Welcome To The West Point Society of Central Florida
The West Point Society of Central Florida exists to serve alumni, ex-cadets and friends of The United States Military Academy living in Central Florida as well as those visiting the area. The purpose of the society is to provide a networking platform for those associated with the Academy, provide news, information, and to further the ideals and promote the welfare of the USMA.
On Tuesday, May 21st, the Alumni Luncheon presenting the 2019 Distinguished Graduates will be held at West Point in the Cadet Mess Hall.
The West Point Association of Graduates "annual Distinguished Graduate Award is bestowed upon those West Point graduates whose character, distinguished service and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The awards will be presented in a ceremony at West Point on May 21, 2019. Please join us in congratulating the 2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients:"
This year five graduates will be receiving this award and recognition. The graduates and their biographies are listed below.
Robert L. Caslen Jr. ’75 – One of only four officers to have served as both West Point’s Superintendent (59th) and Commandant of Cadets (70th), LTG (R) Robert L. Caslen’s career spans more than four decades, three war zones, and the Pentagon on 9/11. Commissioned as an Infantry officer, Caslen commanded at every level, from platoon to division in light, airborne, and mechanized units. Notably, he served in Operations Desert Shield/Storm, coordinated joint and interagency counterinsurgency operations in Nicaragua and El Salvador, deployed to Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, commanded the 25th Infantry Division and Multi-National Division-North in Iraq, and was Chief, Office of Security Cooperation following the planned 2011 withdrawal of U.S. security forces in Iraq. He also had three tours at West Point: first, as an assistant football coach and company tactical officer; second, as Commandant (who initiated the Cadet Leadership Development Program with its extended field training exercises at Camp Buckner for rising First-Year cadets); and, finally, as Superintendent. Regarding this last post, one of his nominators said, “Perhaps Douglas MacArthur deserves credit as West Point’s finest Superintendent, but history will show us that Bob Caslen’s impact on the Academy lasted longer and was more transformative.” Affectionately called “Supe Daddy” by cadets, Caslen instituted a fourth pillar of West Point Leader Development (“character,” also known as “honorable living”); stood up numerous improved facilities and a new barracks, as well as academic and athletic centers; promoted a winning culture at the Academy, and inspired approximately 8,000 future officers in the U.S. Corps of Cadets.
When the Class of 2019 graduates at West Point later this month, the commencement speaker will be Vice President Mike Pence.
He will address the cadets at their ceremony on Saturday, May 25, the U.S. Military Academy announced Monday.
More than 950 cadets are expected to receive their commissions as Army second lieutenants.
This will be Pence’s second visit to West Point, and his first time speaking at the graduation, the announcement said.
Retired Col. Doniphan Carter of the Class of 1944 is scheduled to take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Thayer Statue on Tuesday, May 21. He will be the most senior graduate in attendance, the announcement said.
Last year, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the speaker for the Class of 2018 at West Point.
Two years ago, the graduation speaker at West Point was Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has since resigned.
With the support of a generouse donation from the family of Robert A. McDonald ('75), The U.S. Military Academy at West Point finally unveiled a statue of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, one of its most famous graduates, who led the Union to victory in the Civil War.
It was unveiled on Thursday, April 25th, by the 18th president's great-great grandson, Ulysses Grant Dietz, an art curator at the Newark Museum in New Jersey. The statue, by sculptor Paula Slater, presents a hatless Grant in his four-star general's uniform.
The 7.5-foot statue of Grant, who stood about 5-foot-8 in life, was made possible by what West Point described as a "generous donation" from the family of Robert A. McDonald, class of 1975, a former Department of Veterans Affairs secretary.
The unveiling marks the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of Grant's inauguration as the 18th president. He served two turbulent terms during the "Reconstruction" era, West Point said in a news release.
Statues of three other generals and West Point graduates -- Dwight Eisenhower (class of 1915), Douglas MacArthur (1903) and George Patton (1909) -- are already in place on the academy's grounds, but plans for one of Grant did not get underway until the House Armed Services Committee recommended it to the Army in 2016, according to the release.
Grant, from West Point's class of 1843, fought in the Mexican-American War and later led the Army of the Potomac in the bloody campaign through Virginia that resulted in the surrender of Confederate forces by Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Grant, whose initials led to the nickname "Unconditional Surrender," "embodied the West Point motto of Duty, Honor, Country," Col. Ty Seidule, head of West Point's History Department, said in the announcement.
