FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Dec. 17, 2009) - Students in the Command and General Staff College's Intermediate Level Education class 2009-02 concluded 10 months of professional military education with a graduation ceremony Dec. 11 in the Lewis and Clark Center's Eisenhower Auditorium.

A total of 371 students graduated from ILE, including 46 international military students from 45 different countries, and one U.S. government interagency student from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The guest speaker at the graduation was Judge James Baker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Baker, a former Marine Corps major, spoke about the meaning and importance of moral courage, and said CGSC represents a demarcation line between company-grade officers who lead by physical courage and field-grade officers who lead by moral courage.

"Moral courage is indeed the essential element to upholding the Constitution," Baker said. "One should not overlook the moral courage of those who have gone before."

He cited several current and former officers who exemplified moral courage, including Frank Johnson, an infantry lieutenant twice wounded in World War II and awarded a Bronze Star Medal. After the war, Johnson, a lawyer and graduate of the University of Alabama law school, was appointed as a federal judge in Montgomery, Ala., where he issued several decisions during the Civil Rights era promoting desegregation and racial equality according to the law.

Several graduates were recognized for their accomplishments at ILE, including Lt. Col. Richard Malish, a Medical Corps officer. Malish was the class president, distinguished graduate and winner of the Brigadier General Benjamin H. Grierson Award for Excellence in Strategic Studies, the Excellence in Joint Service Warfare Studies Award, and the Excellence in Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Writing Award. He also won the Birrer-Brookes Award for Outstanding Master of Military Arts and Science Thesis for his thesis "The United States Army Battalion Surgeon: Frontline Requirement or Relic of a Bygone Era'"

Malish helped present the class gift, a print by artist James Dietz titled "Dawn Departure."

Maj. Kimberly Hartwell, a Signal Corps officer, said she learned most at ILE from the interaction with officers from other branches.

"When we are out in the field we are in our own branches and we see our piece of the pie, but when you get here it's all combined and you see how it all works together," she said.

Hartwell's next assignment will be as battalion operations officer for a signal battalion in Korea.
British Army Maj. Ian Posgate said he learned about American culture, attitudes and perspectives.
"A lot of what we do is working with the Americans," he said. "It helps to understand how Americans think."

Posgate has served with American Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said he hopes to serve again with Americans in Afghanistan after completing the School of Advanced Military Studies next year.

MMAS degrees were conferred to 45 students who completed additional work required for the degree, including writing and defending a thesis.

Air Force Maj. Trish Luiken wrote her MMAS thesis about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Law or DoD Policy' Deciphering the Differences." She said she was very interested and passionate about the topic, and said the MMAS program at CGSC is well organized and allows exploration of social topics that affect the military.

"I wanted to challenge myself to maybe do a little extra work," Luiken said about earning a MMAS, her second post-graduate degree. She was previously stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Okla., and has a master's degree in international relations from the University of Oklahoma.

Baker received an honorary MMAS from CGSC, presented by Brig. Gen. Edward Cardon, acting commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, and acting CGSC commandant, and Dr. Wendell King, CGSC dean of academics.

The next ILE class begins in February.