Last armor BOLC graduates from Knox before move
June 23, 2011
The final basic officer leadership course -- class 11-004 -- for armor officers to be trained at Fort Knox graduated June 16 in a ceremony at Haszard Auditorium. Future courses will be conducted at Fort Benning, Ga., as part of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
Lt. Col. Sean Barnes, the commander of the instructing unit -- 2nd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment -- noted that the class was closing a chapter.
“Now you are a part of the rich military history that is so strong,” he said.
While the armor and infantry branches are training together in the MCOE, Lt. Col. Barnes contended that armor is the better branch.
“Armor remains the most agile and adaptive force on any battlefield,” he said in his congratulations to the 81 graduates.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, the commander of Fort Knox and the Accessions Command, addressed the graduates as well. He agreed that the armor/cav branch is impressive.
“I have seen their amazing contributions on the battlefield; you have chosen well,“ the general said.
“You have a sacred trust to the Soldiers you lead. You will be responsible for the lives of your Soldiers and the well-being of their families. You have begun a journey of service; make it one of constant improvement because our Soldiers deserve the best possible leadership.”
He added that the Army’s equipment, training, and noncommissioned officers were the best in the world, so the officers could be confident that those elements would lead them to victory. He urged the lieutenants to be leaders of character.
“If you don’t know anything else, haven’t learned anything else, be a leader of character. If you can’t shoot, you can’t load a tank, you can’t march " be a leader of character. Your NCOs will teach you the rest.”
Lt. Gen. Freakley went on to identify the four traits the officers should exhibit to become leaders with confidence in themselves and to cultivate the confidence of their men:
• Have great optimism
• Have unparalleled energy
• Have loyalty for your men
• Display an offensive spirit that never gives up and never retreats
He encouraged the lieutenants to lead by example, never asking their followers to do something they wouldn’t do.
“If your men are at the wash rack, you should be at the wash rack. If your men are cleaning weapons, you should be cleaning weapons,” he said.
After the remarks, awards were presented to the class. The distinguished honor graduate was 2nd Lt. Christopher Powell, and the honor graduate was 2nd Lt. Bryan Weaver. The Draper leadership award went to 2nd Lt. Zachery Foster, who also won the Iron Man physical fitness award.