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Public Affairs : Task Force Slugger

Task Force Slugger recognized for supporting Cadet Summer Training

By Mike Strasser
Assistant Editor

The training of thousands of West Point cadets is no small task, and the contribution from more than 600 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard servicemembers throughout Cadet Summer Training this summer ensured the very best for the Corps of Cadets.

Troops attached to the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Polk, La., formed Task Force Slugger in May and supported each component of CST from Cadet Leader Development Training to Cadet Basic Training, and also assisted in the initial training for the cadet candidates at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School.

U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. spoke with the remaining group of Soldiers from Fort Polk Aug. 15 and thanked them for the service of training future officers to Army standards.

“I want to thank you for what you have done for the better part of 90-plus days in getting our cadets ready for their future leadership responsibilities,” Huntoon said. “What you did was set the benchmark for them because it is a tough world out there. With your expertise, professionalism and competence—your battle-tested competence and adherence to Army standards—we needed them to understand these things and they’re off to a great start because of you.”

Huntoon palmed a commander’s coin to six Soldiers in recognition of their contributions to summer training. One of those Soldiers, Spc. Andrew Van, from Odessa, Texas, said training cadets was a new experience and not at all what he expected.

“With these new cadets just coming out of high school and into the Army, I expected to see a lack of discipline from them,” Van said. “But every cadet I met was pretty open-minded and respectful. They actually listened and were here to learn.”

Van had covered two cycles of Air Assault training and was equally impressed with some of the upperclass cadets he met.

“I would say most of them are ready to take platoons,” Van said. “From my experience, they’ll be ready.”

One cadet, in particular, stood out to him.

“Cadet Sergeant Major (Gavin) Mcgarry is planning to be an infantry officer, and right now he has the command in his voice, knows what he wants and gets it done,” Van said. “That’s what you need in an officer right there.”

Spc. Craig Henderson, from Minneapolis, Minn., appreciated the chance to help in the development of the future Army Officer Corps, of which nearly a quarter of the service’s commissioned officers comes from West Point.

“It was nice being part of the bigger picture of training tomorrow’s leaders,” Henderson said.

Commandant Brig. Gen. Theodore Martin said Col. Glenn Goldman, Department of Military Instruction director, and his team deliberated on what would be an appropriate token of appreciation they could impart to Task Force Slugger.

“The whole DMI team thought the task force did an awesome job and wondered what would be a fitting a memento they could take back to the squadron headquarters? We sat down, thought about it and we think the most appropriate thing we could give to Task Force 3-89 is a weapon,” Martin said.

Martin presented the unit’s commander and command sergeant major, Lt. Col. James Deore and Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, with a cadet saber on behalf of the Corps of Cadets. Martin said the cadet saber originated in 1802 with the formation of the Corps of Cadets and has undergone three changes; the last in 1926 when the coat of arms was added.

Martin said when the task force departs from the temporary quarters outside of West Point they will have left a lasting impact on more than 3,000 cadets who benefited from the training they provided.

“We covered the entire spectrum of summer training and we were glad to do it,” said Maj. Miguel Juarez, 3-89 squadron executive officer, said. “It was good training for cadets and good training for the Soldiers too.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett and Brig. Gen. Theodore Martin, the Corps of Cadets command sergeant major and commandant (Far left, right), presented a cadet saber to Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins and Lt. Col. James Deore, Task Force Slugger’s command team, Aug. 15 at Camp Natural Bridge. West Point’s senior leaders thanked the task force for providing training to more than 3,000 cadets from May-August during Cadet Summer Training. Photo by Mike Strasser, USMA PAO

Six Soldiers from Task Force Slugger were presented with commander's coins during a ceremony at Camp Natural Bridge Aug. 15. Commandant of the Corps of Cadets Brig. Gen. Theodore Martin and Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett joined Lt. Col. James Deore and Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, the task force commander and senior noncommissioned officer, in thanking the Soldiers for their service throughout Cadet Summer Training at West Point. Photo by Mike Strasser/USMA PAO

U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr., thanked Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, who served this summer with Task Force Slugger in the training of more than 3,000 West Point cadets during Cadet Summer Training. The Soldiers from Fort Polk, La., arrived to Camp Natural Bridge in May to assist with Cadet Leader Development Training and remained through August as more than 1,100 new cadets arrived at West Point for Cadet Basic Training. Photo by Mike Strasser/USMA PAO