Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG (Left to right) CDT Thomas Lake ’23 (Systems and Decision Sciences major), CDT Ruganzu D. Divin ’23 (Systems Engineering major), CDT Will Schreck ’23 (Engineering Management major), MAJ Matthew McClary ’10 (DSS Instructor), CDT Chaney Lieberman ’23 (DSS major), and CDT Mary Bell ’23 (Systems Engineering major) discuss their interdisciplinary capstone research involving the Strategic Competition and Crisis (SC2) wargame.
“DSS is all about empowering cadets to study what they want to study.”
—2LT Konrad Babraj ’22

By the start of their cow year, DSS cadets have mastered the introductory topics and are ready to dive into their CSC and elective courses. Three of these DSS offerings deserve special mention—DS350: Persuasive Communications, DS485: Domains of War, and DS495: Research Methods. At first glance, DS350 is an unusual course to be under the aegis of the Defense and Strategic Studies program, but its course director, Major Evan Dawson, has carefully curated the curriculum around interdisciplinary areas relevant to strategic studies, such as the psychology of persuasion, strategic communication, and messaging using information technology. Communication is a critical component of policy, and, as long as humans are social creatures, mastery of communication will remain an important area of expertise for cadets. The second course, DS485, is taught by an Air Force officer, Major Chalie L. Galliand, and focuses

on multidomain operations in the air, sea, and space. Finally, DS495 covers research methodology utilizing both quantitative and qualitative approaches. This course prepares DSS cadets for their undergraduate thesis, as well as for any future higher education ambitions that they may pursue in fields such as history, psychology, business, philosophy, political science, security studies, economics, international relations, and more.

The small size and versatile nature of the DSS faculty encourage a personally tailored approach to each cadet’s academic aspirations, with opportunities available for specialized internships with government and industry to help cadets work on potential interdisciplinary research questions and theses. This past summer, 40 DSS cadets were selected to go to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in North Carolina for the famed Robin Sage exercise. This is one of the many unique and real-world prospects that DSS presents to interested cadets. DSS instructors also leverage their regional expertise to enable other experiences as well, such as historical and cultural staff rides to Germany and Estonia. DSS also works closely with the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point to arrange prominent guest speakers and lecturers with real-world experience to engage with cadets regarding current and future policies. MWI also supports DSS cadets through thesis counseling. With such an array of resources and a wide variety of topics covered in its courses it is no surprise that DSS is the third most popular major at USMA, with 168 cadets enrolled at the time of writing. 

CPT Peter Mitchell ’12 is an air defense artillery officer and instructor in the Defense and Strategic Studies Department. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with a B.S. in International History and has a M.A. from Columbia University in European History.

Since its inception, DSS has followed an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding conflict, war, security, and defense, incorporating wisdom from many academic disciplines.

Photos: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG Left: Cadets listening to LTC Keith Carter (DSS Program Director) discuss the relationship between leadership and innovative technology during the DS345: Military Innovation class. Right: MAJ Grant Barge instructs his DS360: Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict section about Operation Anaconda, the 2002 joint operation launched in Tora Bora, Afghanistan in an attempt to capture Osama bin Laden.
Psychology Political Science Info Tech Geography Law & Ethics
Strategic Studies History

Parents Corner

Family Weekend 2022

The three-day annual Family Weekend at West Point was another hit in 2022. On the Friday of Family Weekend, WPAOG hosted a Superintendent’s Circle Parent Happy Hour at the Firstie Club for Margin of Excellence leadership donors to the West Point Parents Fund.

West Point Parents Clubs (WPPCs) then hosted tailgates all around campus for cadets and their families on Saturday

before the Army vs. Louisiana-Monroe game. The WPPCs of North, Central, Gulfcoast, Southwest, and South Florida combined efforts to create the first ever “all-Florida” tailgate, with over 250 parents, cadets, friends, and family attending. The weekend concluded on Sunday with brunch in the Mess Hall and a Hudson River boat ride.

2022 Army-Navy Spirit Button

Congratulations to Emily Aycock (shown at right), parent of a Class of 2024 cadet, who designed the winning spirit button for the 2022 Army-Navy Game. “It did not take me long to design at all,” she said. “‘Beat Navy’ ideas came easy!” Her “Sink Navy” design was printed on 1,800 buttons that were distributed at the 2022 WPAOG Go Army! Beat Navy! Tailgate on December 10. “I am so honored my design was chosen, and I am humbled to see such amazing men and women that have served our country wear my button,” Aycock said. “Go Army! Sink Navy!”


From Chalkboard to Tree Line: How DSS Supports Cadet Summer Training

Any West Point graduate knows there are three levels of warfare: tactical, operational and strategic. According to Major Matthew A. McClary ’10, the Deputy Director of the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program, cadets in the DSS major primarily focus on the strategic level of war during classroom instruction, but it’s during Cadet Summer Training when they begin to realize how they work together.

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Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG

Being able to make that connection is something a future officer will need to do,” McClary said, “as they will need to communicate this to their soldiers, and the effect of being able to do it well is inspiring them to see the intent of what they’re doing.” While focused on the duties of summer training, cadets are likely to view these tactical level things as mundane, but McClary notes that they are all part of a larger purpose.

According to McClary, the DSS faculty is uniquely equipped to help cadets make the connection between

what they learn in the classroom and how to apply those skills in the field. Within the DSS program, there is a focus on hiring faculty with operational experience. Most of its faculty members have multiple combat tours under their belts and come from the traditional Combat Arms branches of the Army, such as aviation, Special Forces, civil affairs, and infantry (with commands at every level).

“I think that’s what we help provide during summer training,” McClary said, “a pool of talent that they can use, not just in the classroom. We get to share our experience in the classroom, and then we get to step into the field. Our department head calls it ‘chalkboard to tree line’—connecting the dots between those two, and, like most West Point instructors, our faculty members are uniquely capable of doing both.”

As soon as the academic year is over, McClary says DSS faculty “switch their hats” and shift into summer tactical training mode. From Cadet Basic Training (CBT) and Cadet Field Training (CFT) to Cadet Leader Development Training (CLDT) and the advanced development courses, DSS faculty supports it all.

This summer, McClary was selected by the summer training task force to be the officer in charge of Air Assault, which is one of the Military Individual Advanced Development options available to cadets. The training is run by instructors from the Sabalauski Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Their job is to train, teach and test both the USCC cadets and ROTC cadets in the program, making sure they uphold a standard that hasn’t changed since McClary went through Air Assault training 14 years ago.

According to McClary, the only thing that has changed since he went to Air Assault school in 2008 is the equipment. The current program of instruction has been updated to mirror what cadets are likely to face in the field as officers. Other than that modification, it is still what many have dubbed “the toughest 10 days in the Army.”

“We put them through a ton of both physical and mental stress,” McClary said. “There’s academia involved—studying and building their sequences and practicing. They have to retain a vast amount of technical knowledge that they’re tested on in their two written exams. And then, on top of that, there’s a considerable amount of physical stress. In between all this training, cadets are physically trained for long periods of time to really induce that same level of stress that someone might experience in combat. So, the theory is, if you’re resilient enough to endure through this amount of physical

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
Left: Air Assault is one of the Military Individual Advanced Development options available to cadets as part of their summer training. The training is run by the Sabalauski Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, KY in conjunction with support from DSS faculty. Inset: Cadets practice sling load operations as part of their Air Assault School summer training.

stress and still be able to perform in a mental capacity —both hands on and written—you’re better suited for combat.”

