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West Point Golf Course Markers

The Robert Trent Jones, Sr. West Point Golf Course is an experiential round in which golfers travel through the history of the United States military.   Sponsored by The Thayer Hotel, granite signs, yardage markers and tee box signage give the course a more “West Point” look and feel. These are the names of the holes: 

  1. Revolutionary War  1775-1783
  2. War of 1812.  1812-1814
  3. Indian Wars 1836-1875
  4. Mexican-American War 1848
  5. Civil War. 1861-1865
  6. Spanish-American War 1898
  7. Philippine Insurrection 1898-1902
  8. World War I  1914-1918
  9. World War II European Theater  1941-1945
  10. World War II Pacific Theater 1941-1945
  11. Cold War  1945-1989
  12. Korean War 1950-1953
  13. Vietnam War 1959-1973
  14. Grenada 1983
  15. Panama 1989-1990
  16. Desert Storm 1990-1991
  17. Afghanistan 2001-present
  18. Iraq 2003-2011

#1.  Revolutionary War 

#1.  Revolutionary War April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783

America gained its independence from British rule after defeating the British Army and Navy through an alliance with France.  With the initial shots fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, the war lasted eight years as the conflict raged from Canada to South Carolina.  Considering West Point the “key to the continent,” George Washington and the Continental Congress established a fortification system here – first on Constitution Island in 1775, then expanding across the Hudson River to West Point in 1778 – that included a great chain across the Hudson River supported by artillery fire and multiple smaller forts.  Since then, West Point has been continuously garrisoned by the United States Army.  After gaining American independence, General Washington urged Congress to establish a military academy at West Point, which was eventually founded on March 16, 1802.   America lost 4,435 soldiers killed in action while gaining our American independence with another 6,618 wounded. 

#2.  War of 1812

#2.  War of 1812  June 18, 1812 – Feb. 18, 1815

America’s Second War for Independence in 1812 was also its first war fought as an independent nation.  America again fought the British Empire in what would later be called the “War of 1812” under President James Madison over violations of its economic freedom and territorial integrity.  Battles occurred along the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Coast and in the southern states.  West Point graduates saw their first action as they led soldiers and sailors in combat.  Lieutenant George Ronan (USMA 1811) was the first West Point graduate killed in action falling near Fort Chicago, Illinois on August 15, 1812. The American Navy, although vastly outnumbered and outgunned, won many major battles and established itself as a respected fighting force.  Francis Scott Key, a Maryland lawyer, wrote the "The Star Spangled Banner" while a prisoner of war aboard a British POW ship in Baltimore Harbor.  The US lost 2,260 Americans were killed in action with 4,505 wounded.  Six West Point graduates were killed in action. 

 #3.  Indian Wars

#3.  Indian Wars     1835-1890   

Beginning with the first established British colony at Jamestown in 1607, a continuous tension existed between European colonists (eventually Americans) and the Native American Indians for nearly 300 years.  This tension frequently erupted into armed conflicts ranging from minor skirmishes, to massacres, to wars as the continued American westward expansion pushed Native American populations westward.  Although the earliest of the Indian Wars occurred in 1622 against the Powhatans in Virginia, the first 28 Presidents from George Washington in 1789 to Woodrow Wilson in 1918 all faced varying levels of these conflicts, the brunt of which included the Second Seminole War from 1835-1842 (the longest and costliest war waged against Native Americans) and the Black Hills War from 1876-1877 (leading to the death of LTC George A. Custer (USMA 1861) at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876).  Numerous West Pointers saw action throughout the Indian Wars while 21 graduates received the Medal of Honor. 

