Army Flyover At NFL Super Bowl XLVIII


Captain Jill Rahon-Bate ’06 and Captain David Addams ’08 represented Bravo Company, 6th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade from the 101st Airborne Division at the this year’s Super Bowl over MetLife Stadium. Yes, “over.” The graduates were part of the nine-helicopter (three Black Hawks, three Apaches, and three Chinooks) V-formation that flew over some 80,000 fans just as opera star Renée Fleming sang, “…and the home of the brave,” and right before fireworks lit up the sky above the stadium.

A View From The Aircraft

A View From The Stadium

500th Night: Admiral McRaven At West Point


Admiral William McRaven is, by anyone’s definition, a true warrior. A 36-year veteran of the US Navy, he earned his Special Operations credentials the hard way, first by completing the grueling selection and training program required of all men who aspire to become a Navy SEAL. He then went on to serve on the storied SEAL Team 6, and to
command SEAL Team 3 before his appointment as commander of Special Operations Command Europe.

More recently, ADM McRaven commanded the Joint Special Operations Command, the most elite and complex SOF formation in the world. It was in this capacity that he became a household name as the commander of the raid that finally got Osama Bin Laden. Currently, Admiral McRaven directs all US Special Operations Forces as the commander of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

ADM McRaven had the opportunity to work with the Army on many occasions over the course of his career, and these interactions were the subject of the speech he delivered when he travelled to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in January to be the Guest of Honor for an event known as “500th Night.” 500th Night marks
an important milestone for the junior class of cadets: 500 days left until graduation and commissioning into the US Army.

ADM McRaven’s 500th Night speech, titled A Sailor’s Perspective on the United States Army, was transcribed and released by West Point. We [editors at Hit The Woodline] edited West Point’s transcript slightly for purposes of readability and have provided it for you below. It is a lengthy read, but I assure you it is well worth it. The last five or so paragraphs are the most poignant. ….

Related: Admiral McRaven at his Alma Mater, The University of Texas at Austin, 17 May 2014:

Jeff Monken, New Army Head Football Coach

For Immediate Release: (Dec. 24, 2013)

Monken Named Army Head Football Coach
Former Georgia Southern Head Coach Takes Reigns Of Black Knights

IMG_40588_0x10_002AQ01_thumbWEST POINT, N.Y. – Jeff Monken, the highly successful head coach at Georgia Southern University, has been named Army’s new head football coach, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Boo Corrigan announced today.

Monken, one of the preeminent option coaches in the country, becomes Army’s 37th individual head coach to lead the Black Knights’ historic football program.

Corrigan and U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen conducted a thorough national search before selecting Monken.

“We were fortunate to have an excellent pool of candidates to consider,” said Corrigan. “We were very impressed with each of the individuals we interviewed. There was tremendous interest in the position nationally and we felt there were several very qualified candidates, but throughout the process Jeff separated himself from the others. His passion, energy and strong experience in turning around a program immediately helped him rise to the top of our list.”

Monken will be officially introduced during a press conference on Monday, Dec. 30 at 11 a.m.

“We want a successful head coach who understands the challenges of working at a service academy, one who could help us win immediately and one who understands the importance of West Point’s mission. We found that in Jeff,” said Corrigan. “Jeff has been highly successful at every stop he has made both on the field and off. We expect him to experience that same level of success at West Point. We could not be more excited to have Jeff , his wife Beth, and their three daughters join the West Point family and lead our football program.”

Said Caslen, “Jeff will help us to build leaders of character on and off the football field and is the perfect choice to lead our football program. As a former player, I am excited about Jeff’s enthusiasm, desire to succeed and tremendous track record of success.”

Monken spent the last four seasons as head coach at Georgia Southern after learning the triple-option offense under one of the nation’s premier option proponents, Paul Johnson, during assistant coaching stints at Navy and Georgia Tech.

During his four seasons at Georgia Southern, Monken authored a 38-16 mark and was spearheaded the programs transition to the elite Football Bowl Subdivision level from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) ranks.

Georgia Southern, which will join the Sun Belt Conference next year, was a member of the FCS and qualified for the NCAA playoffs in all three eligible seasons under Monken, advancing to the national semifinals each year while posting double-digit victory totals.

Monken guided tradition-rich Georgia Southern to some of the biggest wins in school history, with the most memorable arguably a 26-20 victory at Florida in November at the vaunted “Swamp.” Despite that headline-grabbing victory, Georgia Southern was not eligible for the FCS playoffs this season due to its transitional status.

