First Call - Aug 2, 2017

President Trump Nominates Esper ’86 as Army Secretary

  LTC (R) Mark Esper '86

LTC (R) Mark Esper ’86, Vice President of Government Relations at Raytheon, has been nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Army. Esper served in Iraq during the first Gulf War and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under former President George W. Bush. He holds a master's degree in public administration from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate from The George Washington University. Esper’s nomination now moves to the Senate for confirmation.

Fontes ’86 Becomes Highest-Ranking Woman Ever for War in Afghanistan

  MG Robin Fontes '86

In July, MG Robin Fontes ’86 assumed the highest position of any female service member in Afghanistan since the war began, taking over command of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. She has spent 12 years in the region, serving in Afghanistan multiple times, as well as in India, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. In addition to taking control of CSTC-A, part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission aimed at developing Afghan security forces, Fontes will assume the role of deputy chief of staff, security assistance for Resolute Support headquarters. Read about her change-of-command ceremony here.

USMA Grads Network at Service Academies Global Summit

Service Academy Global Summit 2017

More than 120 West Point graduates were among the nearly 300 U.S. service academy graduates who gathered in Washington, DC June 14-16 for the third annual Service Academies Global Summit (SAGS). According to Ray Jefferson ’88, SAGS Chair, “The purpose and vision of SAGS has crystallized over time into developing, inspiring, and promoting fellowship, leadership, professional development and service for the ‘super-community’ of graduates worldwide from the five U.S. service academies”: the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The three-day summit featured speaker panels, “deal huddles,” corporate board and career services workshops. More than 75 USMA grads attended the WPAOG reception hosted by Todd Browne ’85, WPAOG President and CEO. “The Service Academy Graduate Summit was one of the most professionally and personally fulfilling events I’ve attended since graduating from USMA 15 years ago,” said Dave Gowel ’02. Read more.

Superintendent’s Circle Members Invited to Attend Special Football Weekend

  Superindendent's Circle

Football season is on the horizon, and WPAOG is looking forward to hosting members of the Superintendent’s Circle at the annual Superintendent’s Circle Weekend on September 8 and 9. The weekend will include a barbeque with members of the USMA Leader Team and the Army vs. Buffalo football game. The Superintendent’s Circle recognizes all donors who make annual gifts of $1,000 or more to the Superintendent’s Annual Fund or the West Point Parents Fund within the calendar year, and this exclusive invitation comes with our thanks for their role in strengthening the Margin of Excellence and supporting the Corps of Cadets!

Class of ’70 Grips Hands with USMA 2020 at CFT

  CFT and 2020 Flag Presentation from 1970 Affiliate Class

Saturday, July 29, was the Cadet Field Training II Promotion ceremony for the Class of 2020. Members from the Class of 1970, their 50 Year Affiliate class, were on hand to present the Class of 2020 with their class flag. Read more.

USMA 2021 Halfway Through Beast Barracks

  West Point Cadets 2021

Roughly 1,200 new cadets received well-deserved time off recently for the annual New Cadet Visitation Day, also referred to as the “Ice Cream Social,” during which community members associated with West Point volunteer to host new cadets in their homes. This was the new cadets’ first opportunity to communicate with family and friends since they arrived on R-Day, July 3. The much-needed break came at the mid-point of Cadet Basic Training and allowed the new cadets to relax and reflect upon the past few weeks. Read more.

8/24-25 Service Academy Career Conference in San Diego

Considering a career change? Don’t miss the next Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) in San Diego on August 24-25. Last year, more than 70 employers and 20 universities participated, making SACC a great opportunity to learn about a variety of companies, industries, and post-graduate opportunities. To register, click here.


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GEN (R) Boonsrang ’71 Leading Police Reform in Thailand

  GEN (R) Boonsrang '71

GEN (R) Boonsrang Niumpradit, a member of the Class of 1971 and a 2013 WPAOG Distinguished Graduate, has been selected by Thailand’s Prime Minister to chair a 36-member police reform committee. Boonsrang, the 26th Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, said that reforming the police force would not be an easy task, but that he would do the best he could, noting that the public has been expecting police reform for a long time. Read more.