Not everyone will pass Air Assault. For some cadets, this will be the first thing at West Point they have failed. But, to McClary, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While he would love to see everyone pass, there is a standard, and he believes there are benefits to both passing and failing.

“It’s a very different requirement here than in the classroom, and I think there’s value in putting them through that ‘crucible’ in life where they have to struggle with disappointment,” McClary said. “I think that’s valuable for future leaders. That’s where I spent most of my career, focusing on soldiers who were going through life’s crucibles and helping them, mentoring them and leading them through those difficult times. It’s really why we serve.”

Fellow DSS instructor Major Grant Barge and his team of evaluators from the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade also supported CLDT during Cadet Summer Training in 2022. CLDT is a three-week field problem broken down into 10 days of training and rehearsals followed by 10 days of field training exercise, or FTX, building from squad-level operations to platoon level operations.

Barge and his team ran the culminating event prior to the Crucible, a complex, force-on-force lane that trained on

conducting an attack and setting up an area defense. The scenario tasked offensive platoons to destroy a bridge while defensive platoons were tasked to retain it. Both sides were allocated unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to conduct reconnaissance and aid in their planning, movement and execution. The lane is extremely popular with cadets as it provides them an opportunity to test themselves against their peers and lead each other in a high stress situation.

“I hope they walk away with a better understanding of platoonlevel operations,” Barge said, “along with a greater appreciation for the complexity of combat.”

The key for DSS instructors during summer training is to help cadets connect the tools they are learning in their field training with the strategy they are learning in the classroom.

“We want them to have enough critical thinking so that they can build good strategy using those tools that they’ve learned throughout their experience as a cadet,” McClary said. “We want them to recognize, for example, that an Air Assault operation is just one of the tools they could use to achieve operational objectives, which are then grouped to achieve their strategic level goals and objectives. It’s so important for them to make that connection.” 

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG DSS faculty supports Cadet Leader Development Training, which includes a force-on-force lane where the scenario tasks offensive platoons to destroy a bridge while defensive platoons are tasked to retain it, using c-wire (pictured) to defend it.
“ We get to share our experience in the classroom, and then we get to step into the field. Our department head calls it ‘chalkboard to tree line’— connecting the dots between those two, and, like most West Point instructors, our faculty members are uniquely capable of doing both.”
—MAJ Matthew A. McClary ’10
2LT Konrad Babraj ’22 , who graduated as a DSS major, assists the cadet unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) pilot with conducting reconnaissance. During the CLDT bridge scenario, both sides are allocated UAVs to aid in their planning, movement and execution. SFC Miguel Santisteban (left) of the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade conducts an after action review with the cadet platoon leader. DSS instructor MAJ Grant Barge (right) provides guidance to the offense and defense platoon leaders to aid in their planning processes. Photo: Danny Wild/Army Football
“Discipline is the soul of the Army”
—George Washington


Recapping #123 with 1-2-3

The 2022 Army-Navy Game was the ONE and only overtime game in the storied series.

Quinn Maretzki ’24 kicked TWO momentous field goals: one from 37 yards to tie the game with only 1:53 left to play, and one from 39 yards in double-overtime to give Army the win.

Army West Point won by THREE points, 20-17, claiming its fifth victory over its rival in their last seven contests.

The 123rd meeting between the Black Knights of Army West Point and the Navy Midshipmen was a game for the ages, one that will likely be remembered as fondly as “Rollie’s Redemption” (1964), the “Game of the Nineties” (1996), and “Ending the Streak” (2016). In addition to Maretzki’s thrilling field goal, members of the Long Gray Line will never forget Noah Short ’26 blocking Navy’s punt and Jabril Williams ’26 recovering the ball in the endzone just seemingly an inch from the end line, giving Army 6 points (as opposed to a 2-point safety had the ball or any part of his body touched the end

line). They ’ll also never forget Kalvyn Crummie ’25 forcing Navy’s running back to fumble on Army’s two-yard line and Darius Richardson ’24 somehow emerging from a pile of players with the ball, ending the Midshipmen’s secondovertime drive. Fans should also not forget the efforts of Billy Boehlke ’24, who punted nine times for a total of 382 yards (twice pinning Navy inside their 20), or Leo Lowin ’24, who had a career-high 16 tackles and was named the “Player of the Game” by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. 

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Photo: Danny Wild/Army Football
Photos: CDT Amanda Lin, Brandon O’Connor/USMA PAO Photos: Danny Wild/Army Football; CDT Tyler Williams, CDT Drew Adams/USMA PAO


WPAOG thanks our Army-Navy

Tailgate Sponsors:

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Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG; U.S. Army photo by MSG Torin Olsen; CDT TYler Williams/USMA PAO; Danny Wild/Army Football

Throughout the year, you may be asked to contribute to the following funds, each of which supports the Academy and WPAOG in important ways. Please accept our deepest gratitude for your support.

Superintendent’s and West Point Parents Fund

unrestricted funds for cadets and the Academy

Long Gray Line Fund

unrestricted funds for WPAOG alumni programs

Army A Club

unrestricted funds for intercollegiate athletics

Class Gift Funds

restricted by classes in reunion campaigns

Other Restricted Funds restricted for specific programs

Fort Benning Becomes Fort Moore

LastOctober, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ’75 authorized the renaming of nine Army bases, following recommendations submitted by the Department of Defense Naming Commission, which was established by Congress in 2021 to rename military assets associated with the Confederate States of America. One of the bases on the list for review was Fort Benning, Georgia, which was named after Henry L. Benning, a Confederate general who was a staunch opponent of emancipation. Twelve candidates were considered in the renaming of Fort Benning, including General of the Army Omar Bradley, Class of 1915, and 2021 Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Ralph Puckett Jr. ’49. After careful consideration, the eight-member Naming Commission recommended renaming Fort Benning as Fort Moore, in commemoration of Lieutenant General Harold “Hal” Moore Jr. ’45 and his wife, Julia.

“We believe that Hal and Julia Moore—by their lives, their values, and mission—would create an opportunity for the Army to be better than it was before,” says Colonel Dave Moore ’84 (Retired), one of their five children. Dave Moore and his

siblings, including his brother Lieutenant Colonel Steve Moore ’75 (Retired), established an advocacy group that included several West Point graduates (General George W. Casey Jr. ’70 [Retired], Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen ’75 [Retired], and Lieutenant General William J. Troy ’75 [Retired]) and submitted a proposal to the Naming Commission to rename Fort Benning in honor of Hal and Julia Moore. The subtitle of the proposal makes clear the rationale for this choice:

“Recognizing and Honoring the Importance and Contribution of the ‘Command Team’ and the Military Family Towards the Army Mission and Caring for Soldiers.”

This “Command Team’s” extraordinary service is partly depicted in the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, which is based on the 1992 New York Times bestseller We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, written by Hal Moore and veteran war correspondent Joseph Galloway. As then Lieutenant Colonel Moore led soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment against a North Vietnamese division of 4,000 troops in the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang Valley, the first major engagement of the Vietnam War and a battle many West Point graduates have subsequently

Photos: Moore family collection; U.S. Army Top left: Hal and Julia Moore with daughter, Julie, at a parade in 1965. Top right: Hal Moore ’45 receives the Distinguished Service Cross from GEN William Westmoreland ’36. Bottom left: Hal Moore’s official Army photo, 1973. Bottom right: Hal Moore and the 1-7th Cavalry Regiment command group prior to the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.

studied, Julia took the lead in comforting Army wives and families who received casualty notifications from taxi drivers, as the Army was unprepared for the number of battlefield deaths. For his actions during Ia Drang, Lieutenant Colonel Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and through Julia’s efforts the Army changed its policy and mandated that uniformed casualty notification officers deliver such notices.

