CPT Matthew J. Bunker, 2013 Be thou at peace

Body of climber who fell skiing down Liberty Ridge on Mount Rainier found in crevasse

The body of a climber who went missing while skiing down the Liberty Ridge route on Mount Rainier was found Monday, according to the National Park Service.

Matthew Bunker, 28, of Seattle, disappeared Friday while descending behind his partner near 10,400-foot Thumb Rock on the north flank of the mountain.

Rangers said it’s unknown what caused Bunker to fall in steep, treacherous terrain.

A helicopter was used twice over the weekend to conduct reconnaissance missions from the air, but winds and clouds hampered the search.

On Monday, rangers in the helicopter spotted Bunker’s body in a crevasse at the base of a cliff.

That area is prone to continuous rock and ice fall and rescuers said it’s too dangerous to recover Bunker’s body

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Matt’s WP-ORG eulogy page

A link to Matt Bunker’s (USMA 2013) photography

Morgan ’98 Returns to Earth

Welcome home NASA Astronaut, Colonel Andrew Morgan!

Morgan returned to Earth Friday April 17, 2020 after 272 days in space.

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NFL, USAA ANNOUNCE CEO STEVE CANNON AS A FINALIST FOR SALUTE TO SERVICE AWARD PRESENTED BY USAA

The NFL and USAA, an official NFL Salute to Service partner, announced CEO Steve Cannon as one of three finalists for the ninth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.

Cannon’s passion and drive to provide America’s military community meaningful recognition, unique engagement opportunities and enduring support they may not otherwise have is constant and central to his leadership ethic. Cannon’s commitment to the military and related causes began with his own personal commitment. Cannon, who graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986, was Airborne Ranger qualified and served as First Lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain. During his time in the Army he also served five years as an artillery officer. Through Cannon’s countless hours of service to multiple military non-profits over the years, his constant “military first” mindset and utilization of the NFL’s platform has provided active duty service members, veterans and military families with first class experiences and support.

In addition to empowering and giving back to the military community, Cannon has played a large role in bringing awareness to the general population on the importance of honoring and recognizing our Nation’s Heroes. Through Cannon’s military and professional career, he has consistently found ways to implement programs in service to our military, active duty specifically. Upon his entrance into the Atlanta Falcons organization, he realized the impact of the NFL platform and challenged the Club to be “best in class” and to “become the benchmark franchise in all of professional sports” in terms of our military outreach and appreciation. The Atlanta Falcons became the first ever NFL team to conduct their own USO Tour. Another challenge that Cannon put on the team was to make every single Atlanta Falcons home game a “Salute to Service” game; and to not just celebrate our current service members and veterans once in November. Additionally, the Falcons host and honor through video tribute, a family from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) at every single home game. The Falcons have raised more than $250,000 to help homeless veterans across the state of Georgia.

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Astronaut Anne McClain (USMA 2002) talks moonwalks and Mars mission with McMorris Rodgers

After their children’s space walk together 220 miles above the Earth’s surface, the mothers of astronauts Anne McClain and Nick Hague made a toast together in Coeur d’Alene.

“The stress we put our families through is probably unforgivable,” McClain told Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Thursday, as Spokane’s native astronaut briefed the congresswoman on her trip to space that ended last summer.

The two astronauts, clad in NASA jumpsuits, presented McMorris Rodgers with mission patches commemorating their journeys to the International Space Station. McClain and Hague, a Texas native whose parents have retired to Sandpoint, impressed upon the congresswoman the need for support for the Artemis mission, which is shooting to put the next humans on the moon by 2024.

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Floridian Frank Rubio (USMA ’98) to Graduate as NASA Astronaut with Eye on Artemis Missions

Floridian Dr. Frank Rubio will join the rest of NASA’s first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program, for a graduation ceremony and media opportunity Friday, Jan. 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

After completing more than two years of basic training, he will become eligible for spaceflight assignments to the International Space Station (ISS), Artemis missions to the Moon, and future missions to Mars.