“I am thrilled to accept the head coaching position at West Point,” said Monken. “Not only is the United States Military Academy one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world, it boasts one of the nation’s richest, most historic traditions in all of college football. I am anxious to get started…meet our players, put our coaching staff in place, and begin preparations for the 2014 football season.

“There are so many people I would like to thank for this tremendous opportunity, starting with Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan and our Superintendent, Gen. Bob Caslen,” continued Monken. “I am honored and humbled by their trust in me to lead the West Point football program. I have had the privilege of serving as a coach for several outstanding institutions and am thankful to all of the student-athletes, coaches, and administrators with whom I have worked. Because of their commitment, dedication, and loyalty, this opportunity to serve at West Point has been afforded to me. More than anyone else, I want to thank the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation in the United States Army. I am proud to be your head football coach. ”

Monken and Johnson are the only coaches in school history to win at least 10 games in each of their first three seasons.

“Jeff Monken is an outstanding football coach. He is a tireless worker who will do the right things to build a program and he will be a great leader,” said Johnson. “Jeff was a loyal assistant coach for me for many years and I’m excited for him and this opportunity.”

A finalist for the 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award, Monken guided Georgia Southern to 10 wins his first season, 11 his second and10 in his third. His 2013 squad posted a 7-4 mark, including the stunning, season-ending upset of Florida in Gainesville.

Under Monken’s guidance, Georgia Southern was one of the top rushing teams at the FCS level, claiming the NCAA rushing title in 2012 at 399.36 yards per contest. Walter Payton Award candidate Jerick McKinnon and running back Dominique Swope established the NCAA record for rushing yards by teammates with 3,063.

Monken coached a lengthy list of all-stars, including the school’s highest-ever National Football League draft choice, safety J.J. Wilcox, a third-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys in 2013.

In 2011, Georgia Southern was ranked No. 1 in both FCS polls for seven weeks and stopped Wofford, 31-10, to win its ninth Southern Conference championship. Five players were named All-America, Brent Russell was selected Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Monken earned conference Coach of the Year plaudits and Swope was named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Home playoff wins against Old Dominion and Maine were part of the Eagles’ memorable 11-3 campaign.

Monken got off to a great start in his first year as Georgia Southern’s head coach, knocking off top-ranked and previously unbeaten Appalachian State as part of a 10-5 season. Georgia Southern ended the season with three straight wins to qualify for the postseason and registered three playoff victories to advance to the national semifinals.

In addition to the success on the field, Monken helped Georgia Southern reemerge academically with the team’s cumulative grade point average ranking as the highest in school history in each of his first two seasons.

Not only was Georgia Southern successful in the classroom and on the football field under Monken, but the players and staffs were part of several community service programs and local events.

Monken was named Georgia Southern’s head coach in November of 2009, continuing a family history of football coaches. Jeff’s father, Mike, and a dozen family members have coached at the high school, collegiate or professional levels.

Monken’s first head coaching job came after accumulating 20 years of experience as an assistant, 13 of them with his mentor Johnson. Monken coached slotbacks at Georgia Southern from 1997 to 2001 before joining Johnson first at Navy and then Georgia Tech.

As an assistant coach at Georgia Southern, Monken was part of two NCAA FCS National Championship squads (1999 and 2000) and five straight playoff teams. Georgia Southern was among the top-five rushing teams in all five seasons and twice led the nation in rushing. Four out of five seasons, the Eagles ranked in the top-15 in scoring as well.

After serving as an assistant at Georgia Southern, Monken accepted a position on Johnson’s coaching staff at Navy. Monken not only mentored slotbacks, he later added special teams coordinator duties.

In Annapolis, Monken helped the Midshipmen to five straight Commander in Chief trophies and five consecutive bowl appearances, including a 10-win season in 2004.

Following his time at Navy, Monken moved to Georgia Tech where for two seasons he served as slotbacks coach and special teams coordinator. The Yellow Jackets posted double-digit wins in 2009 and captured the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, although that title was later vacated.

Monken began his coaching career in 1989 as a graduate assistant at the University Hawai’i and later spent one season at Arizona State University. Monken moved to University of Buffalo as the wide receivers and tight ends coach and also handled recruiting. He served on the staffs at Morton (Ill.) High School as head coach and at Concordia University in Illinois as the offensive line coach as well.

