10th Mountain Soldiers recognized for training thousands of West Point cadets
August 20, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 20, 2012) -- The training of thousands of West Point cadets is no small task, and the contribution from more than 600 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard servicemembers throughout Cadet Summer Training this summer ensured the very best for the Corps of Cadets.
Troops attached to the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Polk, La., formed Task Force Slugger in May and supported each component of CST from Cadet Leader Development Training to Cadet Basic Training.
The task force's main mission was to provide small unit training at the team and squad level as small unit leaders shared their leadership experiences from recent deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Also supporting the main element of the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment was the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery. Cadets were instructed in the planning and employment of indirect fires and proper counter-improvised explosive device tactics, techniques and procedures.
Task Force Slugger also provided the military equipment display as thousands of guests arrived at West Point to see the new cadets through their first day at the academy--Reception Day. The task force maintained logistical support while Soldiers from the 3-304th Infantry, a Reserve unit from Maine, assisted with Cadet Basic Training responsibilities. The task force also supported initial training for the cadet candidates at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School.
U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. spoke with the remaining group of Soldiers from Fort Polk Aug. 15 and thanked them for the service of training future officers to Army standards.
"I want to thank you for what you have done for the better part of 90-plus days in getting our cadets ready for their future leadership responsibilities," Huntoon said. "What you did was set the benchmark for them because it is a tough world out there. Your expertise, professionalism and competence--your battle-tested competence and adherence to Army standards--we need them to understand these things and they're off to a great start because of you."
Huntoon palmed a commander's coin to six Soldiers in recognition of their contributions to summer training. One of those Soldiers, Spc. Andrew Van, from Odessa, Texas, said training cadets was a new experience and not at all what he expected.
"With these new cadets just coming out of high school and into the Army, I expected to see a lack of discipline from them," Van said. "But every cadet I met was pretty open-minded and respectful. They actually listened and were here to learn."
Van had covered two cycles of Air Assault training and was equally impressed with some of the upperclass cadet he met.
"I would say most of them are ready to take platoons," Van said. "From my experience, they'll be ready."
One cadet, in particular, stood out to him.
"Cadet Sergeant Major (Gavin) Mcgarry is planning to be an infantry officer, and right now he has the command in his voice, knows what he wants and gets it done," Van said. "That's what you need in an officer right there."
Spc. Craig Henderson, from Minneapolis, Minn., appreciated the chance to help in the development of the future Army Officer Corps, of which nearly a quarter of the service's commissioned officers comes from West Point.
"It was nice being part of the bigger picture of training tomorrow's leaders," Henderson said.
Commandant Brig. Gen. Theodore Martin said Col. Glenn Goldman, Department of Military Instruction director, and his team deliberated on what would be an appropriate token of appreciation they could impart to Task Force Slugger.
"The whole DMI team thought the task force did an awesome job and wondered what would be a fitting a memento they could take back to the squadron headquarters? We sat down, thought about it and we think the most appropriate thing we could give to Task Force 3-89 is a weapon," Martin said.
Martin presented the unit's commander and command sergeant major, Lt. Col. James Deore and Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, with a cadet saber on behalf of the Corps of Cadets. Martin said the cadet saber originated in 1802 with the formation of the Corps of Cadets and has undergone three changes; the last in 1926 when the coat of arms was added.
Martin said when the task force departs from the temporary quarters outside of West Point they will have left a lasting impact on more than 3,000 cadets who benefited from the training they provided.
"We covered the entire spectrum of summer training and we were glad to do it," said Maj. Miguel Juarez, 3-89 squadron executive officer, said. "It was good training for cadets and good training for the Soldiers too."