Maj. Kristine Lee is the distinguished honor graduate of the latest class from the Command and General Staff Officer Course.
The Fort Campbell, Kentucky Soldier will receive a CGSC Lamp of Knowledge coin and have her name etched on a plaque at the campus noting all its top graduates.
Fifty-two field grade officers from throughout the Army took the virtual four-month course which concluded with a virtual graduation ceremony Dec. 18. The Redstone Arsenal Satellite Campus of the Command and General Staff School transitioned to a virtual classroom environment in March because of the pandemic.
The top 10% distinguished graduates included Maj. Christyn Gaa, Maj. Daniel Newell of Redstone Arsenal, Capt. Gregory Gallagher and Maj. Greg Marsh.
The school transitioned to distance learning since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March. The 12 faculty members are on telework and they teach their military students online.
“When the pandemic began back in March, we had a class that was here in session. And we were required to quickly transition from in-person classes to some kind of virtual classroom learning environment,” Clay Newton, the campus director, previously told The Rocket in December. “So we did that really without skipping a beat.”
When the pandemic hit, the faculty separated on March 17 from the field grade officers in the four-month Command and General Staff Officer Course. The Soldiers stayed in their hotel and were given four travel days to return to their regular duty stations. The course resumed virtually March 31 and the 59 students in class 2020-001 graduated April 17.
Class 2020-002, the first 100% virtual class, began May 7 and the 63 Soldiers graduated Aug. 21.
The latest all-virtual class, 2020-003, began Sept. 2 and 52 officers completed their 16 weeks and graduated Dec. 18.
As usual the captains and majors were from throughout the Army and throughout the world. The different time zones represented posed a challenge which the faculty was able to address.
“We were able to accommodate officers who were as far away as Korea, Guam, Hawaii, so in the Asian Pacific time zones, by offsetting some of our faculty,” Newton said. “Meaning we had some of our faculty start teaching at 1500 (3 p.m.) Central to better align themselves with students in Korea, Guam and Hawaii. This is a pretty significant commitment for select members of the faculty.”
Newton, campus director since 2015, is still going to his office each day in building 3450 on Zeus Drive. His 12 faculty members are teaching from home. Their information technology specialist, Bob McCormick, is visiting the building periodically.
“It certainly took some adjustments on both the faculty and the students part (to change to virtual instruction) because when we began this we had to transition from an in-person learning environment to a virtual classroom environment,” Newton said. “So there was a learning curve. But our faculty embraced it, got excited about it and have jumped in with both feet to master our virtual classroom platform that we use to
deliver the course.”
Their online teaching platform is called blackboard.com, provided by the Command and General Staff School which is part of the Army University.
The Command and General Staff School, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, educates and develops leaders for full spectrum, joint, interagency and multinational operations. More than 1,800 officers have graduated from the Redstone Arsenal Satellite Campus which opened January 2010. The other three satellite campuses include Fort Belvoir and Fort Lee, in Virginia, and Fort Gordon, Georgia.
“What we do here directly impacts leader development for the individual and improves Army readiness in the aggregate,” Newton said. “So that’s why we’re here.”
Here are the 52 graduates of the Command and General Staff Officer Course class of 2020-003:
• Staff group Alpha: Maj. Sean Dodge, Capt. Andrew Addis, Maj. Lemija Allen, Capt. Matthew Boyle, Capt. Peter Fiol, Maj. Christyn Gaa, Maj. Josette Gamba, Capt. Matthew Gary, Maj. Carl Hodgson, Maj. Seungho Kang, Maj. Robert Kelly, Maj. Ariel Medina, Maj. Telena Nelson, Maj. Jennifer Nicholas, Maj. Michael Passoff, Chaplain (Maj.) Hans Ruska, Maj. Lee Schroeder and Maj. Edward Willis
• Staff group Bravo: Maj. John Hummel, Chaplain (Maj.) Taiwo Arowosegbe, Capt. Brandon Blaska, Andrew Brand, Capt. Lakisha Coffey, Maj. Steven Elinow, Maj. Fermina Laynez, Maj. Kristine Lee, Maj. Maria Orozco, Maj. Ernest Severe and Capt. Matthew Stacy
• Staff group Charlie: Maj. Tiffany Gilmartin, Maj. Sarah Afriecq, Maj. Issac Chongulia, Maj. Simi Dhaliwal, Capt. Kristopher Kilgroe, Maj. David Lilja, Maj. Daniel Newell, Maj. Bobby Patton, Maj. Carlos Trujillo, Maj. Justine Warrior and Capt. Travis White
• Staff group Delta: Maj. Sonny Cain, Chaplain (Maj.) Stephan Buchanan, Capt. Gregory Gallagher, Maj. Daniel Hankins, Maj. Crystal Irving, Kathryn Lipiecki, Maj. Greg Marsh, Maj. Niles Motschenbacher, Maj. Roland Salazar, Maj. David Spencer, Maj. Scott Sylvester and Maj. Daniel Wood