Commentary

  • Suicide Prevention Awareness: “Be There” for Your Teammates

    September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, an opportunity to promote the available resources, increase awareness and focus on how we can help and talk to others about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.

    With the beginning of a new academic year, this is an appropriate time to have the conversation with our teammates about stress and mental wellness, as well as being aware of the signs and behaviors that could escalate into a situation where a teammate considers taking his or her own life.

    Mental health is something we generally don’t like to talk about, because we may think it’s a sign of weakness. But it is critically important that we do address it, whether it’s affecting us, or someone around us. Read More

  • Winning future wars starts with winning on “fields of friendly strife”

    On July 30, 1918, Pvt. Martin Treptow, a 25-year-old barber from Cherokee, Iowa assigned to the 42nd Division, 168th Infantry, was killed by enemy fire during the Second Battle of the Marne in World War I. Among his personal effects was a diary, with the following words written in the flyleaf:

    “America must win this war. I will work, I will save, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my upmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”

    Through his words, Pvt. Treptow understood that the path to victory required that he give his all to the effort, as if victory depended on him and him alone. He knew that second best wouldn’t cut it, and that failure was not an option. Read More

  • Leaders: Establish, enforce and maintain standards and conduct

    One of the most important things I’ve learned in more than 40 years of leading Soldiers is that a unit is the reflection of its leader. If you have a good leader who sets and enforces high standards, you have a good unit. If you have a weak and ineffective leader who lets standards slip, then you have a weak and ineffective unit. A loudmouth, profane leader will quickly have a loudmouth, profane platoon.

    As leaders, part of our responsibility is to establish and enforce standards within our organizations. An important piece of our leader development process is developing leaders who establish and maintain the highest standards and discipline.

    When we see an infraction or something that’s not up to standard, there is the temptation to look the other way instead of correcting the deficiency, or assume that someone else will make the correction. Read More

  • Happy 241st Birthday U. S. Army!

    Dear West Point community,

    On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress, recognizing the need for a common, organized army to defend the colonies, assumed authority for an existing volunteer militia near Boston, and resolved to form a committee to “bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army.”

    Additionally, they voted for $2 million to support the volunteer forces at Boston and New York City and authorized the formation of 10 companies of expert riflemen to support the New England militia. These actions marked the creation of the Continental Army.

    Each year, on June 14, we collectively pause as an Army to celebrate our proud legacy of selfless service to our nation and its defense and the generations of Americans who have proudly borne the title of American Soldier. Read More

  • Never Forget—9/11

    Dear West Point community,

    For all of us, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 will forever live in our memories.

    We’ll never forget the images of planes flying into the World Trade Center or the smoke rising from the Pentagon.

    We’ll never forget the courage and compassion of the New York City firemen and other men and women racing into burning buildings to save the innocent or those heroes who died in a Pennsylvania field.

    Nor will we forget the images and memories of what took place after those horrific attacks.

    We’ll never forget the image of a boy leaving flowers outside the American Embassy in Moscow or the candlelight vigils held in India and Bangladesh.

    We’ll never forget the image of members of Congress joining hands on the steps of the Capitol and singing “God Bless America.”

    We’ll never forget the thousands of Germans who marched at Brandenburg Gate, the 100,000 Canadians who gathered in Ottawa, or the Jordanian women who gathered to pray—all sharing in our sorrow. Read More