Class of 2020 member Ruth Talbott

June 19th, 2020 | In Focus, News

Pointer View: When it comes to your Class of 2020 motto, “With Vision We Lead,” what do those words mean to you?
Ruth Talbott: “For me, ‘With Vision We Lead’ means leading with the bigger picture in mind, leading with the future of my Soldiers, my family and my country at the forefront.

PV: What does service and leadership mean to you as you start your career as an Army officer?
RT: “Service to me means putting the needs of others before myself, always. As a leader, this means putting in the effort to understand people as individuals and what they can contribute to the organization. This means putting my own needs aside to help another, regardless of status or rank. This means creating an environment where all involved are motivated to accomplish the mission while looking out for their brothers and sisters to their left and right.”

PV: What advice would you give to the underclassmen or to your younger self from four years ago with what you know now from your academy experience?
RT: “If I had one thing to say to my former self, it would be this: don’t wish your time away. Don’t wish that it was the end of the year, the end of the semester, the end of the week. Before you know it, your time at the academy will be over. You won’t have any more spontaneous hallway hangouts with your staff. You won’t go on any more coffee runs to 2 Alices. You won’t be able to walk a couple doors down to your friends for a quick chat to say hello.
“Before you know it, the people you love will be spread out all over the world and you’ll only be reunited, all together again, sporadically for the rest of your life. Enjoy the time you have and embrace the suck. Lean on your friends and family when times get tough but if you start wishing the time away, you start wishing the time with your people away.”

PV: What is your favorite memory/top moments in your time at West Point?
RT: “One of my favorite memories was being with my team during our Rugby NCAA Semifinal match against Quinnipiac University this past fall. This team used to be one of our biggest rivals but as our team became better and better, their ability to threaten us weakened. I wasn’t rostered for that game, so I patrolled the sidelines, checking in with the players, filling up water and riling up the fans.
“The feeling on that field was electric. Our home crowd was huge: the Superintendent came with the Secretary of the Army; the First Captain brought the Brigade Staff; sponsors and classmates and family members filled the stands and the sides of the field.
“Every run, every big hit, every score brought a roar from the crowd that sent spikes of adrenaline through players and fans alike. By the end of a grueling 80 minutes, we won 54-10 and the feeling was euphoric.
“We felt like we were on top of the world and being there, celebrating with my teammates, classmates and fans was one of my top moments at the academy.”
PV: You were a corps squad rugby player … talk about that experience?
RT: “I had never played rugby before coming to West Point. I just knew that I was too aggressive for women’s lacrosse in high school and decided to channel my passions into a different sport. Though I honestly don’t know how I made the team—I’m not very coordinated or fast—I learned very quickly that this sport had everything I loved. It was fast, it was rough, it was aggressive.
“Every step on the pitch, every hit, every pass, every score was electrifying. Both on and off the pitch, being on the rugby team taught me what it really means to put others before myself. Against any opponent, my teammates were, quite literally, putting their bodies on the line for me and, in return, I did the same. We trusted each other, played for each other, sacrificed for each other. We all played for the love of the game and the love we had for each other.”

PV: Do you feel you achieved all your goals at West Point?
RT: “I would say that I don’t feel as though I achieved all my academic or physical goals. However, given the relationships I will carry with me beyond USMA, I would say that I’m leaving in a place where I feel comfortable moving on to my next phase of military life.”

PV: What is your best achievement at West Point?
RT: “My best achievement at West Point, quite honestly, was cultivating a relationship with my Little through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). BBBS matches cadets (Bigs) with students at Highland Falls Intermediate School (Littles). Through weekly meetups at the school and monthly weekend events, Bigs and Littles cultivate relationships based on mentorship and fun.
“My Little, Daneah, and I were matched in fall 2017 and we hit it off right away. On our first day of the program, we went out to the HFIS playground and talked for almost an hour after having never met each other. Almost three years later, I can say without a doubt that she is one of the highlights of my time at West Point and one of my best achievements—one of the greatest opportunities, I would say—was being her Big.

PV: Any one person you’d like to mention who helped your success/guided you the most at West Point?
RT: “To be honest, I can’t. If I tried to list the people that have impacted me during these four years, the list would fill pages and because each person was so individually impactful, it would be a disservice to mention just one or two. If I will say anything to anyone reading who knows me, well or not, thank you. Thank you for your willingness to pour into me and help shape me into who I am today.”

PV: What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the crisis? What did you find out about yourself and your resilience, whether it was physically or mentally, in overcoming this situation and drive toward graduation?
RT: “For me, it was the lack of structure and pressure. Because I’ve grown used to conforming to a tight schedule, I tend to do well with the structure of classes and practice.
“At home, I had to discipline myself to get my work done and, as I’m already a master procrastinator, I fell deeper and deeper into the procrastination trap, leading to more pressure and less time to get my work done. Somehow, even with more time, I always found myself with less time!”

PV: Describe what tossing your hat in the air meant to you, completing your journey at West Point?
RT: “To me, tossing my hat means continuing a legacy. My grandfather always called military service ‘the family business’ and upon throwing that white cover in the air, I will be a third generation servicemember.
“My grandfather served in the Army in Vietnam and Germany and my dad, a 1994 USMA grad, served for over 20 years, including multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. My family’s service to the nation fills me with great pride. Knowing that I am about to follow in the footsteps of such great men motivates me to serve with courage and honor.”

PV: What was your job as part of the regimental staff? Describe how that job may help you as a leader going forward?
RT: “For the last year, I’ve been the Fourth Regiment executive officer. I am the second-in-command for the more than 1,100 cadets in Fourth Regiment and am the manager of the Regimental Staff. With the staff and the Regimental S3, Isaac Ferrell, we ensure that Fourth Regiment is running smoothly and completing tasks, executing training and conducting day-to-day activities to standard.
“I also work with my Regimental Commander, Dion Perinon, and Regimental Command Sergeant Major, Maddie Burns, to  do everything we can to make Fourth Regiment the best Regiment in the Brigade.
“As my dad likes to say, the XO is the one that “gets stuff done.” Boy, did I learn this during this last year. I learned to work with people across all echelons, anticipate the needs of my Command Team and my TAC officers. I learned the difference between simply managing my team of cadets and leading them to accomplish the mission. Most importantly, though, I created relationships with cadets on my staff that I hope will last a long time as we enter into the Big Army.”