West Point Class of 2027 Receives Class Flag During CFT II Graduation

Categories: Grad News, 50-Year Affiliation Program, Cadet News
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50-Year Affiliate Class of 1977 Gripped Hands, Presented Flag to Class

By Erika Norton, WPAOG Senior Multimedia Journalist 

The Class of 2027 graduated from Cadet Field Training II and received their Class Flag on June 27, marking another milestone in their West Point journey. 

Members of their 50-Year Affiliate Class of 1977 attended the ceremony and presented the class with their Class Flag. Prior to the ceremony, 50-Year Affiliates gripped hands with members of the yearling class during breakfast by socializing and exchanging stories. During the ceremony, Thomas “Chris” Odderstol IX ’77 had the honor of presenting the flag to the class, accompanied by three of his classmates: Ralph T. Tierno III, Richard M. Trotter, and LTC (R) Stanley L. Warrick. 

The Class of 2027 flag will now accompany the class during all major class events until graduation day. 

This year’s Cadet Field Training Task Force honored CPT Mark Paine ’97. Paine served in South Korea, Kosovo, and two tours in Iraq. In 2005, he assumed command of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment in the 4th Infantry Division, but sadly, his career was cut short. On October 15, 2006, Paine was killed in action in Tarij, Iraq, when an IED detonated beneath his Humvee in a coordinated enemy attack. 

Several members of the West Point Class of 1997 attended the graduation ceremony in honor of their fallen classmate and to congratulate the Class of 2027 on a job well done. 

“As you prepare to assume leadership roles in the Corps, I believe that if Mark were here today, he would encourage you to build upon your experiences together at Buckner,” Greg Kies ’97 said to cadets at the ceremony. “He’d ask that you nurture your relationships with your classmates and spend some time together and that you laugh a little at your mistakes. 

“Mark would ask that you focus on your passions, study your profession, maintain a positive attitude when things don’t go as expected, and prepare as he did for the honor of leading soldiers,” Kies said. “Mark would tell you to absorb the knowledge and experiences of your mentors and to spend time with those that inspire you here because time moves quickly and there is no place like West Point. He would encourage you to adopt professional standards and to take great pride in your lifelong connection to the Long Gray Line.”

Class of 2027 CFT II Graduation Flag Ceremony - RR-78

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