 

#4.  Mexican-American War 

#4.  Mexican-American War April 25, 1846- February 2, 1848   

The United States went to war with Mexico in 1846 under President James K. Polk after Mexico refused to recognize America’s annexation of Texas and the Rio Grande River as the US-Mexican border.  General Zachary Taylor (12th US President) and General Winfield Scott led the major wings of the American Army during the invasion of Mexico.  Taylor won key battles at Monterrey and Buena Vista, while Scott successfully conducted a complex amphibious landing at Veracruz and won a string of impressive battles ending with the capture of Mexico City on September 14, 1847 (while fighting outnumbered, poorly-supplied, and deep within enemy territory).  Scott was so impressed by the performance of West Point graduates he noted in his “Fixed Opinion” that these officers were invaluable to the rapid and decisive nature of the US victory.  Although a military success leading to the incorporation of present-day California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, the war inflamed tensions over the expansion of slavery in these newly-acquired territories that would be a major cause of the American Civil War.  Many of the West Point graduates who were junior officers in the Mexican-American War later went on to lead both Union and Confederate forces in the Civil War.  The US lost 1,507 killed in combat while 13,200 died of disease.  Another 4,152 were wounded.   Forty-eight West Point graduates were killed in action.

#5.  Civil War

#5.  Civil War April 12, 1861- April 9, 1865  

America’s bloodiest war began after eleven southern states seceded following the 1860 election of President Abraham Lincoln.  Jefferson Davis (USMA 1828) was elected President of the Confederacy.  Initially a war to restore the Union, Lincoln’s war aims evolved to include, most importantly, the abolition of slavery.  Early Confederate victories at 1st and 2nd Bull Run, in the Peninsula and Shenandoah Valley Campaigns, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, proved that the war would not end quickly.  The Union eventually mobilized its resources and gained key victories at Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Atlanta.  Ultimately, the North overwhelmed and outlasted the Confederacy and restored the Union.  West Point graduates led the way for both sides – of the 60 major Civil War battles, 55 had West Point graduates leading both armies with the remainder having a West Point graduate leading on one side.  Among these leaders were Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant (USMA 1843 and 18th US President), William T. Sherman (USMA 1840), and George B. McClellan (USMA 1846), and Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee (USMA 1829) and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (USMA 1846).  The Union lost 364,511 soldiers killed with 281,881 wounded, while the Confederacy lost 258,000 soldiers killed with 137,000 wounded.  Sixty West Point graduates died fighting for the Union and 45 graduates died for the Confederacy.  Twenty-two West Point graduates and two former cadets received the Medal of Honor.

#6.  Spanish-American War 

#6.  Spanish-American War April 25, 1898- December 10, 1898

Citing mistreatment of Cubans by the Spanish and following the mysterious bombing of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, Cuba, the United States went to war with Spain in 1898 under President William McKinley.  Fighting took place in both the Caribbean and the Philippines in the Pacific.  In the Caribbean, the US won battles at Santiago, San Juan Hill, Kettle Hill, and El Canay.  In the Philippines, the US fleet defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and later took Manila while aided by Filipino rebels.  In defeating the Spanish, the US became a global empire gaining sovereignty over Cuba and acquiring the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam from Spain.  The US lost 2,446 Americans killed in action with 1,662 wounded.  Sixteen West Point graduates were killed in action.  Among them was Dennis M. Michie (USMA 1892), Army football’s first head coach and founder of the Army-Navy football game, who was killed in action in Santiago, Cuba – West Point’s football stadium, Michie Stadium, bears his name.  Four West Point graduates received the Medal of Honor. 

#7.  Philippine Insurrection

#7.  Philippine Insurrection   1899-1903February 4, 1899- May 6, 1902

Following America’s victory in the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded control of the Philippines to the United States.  Filipino leader Emilio Aguinaldo, resistance leader against the Spanish, refused to accept this control and declared Independence under a separate Philippine Republic.  After initial engagements with US forces at Manila and Malolos, Aguinaldo disbanded his army and led a guerrilla war for the next two years.  American forces fought Filipino rebels in brutal campaigns on Luzon, the Visayan Islands, Mindanao, and Sulu until Aguinaldo’s capture on March 23, 1901 when he was forced to swear allegiance to the United States and issued a proclamation calling for peace.  The guerrilla war lasted another year until most of the Filipino generals surrendered.  Nearly 4,200 US soldiers were killed and 3,000 wounded – among those killed in action were 22 West Point graduates.  Nine West Point graduates received the Medal of Honor.