The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The new graduates also will be available for in-person and remote media interviews following the ceremony.

To participate, media must submit requests for credentials and interviews to Johnson’s newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #AskNASA.

The class includes 11 NASA candidates, as well as two Canadian Space Agency (CSA) candidates, selected in 2017. The NASA candidates, including Rubio, were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. The CSA candidates have been training alongside their NASA classmates.

Rubio, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, was born in Los Angeles and now calls Miami home. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and a doctorate of medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. Rubio has accumulated more than 1,100 hours as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, including 600 hours of combat and imminent danger time. He was serving as a surgeon for the 3rd Battalion of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado, before coming to NASA.

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Rubio Biography

Capt. Lindsay Heisler receives 2019 Nininger Award for actions in Afghanistan

WEST POINT, N.Y. — In Capt. Lindsay Gordon Heisler’s mind she was just doing her job.

From the moment she began training as an Apache pilot following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 2012 it had been ingrained in her that her job was to keep the ground forces safe.

Flying 500 to 1,000 feet above the forces operating on the ground, she and her copilot were in constant contact with the friendly forces as they “watched their six” for enemy combatants.

After deploying to Afghanistan in April 2015 as a first lieutenant for nine months, the operation schedule had become routine. Most nights out of the week were spent on missions protecting helicopters infiltrating ground forces and then watching over the Soldiers as they executed their objective.

Eight months in, an enemy contact or two a night was not out of the ordinary so when their mission on Dec. 5, 2015 required her and her copilot to clear out an enemy fighting position it was just another mission on a long deployment.

When a few hours later, with the Chinook helicopters inbound to pick up the ground force, they were forced to engage with a second enemy fighting position it was still like countless other missions they had flown in the proceeding months.

Then, seconds before the Chinooks touched down to pickup the Soldiers on the ground, the world erupted with enemy fire coming from every direction. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and the desert across the border into Pakistan on the fourth, Heisler and the second Apache flying that night along with the Chinooks and the Rangers on the ground were suddenly under attack from what they would later learn were eight different enemy positions.

“None of the pilots who are there had seen anything like it before,” Heisler said. “I picture like Star Wars where you picture laser beams. It looks like that under your night vision goggles. It really accentuates any light you see so there are tracers of enemy fire everywhere.”

There was no time to think. While communicating with the forces on the ground and the other helicopters in the air Heisler and her copilot, Warrant Officer 2 David Woodward, sprang into action and began fighting back. They placed themselves between the ground force and the incoming fire and worked to keep the enemies’ heads down long enough for the Chinooks to land, pickup the Rangers and takeoff.

Anywhere they heard shots coming from they engaged. That was their job. To make sure the ground force got out safely and made it home alive.

“I don’t remember thinking a lot,” Heisler said. “We were just pulling the trigger because that’s what we knew we had to do to make sure that they got out of there.”

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Army sergeant charged in West Point crash that killed cadet

Staff Sgt. Ladonies P. Strong, who was charged Sept. 13, was driving the 2.5-ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle.

By Minyvonne Burke

An Army sergeant faces multiple charges including involuntary manslaughter in connection with the June rollover crash near a West Point training site that killed one cadet and injured almost two dozen others.

Staff Sgt. Ladonies P. Strong was charged Sept. 13 with one specification each of involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, prevention of authorized seizure of property and reckless operation of a vehicle, a U.S. Army spokesperson said. Strong was also charged with two specifications of dereliction of duty.

The charges are in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Army spokesperson said. Strong is assigned to Task Force 1-28 in Fort Benning, Georgia. TF 1-28 could not immediately offer a comment on the charges.

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Despite opposition, USC board hires retired general Caslen, USMA 1975, as school’s next president

A divided University of South Carolina board of trustees voted Friday to hire retired Army Gen. Robert Caslen as the school’s next president.

After a rare contentious meeting, the board rejected protests from faculty, some students and several politicians in choosing Caslen, the former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The vote was 11-8. One board member abstained.

