The Army War College safely brought students to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where 382 graduates spent their last two weeks together before graduating on July 23, after successfully completing the two-year distance learning program.
The Army War College’s distance education programs deliver the curriculum through online classes and discussion forums. During the program, these learners had to complete their course requirements, which included, but were not limited to, group projects, individual papers, and team events. These students did this all while taking care of their work and personal lives.
The program normally includes a two-day orientation before the online learning begins, and a two-week resident phase at Carlisle Barracks following each year of study. These resident periods give students the opportunity to meet firsthand with faculty instructors and fellow classmates.
For Academic Year 2021 the students had to contend with the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus tested the Army leaders enrolled in the course, especially in the context of training personnel in a COVID environment. Students and faculty became more reliant on technology, which posed some technical issues for those who were not computer savvy.
However, the students developed excellent time-management skills after working long hours due to COVID-19. Another challenge for the students was to stay motivated under the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Many of these learners played a key role in their military or civilian jobs, assisting with the pandemic while simultaneously keeping up with their course requirements.
Time zone differences and computer glitches added to the challenges, but the Army War College took all of that into account and had staff readily available to assist every step of the way. In spite of the difficulties the students faced, they all made it.
During the program many medical personnel were deployed to civilian hospitals to assist communities during the pandemic. Army Medical personnel accounted for 20% of the graduates, which is significant.
A formal graduation ceremony marked the conclusion of the second two-week period.
The graduating class included 306 U.S. Army officers, 24 Air Force personnel, four Navy students, nine Marines, 32 senior federal civilians, and seven international officers. Among these graduates were over 50 Army Medical Personnel from all compos, and one civilian, Carey Klug.
Army War College graduates are among historic company including Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Patton Jr., Omar Bradley, Norman Schwarzkopf, and the current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Notable Army Medicine graduates include Retired Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, who was the Chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and the first African-American nurse corps officer to graduate from the U.S. Army War College, and Retired Lt. Gen. James Peake, the 40th U.S. Army Surgeon General and the sixth Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The mission of the U.S. Army War College is to enhance national and global security by developing ideas and educating U.S. and international leaders to serve and lead at the strategic-enterprise level. The qualifications gained during the distance program included a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies, a USAWC diploma, and for some, Joint Professional Military Education-Level 2 certification.