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Class of 2011 Unveils Class Crest With Gratitude to Class of 1961

Plebes Daniel White (left), Jessica Huggins and Jedd Ferris hold up the Class of 2011 crest during its unveiling April 11 at Washington Hall.

On Friday evening, 11 April, the members of the Class of 2011 gathered in the Mess Hall to honor their sponsors and officially unveil their Class Crest. After offering their gratitude to their sponsors for the warmth and hospitality they have shown the Class of 2011, the Class displayed—for the first time—the result of hours of hard work by many people: the Class Crest of 2011. This Crest is a fitting tribute to a Class that entered West Point while our country is at war, for the Crest has many elements that symbolize that struggle and the role this Class will play in that conflict.

As part of this great ceremony, the Class of 2011 took special notice of two of its guests of honor: COL Al Vanderbush and COL Dick Buckner, both of whom are members of USMA 1961, the Fifty Year Affiliation Class for the Class of 2011. As the Fifty Year Affiliation Class, USMA 1961 began its journey with the Class of 2011 by sponsoring a wonderful reception at Ike Hall on R-Day for the family and friends of the New Cadets of USMA 2011. At the end of R-Day, members of the Class of 1961 were present at Trophy Point to witness the swearing-in ceremony of the newest West Point Class. During the Crest Unveiling Ceremony, CDT Mike McCullough, the 2011 Class President, publicly thanked the Class of 1961 for its support of his Class, and he asked his Classmates to give COL’s Vanderbush and Buckner a round of applause, which they did in rousing fashion. The involvement of members of the Fifty Year Affiliation Class in this ceremony is a tradition begun last year at the suggestion of COL Bob Totten, USMA 1960; he and his Classmate Mr. Charles Schrankel represented his Classmates at last year’s Crest Unveiling Ceremony for the Class of 2010.

This year’s ceremony was quite impressive, due in large part to the poise and stage presence of those Plebes with speaking roles: CDT Taylor Pearce, Mistress of Ceremonies; CDT Jim Raub, Invocation; CDT Mike McCullough, Class President; CDT Daniel White, Ring and Crest Chair; CDT John Schmidt, Class Historian; and CDT Kristen Rutledge, Benediction. Additionally, Mrs. Jane Jollota, the Cadet Hostess; Mr. Ron Harsch from DCA; technical and photographic support from DOIM; music from the USMA Band; and great support from the Mess Hall staff combined to make this event a smooth, memorable affair.

Thanks are again in order to the Class of 1961 for its support of the Class of 2011, and we here at the WPAOG look forward to these two great Classes—representing the past, present, and future of the Long Gray Line—reuniting during this summer’s Yearling Flag Ceremony, when the Class of 1961 will present a magnificent set of Class Colors to the Class of 2011.

Below are CDT Schmidt’s stirring words describing the significance of key elements of the Class Crest of USMA 2011. Crests are used everywhere in the Army as a way to symbolize a particular unit amongst a large collection of people and ideas. Each year, the Fourth Class cadets of the United States Military Academy choose a motto and Crest, to symbolize their values and the road from civilian to cadet to officer. These values are put to the drawing board and become the Class Crest. This Crest will represent the Class of 2011 in the Long Gray Line.

George Washington symbolizes our past military experiences, a strong foundation, and a pristine example. He represents the values of leadership through Duty, Honor, and Country. His duty was first and foremost to his nation. His honor and humility were exhibited as he graciously accepted his appointment as the first commander of the troops of a newly freed nation and later as the First President. In his heart was the pride for this country as he set a noble example for others to follow. Washington also inspires us to uphold that same motto he once fought for. He is pointing with his hand toward our future in this Army and this country.

The crossing of the Officer Saber and Cadet Sword symbolizes bridging the gaps between cadet and officer. It is as cadets we learn to embrace the seven Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage that will help us in our future as officers and soldiers in the United States Army. The American flag waving in the background is the symbol of our nation and what we must fight to defend. On the flag are five stars and six stripes representing the number eleven our graduation year. Furthermore, it reminds us of our home, regardless of where we are stationed.

The focal point of our crest is the eye of the eagle. Its fierce look depicts our sternness and resolve. The American eagle soars free over this land. It is another symbol of our nation, our military, and our determination. As the head is the only feature shown, this is to help us focus on the task at hand, and it shows our devotion to the well-being of the nation. The presence of the eagle sheds its power to help to empower us in our road ahead.

Unlike on other Class Crests, the USMA on our Crest is vertical. This is to show the building blocks of our careers. Stacked like a stoic Greek pillar, the vertical USMA represents our timeless strength and ability to withstand whatever challenges we face. It is placed opposite of George Washington’s historical image to remind us all that history lives forever, and that we, too, will one day be remembered forever in history.

At the bottom of the Crest is our graduation year and a scroll which boasts our Class motto: "For Freedom We Fight." We will fight for the freedoms of our brothers and sisters of this great nation. We will sacrifice ourselves with service in the profession of arms and then in our civilian professions thereafter. We have almost finished our first of four years before taking our next big step. I say to you, Class of 2011, godspeed and good luck!













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