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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Astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the 2019 State of the Union Address

Buzz Aldrin [USMA 1951] saluted after being introduced by President Donald Trump at the 2019 State of the Union address, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at the Capitol in Washington. During the speech, President Trump said: “In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the Moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin.”

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