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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.”
By West Point Public Affairs – October 7, 2019
WEST POINT, N.Y. –– Col. Curtis A. Buzzard, 78th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy and a Class of 1992 graduate, was promoted to Brigadier General during a ceremony in the Haig Room, Jefferson Hall, Friday, Oct. 4.
“In every assignment and in just the short time he’s been part of the West Point team, Curtis has shown a keen force of intellect, tremendous energy and steadiness of purpose as he has led Soldiers, enhanced Army readiness, trained multinational partners and now, developing the next generation of leaders for our Army,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy.
Col. Curtis A. Buzzard assumed command as the 78th Commandant of Cadets on June 28, 2019. The summer and fall semester have been about observing training and building relationships with more than 4,400 future leaders of this nation.
“The methodology behind producing leaders of character has been refined since my time here, but the enduring ideals of this institution and what it provides to the Army and the American people are the same,” Buzzard said. “All of us have important roles in developing cadets and achieving the mission. This is a team effort.”
Buzzard was commissioned an infantry officer in 1992 from the academy and began his career in the 82nd Airborne Division as a rifle platoon leader, support platoon leader and battalion air staff officer responsible for operational and training plans in 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He later served as the Brigade air staff officer responsible for operational and training plans. Buzzard then served on staff and as a company commander in both the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and later in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
After attending the U. S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, he returned to the 82nd Airborne Division as a battalion operations officer, battalion executive officer and later as battalion commander for 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Buzzard then served as the U.S. Army War College Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and returned to the 82nd Airborne Division as the division senior staff officer for operations and plans and later commanded the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Next, Buzzard commanded the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany and he most recently served as the deputy commander for operations for the 7th Infantry Division. Buzzard has also served as a strategist at Department of the Army Headquarters and as the Army military aide to the president, serving for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.
He has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University and the Marine Corps University. He has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and his awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star Medal (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (six awards), Army Commendation Medal (three awards), Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Presidential Service Badge, Army Staff Badge and numerous foreign jump wings.
Buzzard is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
About West Point:
The U. S. Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federal, liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City. It was founded in 1802 as America’s first college of engineering and continues today as the world’s premier leader-development institution, consistently ranked among top colleges in the country. Its mission remains constant—to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the U. S. Army. For more information, go to www.westpoint.edu.
WEST POINT, N.Y. — The first woman to become a four-star general in the U.S. military will be honored with an award at West Point.
Retired Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody will receive the Thayer Award on Oct. 10 at a ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy.
The award is presented by West Point’s Association of Graduates to those whose service in the national interest reflects the academy’s motto of “Duty, Honor, Country.” Past recipients include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bob Hope and Tom Brokaw and Robert Mueller. Last year’s recipient was Leon Panetta.
Before her retirement in 2012, Dunwoody led and ran Army Materiel Command, the largest global logistics command in the Army.
The award is named for Col. Sylvanus Thayer, a revered early leader of the academy.
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.
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.”
Beginning this fall, soldiers across the Army will have a year to bone up on physical fitness in order to ace the challenging new six-event Army Combat Fitness Test, which will become the required standard across the service by October 2020. But Army officials say they still plan to make some final adjustments to grading and standards based on early testing results.
The Army is now about eight months into year-long field test of the ACFT involving 63 battalions of active, National Guard and Reserve soldiers.
The trial of a decorated Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in his care is set to begin Monday following months of turmoil in one of the Navy’s most prominent war crimes cases.
The court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, which begins with jury selection, has included the removal of the lead prosecutor for tracking the defense team’s emails and suggestions by President Donald Trump that he may pardon the defendant.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder in the killing of the prisoner in his care and attempted murder in the shootings of two civilians in Iraq in 2017 in separate incidents. Gallagher says disgruntled platoon mates fabricated the allegations because they didn’t like his tough leadership.
His lawyers asked the Navy judge to dismiss the case because they say investigators and prosecutors withheld evidence that could help the defense and violated his rights to a fair trial by embedding tracking software in emails sent to them.
The West Point cadet killed in a horrific training accident was laid to rest over the weekend in a service attended by more than a thousand mourners, including former President Clinton.
Slain cadet Christopher Morgan’s dad was once a member of Clinton’s security detail.
The funeral service was held Saturday at the US Military Academy for Morgan, who was killed earlier this month when the armored personnel transport he and 21 others were riding in flipped and fell several feet down a steep embankment.
Morgan, a 22-year-old West Orange, NJ, native, was “an exemplary classmate and teammate” who was “tremendously proud to be a cadet,” said Maj. Gen. Steve Gilland, West Point’s Commandant of Cadets.
A suburban Denver man has been arrested in the unsolved slaying of a soldier in Colorado 32 years ago after DNA evidence was used to create an image of what a suspect might look like, authorities said Friday.
Civilian and Army investigators arrested Michael Whyte of Thornton in the 1987 strangulation death of Darlene Krashoc, 20, a soldier stationed at Fort Carson outside Colorado Springs.
Whyte, 58, was arrested at his home Thursday on suspicion of first-degree murder. Online jail records did not indicate whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Krashoc’s body was found behind a Colorado Springs restaurant on March 17, 1987. Investigators said she had gone to a nightclub the previous evening with other soldiers from her unit, a maintenance company.
– June 7, 2019 USMA release
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, Class of 2020, died due to injuries sustained from a military vehicle accident in the U.S. Military Academy’s training area.
“Cadet Morgan was a valued member of the Corps of Cadets and will be missed by all. The entire community is ensuring that our cadets are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th Superintendent, U. S. Military Academy. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morgan family.”
Morgan, 22, of West Orange, New Jersey, passed away at the scene of the accident. He was a Law and Legal Studies major, and a recruited athlete who was a standout member of the Army Wrestling Team.
“We are devastated by the news of Chris’ passing. He was a talented, hardworking, and determined athlete who loved his sport,” said Army West Point Wrestling Coach Kevin Ward. “Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him. He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed.”
The Corps of Cadets will hold a vigil to honor Morgan tonight. A memorial ceremony for the West Point community and private funeral service will be held at the academy next week.