 

#8.  World War I  

#8.  World War I  April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918  

Europe became embroiled in a global war that consumed the continent from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918.  For the first three years, America attempted neutrality as the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia) battled the Central Powers (Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire) to a bitter stalemate – particularly on the Western Front.  When Germany resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, American felt compelled to declare war on Germany and entered the conflict under President Woodrow Wilson on April 6, 1917.  The American Expeditionary Force (AEF), led by General of the Armies John “Blackjack” Pershing (USMA 1886), arrived in France in May 1917 and saw its first action in October 1917.  By May 1918, the full weight of fresh US troops helped turn the tide of the war as the AEF was instrumental in halting the 1918 German Offensives at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood, and then going on the offensive at Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne.  An uncertain post-war settlement at Versailles in 1919 set the stage leading to World War II.  America’s time in the war was relatively short, but the price was high as the US lost 116,516 killed in action and 204,002 wounded in thirteen months of combat.  Thirty-two West Point graduates were killed in action and one West Point graduate received the Medal of Honor.

#9.  World War II European Theater of Operations 

#9.  World War II European Theater of Operations   December 11, 1941- May 8, 1945           

The United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt joined the British and Soviet Allies against the European Axis powers led by Germany and Italy in a war that engulfed much of the globe.  From the Battle of the Atlantic, to the Combined Bomber Offensive over Germany, to key land invasions in North Africa (Operation TORCH – 1942), Sicily (Operation HUSKY – 1943), and Italy (Operations AVALANCHE/SHINGLE – 1943/1944), the Allies wore down the Axis until the cross-channel invasion into France.  General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower (USMA 1915 and 34th US President) led the Allied invasion of Europe (Operation OVERLORD) on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and opened up the “second front” in France against Germany as the Soviet Union closed in along the Eastern Front.  Following Germany’s defeat, post-war Europe became ideologically divided and the Cold War set in.  Other West Point graduates who were key leaders in World War II’s European Theater included:  Generals of the Army Omar N. Bradley (USMA 1915) and Henry H. Arnold (USMA 1907); Generals George S. Patton Jr. (USMA 1909), Mark W. Clark (USMA 1917), and Matthew B. Ridgeway (USMA 1917); and LTG James M. Gavin (USMA 1929).  There were 405,399 Americas killed in action with 670,846 wounded in World War II – among those killed in action were 487 West Point graduates.  Six West Point graduates and one former Cadet received the Medal of Honor in the European Theater of Operations.

#10.  World War II Pacific Theater of Operations

#10.  World War II Pacific Theater of Operations     December 7, 1941- September 2, 1945.

After Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, declared war on Japan and fought across the Pacific for the next 45 months.  Balancing forces between the Pacific Theater (as the primary combatant against the Japanese), and the European Theater, America followed up these initial defeats with twin offensives that “island-hopped” across the Central Pacific (Midway – 1942; Tarawa and Kwajalein – 1943; Saipan and Peleliu – 1944; and Iwo Jima and Okinawa – 1945) and the South Pacific and Philippines (Coral Sea and Guadalcanal – 1942; New Britain – 1943; and the Philippines – 1944/1945).  General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (USMA 1903) commanded the drive in the South Pacific and Philippines.  The war ended when the Manhattan Project (led by LTG Leslie Groves, USMA 1918) created the first atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, forced Japan’s surrender, and ushered in the atomic age.  Other West Point graduates who were key leaders in World War II’s Pacific Theater included:  LTG Jonathon M. Wainwright (USMA 1906); General Simon B. Buckner Jr. (USMA 1908); and General Joseph W. Stillwell – China-Burma-India Theater (USMA 1904).  There were 405,399 Americas killed in action with 670,846 wounded in World War II – among those killed in action were 487 West Point graduates.  Three West Point graduates received the Medal of Honor in the Pacific Theater of Operations. 

