On the day they received their cadet corporal bar insignia after successfully completing Cadet Field Training (CFT), the members of the Class of 2019 got something else to forge their identity at West Point, their Class Flag. A gift from the Class of 1969, the Class of 2019’s 50-Year Affiliate Class, the flag is emblazoned with 2019’s Class Crest and its motto: “So Freedom Will Reign.”
“The flag is a great gift that symbolizes how close we’ve become as a class,” said CDT John Iredale, President of the Class of 2019. “Unlike Beast Barracks, when we were just a bunch of individual new cadets, we’ve come together as a unit through CFT and look forward to our new leadership positions in the Corps.”
The flag presentation also demonstrated the bond between members of the Class of 1969. “From our point of view, being part of this ceremony is even more significant for us,” said Mike McGovern, President of the Class of 1969. “Participating in these 50-year affiliation events keeps us young and connected to our school, although we didn’t have such an elaborate ceremony at the conclusion of our field training.”
In addition to the presentation of the Class Flag, the CFT concluding ceremony recognized company and individual achievements during the four weeks of CFT, nicknamed Task Force Prasnicki after 1LT Stephen Chase Prasnicki ’10, who was killed by a roadside bomb on June 27, 2012 during Operation Enduring Freedom. The ceremony also presented awards to the best company, platoon, squad, and individual male and female cadet for RECONDO training. “I think the Class of 2019 had the most RECONDOs for CFT ever,” said Iredale. “We really pushed the standard.”
According to Debra C. Arthur, Prasnicki’s mother, who was the guest speaker at the CFT concluding ceremony, her son would have been proud of the Class of 2019’s efforts. “Right before he deployed to Afghanistan, Chase told his company commander that he wanted to be held to a higher standard than his peers.” By responding to orders with “Higher Purpose, Higher Standard,” the now cadet corporals of the Class of 2019 demonstrated that they are willing to accept their new responsibility as team leaders in the Corps of Cadets.
“Returning to West Point as upperclassmen is a feeling that the members of the Class of 2019 will never forget,” said McGovern.