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Public Invited to Attend West Point Graduation
The public is invited to attend the West Point Class of 2015 graduation at 10 a.m. on Saturday May 26, 2018.
 
More than 950 cadets will receive their bachelor of science degrees and be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a member of West Point’s class of 1974, is the commencement speaker. He’s also a 1970 graduate of John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen.
 
Tickets for general admission can be picked up at the Army Ticket Office at Gate 3 at Michie Stadium from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day through Friday. Tickets are free of charge.
 
Those attending should enter through either the Thayer or Stony Lonesome gates. Photo identification is required for everyone age 16 or older attending, and all vehicles are subject to search. Parking will be available in many locations and free shuttle bus service will be provided to Michie Stadium. Guests should plan to arrive early.
 
Those who can’t attend in person can watch the graduation exercises streamed live beginning at 9:30 a.m. at http://dvidshub.net/r/wervqu .
 
Game-changing Weaponry Development
Within a decade, if not sooner, leap-ahead technologies like lasers, hypersonic weapons, mobile and secure networks and unmanned/autonomous air and ground vehicles will likely reside in combat formations, said the Army's secretary.

Peer threats from China and Russia -- nations also developing these technologies -- make fielding these systems absolutely necessary, said Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, who spoke Wednesday at the Center for a New American Security here.

The secretary provided a glimpse into some of these new capabilities that the Army is developing, in partnership with industry, as part of its six modernization priorities.

LONG-RANGE PRECISION FIRES

"The Army is looking at hypersonics as game changer in its No. 1 modernization priority: long-range precision fires," Esper said.

Hypersonic weapons can fire rounds or a projectile hundreds of miles, he said. "That gives us an incredible ability to reach out and hurt an adversary or at least to hold him at bay," he said. Further, it would buy time for maneuver forces to secure objectives on the battlefield.

Projectiles of hypersonic weapons travel at speeds of Mach 5 or more using a supersonic combustion ramjets. Mach 5 is a speed well above high-performance jets that cruise at Mach 3 or 4 at their fastest. Experts say that cruise missiles or even unmanned aerial systems could eventually be modified to make them hypersonic.

 
Basic Training Promises More Ammo and Range Time
U.S. Army training officials have finalized a plan to ensure new recruits in Basic Combat Training receive more trigger time on their individual weapons.

In the past, new soldiers would learn to shoot their 5.56mm M4 carbines and qualify with the Army's red-dot close combat optic. Under the new marksmanship training effort, soldiers will qualify on both the backup iron sight and the CCO, as well as firing more rounds in realistic combat scenarios.
 
 "We just want to make sure at the end of the day, they can still pull that weapon out and engage the enemy effectively," Col. Fernando Guadalupe Jr., commander of Leader Training Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, told Military.com.

Guadalupe's brigade, which falls under the Center for Initial Military Training, is responsible for the new training program of instruction for Basic Combat Training that the Army announced earlier this year.
 
Grip hands with us, strengthen our hearts

WP-ORG is in the home stretch of our Fund Drive:
http://www.west-point.org/donate/

You've heard about the services we provide. I have highlighted them in past messages. What you may not know about is my day-to-day contacts with the Service Academy community, and the connections that keep me excited to work for you.  Each of us at WP-ORG has our experience. I will give you a glimpse into my world.

WP-ORG hosts eulogy pages for every graduate who has died from the class of 1930 to present day. A copy of each eulogy posted is sent to me for review. There is a "forbidden word" firewall that prevents anyone from publishing untoward messages. Sometimes the filter is tripped innocently, requiring that I manually publish the eulogy. I review all eulogies to assure that something does not get through that should not. Mostly, I read the loving words of the daughters, sons, wives, and friends who place their hearts on a public site with the need to touch the person they have lost. Messages are posted following the death of a graduate, and on the birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and death dates many years after the death of the graduate. They are moving beyond words, and we are privileged to read each one of them. Reading them takes time, but it is time that makes my life better. Some of the most current read in part:

"Our Army careers diverged, but we reconnected at several class reunions--we last stood together at the end of the reviewing line of the Alumni Review in May 2015. Godspeed my friend--may God bless you."

"I miss you so much! Not a day goes by I don't think of you. Sending hugs and kiss to heaven."

"I was to be under his direction as Assignments Officer for Company Grade Officers, specifically captains and promotable first Lieutenants. We were in the same office, thus we could monitor each other's conversations on the phone. One afternoon I heard him tell someone on the phone that his father had been lost on a Hellship as a POW of the Japanese in the Philippines. When he hung up, I told him my father had also been lost on a Hellship, carrying American POWS from the Philippines to Japan to work as slave labor. It turned out they were on the same Ship! SMALL WORLD!! This bond lived on the rest of our lives..."

