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