Hal and Julia Moore’s service is so much more than this one point in history, especially as it relates to the Infantry and the post synonymous with that branch, the former Fort Benning. As a major, he taught Infantry tactics at West Point (one of his students was Cadet Norman Schwarzkopf ’56), his initiative and insights were vital to the development of new airborne equipment and air assault tactics pre-Vietnam, and his postArmy career influenced and inspired young officers and soldiers. In 2000, he was awarded the Doughboy Award, the highest honor the Chief of Infantry can bestow on any Infantryman. Throughout her life, Julia volunteered for the Red Cross, working in Army hospitals and dental clinics, and she was passionately involved in all aspects of Army community service: officer and NCO wives’ clubs, advisory councils, post thrift shops, daycare centers, Scouting and more. Each year the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning confers an award in Julia’s name upon military spouses who actively

support the Fort Benning community and contribute to their military member’s mission success as a member of the Command Team. Hal and Julia Moore are each honored with a special permanent exhibit at the Fort Benning Infantry Museum, and they are buried together in the Fort Benning Cemetery near the soldiers he commanded in Vietnam and whose funerals she attended when those soldiers came home.

According to the naming proposal, “Fort Moore will uniquely honor the families of slain soldiers and highlight the military spouse’s invaluable contribution to combat readiness”; and, as the Naming Commission’s “Base Name Recommendations” report states, “As a pair, Hal and Julia represent the incredible faith and fortitude of the military families that support the Army and its soldiers.”

When asked whether his father, who once made his hometown of Bardstown, Kentucky change the name of “Hal Moore Day” to “Vietnam Veterans’ Day,” would be supportive of using his name for an Army base, Dave Moore says, “Dad was all about putting his troops first, so, no, if it were solely about him, but given that the renaming elevates Mom, giving her an opportunity to come first for once, and that this is about the soldier family, I’m confident that he would be happy to support it.”

Photos: Moore family collection; WPAOG archives
Top left: Julia Moore completes training to be a Red Cross volunteer in 1950. Top right: Hal Moore (second from left) upon receiving his Distinguished Graduate Award medal in 2003. Bottom left: Julia Moore at a community event. Bottom right: Julia Moore as a Red Cross volunteer in Korea.

The Modern War Institute: USMA’s Military Think Tank

TheModern War Institute (MWI) was created out of the 2015 Military Program Review, led by General John Abizaid ’73 (Retired). This review determined that the U.S. Military Academy was ceding the study of current and future war to external outlets and that cadets were not being sufficiently formed against the expected requirements of service in a global security environment marked by more overt competition with countries like Russia and China. MWI fills this gap and serves as the Superintendent’s hub to advance the study of war, particularly as it relates to the high intensity manifested in the United States’ competition with Russia and China. In this context, MWI is best understood as USMA’s military think tank.

Like most other think tanks, MWI specializes in publishing content aimed at driving discussion surrounding difficult problems. This is produced from two programs, editorial and research. The editorial program focuses on two types of content: carefully selected, well-written, edited articles and high-quality audio content across several podcasts.

MWI articles are either commentary and analysis, which aim to persuade or inform readers, respectively, on a wide range of issues related to the broad subject of modern war, or they are aligned with themed channels that have helped to establish MWI as an influential producer of operationally relevant thought-leadership across five important areas: the Urban Warfare Project (which focuses on the challenges, from the

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Photo: Tarnish Pride/USMA PAO
2021 MWI Commandant’s Speaker Series event, Medal of Honor recipients SGM Thomas “Patrick” Payne (left) and SGM Matthew Williams address First and Second Class cadets on what it means to lead with character and how to face adversity on and off the battlefield.

tactical to the strategic level, posed by cities as operational environments), the Irregular Warfare Initiative (a joint program with Princeton University’s Empirical Studies of Conflict project that explores how best to advance U.S. irregular warfare capabilities and employ them in an era of strategic competition), Project 6633 (which explores the national security and defense issues at play in the Arctic and Antarctic regions), the Competition in Cyberspace Project (a collaboration with the Army Cyber Institute that seeks innovative ways to incorporate cyber and information capabilities into military and competitive strategy), and Shield Notes (a partnership with the Homeland Defense Institute at the U.S. Air Force Academy that is aimed at advancing our joint understanding of the emerging challenges of homeland defense). Altogether, MWI publishes approximately 250 articles annually that routinely reach tens of thousands of readers, driving discussion and advancing the way that the Army collectively understands modern war.

MWI’s editorial program also produces 100 or so podcast episodes every year across its four biweekly podcast series. The flagship MWI Podcast features expert guests, senior leaders, and others, with each episode focusing on a timely and relevant topic associated with modern war. The Spear relies on guests’ deep experience as officers and noncommissioned officers, inviting them to share personal, real-world stories that form the basis for rich discussions focused on leader development. The Irregular Warfare Podcast pairs two guests on each episode, one a

practitioner and the other a scholar, who hold an in-depth conversation around a particular aspect of irregular warfare. Finally, the Urban Warfare Project Podcast examines the unique characteristics of cities, from demography to critical infrastructure and more, to inform the way the Army plans and executes operations in urban terrain. In total, tens of thousands of listeners access episodes across the four podcast series every month (approximately 150,000 downloads).

MWI’s research program, its second effort to drive discussion on war, generates longer form scholarly monographs, manuscripts, and field reports. Its authors and contributors represent a broad cross section of community interests, from cadets, recent graduates, and USMA faculty to scholars and practitioners from partner institutions both in the United States and abroad. The research program is additionally supported by 10 to 15 nonresident fellows who MWI selects according to a research agenda theme for a particular academic year.

MWI’s primary audience is USMA-internal, and it strives to maximize cadet development potential in all its content. To this end, there is a fundamental relationship between MWI and the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) major, the major of choice for many cadets who aspire to one of the traditional Combat Arms branches. All MWI faculty teach in this major, and all the events that MWI hosts—the Commandant’s Speaker Series, monthly War Councils, and the annual Sandhurst and Class of

Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG The HON Mark Esper ’86, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and current MWI Distinguished Chair, meets with DSS cadets during an MWI-sponsored luncheon.

2006 War Studies conferences—are designed foremost to enhance the curricula of the various DSS courses.

The purpose of MWI’s speaker series events is to expose cadets, staff and faculty to the ideas and personalities of individuals from across academia, government, and the civilian sector who are contributing to the understanding of leadership, teamwork, and future conflict. Last year, General Charles Flynn, commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, served as the keynote speaker for the Class of 2006 War Studies Conference, and Medal of Honor recipients Sergeant Major Thomas Payne and Sergeant Major Matthew Williams spoke about “Leading Through Adversity” as part of the Commandant’s Speaker Series. In addition, West Point graduate and former National Football League offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva ’10 recorded a popular podcast for The Spear about his experiences as a rifle platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Division, assigned to a restive sector just outside Kandahar, Afghanistan. Notwithstanding this fundamental relationship between MWI and DSS, every cadet at West Point benefits from MWI’s content. At a minimum, MWI’s articles and podcasts form the basis of their professional self-development, which they each have a duty and obligation to pursue. On the higher end, MWI’s content is integrated into the curricula of all the other academic programs at West Point to ensure that cadets’ classroom instruction and research projects remain focused on topical, realworld, emergent national security problems.

All of MWI’s content is published on an outward facing website (mwi.usma.edu) and is publicly available to anyone with a

professional interest in strategic, security and military issues. This approach ensures that MWI also supports the Superintendent’s vision that USMA’s massive intellectual resources improve the Army and the Department of Defense in addition to accomplishing its institutional mission. As such, every cadet benefits from how MWI is shaping the national security environment they will enter as practitioners and leaders.

The Modern War Institute is a solely Margin of Excellence-funded program at West Point and a current funding priority need. Thanks to the following major donors who have supported MWI: Vincent J. Viola ’ 77, Eric S. Paternoster ’ 74, Pritzger Military Foundation and the Classes of 1974, 1977, 1982, 1992, 1998, 1999, and 2006.

COL Patrick Sullivan is a career engineer officer who has commanded at every level from company through brigade, with service in the 10th Mountain Division, 82nd Airborne Division, and 20th Engineer Brigade (XVIII Airborne Corps). He is a veteran of eight operational deployments and holds a B.S. in civil engineering form Duke University, an M.S. in applied and interdisciplinary mathematics from the Royal Military College of Canada, and a master of strategic studies from the United States Army War College.

MAJ Grant Barge was awarded a Master of Science in Defense Analysis in the special operations/irregular warfare track from the Naval Postgraduate School. His assignments include the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, as well as various positions within the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Photo: MWI submitted
On February 4, 2021, CPT (R) William Reynolds ’02, who sustained a life-changing injury in Iraq and still became a world-class athlete and businessman, spoke to Third Class cadets as part of the Commandant’s Speaker Series, which MWI hosts, and shared his personal story of overcoming and leading through adversity.


Interdisciplinary Capstone Project at USMA

(Recipient of the Dean’s 2022 Inter-Departmental Award)

Year program established

2007 2010

First graduating DSS class






Cadets enrolled in DSS courses [Fall 2022]





12 Faculty Members


Thesis and Capstone Projects completed and defended [Spring 2022]




Cadets completing summer internships [Summer 2022]




Cadets set to graduate in 2023



WPAOG Entrepreneur Summit

With such speakers as the HON Ryan McCarthy, former Secretary of the Army; GEN James McConville ’81, 40th Army Chief of Staff; and Jen Easterly ’90, Director of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the fifth West Point Entrepreneur Summit was a great success. Featuring panels, fireside chats, and various showcases, the two-day event (October 6-7, 2022) drew close to 300 grads and illustrated what WPAOG’s strategic plan posits: that the “implied trust” between members of the Long Gray Line is strong and that grads will avail themselves of advice and expertise from their brothers and sisters.

Fulfilling the Vision

WPAOG, whose vision is for the Long Gray Line to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world, supported seven USMA classes as they returned to their Rockbound Highland Home this past fall for a class reunion: 1967 (55th), 1982 (40th), 1992 (30th), 1997 (25th), 2002 (20th), 2012 (10th), and 2017 (5th). WPAOG also supported the classes of 1987 (35th) and 2007 (15th) as they traveled to Arlington, TX and the Army-Air Force Game to celebrate their reunions. In total, more than 4,500 grads and their guests were supported by WPAOG’s Alumni Events team during the fall reunion season. On a WPAOG post-reunion survey, one grad said: “Our reunion was a great opportunity to reconnect with classmates and rediscover what West Point means to a graduate. It’s the best way to stay close for life.”

Date Announced for WPAOG 2023 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the membership of the West Point Association of Graduates will take place on Monday, November 14, 2023 at 5:00pm Eastern Time at the Herbert Alumni Center, West Point, New York. At the Annual Meeting, the 2023 election of members of the Board of Directors and at-large members of the Advisory Council shall take place. Information on the nomination process for Director and Advisor-at-Large positions is published at WestPointAOG.org/nominationpolicy.

40 WestPointAOG.org WPAOG NEWS
Photos: Chris Pestel ’03; Leslie Kenney

CONNECTing Highland Falls to Space

While at West Point for his 55th Class Reunion, Colonel Mike Mullane ’67 (Retired), an astronaut who flew on three Space Shuttle missions, spoke to Highland Falls Intermediate School students as part of WPAOG’s CONNECT, an after-school program intended to help improve the vitality of the Town of Highlands. Mullane shared his inspirational story and challenged the students to work hard and dream big so that they too can someday touch the stars. By supporting West Point’s nearest neighbor, WPAOG’s CONNECT program addresses USMA’s strategic line of effort to build and strengthen partnerships with the local community.


The Class of 1976 has been busy gripping hands with its 50-Year Affiliation class, the Class of 2026. Early on, the “Spirit of ’76” supported cadet candidates at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School, participating in their R-Day, Thanksgiving Dinner, and Graduation events during AY 2021-22.

When the Class of 2026 officially arrived at West Point last summer, the Class of 1976 was there to welcome the soon-to-be new cadets and their families, joining them at WPAOG’s Ice Cream Social. Naturally, 76 members participated in the

March Back for the Class of 2026, and many from the Class of 1976 wrote post cards and text messages to support the plebes during their first semester at West Point. The “Spirit of ’76” looks forward to supporting its 50-Year Affiliation class when it unveils its crest in March, when it gets its class flag during Cadet Field Training, and beyond. The purpose of WPAOG’s 50-Year Affiliation Program is to fortify the bonds between graduates and cadets, strengthening the Long Gray Line as it serves our nation.

“Spirit of ’76” Bonds with Class of 2026
50-Year Affiliation Program

Leadership Matters

However, cadets will eventually become officers and need to be prepared to lead soldiers in the combat environment of tomorrow. This is where one of the Academy’s newest courses, DS498: Leadership in Future War, hopes to positively impact how graduates lead in the crucible of ground combat. The course aims to explore how emerging technologies interact with the contemporary international environment to influence the character of war.

Initiated by the Director of the Department of Military Instruction, Colonel Al Boyer ’96, the course is offered to First Class Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) majors who opt to take this capstone colloquium-type course instead of writing a

thesis. As a result, they are able to analyze how technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, social media, cyber and drones might influence the future of war. Emphasis is placed on creating adaptive leaders and increasing professionalism in the art and science of warfighting.

Boyer, one of the course’s co-instructors, states that the course curriculum is very dynamic, and he capitalizes on current world events and emerging technologies to guide class discussions. Instead of memorizing articles from the front page of the New York Times, cadets in DS498 use not just the headlines but case studies, white papers, speakers, and current (and sometimes conflicting) information to assess the character of war in certain

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Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG
“Leadership” is a common word at the world’s premier leadership institution. Whether it’s case studies of combat leadership throughout history, watching the cadet chain of command learn what makes a good leader and assessing how they rebound from an adverse leadership experience, or numerous small group to lecture-style discussions, “leadership” is everywhere at the United States Military Academy.
Above: COL Al Boyer ’96 describes the warfighting capabilities of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle to cadets during Branch Week.

areas. Boyer also asserts that critical to graduates’ understanding of future warfare is understanding the people they will lead. One of Boyer’s favorite lessons demonstrates how different generations of soldiers learn in different ways and methodologies, and he creates poignant leadership lessons for the class by demonstrating that they must constantly assess their adversary and their own soldiers to understand how technology is affecting they way they learn and fight.

“The course evolves based on world events (for example, a few semesters ago we discussed the Russian invasion of the Crimea as it was happening) and emerging Army doctrine, Department of Defense policy and strategy; these things shape the course because the foundation of what we teach is rooted in historical examples of both war and leadership, and from there we can launch off and go into a multitude of topics that will affect our future leaders,” stated Boyer.

