Podcast: Don’t Quit, Never Quit with LTC McKinley Wood ’01

Category: Grad News
Class Years:

This episode features an interview with Lieutenant Colonel McKinley Wood, West Point class of 2001, and recipient of the 2023 Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms.

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LTC McKinley Wood ’01 most recently served as the Battalion Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 304th Regiment, with the responsibility of providing weapons, tactical employment of crew-served weapons, and physical confidence training to the United States Military Academy. LTC Wood earned a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from West Point in 2001 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Armor. He has served as a Tank Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Battalion Maintenance Officer during three Middle East deployments, two National Training Center rotations, a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation, and more. He has civilian work experience as a Design Engineer at Caterpillar, Assistant Chief and Chief Engineer at Bank of America, and as Assistant University Engineer and Associate Director of Engineering Services at University of Richmond.

“So just not being afraid of going into something. If you feel like you can do it, be honest with yourself, ‘is this something I could do? Is this something that interests me?’ I pulled that from West Point. West Point taught me not to be afraid of doing something new, like jumping out of airplanes. Well, I don’t want to jump out of airplanes anymore, but if I had to, I’d do it.”

— LTC McKinley Wood ’01

In this episode, LTC McKinley Wood ’01 talks about how to lead in asymmetric warfare through moral, ethical, and fair leadership, and how West Point taught him the most important lesson of all, the value of teamwork.

**This episode does not imply Federal endorsement.

Episode Timestamps

(00:33) Attending West Point
(05:04) Becoming an Armor Officer
(11:57) Favorite memories as a cadet
(15:33) How to lead in asymmetric warfare
(22:21) Stories from the battlefield
(24:53) Leveraging connections throughout his career
(30:35) Experience as battalion commander
(34:39) Advice for cadets


LTC McKinley Wood’s LinkedIn
COL James Enos’ LinkedIn

“The Academy really brought to realization the value of teamwork to me, whether it’s someone trying to help me through the studying for an exam, or me running next to someone on a PT test or practice saying, ‘Hey, here’s how you breathe’, whatever it is, the value of teamwork and how much more you can accomplish. There’s a saying that says, ‘if you want to go far, run as a group. If you want to go fast, go by yourself.’ And I prefer to go far, you know? Go fast, get tired and be done with it and get passed. So the academy really pushed on us, if you failed, it’s not because you failed, it’s because you all failed each other.”

— LTC McKinley Wood ’01

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The WPAOG Podcast is a strategic initiative focused on tailored audible communications to further inform Graduates on current AOG projects, events, and USMA updates. This customized content is mainly for USMA Alumni and the West Point Community solely produced by the West Point Association of Graduates. The Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Audible, Google Podcasts, and iHeartRadio.

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