Cadet Field Training (CFT) for the Class of 2016 might have been cut short because of sequestration, but its concluding ceremony maintained all its grandeur as awards were handed out to top companies and cadets, a Class Flag was unveiled, and a guest speaker gave a motivational address to the rising yearlings.
During the award portion of the ceremony, 5th Company won the New York National Guard Trophy, which was given to the company that exhibited training excellence throughout CFT. In addition to winning this “Best Company” award, 5th Company also won the Fire Support Award and the Land Navigation Award (it was the most knowledgeable and proficient in calling for and observing indirect fire and it had the highest score on the Day 2 long course). Naturally, Cadet Captain Brendan Lorton ’14, company commander for 5th Company, won the Commandant’s Plaque, given to the company commander that best exemplifies the concept of officership. Other individual awards went to Cadet Alex Duffy ’16, who won the Superintendent’s Plaque for the best cadet performance at CFT based on training scores and the highest assessment marks; to Cadet Catherine Sedy ’16, who won the Simon B. Buckner Medal and Plaque for the best overall performance based on assessment and commitment to Army values; and to Cadet Lieutenant Doug Oss ’14, who won the Captain Pedersen-Keel ’02 Memorial Award as the platoon leader who best exemplified Army values and the concept of officership throughout CFT.
After the presentation of awards, the Class of 2016 received its class flag from Colonel George Utter, Colonel William Traubel, and Dr. Tom Carhart, members of the Class of 1966, which is the Class of 2016’s 50-Year Affiliate Class. Going forward, this gift from the Class of 1966 will be displayed at all of 2016’s class events and remain with the class after graduation into the Long Gray Line. An integral part of the 50-Year Affiliation Program, the presentation of the class flag strengthens the bonds between the classes and reinforces the ideals of West Point and the values of the Army.
Before receiving their bar insignia, representing their promotion to cadet corporals as noncommissioned officers in the Corps of Cadets, the members of the Class of 2016 listened to words of inspiration and advice from Major Reid Furman ’00. Furman is currently assigned as the executive officer of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces group, but he was Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel’s ’02 company commander when Keel died of wounds received from small-arms fire in Afghanistan last spring. The cadre of CFT named their units Task Force Pedersen-Keel in honor of this fallen graduate. Using examples from PK’s (as he called him) life of service, Furman instructed the Class of 2016 to allow their experiences at West Point to shape them as future leaders. “PK possessed the depth of character, the morale and physical courage, and the professionalism to lead America’s best,” Furman said. “Now, each one of you will be charged with the direct leadership of the incoming class who will look to emulate your example.”