Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Letter

West Point, and M, never cease to amaze. This is what came in the mail during the Christmas break. It's the letter every parent wants to get.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. A

Your son M was a student in my Army Operations course this semester, and I wanted to inform you that M not only displayed mastery of the course material but has also proven to be a leader among his peers, displaying all of the best attributes we seek to instill in our future officers.

In my class, a required core course for all 2nd year students at WP, we teach an intro to tactical thinking and small unit military ops. Imperative to success is the ability to critically think through complex tactical scenarios while under the stresses of time, situational ambiguity, and peer review. We do so in an attempt to replicate the realities of today's complex combat environment, and prepare your son for the likelihood of leading our nation's sons and daughters into danger. Students create a plan and then get up in front of their peers to defend it and associated decision-making, as well as take charge of their peers and lead them through actual tactical exercises outside the classroom. None of this is easy or natural for most college sophomores.

With that said, M performed in the top 1% of 1,135 students. This is no small accomplishment, and speaks to the dedication, commitment, and competence which he brought to the classroom every day. In spite of the numerous other demands on his time, M was able to prioritize effectively, completing all assignments on time, and with a high level of tactical competence and ability.

Even more impressive however, were the intangible attributes which M displayed in addition to his academic curriculum. His natural leadership of peers was evident within the first week of class, and continued throughout the semester. More impressively, M was able to lead in a manner that made people want to follow him -- not out of fear or a given duty position, but out of respect. This is an added responsibility that M not only accepted, but truly embraced. And on top of that, he did so with an easy going attitude, a great sense of humor, and the politeness and professionalism that made him a pleasure to have in my classroom.

As a combat veteran with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, I have no hesitation in saying that I would gladly select M to be a Platoon Leader in my unit today. He has the knowledge, attitude, and demonstrated leadership potential to confidently and competently lead soldiers -- and that is the greatest compliment I can think of to bestow upon a student of mine.

This is, of course, in large part due to the morals, ethics, and manners that M gained as a young man growing up in your household. You should be extremely proud of the young man you've raised, and know that he is performing exceptionally well her at WP. It was a pleasure having him in my classroom, and I look forward to watching his bright future unfold over the next few years.


Thank you, MAJ. We know WP places numerous demands on the instructors' time as well, and we are humbled that you took the time to pay us the best compliment a parent can get.


. said...

Part 2 posted on my blog.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

What an awesome letter :o) Definitely a blessing to get such glowing and amazing reports.

Blessings & Aloha!

The Duchess of Wessex said...

What a great letter!

Congratulations to your cadet and to you, Mom!