The Modern War Institute (MWI) deepens the course by coinstructing and also making available speakers from outside the Academy in addition to emerging scholarship and threats.

Colonel Patrick Sullivan, the Director of MWI since February 2022, stated that over time the course may change due to “evolution borne of changes to the global security environment, strategic landscape, foundational documents we have from the Academy, as well as the national defense establishment.” Sullivan further stated that cadets taking DS498 are “exposed to faculty that, based on their own experiences, can contextualize

the future operating environment and the future global security environment.”

Sullivan stressed the importance of the course’s objectives to ensuring that USMA is producing leaders for a lifetime, not just the current conflict. “The Academy, in ways that are very befitting with its unique mission statement and resources, is doing everything that it can to develop the newest members of the Long Gray Line to fight and win the nation’s wars and also be the nation’s strategic leaders in any number of sectors, fields and contexts later in this dynamic and challenging world.”

Boyer hopes that all cadets, not just those enrolled in DS498, will eventually be exposed to the topics and analytical conversations happening in his classroom so that when they confront some of those issues out in the Army they will have already thought through some of the ramifications of their decisions. He summarized, “All cadets, when they graduate, will be practicing, living, leading and problem-solving in the environment that we teach to our cadets in DS498. A professional in the Army cannot get away from tactical, operational and strategic challenges associated with why nations, peoples, and armies do what they do. The war our current cadets will fight will not look like the wars I fought, and they are going to need to figure it out. There is a tactical, operational, and strategic thinking piece to that, and DS498 does a great job of bringing this out to our students.” 

Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG During Branch Week 2022, cadets learn how Cyber Branch officers impact the future of war.

Internships for the Next Generation of Warfighters

AfterTDY travel for AIADs was halted in 2020-21 due to COVID-19, we had the opportunity to rebuild DSS’s AIAD program from the ground up when things resumed for 2021-22,” says McClary. “With our clean slate, we sought to find interesting clients that are both enriching and rewarding to cadets, and we built a program that now caters to cadets who are interested in doing follow-on research or capstone projects.”

The Academy’s Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program is one of USMA’s “broadening experiences,” along with the Military Individual Advanced Development (MIAD) and Physical Individual Advanced Development (PIAD) programs. Every cadet must complete one of these IADs, which are generally viewed as internships, to graduate. As most IADs are considered “additional developmental programs,” they

are almost all funded by private gifts from graduates and friends of West Point through the WPAOG Margin of Excellence.

DSS’s AIAD program, which currently includes nine domestic internships and three international ones, enables cadets to perform research alongside leaders in organizations related to defense, government, policy, diplomacy, and national security. This research provides cadets with both the practical and theoretical knowledge to better understand the real-world applications of security studies. They also observe how realworld challenges are being solved by Army units and the joint force, often seeing how sister services and non-Department of Defense agencies provide solutions to complex problems. Finally, select DSS AIADs can help develop a cadet’s crosscultural competency, teaching them how to work through

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Photo: Mr. Shmuel Cohen/Miryam Institute
When Major Matthew McClary ’10, the Deputy Director of the Defense and Studies (DSS) program within the Department of Military Instruction (DMI), arrived at West Point in the summer of 2021, he was tasked with an important assignment, one that he viewed as a great opportunity for DSS and its cadets.
Above: In June 2022, cadets on the “Israel Through the Strategy and Policy Lens” AIAD meet with
(center, sitting), then a member of the Israeli Knesset and Chairman of the Likud Party.
Benjamin Netanyahu

language barriers to build trust and gain an appreciation of international partnerships.

While cadets are the direct beneficiary of DSS’s AIAD program, both DMI and the DSS major itself receive benefits from these AIADs. Perhaps the main benefit involves research. Each AIAD has an officer in charge (OIC), giving representatives from DMI the opportunity to view firsthand the work that is taking place at some of the Army’s key agencies (e.g., Army Futures Command, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the Center for Army Analysis). Representatives from every division in DMI (DSS, Military Instruction, Accessions, and Headquarters) are also eligible for a special faculty trip to the Miryam Institute in Israel, which enhances their professional development. Another program benefit to DSS’s AIADs is efficiency. DSS majors who participate in the accredited AIAD opportunities are eligible to receive class credit through the DS399: Strategic Studies Internship course, allowing them the opportunity to take another DSS elective or to pursue the DSS with Thesis or DSS Honor with Thesis degree types without being overburdened. DSS’s AIADs also bolster recruiting for the major. After introducing the 2021-22



Germany Multidisciplinary Staff Ride Berlin, Germany

Lockheed Martin Corporation Internship Crystal City, VA

Directorate of Concepts, Army Futures Command Austin, TX

Embassy of Japan Internship

Washington, DC

Special Forces CULEX “Robin Sage” Fort Bragg, NC

USASOC Operational Planning Team Fort Bragg, NC

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Nuclear Triad Staff Ride

Cleveland, OH

Washington, DC

NPS Strategic CBRN Wargaming Course Monterey, CA

Israel Through the Strategy and Policy Lens (x2) Tel Aviv, Israel

Center for Army Analysis Wargaming Fort Belvoir, VA

Coast Guard Research and Development Center New London, CT

“Our goal is to provide cadets, regardless of major, unique opportunities to employ academic concepts and gain practical military experience at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.”
—MAJ Matthew McClary ’10
DMI AIADs for 2022-23

AIADs, DSS saw a spike in the number of cadets declaring DSS as their major, with the Class of 2025 being the largest DSS cohort in the history of the program. Finally, faculty development is enhanced by participating as AIAD OICs, and lessons learned during AIADs can reach across the classroom and different DMI-sponsored cadet clubs.

During the fall semester, DSS finalizes all its AIAD projects, and cadets vote on their AIAD preferences right after the holiday break, rank ordering the AIADs for which they would like to participate. Cadets from any class are welcome to apply for a DSS AIAD, and a cadet need not be a DSS major to participate.

“DSS cadets are the primary target audience, but our AIADs are open to any cadet who is available and qualified,” says McClary. For example, given that it took place during a time when many upperclassmen were completing their summer leadership detail,

the 2022 “Robin Sage” AIAD was comprised of mostly rising yearlings. For those cadets that attend the Lockheed Martin, Army Futures Command, or Center for Army Analysis AIADs, they are expected to work on a capstone research project as a firstie. In academic year 2021-22, the Center for Army Analysis Wargaming AIAD led to an interdisciplinary capstone project involving two DSS cadets, two Systems Engineering cadets, and one Operations Research (Department of Math) cadet, and their capstone won the Dean’s Inter-Departmental Project Award for 2022. “At the end of the day,” says McClary, “our goal is to provide cadets, regardless of major, unique opportunities to employ academic concepts and gain practical military experience at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.”

Left: CDTs Rayna Drigo (top) and Finn Ayres (bottom), Class of 2023, on the Coast Guard Research and Development Center AIAD. Top Right: CDT Uta Givens ’24 (right) while on the Japanese Embassy AIAD in Washington, DC, a 21-day internship to study U.S./Japan political relations and security policies. Bottom Right: Cadets and faculty visit political, historical and cultural sites relevant to DSS during the 10-day Germany Staff Ride AIAD.


