COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Senior leaders from the 4th Infantry Division spent time in the early winter hours at the U.S. Air Force Academy Feb. 15, 2024, conducting a rigorous fitness event followed by leader development classes with retired Gen. Joseph Votel, former commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

The event kicked off on the snowy cadet grounds with battalion, brigade, and division commanders and staff conducting a 1mi circuit where they would face different physical challenges.

Each team of seven or eight members carried a litter and dummy, two water cans, and numerous sandbags among 10 stations. Each station varied from push-ups, burpees, lunges, and air squats.

“The last 400 meters was pretty intense. Carrying the litter, water cans and having the sandbags was very challenging in the snow and ice,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Roedl, the division signal officer.

Following the physical fitness event, division. leaders gathered in Polaris Hall Votel spoke to the 4th Infantry Division leaders about building organizational culture.

Votel’s last military post was the commander of CENTCOM, which is responsible for U.S. and coalition military operations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia.

During the briefing, Votel spoke to leaders about building a robust organizational culture, which he believes comes from setting the example and being responsible for everything your unit does or fails to do.

He also spoke extensively about an individual’s responsibility of owning the mission, owning the organization, and owning the responsibility for it are core values required for productive leaders.

Votel emphasized the importance of being a relationship builder and the value of being an effective communicator. For senior military leaders, being able to talk to different audiences at different echelons is crucial for building a sticking culture.

“Culture is a journey, it’s not a destination. It has to be nurtured and developed to grow throughout an organization,” said Votel. He believes that culture is a representation of the people and personalities in an organization, and in order for culture to “stick” requires leaders to be seen a unit’s culture and identity on a regular basis.

“This was an amazing opportunity for 4ID leaders to come together at this beautiful location and learn more about organizational culture from great leaders such as Gen. (R) Votel,” said Maj. Gen. David Doyle, the 4th Infantry Division commanding general. He also explained why events like these are fundamental for the division leadership as the organization prepares to conduct several training exercises this summer.

The “Ivy Division” continues to build a culture of lethal teams and ready people through a series of events where junior and senior leaders come together from across the division to develop leadership skills and collaborate.


The 4th Infantry Division is the Army’s marquee multi-domain operations division. As the most agile and lethal division in the U.S. Army inventory, it has served in every major U.S. conflict since World War I.