Run Back, March Out

  West Point Cadet Run Back March Out

On July 30, USMA’s Class of 2020, joined by the Academy leadership team, completed their 7.5-mile Run Back from the Camp Buckner Military Reservation to Washington Hall, marking the completion of Cadet Field Training for the rising yearlings. As members of the Class of 2020 finished their summer training, the new cadets from Class of 2021 executed the March Out to Buckner to continue the second session of their Cadet Basic Training. View USMA photos.

A Crazy Colonel, Cherry Trees & Some Discretionary Funds

  Cherry Trees and Dan Ragsdale '81

COL (R) Daniel Ragsdale ’81, aka “the Crazy Colonel,” recently took to social media with an interesting story about the poster image in the 2017 summer issue of West Point magazine. It turns out the blossoming cherry trees seen in the poster were planted thanks to some forward thinking he did during the Jefferson Hall construction project when he was Vice Dean for Education at USMA. Learn how he helped transform “a large, muddy field” into a landscaped dream by clicking here. Did you know that a portion of the Superintendent's discretionary funds come from generous WPAOG donors?

Calling All West Point Authors!

  West Point Magazine Bookshelf

We are now reserving space in the West Point Authors Bookshelf for the Winter 2018 issue. This special advertising section in West Point magazine showcases books by West Point affiliated authors. Check out the most recent West Point Authors Bookshelf in the summer 2017 issue to discover and support books written by fellow members of the Long Gray Line. Learn more about this and other WPAOG advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

Grads Run to Help Others with PTS

  Doe '74, Hofmann '90, Keyser '09

William Doe ’74, Anthony Hofmann ’90, and Daniel Keyser ’09, on a team with five other veterans and two civilians, completed the high-altitude Leadville Trail Marathon in mid-June to raise $30,000 for Warriors’ Ascent, a non-profit based in Kansas City that assists veterans and first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS). The money raised will fund a class of 15 personnel to attend the Warriors’ Ascent’s five-day “Academy of Healing,” which provides those suffering from PTS the tools they need to take ownership of their healing process. The Executive Director of Warriors’ Ascent is LTC (R) Mike Kenny ’93.

Mudek ’07 Receives 2016 Military Sport Award

  West Point Magazine Summer

USA Triathlon named CPT David Mudek ’07 as the recipient of the 2016 Military Sport Award, which recognizes the multi-sport successes of service members across all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Stationed at Fort Polk, LA, with the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group, Mudek overcame compartment syndrome in both legs after a 40-foot fall as a cadet to become an amateur triathlete with Team USA in sprint distance. He is also in training for the IRONMAN and plans to tackle the Chattanooga course in May 2018. KALB, an NBC affiliate in Louisiana, covered his story here

WPS-New England Supports Honor Flight and Beats ’em All!

  Dale Kurtz, USMA ’73, President WPSNE; Joe Byron, Founder/Executive Director, Honor Flight New England; Jim Kras, USNA ’68, President, USNA AA Boston.

On July 22, the West Point Society of New England hosted the 25th Ken Kronlund Charity Classic, the All Academy Golf Challenge, at Stow Acres Country Club and swept the event and all of the contest holes from USNA, USCGA, USAFA, ROTC and friends. The Charity Classic is named in honor of the late Ken Kronlund ’52 who founded the All Academy Golf Challenge in 1993. The team of Liam O’Connell ’82 and Bill Newman ’82 won the Challenge, with Chris Boyer ’99 and Dale Kurtz ’73 finishing second. Clay Schwabe ’02 and his guest Evan Sussman won the Open. But the greatest winner of the day was Honor Flight New England, a charity that transports WWII and Korean War Veterans to Washington, DC to visit their memorials. The event raised $3,000, which was presented at the post golf luncheon by WPS-New England President Dale Kurtz to Joe Byron, Founder and Executive Director of Honor Flight New England.  [Left to right, Dale Kurtz, USMA ’73, President WPSNE; Joe Byron, Founder/Executive Director, Honor Flight New England; Jim Kras, USNA ’68, President, USNA AA Boston.]

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