Putting Cheer in Hearts of Gray

For as long as there have been Army athletic teams there have been cadets cheering them on. In fact, even before the first Army-Navy Football Game in 1890 the Academy had class-year football teams playing against each other with their classmates cheering them on to victory with their “class cheers.” It was not until the fall of 1908, however, that “Cheer Leaders” were officially designated to the Army Football Team and memorialized in the 1909 Howitzer. Cadet John Clifford Hodges Lee, Class of 1909, led the Corps in cheers specifically written for different games, each Army game ending with the “Long Corps Yell.” As the first recorded Cheer Leader, it is probably no coincidence that his Class of 1909’s “Class Yell” reads surprisingly like today’s “Rocket,” beloved by the Long Gray Line. After graduation Lee went on to command the Supply of Services in World War II, retiring as a lieutenant general.

Since 1909, the Army Cheer Leaders appeared in most Howitzers and are known today as the “Rabble Rousers.” Both on the field and off, they are well known for their positive attitude and ability to get more than 4,000 cadets and legions of fans shouting for the Army team. In one well-documented instance,

Lieutenant Horace Greeley ’37 led his fellow Army soldiers in cheers while listening to the Army-Navy Game radio broadcast in 1941 in the Philippines. Greeley, who had been the Head Cheer Leader during his firstie year, was an Air Corps pilot who fought as an infantryman on Bataan until he was captured on April 9, 1942 and spent the next three years in POW camps. He died in captivity on January 31, 1945. Cheer Leaders for the 1943 season not only infused Army spirit into the Corps, they had to teach and lead the First Regiment in Naval Academy cheers for the Army-Navy Game in Michie Stadium due to travel restrictions during World War II.

Many Navy fans would argue that Army spectators can be a bit rabid (and definitely made up of the rabble). Though the ArmyNavy Game hiatus from 1894 to 1898 was due to a bit too much “spirit” (and the threat of a duel) from both sides of the stands, it was not until 1962 that the Army Cheer Leaders changed their name to “Rabble Rousers” and retired the white trousers and big gold “A” sweaters they had worn for over 50 years. The class committee chose 20 cadets to wear an all-black uniform with their new emblem, an Army mule. “Symbolic of the whole effort to revive Army spirit is the dominant figure of MAX, the mad mule,” states the 1963 Howitzer. “Nurtured by the Rabble Rousers, this uncompromising symbol of revenge has established

Photos: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
Above: Rabble Rousers cheering at a 2022 game at Michie Stadium.

itself in one short year as a permanent part of Army athletics.” Even today, a Rabble Rouser is noticeable in his or her lightweight cadet jacket by the coveted mule patch he or she has earned by cheering on different Army teams.

Since 1976, the Rabble Rousers have had both men and women cadets on the team, with the number and focus varying year by year. The current squad has a coed cheer team that is split into two groups (all-women and coed) and a pom team. Although every cadet takes the DPE class PE117: Military Movement (known to many Old Grads as “Gymnastics”), Rabble Rousers take those skills to an entirely new level while working as a team to be synchronized with each other, the team on the field, and the Corps. With a team room in the building at the south end of the Foley Center and a small practice space within Foley, the team gathers five to six days a week to practice and condition, depending on the competition schedule. Besides their wellknown support to the Army Football Team, the squad also cheers at Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Gymnastics, and numerous other Army sports team competitions; any Army-Navy contests, as well as lending support to the community and local schools at various events.

Besides cheering on their fellow cadets to victory, the Rabble Rousers, under new Head Coach Tommy Escudero, competed for the first time in the Small Co-Ed Intermediate Division 1A at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) College Nationals

48 WestPointAOG.org BOOM! AAH! USMA!
Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG The 2022-23 Rabble Rouser Team.
“We are right in front of the Corps performing. If we don’t have a good connection with them then they will not respond to our cheers or support us trying to rally them up. We try to be a light to any place that we go, not

in April 2022. The team placed eighth despite having only two months to work with Coach Escudero, a testament to their hard work and dedication to representing the Academy. “We were excited to end the season with a strong routine and are already looking forward to next season. The Rabble Rousers received numerous compliments from spectators and NCA staff, and I am very proud of the way that they represented Army West Point,” noted Escudero after the competition.

The 2022-23 Rabble Rouser squad is captained by Cadets Aaron Cory ’23, Brooke Tuttle ’23 and Bridget Konopa ’24. Having a team with a diverse background in different sports can be challenging, but it also ensures that the team has well-rounded athleticism and can try new routines and conditioning regimens. Cory, who was a high school gymnast in Texas, could already do flips and tumbling moves before he tried out for the team as a plebe, but he had never been part of a cheerleading team before or had as much emphasis on strength conditioning. Konopa, in contrast, had participated in a small amount of recreational gymnastics earlier in life but had focused on dance before entering the Corps. Her background in dance has benefitted the team overall and has also led to the formation of the pom element within the Rabs this year.

The competitive season gets off to a quick start for the Rabble Rousers since they need to perform as early as the first week of academics. Final evaluations were held the Friday of

Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG
Team practice in the Foley Center emphasizes safety and core competencies. Coach Escudero mentors the team during a fall practice session.

Reorganization Week in August in order to finalize the team roster and start team practices, which are held five days a week. On the Fridays before a home football game, practice takes on the air of an operations brief so that different elements of the team are prepared to be around West Point throughout the game-day morning. Rabble Rousers can be seen at multiple events between about 9 and 11am, including Black Knight Alley, the WPAOG Tailgate at Herbert Alumni Center, and the parking lots. They then head to Blaik Field to warm up, do stunts, and start getting the crowd ready to cheer on the Army team.

The Rabble Rousers are also an integral part of the Army football away game spirit group. “An average of eight team members travel to away games, but that varies according to the opposing team and their spirit contingent,” Tuttle explained. “For example, if another team only has an all-women team, our all-women side will travel to the game.” The Rabble Rousers generally participate in the full day of away game activities, including the Cadet Candidate Admissions briefing, local West Point Society tailgate, and sideline cheering until the “Alma Mater” is complete.

50 WestPointAOG.org BOOM! AAH! USMA!
Photos: Erika Norton, Rebecca Rose/WPAOG On-field activities during a football game include “fliers,” running the flags, and pushups when Army scores.

Cory, Konopa and Tuttle are excited that the team culture this year is so cohesive. With a new coach, updated team room, new uniforms, and a solid performance at the NCA Championships, the captains are looking forward to leaving a legacy and pushing the status quo for newer team members. Friendly and healthy competition within the team is helping these future Army officers understand small group dynamics and motivation. Part of the team’s synergy is derived from being under the Army West Point Athletic Department (formerly ODIA), instead of their previous categorization as a Directorate of Cadet Activities’ club team.

The synergy between the Rabble Rousers and the Corps of Cadets cannot be understated. Emphasized Cory, “We are right in front of the Corps performing. If we don’t have a good connection with them, then they will not respond to our cheers or support us trying to rally them up. We try to be a light to any place that we go, not just on the sidelines.” Tuttle further highlighted that “a goal of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee this year is to bridge the gap between teams and the Corps and to build teams within teams. If we don’t have a good relationship with the Corps, it’s like cheering to a wall as there’s no interaction.” The Rabble Rousers love to rally the Corps of Cadets and all Army fans. Running the flags, tumbling, and doing pushups after an Army score are visible testaments to the spirit within the Corps after watching Army teams on the fields of friendly strife. Of course, cheering on the Army team is not without its hazards. Keeping one eye on the Corps and another

on the field is a requirement to avoid collisions (especially in basketball, given the usual location of the squad) and the errant t-shirt cannon missile or ball.

The team has already qualified to compete in the 2023 NCA Championships, where they will demonstrate much more difficult and intricate tumbling, lifts and tricks than when cheering on other Army teams. Tuttle stated, “Just like our fellow athletes, it takes a lot of time and commitment to prepare for competition in the spring and to get us to where we want to be.”

