Senator hails ‘tomorrow’s leaders’ at fort
Fort Leavenworth The Command and General Staff College kicked off the new academic year with an opening ceremony Monday at Bell Hall. In attendance were the incoming 725 students, 78 of them of them officers from 68 foreign armies.
"This is not Olympic Stadium, and we don't have the fireworks, lasers and pageantry of an Olympic opening ceremony. But what we do witness once again, right here in Abrams Loop, is the confidence and patriotism of tomorrow's international leaders," U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said at the half-hour ceremony.
The ceremony closed with the playing of the anthem "Hands Across The Sea" as a tribute to the many nations represented by officers who stood in a circle next to their national flags on the lawn in front of Bell Hall, facing their fellow American students and an audience numbering in the hundreds.
After the ceremony, the senator said CGSC was important to the United States for its role in fostering cooperation between the U.S. military and other armies.
"It's a great place and a great asset," Brownback said.
A brochure for the Combined Arms Center, of which CGSC is a part, says the school's principal mission is "leader development" and that the college "develops leaders prepared to execute full-spectrum, joint, interagency and multinational operations; advances military art and science; and supports many other operational requirements."
Maj. Philippe de Montenon of the French army said he was looking forward to classes for the opportunity to learn from "an army at war, and officers bringing back experiences from a variety of nations."
De Montenon said he appreciated the school's location as well.
"I'm happy to be here : it's a part of the U.S. you don't see in movies and the media," he said.
Maj. Jason Henneke, who came to Fort Leavenworth from the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington, D.C., first came to the base in 1997 for training and said he appreciated the different tempo of life around the fort.
"It's a great area for family. The pace of life allows you to get back to academic life and family," Henneke said. He said he was looking forward to learning more about the "art of warfare."
Maj. Matt Williams, from Fort Bragg, N.C., echoed Henneke's goal, saying he wanted to become "technically proficient in the art of warfare."
Williams' wife, he said, was raised in Smith Center and that coming back to the area was nostalgic for her.
All U.S. Army majors and promotable captains who entered the service in 1994 and later attend the college. The selection of eligible foreign officers is made according to the number of invitations allotted by each of the five different Army combatant commanders to the countries that comprise the region of their command. Each selected country then picks officers to fill the seats allotted to it.
Every officer takes the same classes for the first three months, which include courses on leadership, tactics, history, logistics and joint and multinational operations. The second phase of classes, lasting seven months, consists of curricula specific to the four different career fields for officers: operations, operational support, information operations, and institutional support.
CGSC alumni include President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gens. George S. Patton and George C. Marshall.