Holland relinquishes Corps of Cadets Command

Story by Michelle Eberhart Assistant Editor

June 8th, 2017 | News, News and Features
Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland (right) speaks to the audience after she relinquished command Monday as the 76th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets.
A cake wishing Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland the best of luck on her new venture to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division in Atlanta was on display Monday.
Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland (right) relinquished command Monday as the 76th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, the first woman to hold the position in the history of the U.S. Military Academy. She passed the command guidon to Command Sgt. Maj. Dawn Rippelmeyer (left), Corps of Cadets CSM. Upon her departure from West Point, Holland will assume command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division in Atlanta, where she will oversee U.S. Army engineering projects in eight Southeastern states, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Holland’s successor and USMA 1990 classmate, Brig. Gen. Steve Gilland, will assume command June 23.  Photo by John Pellino/DPTMS

Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland relinquished command as the 76th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Monday.

On Jan. 5, 2016, Holland assumed the position of commandant, becoming the first woman to do so in the history of the U.S. Military Academy. Throughout her year-and-a-half journey, she has seen the first woman become the Dean of the Academic Board, Brig. Gen. Cindy Jebb, as well as the first Army victory over Navy in football in 15 years.

During Holland’s relinquishment of command ceremony in the Haig Room, Jebb called Holland’s departure “bittersweet,” remarking that she has enjoyed working with the trailblazing leader.

“Teamwork and excellence really capture how Diana has accomplished so much as commandant. During her time here, Diana ensured that cadets were developed in a way to achieve excellence,” Jebb said, noting that Holland was instrumental in fully integrating the boxing curriculum, equalizing standards for men and women throughout the Academy. “As a result, all cadets now participate in boxing which develops the warrior spirit, self-confidence and the perseverance necessary for all future leaders.”

Jebb also thanked Holland for including all pillars of the Academy in order to provide the best experience for the cadets.

“She created conditions that enabled us to thoughtfully consider and decide how to ensure the academic, military, physical and character programs complimented each other in support of the Academy’s mission, she’s a phenomenal leader: thoughtful, compassionate and mission-driven,” Jebb added.

Following Jebb’s remarks, Holland thanked every person and department who enabled her to do her job.

“It is a really amazing team that makes this place go round,” she said. “Until I served here at this level, I really didn’t appreciate the complexity and the intricacy of the military academy; how everything is tied to something else, how little any of us can change or modify without impacting someone else, the balancing act required here is really an art.”

Regardless of the intricacies, she said, the big picture is never overlooked.

“Making a difference in the development of our cadets is what we’re here for and it’s that that brings the most gratification,” Holland added. “A cadet’s journey crosses all of our realms and it was a joy to follow all of the cadets across all the pillars, regardless of who oversees those pillars.”

In addition, she says the experience of working with a broad and diverse organization will impact the remainder of her career.

“It’s an incredible team with an important and consequential mission I will always consider it to have been the greatest privilege of my career to be on your team,” she said.

Holland added that the cadets have impressed her in their compassion in the face of adversity, as well as in their energy and hardworking attitudes. She also looks forward to seeing the 4,400 young people grow to become officers and leaders in the U.S. Army.

Upon her departure from West Point, Holland will assume command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division in Atlanta where she will oversee Army engineering projects in eight Southeastern states, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Holland’s successor and USMA 1990 classmate, Brig. Gen. Steve Gilland, will assume command June 23.