“I’d like to thank U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Bob Caslen, and all those who assisted in this process,” added Corrigan. “We were able to move swiftly but judiciously thanks to the help of many and I feel very good about the result of our search. I am very confident that we have identified the perfect choice to lead our cadet-athletes and achieve the level of success we strongly desire for our football program.”

A native of Joliet, Ill, Monken played wide receiver for four years and earned two varsity letters in track and field while earning his bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in 1989. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in October and collected his master’s degree from Hawai’i in 1991.

Monken and his wife Beth have three daughters, Isabelle, Amelia and Evangeline.

College Football- Navy vs Georgia Southern

The Jeff Monken introductory press conference will be offered free of charge via Knight Vision at on Monday at 11 a.m.

Army – Named Jeff Monken head football coach

Army will formally introduce Jeff Monken as its 37th head football coach at a press conference in Nowak Auditorium inside Randall Hall on Monday, Dec. 30. The press conference will begin at 11 a.m. and will be streamed free of charge on Knight Vision. Members of the media unable to attend can join via teleconference by calling 1-712-432-3066 and using the passcode 891414.

From The Commandant, US Army War College

In response to this article of 17 December in the Washington Times, MG Tony Cucolo, Commandant, US Army War College, writes:

A Sincere note to our Alumni, friends, and all concerned:

Major General Tony Cucolo here, Commandant of the US Army War College. I’d like to address an issue that has come up based on a Washington Times web posting and article in its paper of 18 December 2013.

Even though last night’s posting had a photo at the top of that article showing a picture of one of our entry gates with huge statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson mounted on horseback on either side of the sign, and today’s posting showed a dignified photo of Robert E. Lee at the top of the article, it might be misleading as to what is in question. For what it is worth, I must tell you there is only one outside statue on Carlisle Barracks and that is of Frederick the Great. There is no statue of Lee, there is no statue of Jackson; that picture is photo-shopped – I assume to attract attention to the article. We do however have many small monuments, mostly stone with bronze plaques, but those are for a variety of reasons. There are small memorials to the service of British units (during the French and Indian War), memorials of Army schools that had been based at Carlisle Barracks over the last two-plus centuries, memorials to Carlisle Indian Industrial School students and significant personalities of that period from 1879 – 1918, a memorial for US Army War College graduates killed in action since 2001 and more. We do not have any public memorials to the Confederacy, but we do have signs on the walking tour of the base that will tell you for a few days during the Civil War, three North Carolina Brigades camped on the parade ground and then burned down the post (save one building) as they departed on July 1st, 1863, to rejoin Lee’s forces at Gettysburg. We also do not have any large stand-alone portraits of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson.

So, no statues or big portraits, but a recent event here sparked the reporter’s and other public interest in the topic of the article, which I find makes a good point – for topics like this, have a thoughtful conversation before making a decision.

Here is what happened: a few weeks ago, while relocating his office to a new floor in our main school building over the weekend, one of my leaders looked outside his new office location and simply decided to change the look of the hallway. He took down, off the wall, a number of framed Civil War prints that depicted Confederate States of America forces in action against Union forces or depicted famous Confederate leaders. He did this on his own. There was no directive to “remove all traces of the CSA.” Since this is a public hallway with seminar rooms and offices, the sudden new look drew attention the following week. And since there was no public explanation of my leader’s action, some of my folks jumped to conclusions, even to the point of sending anonymous notes to local media. We have since attempted to clarify the action within our own ranks.

If it matters to any of you, you could walk into this building today, and see ornately framed paintings and even a few prints similar to the ones that came down off that hallway wall of Confederate forces and leaders mixed in an among countless other paintings and prints of the Army (and the other services) in action from the Revolutionary War through the current fight in Afghanistan. I must admit, there are in fact a large number of Civil War paintings, depicting both North and South. I can only assume one of the reasons there are so many is that we are barely 30 minutes from Gettysburg, home to many renowned artists, a few of whom have been commissioned by US Army War College classes of the past to capture some iconic scene of that conflict.

Finally, and with ironic timing, I also must tell you that I am in the midst of planning a more meaningful approach to the imagery and artwork that currently adorn the public areas on the three primary floors of The War College. There will be change: over the years very fine artwork has been hung with care – but little rationale or overall purpose. Just today, I left the “George S. Patton Jr. Room”, walked by the “Peyton March Room” and nearby hung a picture of a sharp fight in Iraq, 2003, right next to a Civil War print, which was near a series of prints honoring Army Engineers, and a few feet further hung a painting of the Battle of Cowpens. We can do better; we’d like our students, staff, and faculty to walk through a historical narrative that sends a message of service, valor, sacrifice, and courageous leadership at the strategic level.

