Intermediate Level Education class graduates
June 18, 2012
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 14, 2012) -- More than a thousand students and their families filled Fort Leavenworth's Main Parade June 8, graduation day for the Intermediate Level Education program at the Command and General Staff College.
About 100 students from this year's graduating class also received master of military art and science degrees while attending ILE. There included 69 international students and nearly 20 U.S. government interagency students.
Lt. Gen. David G. Perkins, commandant of CGSC and commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, said students of ILE class 2012-01 had many examples of excellence at Fort Leavenworth.
"Throughout this entire year, we have tried to surround you all by excellence, whether it's the facilities at Lewis and Clark, whether it's the staff and faculty, whether it was the (program of instruction), the student body itself, the great community of Fort Leavenworth … this is what right looks like," he said. "This is what excellence is. This is what we expect you to meet when you leave here."
Another example of excellence, Perkins said, was the event's guest speaker, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Lloyd Austin III.
"This is what right looks like," he told students. "This is our expectation of you."
Austin, 36-year veteran and himself a graduate of CGSC, told military family members they were also to thank for the successes of their Soldiers.
"Your support over the past year has enabled these graduates to devote the necessary time and attention to their studies, and your love and support over the past decade has enabled them to focus on their mission and love their people," Austin told families.
He also said that many students entered the military just before the terrorist attacks of 2001, and so their careers were forged by a decade of war.
"You have contributed immeasurably to ensuring our success on today's battlefield," he said. "You've been up front leading our men and women in combat, and you've spent months and even years amid the local populaces in theater, building relationships, training military and police forces, teaching and mentoring the people working in both those countries. I cannot exaggerate the impact of your efforts."
In their future careers, Austin said, CGSC graduates will have many challenges, but with the benefit of experience and perspective from serving during wartime. Austin told the students that leadership is the key to their success.
"This is the point in your career when you should assess what 'success' means to you," he said. "Too often it's defined by position, when in fact success is not and should not be determined by position, but by meaningful contributions made while in a particular position -- whatever it may be."
Many awards are presented at CGSC graduation. The top three are the General George C. Marshall Award to the top U.S. graduate, the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award to the top international graduate and the Colin L. Powell Interagency Award to the top interagency graduate. The winners were Maj. Brendan R. Gallagher, Danish Maj. Kenneth Starskov and Matthew K. Wilder of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Maj. Christopher Ellison won the Birrer-Brookes Award for his outstanding MMAS thesis, Lt. Col. Michael Tarpey won the Simon Center Interagency Writing Award and Maj. Thérese L. Obidinski won the Excellence in Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Writing Award.
Gallagher, the Marshall Award winner, said his next assignment is serving as a battalion S-3 in the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. He said his CGSC experience allowed him to learn more about how joint services, interagency and foreign militaries work.
"You get exposed to a lot of areas that I had not been exposed to before," he said.
Starskov, the Eisenhower Award winner, has served 16 years in Denmark's military, beginning as an enlisted Soldier.
"It's a great honor to receive this award and be chosen among these excellent 69 foreign officers," he said.
Starskov will be the first military officer from Denmark to attend the School of Advanced Military Studies. He will begin studies at SAMS next month.