#11.  The Cold War

#11.  The Cold War September 2, 1945- December 25, 1991

The Cold War was an ideological, political, economic, and military conflict that developed after World War II when the Grand Alliance of the United States and Soviet Union, a “marriage of convenience” to defeat Germany, dissolved over irreconcilable differences.  Tensions within the alliance developed during the war itself as both the US and the Soviet Union sought to shape a post-war world that favored their respective systems.  As a result, the stage was set that placed the world in two opposing camps – the US and its allies on one side, and the Soviet Union and its communist allies on the other.  Fearful of an uncertain future, both nations competed for nearly half of a century to expand their ideologies through spheres of influence, alliances, economic supremacy, and military strength.  A vast arms race featuring nuclear weapons played a central role in nearly every aspect of that competition, and the fear of a US-Soviet nuclear confrontation always underscored international tensions.  Although never directly engaging each other in war, both sides supported numerous regional and proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam, Central America, and elsewhere as the Cold War influenced and shaped political and military leaders spanning nine presidential administrations.  By 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed economically and then completely dissolved by 1991 – liberating the oppressed people of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in its wake.      

#12.  Korean War

#12.  Korean War June 25, 1950- July 27, 1953    

The Korean War was the Cold War’s first major armed conflict after communist North Korea crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea in an attempt to unify the peninsula.  The United States under President Harry S. Truman, with the support of the United Nations, formed a coalition to save South Korea.  With US and South Korean forces driven to a small perimeter around Pusan, General Douglas MacArthur (USMA 1903) led a daring and decisive amphibious invasion at Inchon in September 1950 to aid the forces around Pusan.  The US/UN forces eventually drove North Korean forces back across the 38th parallel and continued north to the Yalu River as the war aim changed from liberating South Korea to uniting all of Korea.  In the wake of nuclear threats, China entered the war in October 1950 to protect its borders and defend North Korea.  Chinese forces pushed US/UN forces back across the 38th parallel.  After re-establishing the border in June 1951, the remainder of the war saw bitter fighting (Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge – 1951; the Battle of Triangle Hill – 1952; and the Battle of Pork Chop Hill – 1953) that yielded little exchange of territory.  For the next two years, protracted negotiations reached a July 1953 armistice that re-established the border in roughly the same pre-war location and is still in effect today.  Officially, the war has not yet ended.  The US lost 36,574 killed in action and 103,284 wounded – among those were 157 West Point graduates killed in action.  Two West Point graduates received the Medal of Honor. 

#13.  Vietnam War 

#13.  Vietnam War July 8, 1959- April 30, 1973       

America’s second major armed conflict of the Cold War was the Vietnam War as the US replaced the French in support of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).  Initial US support included financial aid and military advisors to assist South Vietnam’s fight against communist insurgents and prevent “the domino theory” of successive nations falling to communism.  This commitment gradually escalated over the next two decades peaking in 1968 with about 540,000 troops under President Lyndon Johnson.  Fighting both conventionally and unconventionally against the North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong insurgents, America employed a range of options that included aerial bombing campaigns, “search and destroy” operations, and counter-insurgency operations to achieve “pacification.”  Conventional operations dominated from 1965-1973 and were first led by General William Westmoreland (USMA 1936) and then General Creighton Abrams (USMA 1936).  Despite overwhelming tactical success on the battlefield, factors such as political limitations, changing objectives, and waning support from the American public after the 1968 Tet Offensive caused America to re-evaluate its commitment.  Pursuing a strategy of “Vietnamization” under President Richard Nixon, the US gradually withdrew its combat forces by 1973.  The US lost 58,200 Americans killed in action with 303,644 wounded – among those were 273 West Point graduates killed in action.  Seven West Point graduates, one former cadet, and one professor received the Medal of Honor. 

