On important battlefield, West Point professor retires
April 8, 2013
GETTYSBURG, Pa., (April 6, 2013) -- A West Point academy professor concluded 28 years of service while leading his final class of cadets through a three-day battlefield study at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Lt. Col, Brian M. De Toy, Ph.D., the director of the Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program at the United States Military Academy, retired Saturday during a ceremony on East Cemetery Hill on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
Cols. Jim Brundage and Tim Vuono, who graduated from Notre Dame and ROTC with De Toy in 1985, hosted the event.
De Toy led over 80 staff rides, another name for battlefield studies, on three continents, covering the battles of five wars, during his military career. He led over 40 staff rides at Gettysburg alone.
"I have done more of my teaching and leading on this battlefield than any other place in my life and so it is fitting to close out my career here; it has meant so very much to me," De Toy said.
This is the De Toy's sixth annual trip with students enrolled in his capstone course, colloquium in military affairs. At the end of the spring semester each year De Toy spends three days with his cadets, tying together all the lessons from their DSS courses. He points to the value of this intense study, conducted while walking the terrain of an important battlefield, for cadets who will soon be leading their own soldiers.
"The principles behind the decisions the leaders made on this battlefield in 1863 are no different than the principles driving the decisions these soon-to-be-lieutenants will make on some future battlefield." De Toy said.
During the ceremony, Brundage commented on the impression De Toy made upon those with whom he served.
"I don't know anyone he's ever served with who hasn't said they've benefited greatly from that experience," said Brundage.
De Toy spent 11 years teaching at West Point; first in the history department, then in the department of military instruction. Fellow classmate Col. Tim Vuono made reference to De Toy's innovative style of teaching.
"He is a complete package with a unique blend of warrior, leader, scholar, and athlete." said Vuono.
Over his career, De Toy served in both light and mechanized infantry units in the United States and Germany. He was the chief of research and publications for the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and professor of military science at the University of Kansas. He deployed to Operation Golden Pheasant in Honduras, the Sinai Multi-National Force and Observers, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Florida State University and has been published numerous times.