Leadership makes a difference -- and it is no less important at the strategic level ... the skills you have worked hard to perfect here ultimately must be put to work for the good of the nation and for our great servicemen and women and their families, said Commandant Maj. Gen. Robert Williams as he saluted the students dedication and selfless service, during Army War College graduation.
More than 330 Army War College students celebrated the end of their 10-month resident course and the beginning of a more challenging set of senior leader responsibilities as they walked across the historic Carlisle Barracks parade grounds during a graduation ceremony held June 6.
"Graduation from the war college marks the beginning of my journey as a senior leader. I hope that I will be able to carry the leadership torch in a way that honors the men and women who have gone before me," said graduate Col. Donald Bolduc.
"This year has provided me with the opportunity to apply my past experiences in an educational environment, to think strategically, to learn more about myself, and to learn from the views and opinions of others." Bolduc's next assignment takes him overseas to be the commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines.
Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, USAWC Commandant, encouraged students to take the lessons learned and carry them to those they lead.
"Never forget your responsibilities to Soldiers and their need for leadership," said Williams.
"Your skills must be put to work for the nation and the great servicemen and women and their families. Your leadership makes a difference," he said.
Several students noted that they will pass on what they learned in the seminar to those they will lead elsewhere.
"The war college has opened my mind in many ways," said graduate Lt. Col. Irene Glaeser, who will return to the Pentagon to serve as a DA Inspector General. "I have learned to respect those whose opinions do not resemble mine and to listen to what they have to say."
"This year has taught me that personalities matter. Good leadership is essential and how you as a leader shape your team is important," said graduate Col. Michael Peterman. "It has made me more sensitive to others and to the diversity of the teams we work on today, whether they are from a different military branch, government organization, or allied country." Peterman will move on to Fort Campbell, Ky. to command the 101st Sustainment Brigade.
Students noted that this year has provided them some much needed time to rebalance their lives after a series of multiple deployments.
As the keynote speaker, the Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, told stories of Soldiers and NCOs that the graduates would soon lead.
"Knowing that all of you will leave here today to take on positions of great responsibility in the years to come, I want to leave you withâ€¦inspiring stories of the Soldiers and service members you will lead in the future," said Preston.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston USAWC Class of 2009
Preston's remarks included NCO stories from operations in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and Pennsylvania's own 56th Stryker Brigade in Iraq.
More than 330 Army War College students eagerly wait for their names to be called at the graduation ceremony held at Carlisle Barracks June 6. The ceremony marked the end of their 10-month resident course and the beginning of their careers as senior leaders. Photo by Spc. Jennifer Rick.
The Sergeant Major visited the Pennsylvania National Guard unit while they were training at Fort Polk, La., before heading to Iraq. He told of a sergeant first class who had just returned from seven months in Iraq training with Iraqi security forces.
"When I asked him what he thought of his experience he replied, 'I loved it and I would go back tomorrow if I could,'" said Preston.
Preston also reflected on a recent trip to Dira Dawa, Ethiopia where he met a staff sergeant assigned to the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion. The young sergeant was in charge of a 17-member team that led operations to supply water to a city of over 300,000 and build a school for children to attend the first through eighth grades.
"Never forget your responsibilities to Soldiers and their need for leadership," said Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, USAWC Commandant, in his address to the graduates. The Army War College students were presented with diplomas from the commandant and dean, as well as the keynote speaker, the Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston. Photo by Spc. Jennifer Rick.
"Think about the responsibilities we have given a young staff sergeant with seven years in the Army, combined with the efforts of all the young enlisted leaders there on the ground," said Preston.
With the Army celebrating the "Year of the NCO," many students found it fitting to have the Sergeant Major of the Army as their final speaker.
"The Sergeant Major provided the opportunity to reflect on our extremely talented NCO Corps. I would not be here today if I did not have great NCOs supporting me as a commander, providing me with exceptional counsel, and ensuring the mission is accomplished and the men and families are cared for," said Bolduc.
"His address reemphasized the Army's and America's unwavering commitment to our noncommissioned officer corps," said graduate Col. Timothy Starke, a senior Army Signal Officer headed to Fort Bliss, Texas. "They are a precious resource that is vital to the success of our military and to our national security."
Class of 2009 Profile
The graduating Class of 2009 consists of 336 students. The student body includes 198 Army, 31 Air Force, 17 Marine Corps, 14 Navy, and one Coast Guard Officer representing the Active, Reserve, and National Guard components.
Thirty-three civilians from the Department of the Army, Defense Leadership and Management Program, Department of State, National Security Agency, and Department of Homeland Security, are also in attendance, as well as 42 International Fellows are senior foreign officers from Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
More than 74 percent of the military student body has campaign experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and 21 percent in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).
Commandant promotes Australian Fellow to Brigadier upon USAWC graduation ceremony
Brig. Don Roach, Australian International Fellow, had his rank pinned on by his wife, Sue, and his daughter Georgia following the Army War College Graduation June 6. Photo Thomas Zimmerman.
June 6, 2009 â€“Australia's Fellow Col. Don Roach was promoted to the rank of Brigadier by Army War College Commandant Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, following the Army War College Class of 2009 Graduation June 6,
"This is a glorious opportunity for all of us," Williams said. "It proves the partnership of U.S. and Australian forces. He wants to be promoted, and I want to promote him," he added with a laugh.
"Don is a natural leader and a fine soldier, and he has an amazing family," Williams said of Roach's wife, Sue, and their three children, Barclay, Georgia and Jackson.
After having his newly-achieved rank pinned on by his family, Roach made a point to thank those who helped in his success.
"First, I would like to thank the War College Commandant, Ambassador Efird, and all the other leadership that makes this place what it is," he said.
"I would also like to thank my fellow students and their families. It has been a long, fun ride and we look forward to inviting every one of you to Australia to come visit and continue the friendships we made here. Lastly, I would like to thank my kids, and my wife, Sue."
Williams also noted to Roach, "We all look forward to your leadership in the future. You have always been there, willing to take on any task."
The diverse perspectives of senior officers from other nations enriches the seminar experience. The International Fellows help prepare US students, and each other, for effective coalition operations.
US students and International fellows form relationships that will carry forward to the future. The International Fellows Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments of many of the USAWC former students who have been promoted to the highest ranks of their militaries and civilian governments.