Current cheers, chants and traditions have been heavily influenced by previous teams for over 100 years. Lieutenant Colonel Jay “Wally” Kaine ’70 (Retired) was the officer in charge of the Rabble Rousers from 1977 to 1980, and he asked then Superintendent Lieutenant General Andrew Goodpaster ’39 if they could replace the traditional end-of-game “Long Corps Yell” with the “Alma Mater” instead. Since Goodpaster

Photos: CDT Tyler Williams ’23
Part of the co-ed Rabble Rouser Team traveled to Globe Life Stadium to rally the Army fans as Army West Point played the Air Force Academy.
“Just like our fellow athletes, it takes a lot of time and commitment to prepare for competition in the spring and to get us to where we want to be.”
—CDT Brooke Tuttle ’23

approved this change, the Long Gray Line aspires to “Sing Second” after every athletic contest. Kaine advocated that “esprit de corps is a concept that is extremely important as our cadets go out to active Army units. They will be leaders of the most important teams made up of American soldiers. As leaders they will be the cheerleaders for their troops!” Lieutenant Colonel D’Hania Hunt ’93 (Retired) was not only a Rabble Rouser during her cadet years but coached the team from 2002-04 while serving in the Department of Math, and she then oversaw spirit operations as the Deputy Director of Cadet Activities in 2005. Although “Let’s go, big O!” was one of her favorite cheers, her overall Army spirit and enthusiasm as a cadet and officer ensured that the Rabble Rousers were connecting with the Corps of Cadets and Army fans.

All “Old Rabs” have their favorite cheers and songs, but a few mainstays are “On Brave Old Army Team,” “Slum and Gravy,” “Tsunami,” and the William Tell Overture. Says Lieutenant Colonel Delnora Erickson ’03, “My favorite cheer was ‘Rock the Black and Gold.’ I consider the friendships I made on the Rabble Rousers to be lifelong.” JJ Durant ’93 agreed, recalling “Rock the Black and Gold” and all the cheers associated with the wishbone offense as his favorite cheers. As one of the oldest competitive athletic teams at West Point, the Rabble Rousers are fully integrated into the Army game-day experience and the hearts of the Long Gray Line. 

Led by a dauntless and untiring cheer-leader, the gray clad battalion stood shoulder to shoulder behind that team from start to finish, according it a support which was constant in its fervor and untiring loyalty throughout the vicissitudes of a trying season.

–1909 Howitzer

(Air): “It’s a Grand Old Flag”

T'will be a Grand Old Day

For the Black, Gold, and Gray, For the Army, its team and the Corps.

Let the Middies whine, weeping Tar and Brine, We will sweep off a victory once more. Every man in gray keep a yelling away, Never hearing the sirens scream; Will last year’s score be then forgot? Well, Keep your eye on the Army team.

(Air): “Women”

For this season the old Army Mule Has adopted his old sporting rule That he holds as inherited right. And that rule is fight! fight! fight! So the tiger at Princeton must fall And the Yale bulldog taste bitter gall, While the beaten Navy goat Must leave land and board a boat To be safe on his sea of tears.

52 WestPointAOG.org BOOM! AAH! USMA!
WPAOG archives
Then Cadet John Clifford Hodges Lee, Class of 1909, leads cheers during the 1908 football season. D’Hania Hunt ’93 cheered on the Army team as a cadet and later coached the Rabble Rousers.

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Be Thou at Peace

Mr. Harry B. Hause 1945

COL Robert A. Tolar USA, Retired 1945

Mr. Leslie E. Thompson Jr. 1946

Brig Gen Wayne A. Yeoman USAF, Retired 1946

Maj Gen James M. Breedlove USAF, Retired 1947

Col Lewis M. Jamison USAF, Retired 1949

LTC John R. Mackert USA, Retired 1949

COL Terence A. Powers USA, Retired 1949

Mr. Richard B. Keller 1950

Mr. William L. Givens II 1951

LTC Robert I. Simpson Jr. USA, Retired 1951

COL William K. Stockdale USA, Retired 1951

LTC Thomas W. Collier USA, Retired 1952

Mr. Benjamin M. Grafton Jr. 1952

LTC Kenneth J. Keating USA, Retired 1952

Mr. Stewart Paterson Jr. 1952

COL Lewis A. Williams USA, Retired 1952

Mr. Robert J. Albert 1953

LTC Wayne F. Alch USA, Retired 1953

COL Thomas W. Holcombe USA, Retired 1953

COL James L. Lammie USA, Retired 1953

Mr. Roy L. Sullivan II 1953

COL Gregorio R. Vigilar AFP, Retired 1953

Mr. Henning E. Drugge 1954

Mr. Richard H. Grinder Jr. 1954

LTC John R. LeMere USA, Retired 1954

COL John T. Miller USA, Retired 1954

Mr. Alden R. Crawford Jr. 1955

LTC Philip H. Enslow Jr. USA, Retired 1955

Col Judson C. Faurer USAF, Retired 1955

Mr. Sheldon J. Freed 1955

Col Leslie D. Pruitt USAF, Retired 1955

Deaths reported from September 16, 2022 – December 15, 2022

LTC Harry A. Comeskey USA, Retired 1956

COL Anthony M. Jezior USA, Retired 1956

LTC Ronald S. Gooding USA, Retired 1957

COL William B. Seely USA, Retired 1957

Dr. James G. Wood Jr. 1957

Prof. Walter M. Patterson III 1958

Col Dennis P. Sharon USAF, Retired 1958

COL Townsend A. Van Fleet USA, Retired 1958

LTC Benjamin E. Dishman USA, Retired 1959

COL Ollie L. Langford USA, Retired 1959

LTC Ashton C. Lawrence Jr. USA, Retired 1959

Mr. Roger B. Ware Sr. 1959

LTC John G. Coombs USA, Retired 1960

Mr. Glenn E. Dawson 1960

Mr. Milledge E. Wade Jr. 1960

LTC Patrick J. Murphy USA, Retired 1961

Mr. Alan R. DeJardin 1962

COL Thomas E. Faley Jr. USA, Retired 1962

CPT John E. Fee USA, Retired 1962

LTC Robert P. Garrett USA,

54 WestPointAOG.org BE THOU AT PEACE
Retired 1962 COL Roger T. Hilton USA, Retired 1962 LTC Joseph D. Halgus USA, Retired 1963 Mr. Wayne E. Morehead 1963 Mr. Kenneth R. Eklund 1964 Mr. Harold W. Smith 1964 Mr. Raymond J. Paske 1965 Mr. George W. Ruggles 1965 COL Richard H. Sinnreich USA, Retired 1965 MAJ Terril M. Throckmorton USA, Retired 1965 Mr. John S. McGuire 1966 COL David G. Blanchard USA, Retired 1967 Mr. Kenneth R. Bush 1967 LTC David W. Olmsted USA, Retired 1968 Mr. Thomas H. Peirce 1968 Mr. Michael C. Bible 1969 Mr. Robert P. Pratt 1969 Mr. James A. Russell 1969 COL James Etchechury USA, Retired 1970
Mark E. Meranda USA, Retired 1970 BG Craig A. Peterson USA, Retired 1972
William V. Martz II 1973
Robert B. Tully Jr. USA, Retired 1973 Mr. Randall L. Coffelt 1974 Mr. Michael J. Detore 1974
John R. Hamilton III 1974 Mr. Eric S. Paternoster 1974 Pastor Norman C. Jordan 1975 Mr. Alan K. Wagner 1975 Mr. Mark T. Hanna 1976 LTC Dennis R. Trujillo USA, Retired 1976 COL Hoa Generazio USA, Retired 1977 1LT James M. Hogarth USA, Retired 1977
Charles F. Holloway Jr. 1977 LTC Allen J. Light USA, Retired 1977
Steven S. Wolszczak 1978 BG Brent M. Boyles ANG, Retired 1979
David L. Black 1984
Anthony J. Johnson USA, Retired 1987 MG Frank W. Tate USA, Retired 1988
Todd D. Farrington 1991
Benjamin R. Sommerness 1993
Mark G. Kustelski 1994
Aaron K. Roof USA, Retired 1997
Grant S. Macdonald 2003

