• 1,100 graduate from CGSOC

    • email print
  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    More than 1,100 students — 844 soldiers, 119 international military students representing 91 countries, 77 airmen, 28 Marines, 21 sailors, 23 civilians and one Coast Guardsman — with 136 receiving a master of military art and science degree, graduated from the Command and General Staff Officer Course in a ceremony June 15 on Main Parade.
    Gen. James McConville, 36th vice chief of staff of the Army, served as guest speaker. McConville graduated from CGSOC in 1994 and recalled his own graduation during his remarks.
    “We as majors thought we knew what to expect having been educated here in the Command and General Staff College, but we didn’t anticipate the rise in terrorism,” McConville said. “We didn’t anticipate the tragic events of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat of the Islamic state.
    “No one sitting in that class would’ve predicted where we would be five to seven years after our graduation, and I would submit to you, no one sitting here knows where you’ll be in five to seven years,” he said.
    McConville said the question then becomes “How do we prepare for that uncertain future?” saying the answer is remembering that winning matters.
    “In every endeavor we must define for our soldiers what winning looks like,” he said. “This is the American spirit, and I would submit to you as you go forward, if you define for your soldiers what winning looks like and you develop highly trained, well-disciplined and superbly physically fit organizations, you will be successful.
    “The success in your next job is going to be critical for this nation,” he said. “We are all proud of you. We trust you to lead our soldiers in battle.”
    Following McConville’s remarks, 20 awards were presented recognizing the most distinguished graduates.
    The Gen. George C. Marshall Award recognizes the most distinguished U.S. graduate in each CGSOC class. Created in 1960, it “recognizes scholarship and leadership, pays homage to one of America’s most honored soldiers and serves as a lasting incentive to officers attending the college,” according to the CGSC Foundation website.
    The 2018 recipient of the Marshall Award was Maj. Jonathan Nielsen.
    Nielsen said it was an honor to receive the award.
    “I feel like I’m not necessarily receiving it individually but receiving it on behalf of all the great officers that were part of the program,” he said. “It’s been a rewarding year intellectually, personally with developing relationships with fellow peers I haven’t seen for 10 years or more or just met here, but also intellectually stimulating militarily and academically.”
    Nielsen also received the Iron Major Award and his MMAS degree during the ceremony. His assignment following graduation is the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower Award was first announced at the CGSOC International Graduate Badge Ceremony June 14 in the Eisenhower Auditorium of the Lewis and Clark Center. The award recognizes the most distinguished international graduate in each CGSOC class. Established in 1969 by the Henry Leavenworth Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, it “honors military scholarship and is held in the highest esteem by the winners and the nations from which they come,” according to the CGSC Foundation website.
    The 2018 recipient of the Eisenhower Award was Maj. Jason Tinsley, New Zealand.
    “It’s been a year of hard work,” Tinsley said. “I couldn’t have done it without the good instruction I got from my instructors, the team work provided by my staff section and, obviously, a lot of hard work at home and the love and support of my family.”
    Tinsley’s next assignment is to be 1st Battalion executive officer in the Royal New Zealand Infantry.
    Dylan Brandt, U.S. Border Patrol, was presented the Gen. Colin. L. Powell Interagency Award recognizing the most distinguished civilian graduate of each CGSOC class. Brandt also received the Simons Center Interagency Writing Award and his MMAS degree during the ceremony.
    Maj. Joseph O’Donnell of Canada was named the recipient of the Maj. Gen. Hans Schlup Award — announced during the badge ceremony — which recognizes and promotes the “significance and importance of international relations developed through the network of friends and professional acquaintances at CGSC in the international military student community,” according to CGSC Foundation website.
    Graduates had different conclusions upon reflection of their time in CGSOC.
    Maj. Richard Hutton said his biggest takeaway was the people.
    “The outstanding quality of the people that are here, the students, the faculty, leaves me feeling very positive about the Army and about the officers that are going to be leading it in the coming years,” he said. “My colleagues here are outstanding people, and I feel renewed to have worked with so many and have gone through this with them.”
    Hutton was the recipient of the Arter-Darby Military History Writing Award. His next assignment is to be the civil affairs officer for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade in Fort Bragg, N.C.
    Maj. Jessamyn Jempson said CGSOC helps build relationships.
    “One of the best things that this school does is helps you meet your cohort,” she said. “You can network and build those relationships with the people who are going to be doing the same jobs you are back in the force, so you can all work together.”
    Jempson’s next assignment is with the 10th Regional Support Group in Okinawa, Japan.
    Page 3 of 3 - International student Maj. Julie Pearce of Australia said it was all worthwhile.
    “It’s an important milestone for most of us here on the course and the friendships and the curriculum will only help us in future endeavors,” she said. “What makes it worthwhile is the friendships not only international but with our American colleagues. In the future, fighting in coalitions, it means that the network is that little bit easier and the relationships really help us operate together.”
    Pearce has been accepted into the School of Advanced Military Studies for the upcoming 2018-19 schoolyear.
    Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth and CGSC commandant, said he had a parting note for the graduates.
    “You can be very proud of what you’ve done this year, but the expectations will be much higher after you graduate as you enter the operational force of what’s going to be the most important jobs to date in your career,” he said. “So, be proud of the work you’ve done here, but the learning starts today.”
  • Comment or view comments