But I will also approach our historical narrative with keen awareness and adherence to the seriousness of several things: accurate capture of US military history, good, bad and ugly; a Soldier’s life of selfless service to our Nation; and our collective solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States (not a person or a symbol, but a body of ideals). Those are the things I will be looking to reinforce with any changes to the artwork.

Much more information than perhaps you wished to know, but this topic has the ability to bring out the extremes of opinion and discourse, and I at least wanted the facts of our own activities to be known.


Tony Cucolo
Major General, US Army

Message From The Supe

15 December 2013

To our West Point Graduates:

I share with you the disappointment of the Army Football Team’s continued losses to Navy – the 12th in a row occurring last Saturday, 14 December, in Philadelphia. The players had worked too hard, the Corps had laid it all out all year in support, our graduates were watching with great anticipation, and our Soldiers across the globe expected a different outcome. But they did not get it this year. They deserve better and you deserve better. I accept full responsibility to get us moving immediately in that direction.

At West Point, we continue to attract the right young men and women from across America to develop the world’s best leaders on and off the field. We must surround our cadets with staff, faculty and coaches who will develop them and toughen them for the world we know they’ll face when they graduate. They must connect, challenge, and inspire them, or we will cause harm beyond the playing field.

To that end, our Athletic Director Boo Corrigan and I have decided to terminate our football coach, Rich Ellerson’s contract, and to immediately begin a search for the coach who will provide the leadership that will quickly build a winning program here at Army. In preparation for a possible move, we have and will continue to consult with former coaches and players who participated in winning programs, and have also carefully reviewed the input of many graduates whose recommendations and observations have been appreciated. Substantive work has already begun on a comprehensive, national basis to identify a pool of very impressive candidates.

Leadership must come from the Institution, the coach, and the players. We are also reviewing previous football studies and looking at institutional changes that are necessary to support winning programs, but fully integrated with our intellectual, military, physical and character developmental programs.

Thank you for your continued support of West Point. When America puts its sons and daughters in harm’s way, they do not expect us to just “do our best”… but to win. Nothing short of victory is acceptable. That fundamental ethos is at the heart of this Academy. It must be ingrained in every one of our athletic programs. Our core values are Duty, Honor, Country. Winning makes them real.

Go Army – Beat Navy!

Robert L. Caslen, Jr.
LTG, U.S. Army
59th Superintendent

WPPC-NJ 2014 Challenge Coin Project

This is a project of West Point Parents Club of New Jersey:

The WPPCNJ has sponsored a Class Fund fundraiser for the last two classes and intends on continuing this effort for all classes in the future.  This fundraiser involves producing and selling very detailed and exquisite Challenge Coins that contain the West Point Crest on the front and the Class Crest on the back along with their R-Day and Graduation day dates.  We have obtained official approval from West Point Trademarks for the West Point Seal as well as the Class President and DCA approval for each Class Crest. Every penny of profit goes to the Class Fund and we are building quite a reputation based on the quality of these coins. Since this effort is manned from volunteers from the WPPCNJ, every penny of profit goes to the Class Fund and the amounts are growing nicely.

Here is the flyer with pictures and order info.

A Letter From The Superintendent

The Letter from LTG Robert  L. Caslen, Jr.

Cover letter from Jim Johnston, ’73, Vice President for Alumni Support & Business Operations, West Point Association of Graduates:

LTG Caslen has asked WPAOG to forward the attached letter to you. His letter asks you to help USMA activities such as Admissions expand their outreach into your communities. Specifically, he asks you to engage influential community leaders to facilitate USMA access to high quality candidates with diverse backgrounds. As secretary of WPAOG’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I am working with our President & CEO, Bob McClure ’76; the chair of WPAOG’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Andre Sayles ’73; and representatives of USMA agencies to develop WPAOG’s strategy to support your community outreach activities.

At this point, please discuss the Superintendent’s letter within your Society, and, where possible, share it with Parents Club and Field Force members in your region. I invite you to share information on what you are already doing in this mission area, as well as your thoughts on what WPAOG might do to assist you in responding to the Superintendent’s request.

Thank you for your continuing service to West Point-in this mission areas and in many others.