FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.–More than 1,100 officers graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer Course here June 15. The graduating class includes mid-career officers from all American military services as well as 119 international officers representing 91 countries and 24 federal government civilian employees.
Army Vice Chief of Staff, General James C. McConville, challenged the graduates to remember that winning matters. “In every endeavor we must define for our Soldiers what winning looks like. This is the American spirit. And, I would submit to you, when you go forward, if you define for your Soldiers what winning looks like, and you develop highly trained, well disciplined, and superbly physically fit organizations, you’ll be successful,” he said.
The ceremony was on Fort Leavenworth’s tree-lined Main Parade Field. With the temperature inching toward the mid-80’s McConville concluded his remarks. “So congratulations on completing this milestone. Your success in your next job is going to be critical for the nation. We are all proud of you. We trust you to lead our Soldiers in battle. And, two things to take with you — graduation and change of command speeches can never be too short, and winning matters.”
During the ceremony Major Jonathan Nielsen received the General George C. Marshall Award as the top U.S. graduate. The General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for top international graduate was presented to Major Jason Tinsley of New Zealand. And Dylan Brandt, U.S. Border Patrol, received the General Colin L. Powell Award for top interagency graduate.
The 10-month Command and General Staff Officers Course develops war-fighting and adaptive leadership skills necessary for military officers to be proficient in Unified Land Operations. The College is an educational center of excellence renowned in the study of leadership, the conduct of joint and combined land warfare, and the application of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational organizations to synchronize all elements of power to achieve national objectives.
In addition to completing the graduate-level course, more than 130 students earned the Master of Military Art and Science Degree. Students earn the master’s degree by successful completion of the Command and General Staff Officers Course, successful completion of an oral comprehensive exam, and writing and orally defending a thesis based on original research. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to award the master’s degree.
International military students received the CGSC International Officer Graduate Badge during a ceremony Thursday morning. International military student participation in cooperative military studies in the United States originated at Fort Leavenworth in 1894. Since then, international military students have become an integral part of the Command and General Staff Officer’s Course. More than 8,000 international officers have studied alongside U.S. military and government civilian counterparts at Fort Leavenworth.
McConville, a 1994 graduate of the Command and General Staff College, is a native of Quincy, Massachusetts, and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He holds a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and was a National Security Fellow at Harvard University in 2002.
Command and General Staff Officers Course 2018 Individual Awards:
General George C. Marshall Award for top U.S. graduate–Major Jonathan Nielsen.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for top International Graduate–Major Jason Tinsley, New Zealand.
General Colin L. Powell Award for top Interagency Graduate, Mr. Dylan Brandt, U.S. Border Patrol.
General George S. Patton Jr. Master Tactician Award, Major William T. Freakley.
Major General James M. Wright Master Logistician Award, Major Brandon Weiss.
General Douglas MacArthur Military Leadership Writing Award, Major Jamie Richard Schwandt.
Iron Major Award for outstanding Physical Fitness: Major Jonathan Nielson, Male; Major Haley Mercer, Female.
Arter-Darby Military History Writing Award, Major Richard W.B. Hutton.
Arter-Doniphan Award, Major Christopher M. Brandt.
General John J. Pershing Award for top graduate in Distance Learning, Major Oscar Torres.
Major General Hans Schlup Award, Major Joseph O’Donnell, Canada.
Excellence in Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (JC4I) Writing Award, Major Nicholas J. Kane.
Homeland Security Studies Award, Major Thomas T. Buller.
Excellence in Joint Service Warfare Award, Major Phillip Neri.
Father Donald W. Smythe Military History Award, Lt. Col. Enrique Rebolar, Chile.
Simons Center Interagency Writing Award, Dylan J. Brandt, U.S. Border Patrol.
Lt. Col. Boyd McCanna Harris Leadership Award, Major Ryan L. Boeka.
Brigadier General Benjamin H. Grierson Award for Excellence in Strategic Studies, Major Wenxian Hong, Singapore.
Birrer-Brooks Award for Outstanding MMAS Thesis, Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey W. Prickitt, U.S. Navy.
Instructors of the Year: Civilian — Dwayne Wagner, Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations. Military — Lt. Col. (U.S. Army, Retired) Brian L. Steed, Department of Military History.