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The Command and General Staff Officers Course (CGSOC) Class of 2024 began Aug. 7 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with the International Flag Ceremony followed by the commandant’s address to students.

The Flag Ceremony was conducted in the Eisenhower Auditorium hosted by Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Deputy Commandant Brig. Gen. David Foley. Following Foley’s remarks, the United States and the partner nations Flags of 93 nations represented by 120 International Military Students (IMS) attending this year’s class were posted.

“The International Flag Ceremony, or ‘Roll Call of nations’, reflects both a spirt of international cooperation and the vast breadth of knowledge and experience brought to the college by the class,” said Foley. “It is a proud tradition at Fort Leavenworth that we open each academic class of the Command and General Staff College with the posting of the national colors of the countries participating in the Command and General Staff Officer Course. We look forward to the upcoming academic discussions and studies, which lead to advancement of military readiness and strengthening of our international partnerships.”

IMS participating in the U.S. Army CGSOC do so as a small group of approximately 16 students called a Staff Group. For decades, the college has assigned one of the U.S. students in the Staff Group to serve as a “student ambassador” to their IMS counterparts. The student ambassador role, initially, is to offer immediate classroom assistance to the IMS. CGSC learned many years ago that the relationship between the IMS and Student Ambassador quickly moves to one of friendship and close professional and personal association. Given this, it made sense to try and create IMS and student ambassador matches that would offer the greatest possible potential for continued future association and mutual benefit to the two students and their parent organizations and nations.

The State Partnership Program (SPP) is a U.S. Department of Defense program managed by the National Guard Bureau that links U.S. states with partner countries around the world for the purpose of supporting the security cooperation objectives of the State Department and geographic combatant commanders. Since 1993, the Army National Guard (ARNG) students attending CGSOC have become an important pool from which to pull Student Ambassadors – and today, the college purposely matches ARNG students with IMS in those instances where we identify a SPP “match.”

To further capitalize on the relationships CGSC creates and enhances with the IMS program, the International Military Student Division, and the Office of the Special Assistant to the Director, ARNG for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center initiated a proposal to invite the adjutant generals (TAGs) and senior ARNG personnel associated with SPP. Every state has at least one SPP partner. The 37 TAGs with a foreign student attending CGSOC from one of their partner nations were invited to attend the international flag ceremony to meet with students.

The following National Guard leadership attended this year’s ceremony:

·        Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, Utah ARNG, with Morocco IMS Majors Mourad El Hanser and Abdelhadi Lachgar, and Nepal IMS Maj. Ujjwal Gotame.

·        Brig. Gen. Craig Strong, Nebraska ARNG, with Czech Republic IMS Capt. Jakub Mach.

·        Brig. Gen. Bryan Grenon, Washington ARNG, with Malaysia IMS Maj. Ahmad Shafiq Ikmar bin Mohd Zulkipli, and Thailand IMS Lt. Col. Pornwachara Boon-lam.

·        Brig. Gen. Michael Venerdi, Kansas ARNG, with Armenia IMS Capt. Andranik Terteryan.

·        Brig. Gen. David Pritchett, Wyoming ARNG, with Tunisia IMS Maj. Amine Ben Abdallah.

·        Brig. Gen. Monie Ulis, Texas ARNG, with Chile IMS Maj. Boris Nicolas Muñoz Esparza, Czech Republic IMS Capt. Jakub Mach, and Egypt IMS Lt. Col. Mostafa Eldesokey Mahmoud Rageh.

·        Brig. Gen. Thomas Vickers, Alabama ARNG, with Romania IMS Majors Grigore-Dan Motofelea and Daniel-Catalin Trefas.

·        Brig. Gen. Dale Murray, Maryland ARNG, with Bosnia-Herzegovina IMS Maj. Sinisa Peric, and Estonia IMS Maj. Dmitri Kondratenko.

·        Col. Scott Jackels, Georgia ARNG, with Argentina IMS Maj. Facundo Martin Castagno, and Georgia IMS Majors Vakhtangi Gviniashvili and Davit Medzmarishvili.

·        Col. Pamela Ellison, Hawaii ARNG, with Indonesia IMS Majors Yusfi Fitrawan, Petrus Paramayudo Prabowo, Sultan Syahrir, Philippines IMS Maj. Francis De Guzman Rosales, Taiwan IMS Maj. Jian-Liang Jiang, and Republic of Korea IMS Majors Min Hyeong Jeong, Hyun Sik Kim, Tae Hyun Kim.

·        Col. Matthew LeaTrea, Michigan ARNG, with Latvia IMS Majors Iveta Berzina, and Andris Rozitis, and Liberia IMS Maj. John Toma Marshall III.

·        Lt. Col. Kevin Murphy, New Jersey ARNG, with Albania IMS Maj. Mirelie Kamberaj, and Cyprus IMS Maj. Dimitris Papadimitris.

·        Lt. Col. James Smith, California ARNG, with Nigeria IMS Maj. Slaman Mohammed Lawal, and Ukraine IMS Maj. Taras Karhalskov.

·        Command Sgt. Maj. William Woods, with Jordan IMS Lt. Col. Shadi Bawa’neh, and Lt. Col. Taymour Zoughana, and Slovenia Capt. Klemen Bancic.

In addition to the 120 international students representing 93 countries, the CGSOC Class of 2024 includes 946 students including mid-career officers from all branches of the U.S. armed forces and three federal government civilian employees.

The U.S. Army officers make up the preponderance of the class with 749 Active component students, 37 from the ARNG, and 31 from the Army Reserve. There are 74 U.S. Air Force students, 27 U.S. Marine Corps, and 23 U.S. Navy.

In this year’s class, 313 of the U.S. students already hold a master’s degree, with another 104 students enrolled in a master’s program. Another seven have a doctoral degree and with another three enrolled in a doctoral program. Additionally, 36 students hold a professional degree (legal or medical).

Other statistics:

• 893 males | 174 female students

• Average age – approximately 34 years old

• Military student rank – 56 Captains / Lieutenants | 890 Majors / Lieutenant Commanders

International military education at Fort Leavenworth began in 1894. Since then, more than 8,710 IMS from 167 countries have attended classes alongside their United States counterparts. CGSC’s international graduates have been extremely successful in their military careers. Nearly half achieve general officer rank. The college’s International Hall of Fame includes 296 International graduates from 80 countries who, through military merit, have achieved the position of chief of their nation’s Army or higher. Twenty-seven of these graduates became heads of state – three of which are sitting; 300 have become Chiefs of Staff; and another 300 have held positions in ministry and ambassadorships.