Past in Review

however, since it was first presented to West Point, a myth developed that the cup was actually an award presented to the losing team! In 1924, the Army Hockey Team travelled to Kingston, Ontario, Canada for its second match against RMC. It was the team’s first away game in its 20 years of existence (a total of 138 contests to that point). Once again, the Redmen claimed victory, 10-5, and the Cadets ignominiously retained the Challenge Trophy for the next 14 years of the rotating-venue series (although Army did play to a 4-4 tie against their Canadian rivals in 1935).

USMA-RMC: The Frozen Rivalry

Who is West Point’s athletic rival? Well, that depends on both the sport and, one could argue, geography. Most people—thinking of football, lacrosse, swimming and diving, track and field, etc.—would look to the south and say, “the U.S. Naval Academy.” But those with a more northern-centric perspective might think hockey and say, “the Royal Military College of Canada.” Come February 23, 2023, the U.S. Military Academy and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) will mark 100 years of their storied hockey rivalry, the battle for the Challenge Trophy.

The USMA-RMC hockey series began in 1923 upon the urging of Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, and Lieutenant General Sir Archibald MacDonnell, then RMC Commandant. MacDonnell, a war hero from the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I, visited West Point in 1921 to study the Academy’s

curriculum. During his visit he met then Superintendent MacArthur, who suggested to MacDonnell that the two military academies play each other on the ice. A series of letters between the two generals ensued before the puck was finally dropped on the natural rink adjacent to the old West Point Gymnasium (now Arvin Gym) to start what would become college hockey’s equivalent to the Army-Navy Game. A Canadian press account at the time noted: “Both generals felt that it would be profitable for Canada and the United States to have the young men from the national military institutions meet each other and, better still, compete annually in some sport (to deepen the fellowship and mutual esteem between the two institutions).”

RMC won that first match, 3-0. In commemoration of the game, RMC donated the Challenge Trophy, which has become the rivalry’s version of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy;

In 1939, USMA finally “lost” the Challenge Trophy. Coincidentally, Army Hockey’s 3-2 win came one year after the motion picture Duke of West Point (1938), starring Louis Hayward and Joan Fontaine, used the USMARMC hockey rivalry as its climatic backdrop. “These two teams have met 15 times, and 15 times the gentlemen cadets of the Royal Military College have defeated the sons of the Army black, gray and gold,” a radio announcer informs the audience at the start of the match. When Steve Earley, the titular character and the film’s protagonist, scores the winning goal just before the bell sounds to end the contest, the fanatical announcer hyperventilates, “And there’s the gong, ending the most sensational hockey game ever played on this ice!” This relief must have been felt by the Corps of Cadets one year later when Army Hockey took home its first victory in the series, and the non-Hollywood Cadets even did it on Canadian ice!

After that first victory, World War II intervened, and only one contest took place during the next 10 years, in 1942, which Army won, 3-1. When the rivalry became an annual event again in 1949, Army again forced RMC to keep the Challenge Trophy, beating the Redmen 5-4. Army Hockey Head

Photo: WPAOG archives
Above: The 1924 Army Hockey Team, the first to leave the confines of West Point’s local rink and play the Royal Military College in Canada.

Coach Jack Riley arrived in 1951, and, during the 1950s and 1960s, Army dominated the USMA-RMC rivalry, winning 15 of 20 contests. By the start of the 1970s, Army had narrowed the gap of RMC’s lead in the series to just three (21-18-1). The teams either tied or swapped victories for the next dozen years, but by 1986, the year of Riley’s retirement, Army Hockey was just one win away from squaring its record against its longtime northern rival (26-25-4).

Army took command of the series in the 1990s, not losing a match in that decade (with ties in 1990 and 1998) and outscoring the now Paladins (RMC dropped the “Redmen” name in 1995) 49-15. Unfortunately, the rivalry has been rather intermittent in the new millennium, with no games played in 2007-10 and in 2012, and with COVID cancelling the 2021-22

contests. There was also no match scheduled for this year. The last contest was played on January 18, 2020, and the Paladins beat the Black Knights 3-2 in sudden-death overtime. It was the 84th meeting between the two military academies, representing the longest continuously running international hockey competition. Currently, Army holds a 47-30-7 (.601) advantage in the series.

Just as in the Army-Navy Game, there is a tremendous amount of respect and perhaps just a bit of bad blood in the USMA-RMC rivalry. Media accounts of early matches highlighted the former: The New York Tribune called the first game in 1923 “one of the cleanest fought contests staged here this winter…marked by a fine display of sportsmanship on both sides”; and the Pointer, the one-time Corps of Cadets publication, said, “The [1924] international contest was noteworthy also for the clean sportsmanship that prevailed. Not a foul marred the progress of the game.” In fact, no penalties were called during the first 22 games of the series, even though the play did get rough at times. In 1954, Army’s head coach urged the referees to start calling penalties; the first one was against Dirk Lueders ’56, Army’s goalie. Also, similar to the Army-Navy Game, an entire “RMC Weekend” developed over time, with other competitions between USMA and RMC taking place before or after the rivalry hockey game: debate, rifle, pistol, men’s volleyball, karate, and

judo. For a while, players from each team roomed, ate, and socialized together during this weekend exchange to foster fellowship, but that has since changed.

In the last 15 years or so both USMA and RMC have hip-checked each other off the ice concerning the series. RMC has argued that West Point has a distinct advantage in the battle for the Challenge Cup because it draws from a pool of 4,400 cadets while RMC only has 1,200. USMA has countered that this David-vs.-Goliath theory is really a fallacy since approximately 900 of RMC’s 1,200 cadets grew up playing hockey, while only about 50 of West Point’s 4,400 cadets entered the Academy having played organized hockey before. In the meantime,

USMA has taken exception to the fact that RMC’s recent teams have been comprised of 40 percent nontraditional cadets, reservists in the Canadian military, which is something permitted by Canadian intercollegiate rules. West Point, on the other hand, is bound by NCAA regulations that require collegiate hockey players to take a full courseload of classes.

Thankfully, these minor grievances don’t look as if they will put the series in the penalty box. According to the Army West Point Athletic Department, the USMA-RMC frozen rivalry is scheduled to resume sometime in the 2023-24 season. One hundred years of tradition demands it. 

56 WestPointAOG.org PAST IN REVIEW Photos: Submitted; WPAOG archives
The 1924 Royal Military College Hockey Team. Army (white jerseys) playing against their Canadian rivals in 1963, a match that USMA won 9-4, extending the Cadets dominance against the Redmen in the 1950s and 1960s (winning 15 of 20 games). Joe Dudek '03, Army Hockey team captain, poses with RMC team captain Shannon Goudie at the 2003 USMA-RMC game, which Army won 4-0.


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