The U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies graduated 158 officers from two courses on May 23 at 9 a.m. in the Eisenhower Auditorium of the Lewis and Clark Center. The graduates included 11 international officers from 8 countries and five federal civilian employees representing four federal agencies.
Major Moises Jimenez received the Colonel Thom Felts Leadership Award. The Felts Award is given to the student who best exemplifies all the attributes expected of a SAMS graduate and is considered the top award for SAMS graduates. Other awardees were: Iron Planner, Major Haley Mercer, given for the top physical fitness score; Iron Leader, Major Rob Pough, given for the student who excelled on the new Army Combat Fitness Test; Colonel Arthur D. Simons Center Interagency Writing Award, Major Erin Stevens; Best Advanced Strategic Leader Studies Program Monograph, Col. Nicholas Simontis; and Best Advanced Military Studies Program Monograph, Major Megan Cain. The CGSC Foundation sponsors all the awards for SAMS graduates.
Four Advanced Strategic Leader Studies Program students and 43 Advanced Military Studies Program students graduated with honors. To earn the honors distinction, students had to be in the top 30 percent of the class. All attributes of the total officer are considered in recognizing the top class members. The complete list of honors graduates is below.
Most of the graduates completed the Advanced Military Studies Program. This 10-month course is a graduate level education program to develop innovative and adaptive leaders who excel at operational art and are willing to experiment and accept risk. Program graduates apply critical and creative thinking to solve complex problems, demonstrate mastery of joint and Army doctrine, and anticipate the future operational environment. They synthesize the elements of U.S. national power in joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational operations, and demonstrate effective communications.
Sixteen graduates completed the Advanced Strategic Leader Studies Program. This Senior Service College program, equivalent to the Army War College, focuses on planning and executing the full spectrum of unified land operations with government and nongovernmental agencies and international partners. Its students comprise senior lieutenant colonels, colonels, and their civilian equivalents. Military class members have typically commanded a battalion-sized unit in the armed services.
Graduates of Advanced Military Studies Program receive the Master of Arts in Military Operations and graduates of Advanced Strategic Leader Studies Program receive the Master of Arts in Strategic Studies. The degrees are awarded by the Command and General Staff College based on students successfully completing the School of Advanced Military Studies curriculum, passing an oral comprehensive exam, and successfully completing an extensive monograph based on original research. Completed monographs are published electronically by the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library. CGSC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Brigadier Gen. Robert F. Whittle, Jr., Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., was the graduation speaker. Whittle is a 2003 graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers from the United States Military Academy. He assumed his position as Commandant in September of 2017.
Honors Graduates – Advanced Strategic Leader Studies Program:
Cmdr. Jacob Rosales (U.S. Navy), Col. Grant Fawcett, Col. Shane Murphy (Canada), Col. Nathan Springer
Honors Graduates – Advanced Military Studies Program:
Lieutenant Colonels Rev Barber, Friedrich Biebrach, Jesse Breau, Derrick McClain, Julie Pearce (Australia), and Dom Schellenberger.
Majors Craig Banner, Tom Buller, Matt Burgoon, Megan Cain, Jared Carter, Rick Chersicla, Sam Diehl, Steve Doyle, Dusty Eggleston, Nic Fiore, Edward Francis, Dan Frechette, Mike Haith, Craig Iwen, Dave Jones, Nick Kane, Kwonwoo Kim, Jared Larpenteur, Jordan Lester, Nicolas Lussier-Nivischiuk, Brian McCool, Kyle McElveen, Wassim Merhi, Zach Morris, Scott Nusom, Brandon Pasko, Rob Pough, Dave Rainey, Donnie Schmidt, Doug Stansbury, Erin Stevens, Daniel Tabacchi, William Tulloch, Mike Wallace, Brian Willis, Luke Wittmer, Bret Woellner, Josh Woodruff, and Nick Yetman.