"As a soldier, he led an army that emancipated four million people, ended slavery, and saved the United States of America," Seidule said. "The Grant statue will inspire generations of cadets to become leaders of principle and integrity for the nation."
Grant died in 1885. The General Grant National Memorial, or Grant's tomb, in Riverside Park on Manhattan's Upper West Side, is considered the largest mausoleum in North America.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., hired to “lead change” at UCF after school leaders acknowledged the use or planned misuse of more than $85 million in leftover operating funds for construction, is a finalist for the president’s job at the University of South Carolina.
The University of Central Florida tapped Caslen, 65, in January to serve as senior counsel to the president while the school conducted a national search for new administration and finance leadership. He was expected to stay for up to eight months, according to a press release announcing his hiring.
Caslen, a 43-year Army veteran, previously was the college president and superintendent at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. for five years.
Caslen said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel he expects his responsibilities at UCF to end mid-summer, about the time he would start work at South Carolina if he is selected.
“I’m not leaving because I’m dissatisfied,” he said. “I’m not leaving because I have another opportunity.”
Caslen’s duties at UCF have included making changes in the university’s organization and training senior leaders and trustees.
For the past couple of months, he has also served as the interim CFO. He said the university is wrapping up interviews with CFO applicants this week and expects to hire someone soon.
The problems with UCF’s spending first came to light last summer, after the state auditor general’s office flagged $38 million in remaining operating money budgeted for the construction of Trevor Colbourn Hall, a new academic facility that opened in August.
Caslen became the university’s interim CFO after Kathy Mitchell, who was named the interim CFO in September, stepped down in February. She had taken on that role when her predecessor, Bill Merck, resigned in response to the funding controversy.
South Carolina’s current president, Harris Pastides, is retiring July 31, according to The State newspaper in Columbia.
The other finalists for the post are John Strait Applegate, professor and executive vice president for university academic affairs in the Indiana University system; William F. Tate IV, dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis; and Joseph T. Walsh Jr., vice president for research at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
The finalists are expected to appear on the South Carolina campus next week for public forums.
At UCF, Caslen is a temporary employee and earns $156 per hour, which would be $325,728 if he worked full-time for a year.
In his application to South Carolina, Caslen wrote that his duties at UCF include ensuring “resources are utilized to their greatest potential to foster academic excellence and student success.”
On January 6th of this year WPSCF hosted the men and women from West Point's swim team. There were 68 cadets and coaches that we hosted and it was a great opportunity to talk with cadets and just meet some great young leaders. After the lunch, a number of the staff from the restaurant came up to talk to me. The comments the staff made to me left an impression. All the staff kept bringing up was about the men and women they had just met and what a great group of young people they were. They couldn't believe how polite and patient everyone was. Their experiences with large groups is not always good. The swim team were great ambassadors for West Point and made us all extremely proud.
We were able to host these fine men and women because of your contributions to our society and I would like to thank all of you that have contributed this year and ask those of you who have not had a chance yet to think about supporting our activities. Last year we did not officially do a membership drive but we are doing one this year.
I wanted you all to know what your contributions allow us to do. First and foremast we support local recruitment activities, driven by Mike Ulekowski ('75). We have been very successful for a number of years getting some of the best applicants to first consider going to West Point and then many accept appointments to USMA. Your contributions help fund that activity. We also use the funds to support cadet activities in our local area like the Swim Team visit and also the upcoming USMA Tennis Team match against Air Force. If you haven't yet checked out the Tennis Team Event set for this weekend, please check our website for more information. It is going to be a great event. Once again, your contributions help support their activity here. We also have some other events that are "self funded" but in the case of Founders Day, our biggest event, your support helps us defray the cost for cadets, applicants and their parents.
We truly could not provide the type of support required without your contributions. Many of you may be busy and have not "yet" been able to attend any of our events but your support of our mission is still important.
Thank you once again for all those that have contributed this year and for those who have been thinking about joining/contributing, please give it serious consideration.
The last thing I'll say is that we hope to see you all at Founders Day on Friday, March 22nd. Is it too early to say "Beat Navy"?
James L. Young ('78)
Joe O'Connell ('83)
Pat Henson ('05)
Caleb Brown ('04)
Micah Nordquist ('00)
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