"My kids know you as if you were still here. Miss you as if you were gone just yesterday."

"It's hard to believe that it has been 18 years since your passing. I am always being told by our family how much we look alike. I feel as though we never truly met. In 1989, the same year I was born, you were diagnosed with both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. As my cognitive ability grew yours dwindled. I will never forget the power of the storm that came at your wake to call you up."

"I'll always remember him. I think about him to this day. I miss him to this day. He made a permanent impression upon me and I can still feel his warmth and humor. I can still hear his voice and see his unique gait and his long ape-like arms swinging as he walked. He was a true friend to me and I only wish I could've been there to see him put to rest. I intend to visit him soon, and say goodbye in person. Be Though At Peace, brother."

If you know a graduate who has passed away, please consider posting a eulogy.  I receive emails each week asking me to connect a grateful family to the writer of a eulogy. It's easy to access the eulogy pages from our main page, but here is a direct link: http://www.west-point.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=40 Just use the dropdown box to select the class year.

Today a USMA wife called me regarding a note I put out, reminding our users that WP-ORG will add photos, obituaries, memorial articles, or anything the class or family members would like placed on the home page of a graduate, which links to personal eulogies.  She explained she is in her mid 80's, and that her husband is in a care facility.  At this point she broke down. I could hear the 60 or so years of love in the woman's tears.  I could feel the helplessness she is experiencing. I stopped her from trying to explain her call. I explained that she has my email address and phone numbers, and when the terrible day comes that she and/or her children send me what they wish to send me, I will be here to make sure that it is placed on his page quickly, and with the love and care he deserves. It is my honor to do so.

This example is close to my heart, and is a good example of years of honoring her memory. Laura's home page:
http://www.west-point.org/users/usma2003/60262/
and her eulogy page:
http://defender.west-point.org/service/eulogies.mhtml?&u=60262

The WP-ORG eulogy pages are the longest standing memorial pages for Academy graduates. They hold over 20 years of precious memories. We're proud of them. If you are a family member or a classmate and have something that should be included on the main page of a deceased graduate, write to me or call me. It would be my honor to assist you.

Respectfully,
Dian Welle
WP-ORG, Inc.
www.west-point.org
208-263-8063 (office)
661-917-2441 (cell)

Donation page linking to all payment methods (credit card, check or PayPal):
http://www.west-point.org/donate

By credit card:
https://secure.west-point.org/donate/

By check, please indicate class year and affiliation:
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FD43 Donation Report, sorted by WP-ORG member group, etc.
https://secure.west-point.org/donate/report/

WP-ORG Budget: April 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019
http://www.west-point.org/budget

 
Apache Helicopters Critical Flaw​​

The U.S. Army Is Inspecting Its Entire Fleet of Apache Helicopters for a Critical Flaw​​

The faulty part could cause the helicopter rotors to separate in flight.

 
The U.S. Army is inspecting its entire fleet of attack helicopters in an attempt to detect a “critical safety issue.”

The service has detected a number of defective nuts that keep the main rotors attached to the helicopter. The issue has already caused at least one recent accident, which resulted in the death of two pilots.

According to Task & Purpose, the part in question is the strap pack nut, which is “the component that keeps the rotor blades from separating from the airframe.” If you think that sounds extremely important to keeping a helicopter in the air, you’d be right. In December 2016, a strap pack nut on a Texas National Guard AH-64D Apache helicopter failed catastrophically, leading to rotor blade separation. Both aviators onboard died.

The AH-64 Apache helicopter has been the U.S. Army’s main attack chopper for going on four decades now. The Apache has evolved from a dedicated tank killer to a versatile and lethal opponent, providing close air support in Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. The latest version, the AH-64E Apache Guardian, fields improvements including more powerful General Electric T700 engines, an upgraded transmission, new composite rotor blades, and the Longbow fire control radar.
 
Army future attack-recon helicopter
The Army is now crafting early requirements for what is expected to be a new attack helicopter -- beyond the Apache -- with superior weapons, speed, maneuverability, sensor technology and vastly-improved close-combat attack capability.

“We know that in the future we are going to need to have a lethal capability, which drives us to a future attack reconnaissance platform. The Apache is the world’s greatest but there will come a time when we look at leap ahead technology,“ Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told a small group of reporters.
 
 A future attack-reconnaissance helicopter, now in its conceptual phase, is a key part of a wide-spanning, multi-aircraft Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. FVL seeks a family of next-generation aircraft to begin emerging in the 2030s, consisting of attack, utility and heavy-class air assets. Ultimately, the FVL effort seeks to replace the Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook.

Current areas of exploration, McConville elaborated, include examinations of aerodynamics, aircraft configurations, new sensor technology and the physics of advanced attack helicopter flight.

The Army is now working on two Initial Capabilities Documents (ICDs) to lay the conceptual groundwork for new weapons, munitions and a supplemental next-generation drone.
 
Memorial Day salute to Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf
1st Gulf War vets’ “Bear”: Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf!

Reportedly, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (1934-2012), “Saw himself as a successor to Alexander the Great, and we didn’t laugh when he said it!” recalled a former West Point roommate of the cadet they called “The Bear.”

Added retired Gen. Leroy Suddath of the man who met the mission in America’s first Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, “Norman would predict not only that he would lead a major American army into combat, but that it would be a battle decisive to the nation.”

Indeed, he did, as commander-in-chief of the United States Central Command in charge of both domestic and foreign Allied troops in that war, the first US commander ever to lead Middle Eastern forces into conflict.

Another roommate, Ward Le Hardy, was quoted in the Feb. 4, 1991 edition of Time as saying, “He’s got the tactical brilliance of Patton, the strategic insight of Eisenhower, and the modesty of Bradley.”

As a veteran warrior of Vietnam, Grenada, and the Gulf Wars, Schwarzkopf (the last name means “black head” in German), in 1994 was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Graduate Award by the United States Military Academy’s Association of Graduates/AOG.

Stated the citation as published in the AOG’s July 1994 Assembly magazine, “As military commander, staff officer, soldier-statesman, and peerless combat leader…Schwarzkopf has rendered extraordinary service to his country, to the US Army, and to his fellow soldiers.”

Over the course of 35 years of service, the four-star general served in nine months of combat in seven military operations, earning two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, two Air Medals, a Commendation for Valor, and the Purple Heart for wounds received in action under enemy fire.
 
Scaparrotti receives distinguished military leadership award

US Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti assumed duties as commander of European Command and as supreme allied commander, Europe in late spring of 2016.

General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is a native of Logan, Ohio, graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1978, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army.

 A career infantry officer, General Scaparrotti was previously assigned as the commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea. He also served as the director, Joint Staff. Prior to his tour with the Joint Staff, General Scaparrotti served as commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command; deputy commander, US forces in Afghanistan; commanding general of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord; and commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Read more... 

 

 
Kentucky is last stop in POW/MIA flag's 50-state journey
A flag that has made its way through 50 states passed through Frankfort on Monday in the last stretch of its journey.

With a Prisoners of War/Missing in Action flag in tow, members of Rolling Thunder Chapter Five drove into Frankfort to recognize Maj. Cal Berg Mitchell at the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Mitchell went missing on Jan. 19, 1964, during the Vietnam War. The group, which began its journey across Kentucky on Sunday, will wind up at the Somerset American Legion on Wednesday. The POW/MIA flag set out from Grundy, Virginia, in September.

Rolling Thunder is a non-profit organization that educates the public about Prisoners of War and Missing in Action issues.
 
Mitchell, of Mount Sterling, was born in 1928. In 1950, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was in the Air Force from 1951 until 1964. From 1952 until 1959, Mitchell served in the 9th Bomb Wing and 5th Bombardment Squadron. From 1962 until 1963, he was in the 1st Air Commando Squadron and the 34th Tactical Group. He was last seen at age 35 in Bien Hoa Province, South Vietnam. He has a headstone placed in his honor at West Point Cemetery.
 
Leon Panetta Announced As Thayer Award Recipient

The West Point Association of Graduates announced today that former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will receive the prestigious Thayer Award in a ceremony scheduled for October 4.

Panetta, was the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Defense, he also held positions as 3rd Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 18th White House Chief of Staff, and Chairman of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy.

Panetta currently serves on the boards of directors for Oracle and Blue Shield of California. He also serves as co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Defense Personnel Task Force and the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism.

The Thayer Award, established in honor of Col. Sylvanus Thayer, “Father of the Military Academy,” is presented to an outstanding citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the military academy’s motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” The Association of Graduates has presented the award annually since 1958.

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West-Point.Org (WP-ORG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization not affiliated officially with the United States Military Academy, provides an online communications infrastructure that enables graduates, parents, and friends of the military academy to maintain and strengthen the associations that bind us together. We will provide this community any requested support, consistent with this purpose, as quickly and efficiently as possible. WP-ORG is funded by the generosity of member contributions. Our communication services are provided in cooperation with the AOG (independent of USMA) and are operated by volunteers serving the Long Gray Line. Contents of and comments on this web site do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy or the Department of the Army.  For questions or comments, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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