The U.S. Army’s Ruling Class: West Point 1979

By Sandra I. Erwin

Which class ends up with the most notable graduates is a competitive sport at the U.S. Army Military Academy.
Today, a big hooah! goes out to the class of 1979.
Of its 923 graduates, several now hold positions of significant power and influence in the U.S. Army, on the Joint Staff and in the private sector.
Among them:
• Gen. Robert W. Cone, head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
• Maj. Gen. David Halverson, commander of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Okla.
• Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific.
• Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz, military deputy for budget at the office of the assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller.
• Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, director of Army force development under the deputy chief of staff, G-8.
• Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell, Army deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7.
• Maj. Gen. Bert K. Misuzawa (graduated first in the class), deputy director for strategic initiatives, J5, Joint Chief of Staff.
• Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, recently retired, was the director of the Defense Department’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
• Francis A. Finelli, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel, is an investment banker at The Carlyle Group who specializes in the defense and aerospace industry.
Although not currently in a position of power, retired Col. Nathaniel H. Sledge Jr., also a member of the USMA class of ’79, is a contributing writer to National Defense Magazine. His articles focus on military procurement and the challenges of Defense Department weapon modernization programs.
The class of 1979, Sledge notes, was the last all-male class. In October 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation permitting women to enter the United States service academies.

Topics: Defense Department, DOD Leadership

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