‘We are the Infantry, follow me’

By Capt. Stephen McCarthy Department of Systems Engineering

February 14th, 2019 | News, News and Features
 The annual West Point Infantry Ball was held on Feb. 1 at Eisenhower Hall. This year’s Order of St. Maurice and Shield of Sparta recipients.  Courtesy Photos
 Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division commander, delivers the keynote address to over 500 attendees at the 2019 National Infantry Association Ball.

The West Point Chapter of the National Infantry Association hosted the annual Infantry Ball Feb. 1 at Eisenhower Hall.
More than 200 infantry-branched cadets participated in this year’s event, which offers the opportunity for the future officers to learn about the history of the branch and spend an evening with past and present infantry leaders.
“For me, being an infantryman means putting others before yourself and leading by example,” Class of 2019 Cadet Drew Zagula said.  “In order for this example to be a good one, you must care for your Soldiers more than you care about yourself.”
When asked about what it means to now be a part of the infantry lineage, Class of 2019 Cadet Nik Patterson said, “Shared hardship. You are able to push yourself beyond your limits because you know that your Soldiers are feeling the exact same way as you and they are still moving forward. Your Soldiers won’t let you down and you won’t let down your Soldiers.”
The Order of Saint Maurice for outstanding contributions to the infantry was presented to several past and current infantry leaders, including Col. Todd Woodruff, Maj. Ben Flores, Capt. Patrick Ryan, Capt. Stephen McCarthy, Capt. Samuel Herbert, Capt. James Villanueva, Sgt. 1st Class Mario Espinoza, Sgt. 1st Class Jonah Herd, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Mullins, Robert Milmore and Jim Loughran.
In addition, the Shield of Sparta, an award for spouses who contribute significantly to the Infantry, was presented to the Elizabeth Woodruff, Stephanie Flores and Julia Milmore.
Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, commander of the 10th Mountain Division, was the guest speaker for the evening and echoed the sentiments of Patterson and other infantry Soldiers in the room.
In his remarks, Piatt offered an early history of the 10th Mountain Division from its inception at Camp Hale, Colorado through their assault on Mount Belvedere in World War II.
Piatt used the example set by the gritty Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division to stress the importance of enduring hardship in training in order to be ready for war.
Piatt shared the words of his former commander and the 57th West Point Superintendent, retired Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, with those in attendance: “Our nation will not ask us to be ready, they will expect it.”
His speech culminated with a call to all cadets in the room to be ready to continue the history of past infantry soldiers and lead the charge up their own Mount Belvederes.
Chaplain Col. Matthew Pawlikowski closed the event with a riveting call for all infantry to protect the sheep of this world from the wolves who threaten our existence.