A crowd of roughly 128 students, alumni and faculty who had gathered in the Pastides Alumni Center, where the board met, began chanting “shame” minutes after the board voted.

Caslen was aware of the opposition to his candidacy and has pledged to meet with his critics and listen to them.

“I want to engage with my critics in the faculty and the students and take their advice,” Caslen told The State. “They’re valued members of the university and it’s important they realize that I see them that way.”

Asked how he felt to be named USC’s next president, he said, “I’m honored. I’m very grateful for those who put their trust in me.”

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Astronaut Anne McClain, USMA 2002, Returns from Space Station Mission

NASA astronaut Anne McClain and two of her Expedition 59 crewmates returned to Earth from the International Space Station Monday, landing safely in Kazakhstan at 10:47 p.m. EDT (8:47 a.m. Tuesday, June 25, local time) after months of science and four spacewalks aboard the microgravity laboratory.

McClain, Expedition 59/Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency launched Dec. 3, 2018. They arrived at the space station just six hours later to begin their 204-day mission, during which they orbited Earth 3,264 times traveling 86,430,555 miles.

After post-landing medical checks, McClain and Saint-Jacques will return to Houston and Kononenko to Star City, Russia.

The Expedition 59 crew contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, including investigations into small devices that replicate the structure and function of human organs, editing DNA in space for the first time and recycling 3D-printed material.

McClain, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and native of Spokane, Washington, conducted two spacewalks totaling 13 hours and 8 minutes on her mission into space.

Saint-Jacques, also on his first space mission and only the sixth Canadian astronaut to perform a spacewalk, joined McClain on her second outing, which totaled 6 hours and 29 minutes. Kononenko, on his fourth mission, conducted two spacewalks totaling 13 hours and 46 minutes, bringing his career total to 32 hours and 13 minutes spread over five spacewalks.

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Esper (USMA 1986) heads to NATO during first week on the job as top Pentagon official

Mark Esper will spend his first week as acting secretary of defense in Belgium.

Late Wednesday evening, the Pentagon announced that Esper, who was tapped this week to replace Patrick Shanahan as the department’s top official, will travel to NATO for next week’s defense ministerial.

“As previously announced, Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark Esper, will become the Acting Secretary of Defense on Monday, June 24 at 12:01 a.m. He will travel to the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium later that week,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman wrote in a statement.

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Mark Esper USMA ’86 Named Acting Secretary of Defense

Mark T. Esper is a 1986 graduate of West Point, where his classmates included Mike Pompeo, now the secretary of state. He was an Army infantryman who fought in the gulf war. He went on to work for a conservative think tank, then as a lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest military contractors.

And on Tuesday he was abruptly elevated from his job as Army secretary to be acting defense secretary, becoming the third person to lead the Pentagon under President Trump.

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West Point Finally Getting Statue of Gen. Ulysses Grant, Class of 1843

23 Apr 2019Military.com
By Richard Sisk

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is finally getting a statue of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, one of its most famous graduates, who led the Union to victory in the Civil War.

It will be unveiled Thursday by the 18th president’s great-great grandson, Ulysses Grant Dietz, an art curator at the Newark Museum in New Jersey. The statue, by sculptor Paula Slater, presents a hat-less Grant in his four-star general’s uniform.

The 7.5-foot statue of Grant, who stood about 5-foot-8 in life, was made possible by what West Point described as a “generous donation” from the family of Robert A. McDonald, class of 1975, a former Department of Veterans Affairssecretary.

The unveiling marks the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of Grant’s inauguration as the 18th president. He served two turbulent terms during the “Reconstruction” era, West Point said in a news release.

Statues of three other generals and West Point graduates — Dwight Eisenhower (class of 1915), Douglas MacArthur (1903) and George Patton (1909) — are already in place on the academy’s grounds, but plans for one of Grant did not get underway until the House Armed Services Committee recommended it to the Army in 2016, according to the release.

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