#14.  Grenada (Operation URGENT FURY)#14.  Grenada (Operation URGENT FURY)

October 25, 1983-December 15, 1983

In its first major Cold War military action since the Vietnam War, the United States, under President Ronald W. Reagan, successfully invaded, then liberated, the small Caribbean Island of Grenada on October 25, 1983 when a Cuban-backed military coup overthrew the democratic government.  Initially concerned only with the safety of Americans on the Island and ordering their rescue, the president expanded the objectives to include defeating the coup and restoring the government in order to prevent the spread of Cuban and communist influence throughout the Caribbean.  United States Army Rangers, supported by the 82nd Airborne Division – as part of a joint force incorporating all sister services – played a key role in the operation as they parachuted in to seize and secure one of the island’s main airfields at Point Salines.  The US lost 19 Americans killed in action with 116 wounded. 

# 15.  Panama (Operation JUST CAUSE)

# 15.  Panama (Operation JUST CAUSE) December 20, 1989 – January 12, 1990      

At the end of the Cold War, the United States invaded Panama on December 20, 1989 following years of increased tensions between the two nations that culminated with the Panamanian National Assembly giving broad, dictatorial powers to General Manuel A. Noriega and declaring a “state of war” against the US as long as American forces remained in Panama.  Intervening in order to safeguard American lives, defend democracy in Panama, combat drug trafficking, and to protect the integrity of the Panama Canal Zone and treaty, President George H. W. Bush ordered the invasion to depose Noriega.  Conducting its first combat jump since World War II, the 82nd Airborne Division landed at Torrijos International Airport and began combat operations with support from the 7th Infantry Division, US Southern Command units, and other sister services.  Within seven hours, American forces defeated the Panamanian Defense Force to where it was unable to provide any organized resistance.  General Noriega surrendered January 3, 1990 and operations ceased January 12, 1990.  The overwhelming success of Operation JUST CAUSE highlighted America’s skillful ability to conduct contingency operations by projecting military force rapidly over long distances in order to protect American interests.  The US lost 23 Americans killed in action with 324 wounded.

#16.  Persian Gulf  War (Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM) 

#16.  Persian Gulf  War (Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM) August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991    

After the Cold War, aggressive rogue states became a reality as Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and threatened much of the world’s oil supply.  The US under President George H. W. Bush led a 36-nation international coalition to liberate Kuwait.  This coalition, with nearly 530,000 American troops, initially held a defensive posture to protect Saudi Arabia during Operation DESERT SHIELD.  Combat operations during Operation DESERT STORM began on January 17, 1991 with a 6-week aerial bombing campaign until ground forces, under the command of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (USMA 1956), invaded Iraq and Iraqi forces in Kuwait on February 24, 1991.  The ground war lasted only 100 hours as coalition forces completely overwhelmed the Iraqi Army and successfully liberated Kuwait.  Critical to the ground attack was a surprise flanking maneuver around Iraqi forces by the US VII Corps commanded by General Frederick Franks (USMA 1959) and the US XVIII Airborne Corps, which was anchored by GEN Barry McCaffrey’s (USMA 1964) 24th Infantry Division.  The magnitude of the coalition victory was so great, that Defense Intelligence Agency estimates included 100,000 Iraqi soldiers killed in action, 300,000 wounded in action, 3,700 tanks destroyed, and 42 divisions rendered combat ineffective.  The US lost 145 Americans killed in action with 467 wounded in both operations.  One West Point graduate, 1LT Donaldson Tillar (USMA 1988), was killed in action along with his crew on February 27, 1991 when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he piloted was shot down.     

