• 1,200 graduate from CGSOC

  • 1,200 graduate from the Command and General Staff Officer Course.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    Students in the 2017 Command and General Staff Officer Course graduated in a ceremony June 9 on Main Parade.
    Maj. Trevor Jones earned the General George C. Marshall Award for top U.S. graduate. Jones said the learning experiences during the course were valuable to him.
    “I’m genuinely humbled by the award and glad to be part of this developmental experience with my classmates,” Jones said.
    Maj. David Welford of the United Kingdom was awarded the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award as the top international graduate.
    International military students received the Command and General Staff College International Graduate Badge during a ceremony June 8 in Eisenhower Auditorium in the Lewis and Clark Center.
    Lt. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, welcomed and thanked the parents and families of the graduates. He said the graduation ceremony marked the end of an academic year at CGSC and the beginning of new opportunities for the officers whom he called a remarkable class.
    “Today marks the beginning of your careers of learning as field grade officers and senior leaders,” Lundy said. “Based on the type of academic performance I saw from the class this year, I can make the statement that you are remarkable — your first-time oral comps, earning over 300 degrees from masters programs.”
    Lundy said the enthusiasm he encountered from CGSC instructors throughout the year was an indicator of great discussions and great learning taking place in the classrooms. He said graduates could be proud of the great work they have done.
    “The 86 nations represented here indicate our services across the total force, and interagencies are going to be in great hands as we face the complex challenges on our future horizon,” Lundy said. “You can be very proud of your accomplishments. But, from this point forward know that your leaders will have high expectations of you when you show up in your new formations.”
    Gen. Robert Abrams, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, served as the commencement speaker. Abrams commands the Army’s largest organization of 776,000 soldiers and 96,000 civilians, Lundy said.
    From his viewpoint as a 1994 CGSC graduate, Abrams said the graduates would impact their organizations immediately as well as the future of the military. He said their leadership would be needed to ensure the force is ready to face challenges posed by potential adversaries.
    “Wherever you go, know that your leadership matters,” Abrams said.
    Abrams echoed Lundy in thanking the family members of the graduates. He expressed gratitude to military families for the inherent hardships they endure through the sacrifices of service.
    “Family members of U.S. forces have only known a military at war since your (officer) commissioned,” Abrams said. “You, more than anyone, have shouldered the heaviest rucksack.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Renard Ellis of Laquey, Mo., a retired senior noncommissioned officer and father of CGSC graduate Maj. Nolan Ellis, said he was proud of his son’s achievement and enjoyed being at the ceremony.
    “I have always been impressed with Nolan’s career trajectory and his dedication to duty,” Ellis said. “Graduation from this course is a very significant achievement which will provide leadership resources he will find useful in future assignments.”
    Abrams also acknowledged and thanked the CGSC faculty for their commitment to providing a rigorous academic environment. He said the 304 civilian and military instructors are vital to educating future leaders.
    “We have representatives from 86 of the 196 nations of the world seated as graduates on the field today,” Abrams said. “That’s a powerful statement about the role military education plays in sustaining the profession of arms.”
    Abrams congratulated international officer graduates and said the coalition of allied nations is a necessity to achieve success on the battlefields of the future.
    “I hope this was the best year of your life and you leave here with a better appreciation of our country and our people,” Abrams said. “As soldiers, the relationships we build here will make us stronger as a combined force.”
    Tatiana Marquis, spouse of graduate Lt. Col. Anderson Marquis of Brazil, said their family made new friends and the experience of living at Fort Leavenworth during the course was good.
    “We only have two soldiers from our country who come to CGSC, so this is a significant honor for his career,” Tatiana said. “Now he is graduating from the course and today is a special day for us.”
    International student participation in cooperative military studies in the United States originated at Fort Leavenworth in 1894, and more than 8,000 have attended since.
    Col. Eric Robinson, a 2005 CGSOC graduate and current director of CGSC’s Department of Distance Education, said it is significant that the course is designed to prepare talented student officers for important leadership positions. He said the graduation ceremony reflects positively upon the superior work and dedication done by students and faculty alike.
    “I always find it remarkable that this course brings together so much talent from the United States forces and also from among our allies around the world,” Robinson said. “This graduation signifies the hard work and due diligence undertaken to ensure these leaders can go out and meet the challenges of an uncertain future.”
    Maj. Gen. John Kem, provost of Army University, said the rigor and expectations of CGSOC culminated in the graduation ceremony. He said the course is purposefully demanding of students.
    “The graduation represents a celebration for the students, their families, all of the international and interagency students along with their staff and faculty,” Kem said. “This is a significant achievement because the academic rigor and expectations are very high.”
    Page 3 of 3 - CGSOC is a graduate-level course that develops warfighting and adaptive leadership skills necessary for military officers to be proficient in executing unified land operations doctrine.
    Abrams said the quality of education graduating officers received during the course was superior and among the best offered.
    “The rigorous academic program here and the opportunity for Americans to interact with international students represents a period of foundational personal growth for these officers,” Abrams said after the ceremony. “This is the premier staff college in our Army, in my opinion, because of the continual curriculum development. The efforts of the faculty and course developers here are essential to success as well.”
    Students earn the master of military arts and science degree by successful completion of CGSOC, successful completion of an oral comprehensive exam, and writing and orally defending a thesis based on original research.
    The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits CGSC.
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