News and Features

  • Host of changes to UCMJ take effect

    By Gary Sheftick
    Army News Service

    FORT MEADE, Md.—A host of changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice became effective Jan. 1, modernizing definitions for many offenses, adjusting maximum penalties, standardizing court-martial panels, creating new computer-crime laws and much more.
    The changes strike a balance between protecting the rights of the accused and empowering commanders to effect good order and discipline, said Col. Sara Root, chief of the Army’s Military Justice Legislation Training Team.
    “We’re pretty excited,” Root said. “It’s a healthy growth of our military justice system.”
    Root and three members of her team spent the last year traveling to 48 installations to train 6,000 legal personnel and law-enforcement agents about the changes.
    Her two-day classes included everyone from judges to law clerks and privates to generals, she said, and even 600 from other military services. Read More

  • Merrill travels to Antarctica, reaches South Pole

    Stepping off the plane decked in a heavy parka, wool lined boots and litany of other cold weather gear, U.S. Military Academy Class of 2019 Cadet William Merrill entered one of the most inhospitable places on the planet.
    Thanks to a prank played on Merrill and his peers from the Coast Guard and Naval academies, the full assortment of cold weather gear may not have been necessary, but for their  first moment in Antarctica it was better to be safe than sorry.
    “They knew we were new guys,” Merrill said of the flight crew’s instructions on the plane ride from New Zealand to Antarctica. “We all got outfitted in our cold weather gear and it is 10 to 20 degrees on the runway, so it wasn’t that cold. Read More

  • Receiving branch in Spain while taking language abroad

    These past few months, some U.S. Military Academy cadets have studied abroad at the Military Academy in Zaragoza, Spain. For me, as one of them, it has been an experience  I believe will forever enrich my military career. The military has always been a people’s business, in that in order to find success, we as leaders must have the ability to connect with people and attempt to understand people different from ourselves.
    One instance that demonstrated this concept of shared understanding is when I found out my branch. Being part of the class of 2019, my classmates found out their branch last November together in Eisenhower Hall.
    Though I wanted to be part of that experience with my classmates, the second best thing was sharing this moment with my Spanish friends. Read More

  • “Sam” Grant at West Point: The reluctant cadet who “loved the Place”

    Few cadets had the same experience as one particular young man did in June 1839, when he arrived at the U.S. Military Academy. Born as a Hiram Ulysses Grant in 1822, whose initials were “HIG,” he later insisted on Ulysses Hiram Grant as his proper name. But his Ohio congressman erroneously thought the name of the young man representing his district was Ulysses Simpson Grant, taking his mother’s maiden name as his middle, a very common practice in those days. Yet, soon his fellow cadets simple called him “Sam” Grant, short for Uncle Sam Grant.
    Thus, began the cadet experience, life and career of one the greatest Soldiers in American history, the first four-star general in Army history and 18th president of the United States. Read More

  • Keller leads MEDCOM in satisfaction survey, receives 5-star rating

    Keller Army Community Hospital was No. 1 in the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) for patient satisfaction, as documented in the TRICARE Inpatient Satisfaction Survey (TRISS) for Fiscal Year 2018, Fourth Quarter.
    Keller was ranked number one, out of 19 hospitals in MEDCOM, and is the only hospital to receive a five-star rating.
    “I would—first—like to thank the beneficiaries whose input is integral in Keller’s ability to continually improve upon the services we provide,” said Col. Brett H. Venable, commander, Keller Army Community Hospital. “I would also like to recognize the dedicated men and women of Keller who understand (medical) readiness of our Soldiers and beneficiaries remains the Army’s and Keller’s number-one priority.”
    These surveys measure beneficiary user satisfaction with inpatient experiences. Read More

  • Give the Gift of a Lift to assist older adults

    “Give the Gift of a Lift.” The Friendly Visitor Program urgently needs volunteers to assist older adults in Orange County.
    In our towns, many older adults and those who have disabilities live alone and enjoy their independence. Unfortunately, some are isolated, separated from their families or are in need of a caring friend. In about two hours per week volunteers make a difference by providing: transportation to local appointments, help with grocery shopping and home visits.
    Our volunteers have an impact on the life of their neighbors. Friendly Visitor volunteers are trained and go through a background check at no charge to them and are insured while they volunteer. The Friendly Visitor Program partners with Orange County Office for the Aging and the Jewish Family Services of Orange County. Read More

  • West Point Band kicks off Masterworks Concert Series

    The West Point Band will kick off its 2019 Masterworks Concert Series with a performance titled “American Journey” at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eisenhower Hall Theatre.
    In the event of inclement weather, the performance will move to 2 p.m. Sunday. This concert is free and open to all.
    However, starting in 2019, all West Point Band concerts at Eisenhower Hall will be ticketed through Eventbrite. Reserve your free tickets in advance by visiting, or at
    Join the West Point Band for its first performance of the year with “American Journey,” a melodic mix of American music from masters of our time, including selections from John Williams’ American Journey, Set No. 3 of Timothy Broege’s Three Pieces for American Band and Alex Shapiro’s celebratory Homecoming. Read More

  • Major changes to USMA web marks 2019

    The New Year means big changes for the U.S. Military Academy as it makes upgrades to its website, network and cyber presence.
    Changes have slowly been rolling out over the last few months as the academy started the transition from email addresses to addresses operated through Microsoft’s Office 365 platform.
    The transition to Office 365 will allow cadets, faculty and staff to collaborate on projects and share information anytime, anywhere and on any device through the cloud rather than being restricted to network capable devices.
    “Security is paramount, but we also think that enabling IT in a way that people can work in the environment that we are used to now, which is work anywhere on any device, we are getting closer and closer to that as time passes,” Col. Read More

  • A great warrior reflects on 36-year career

    For more than 400 days in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, Col. William Ostlund refused to let himself cry.
    A lieutenant colonel at the time, Ostlund was the battalion commander for Task Force Rock, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Six hours into a 425-day tour in an area partially dubbed both the Valley of Death and the Valley of Fire, the battalion lost its first Soldier.
    Hours after he assumed command of the area, Ostlund’s Soldiers found themselves in a firefight where their youngest paratrooper was killed. Pvt. Timothy Vimoto, the son of the unit’s Brigade Sergeant Major, was the first of 26 Soldiers killed and 143 wounded as they faced nearly daily combat and more than 1,000 contacts with the enemy during their tour. Read More

  • Commandant recognizes staff and faculty for service, achievements

    The 77th Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Steven Gilland, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Kenny, hosted an award ceremony and town hall Dec. 17. Staff and faculty were recognized for their years of service and achievements during the ceremony. Awards presented were USCC Command Team coins, Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, Basic Army Instructor Badge and the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service. It was the first time that USCC awarded any staff with the Basic Army Instructor Badge upon successful completion of the Training and Doctrine Command’s require in accordance with TR600-21. Recipients were Sgt. 1st Class Allen Rollins, Sgt. 1st Class Dominador Rubang, Sgt. 1st Class Isaac White, Capt. David Black, Capt. Robert Davis, Capt. David Frost, Capt. Read More

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