Somalia (Operation RESTORE HOPE/CONTINUE HOPE)   (no hole - between #16 and #17)

Somalia (Operation RESTORE HOPE/CONTINUE HOPE) December 4, 1992 – March 25, 1994       

In December 1992, President George H. W. Bush ordered US forces to Somalia during Operation RESTORE HOPE in order to provide security for and assist in United Nations humanitarian efforts to ease the suffering that resulted from decades of drought, overpopulation, and religious, ethnic, and clan wars.  The US provided nearly 30,000 troops at its peak to this contingency operation while trying to resist expanding missions from providing humanitarian relief and security for relief efforts to disarming feuding clans and capturing warlords.  As fighting in and around Mogadishu increased and more UN forces became casualties, the US began assisting in disarming clans and searching for and capturing responsible warlords.  One such operation, led by MG Scott Miller (USMA 1983 – then CPT Miller), was during the capture attempt of Somali Warlord, General Mohammed Farah Aidid in October 1993.  During this operation, two Blackhawk helicopters were shot down and the ensuing Battle of Mogadishu resulted in 19 Americans killed in action.  COL Lee Van Arsdale (USMA 1974), 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment- Delta, led the rescue effort to crash site #1.  Shortly after the battle, President William J. Clinton further limited the role of US forces and ultimately ended operations in Somalia.  The US lost 42 Americans killed in action while Somalia continued as a failed state with no functioning government.    

#17.  Afghanistan War (Operation ENDURING FREEDOM)

#17.  Afghanistan War (Operation ENDURING FREEDOM)October 7, 2001 – Present          

After the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001 by Taliban-sponsored terrorists, the United States under President George W. Bush initiated Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 to destroy the Taliban and liberate the Afghan people.  American forces initially routed the Taliban while liberating Afghanistan.  Key to this effort was Operation ANACONDA, commanded by LTG Franklin “Buster” Hagenbeck (USMA 1971), which saw the first use of a large conventional force in direct combat against the Taliban.  The US also built an Afghan army and police force while setting out to establish and turn over a legitimate, functioning Afghan national government.  West Point graduates who served as commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan include:  General David Petraeus (USMA 1974), General Stanley McChrystal (USMA 1976), LTG Karl Eikenberry (USMA 1973), and LTG David Barno (USMA 1976).  In light of these US efforts and despite the loss of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who was killed on May 2, 2011, Taliban forces have continued to operate within Afghanistan by infiltrating from bases within Pakistan.  As of August 2011, the US had lost 1,532 Americans killed in action with 4,949 soldiers wounded – among those are 21 West Point graduates killed in action and 2 deaths in accidents/non-combat actions.  

#18.  Iraq War (Operation IRAQI FREEDOM/NEW DAWN)

#18.  Iraq War (Operation IRAQI FREEDOM/NEW DAWN)March 20, 2003 – December 15, 2011                     

The United States under President George W. Bush led an international coalition in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM that invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003 and liberated the nation by May 2003.  After the invasion, political and military set-backs and poor decisions led to the development of an insurgency that ultimately turned into a civil war between Sunni and Shiite factions.  In light of this insurgency, US-led coalition forces in the Multi-National Security Transition Command under West Point graduates GEN Martin Dempsey (USMA 1974), LTG Frank Helmick (USMA 1976), and LTG Michael Barbero (USMA 1976), built and trained an Iraqi army and police force that assisted in defeating the insurgency and fostering a legitimate Iraqi government and society.  As the US continued its draw-down and turn-over of governance and security to the Iraqi people, the operation entered a new phase on September 1, 2010 known as Operation NEW DAWN.  West Point graduates who served as overall commander of the coalition forces in Iraq include:  General David Petraeus (USMA 1974), General Lloyd Austin (USMA 1975), and General Raymond Odierno (USMA 1976).  As of August 2011, the US had lost 4,452 Americans killed in action with 31,103 wounded – among those are 47 West Point graduates killed in action and 13 deaths in accidents /non-combat actions.