This Saturday, nearly 1,000 members of the Class of 2015 will walk across stage at Michie Stadium to receive their diplomas, take their oath of commissioning and get pinned as second lieutenants and take their place on the Long Gray Line, joining the tens of thousands of men and women before them who graduated from this hallowed institution and served our nation as Army officers.
Earlier this month marked the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, when Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Forces, bringing the war in Europe to a close. The men and women who served during World War II are part of what has often been referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” a term that journalist Tom Brokaw coined, stating that these men and women fought, not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.
When these graduating cadets came to West Point four years ago, our nation was still at war. Each of them knew full well they would join an Army at war and be sent into harm’s way. Yet, they came with the deep desire to serve, to stand for something much larger than themselves. Like those from the Greatest Generation and other generations, they chose to stand in the gap and protect and defend our nation and our way of life from all that would threaten it. To echo Brokaw’s sentiments, they chose to serve not for fame or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.
To the Class of 2015 - your West Point experience from Day One has been all about developing you as a leader of character, a leader committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country. We have prepared you intellectually, physically, militarily and ethically. All of the training you have received here is important and you’ll rely on something you’ve learned here every day. But above all else, it’s your character that defines you as a leader and a person. Don’t forget the lessons you‘ve learned here, and most importantly, never compromise your character.
To the families and friends of our graduates, thank you for all the support you’ve given our cadets during these past four years, for encouraging them when things got tough, and sharing in their successes.
To the entire West Point Community – accomplishing our mission of educating, training and inspiring the Corps of Cadets is a total team effort. Each of you has, in some way, contributed to the overall success of our graduates. Thank you for all you do every day to make West Point the world’s premiere leader development institution.
Congratulations, Class of 2015! We’re all proud of you.
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr.