The Command and General Staff Officers Course (CGSOC) Class of 2024 began Aug. 7, 2023, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with the International Flag Ceremony followed by the commandant’s address to students.
The ceremony was conducted in the Eisenhower Auditorium and hosted by Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Deputy Commandant Brig. Gen. David Foley. Following Foley’s remarks, the United States and the partner nations Flags of 93 nations represented by 120 International Military Students (IMS) students attending this year’s class were posted. After the ceremony, the IMS, their families and sponsors and CGSC leadership attended a reception in the Lewis and Clark Center atrium.
“The International Flag Ceremony, or ‘Roll Call of nations’, reflects both a spirt of international cooperation and the vast breadth of knowledge and experience brought to the college by the class,” said Foley. “It is a proud tradition at Fort Leavenworth that we open each academic class of the Command and General Staff College with the posting of the national colors of the countries participating in the Command and General Staff Officer Course. We look forward to the upcoming academic discussions and studies, which lead to advancement of military readiness and strengthening of our international partnerships.”
IMS participating in the U.S. Army CGSOC do so as a small group of approximately 16 students called a “staff group.” For decades, the College has assigned one of the U.S. students in the staff group to serve as a “student ambassador” to their IMS counterparts. The student ambassador role, initially, is to offer immediate classroom assistance to the IMS. CGSC learned many years ago that the relationship between the IMS and student ambassador quickly moves to one of friendship and close professional and personal association. Given this, it made sense to try and create IMS and student ambassador matches that would offer the greatest possible potential for continued future association and mutual benefit to the two students and their parent organizations and nations.
The U.S. National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) is a U.S. Department of Defense program managed by the National Guard that links U.S. states with partner countries around the world for the purpose of supporting the security cooperation objectives of the geographic combatant commanders. Since 1993, the Army National Guard (ARNG) students attending CGSOC have become an important pool from which to pull Student Ambassadors – and today, the College purposely matches ARNG students with IMS in those instances where we identify a SPP “match.”
To further capitalize on the relationships CGSC creates and enhances with the IMS program, the International Military Student Division, and the Office of the Special Assistant to the Director, ARNG, for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center initiated a proposal to invite the adjutant generals (TAGs) and senior ARNG personnel associated with SPP to attend the IMS flag ceremony to meet with IMS and ARNG students.
This year, the U.S. National Guard state leadership who visited their partner nation students included:
- Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, Utah ARNG, with Morocco IMS Majors Mourad El Hanser and Abdelhadi Lachgar, and Nepal IMS Maj. Ujjwal Gotame.
- Brig. Gen. Craig Strong, Nebraska ARNG, with Czech Republic IMS Capt. Jakub Mach.
- Brig. Gen. Bryan Grenon, Washington ARNG, with Malaysia IMS Maj. Ahmad Shafiq Ikmar bin Mohd Zulkipli, and Thailand IMS Lt. Col. Pornwachara Boon-lam.
- Brig. Gen. David Jenkins, South Carolina ARNG, with Colombia IMS Majors Dietrich Acero De La Parra, and Diego Dario De Jesus Madrigal Pava.
- Brig. Gen. Michael Venerdi, Kansas ARNG, with Armenia IMS Capt. Andranik Terteryan.
- Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler, Kentucky ARNG, with Djibouti IMS Maj. Mahamoud Houssein Omar, and Ecuador IMS Maj. Juan Pablo Reinoso Salinas.
- Brig. Gen. David Pritchett, Wyoming ARNG, with Tunisia IMS Maj. Amine Ben Abdallah.
- Brig. Gen. Monie Ulis, Texas ARNG, with Chile IMS Maj. Boris Nicolas Muñoz Esparza, Czech Republic IMS Capt. Jakub Mach, and Egypt IMS Lt. Col. Mostafa Eldesokey Mahmoud Rageh.
- Brig. Gen. Thomas Vickers, Alabama ARNG, with Romania IMS Majors Grigore-Dan Motofelea and Daniel-Catalin Trefas.
- Brig. Gen. Dale Murray, Maryland ARNG, with Bosnia-Herzegovina IMS Maj. Sinisa Peric, and Estonia IMS Maj. Dmitri Kondratenko.
- Col. Scott Jackels, Georgia ARNG, with Argentina IMS Maj. Facundo Martin Castagno, and Georgia IMS Majors Vakhtangi Gviniashvili and Davit Medzmarishvili.
- Col. Pamela Ellison, Hawaii ARNG, with Indonesia IMS Majors Yusfi Fitrawan, Petrus Paramayudo Prabowo, Sultan Syahrir, Philippines IMS Maj. Francis De Guzman Rosales, Taiwan IMS Maj. Jian-Liang Jiang, and Republic of Korea IMS Majors Min Hyeong Jeong, Hyun Sik Kim, Tae Hyun Kim.
- Lt. Col. Kevin Murphy, New Jersey ARNG, with Albania IMS Maj. Mirelie Kamberaj, and Cyprus IMS Maj. Dimitris Papadimitris.
In addition to the 120 international students representing 94 countries, the CGSOC Class of 2024 includes 946 students including mid-career officers from all branches of the U.S. armed forces and three federal government civilian employees.
The U.S. Army officers make up the preponderance of the class with 749 Active component students, 37 from the ARNG, and 31 from the Army Reserve. There are 74 U.S. Air Force students, 27 U.S. Marine Corps, and 23 U.S. Navy.
In this year’s class, 313 of the U.S. students already hold a master’s degree, with another 104 students enrolled in a master’s program. Another seven have a doctoral degree and with another three enrolled in a doctoral program. Additionally, 36 students hold a professional degree (legal or medical).
• 893 males | 174 female students
• Average age – approximately 34 years old
• Military student rank – 56 captains/lieutenants, 890 majors/lieutenant commanders
International military education at Fort Leavenworth began in 1894. Since then, more than 8,710 IMS from 167 countries have attended classes alongside their United States counterparts. CGSC’s international graduates have been extremely successful in their military careers. Nearly half achieve general officer rank. The college’s International Hall of Fame includes 296 International graduates from 80 countries who, through military merit, have achieved the position of chief of their nation’s Army or higher. Twenty-seven of these graduates became heads of state – three of which are sitting; 300 have become Chiefs of Staff; and another 300 have held positions in ministry and ambassadorships.