West Point Cadets Learn from Battle-tested Leaders During Mission Command Conference

Categories: Cadet News, Grad News
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As the Class of 2024 cadets inch closer toward graduation, every moment that allows them to engage and interact with past and current leaders is one more brick added to their leadership foundation. Hence, the First Class cadets participated in the Mission Command Conference (MCC) from March 19-20, 2024 at Eisenhower Hall, along with staff and faculty while gathering insight from consummate leaders who battled adversity during a crisis.

During MCC, officers and noncommissioned officers who had their boots on the ground in dire situations presented cadets with real-world challenges to help reinforce the importance of character and leading through mission command.

GEN (R) David Perkins ’80, the ’66 Chair for the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic (SCPME), was the keynote speaker Tuesday evening, discussing the impacts of trust through the lens of mission command.

MX400 Mission Command Conference

The MCC is a capstone event for first-class cadets taking MX400, Officership, which is the Superintendent’s capstone course that challenges the cadets to become commissioned leaders of character who demonstrate virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination to civilian authority. It allows cadets to reflect on their own character development experiences while studying the enduring and emerging ethical challenges of the profession they are about to enter. The second-class cadets also attended the keynote address with the intention of previewing topics that will be addressed in MX400 next year to their class.

This year’s conference theme was, “Establishing Trust: A Legacy at Home and Abroad,” and it allowed cadets to listen and discuss with the panel members about trust relationships and their impact on effective use of mission command and creating cohesive teams within the profession of arms through arduous trials and tribulations.

The final day of MCC offered four panels, and included COL (R) Lee Van Arsdale ’74, a 2022 Distinguished Graduate Award recipient, as one of the panelists:

  • “Operation European Assure, Deter and Reinforce,” talked about the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia and the myriad of affairs the military engaged in within the surrounding countries, and included Class of 2022 graduates 1LT Aiden Roberts, 1LT Cody Lockard, and 1LT Roy Hopgood.
  • The “Battle of Mogadishu,” which was part of Operation Gothic Serpent on Oct. 3-4, 1993, in Somalia, and was depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” The panelists addressed to the cadets about their two-day frantic odyssey to survive and complete the mission.
  • “Defense Support to Civil Authority (DSCA) – Hurricane Maria,” which was a Category 5 hurricane that did significant infrastructure damage in Puerto Rico in 2017. The military had to intervene and help coordinate operations with FEMA and other government agencies to aid the people who were suffering without food, drinking water and telecommunications.
  • The final panel was “OIF I – Operation Thunder Run,” which was the U.S. military’s lightning-fast assault on Baghdad in April 2003.

LTG (R) Eric Wesley ’86 served as the closing speaker.

Rewarding, enriching out-of-classroom opportunities like this are made possible by donors supporting the Margin of Excellence.

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Excerpt and images taken from https://westpoint.edu.

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