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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Military officers recognized for completing 'daunting' program

  • Thirty-one military officers joined a unique group Tuesday as they became graduates of the School of Advanced Military Studies, an Army official said.
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  • Thirty-one military officers joined a unique group Tuesday as they became graduates of the School of Advanced Military Studies, an Army official said.
    "It's a pretty wonderful day," Lt. Gen. Terry Wolff told the graduating officers.
    Wolff is director of strategic plans and policies at the Pentagon. He also is a 1991 SAMS graduate.
    Wolff was the guest speaker for Tuesday's graduation ceremony at Fort Leavenworth.
    The 31 graduates completed a 10-month graduate-level course. SAMS is part of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
    According to a Fort Leavenworth website, SAMS educates future leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces, other agencies and American allies "to think strategically and operationally to solve complex adaptive problems across the security environment."
    Graduates of SAMS receive a master's degree of military art and science.
    Most of Tuesday's graduates were Army officers. There were a couple of students from the Air Force, and three of the graduates were international military officers from the United Kingdom, Egypt and Canada.
    "Your course of instruction has been busy," Wolff said. "It's probably been daunting."
    He said SAMS has invested heavily in the graduates and the military will leverage their skills time and again.
    "You will do enormous business for your military," he said.
    Wolff encouraged the graduates to balance their family, job and faith as officers in the military.
    "I really wish you Godspeed and good luck as you go forward," he said.
    As is tradition, one of the graduates was recognized Tuesday for writing the best monograph, or research paper, in the class. A couple of new awards were also presented during the ceremony.
    The Iron Planner award recognizes graduates with the highest overall Army physical fitness test scores.
    The Col. Thomas Felts Leadership Award is presented to the student who is believed to best exemplify the desired attributes of a graduate of the SAMS program. The award is named after a SAMS graduate who was killed in 2006 while serving in Iraq.
    The Best Monograph award was presented to Army Lt. Col. Scott Allen, who also was class president.
    "It was exciting," he said of receiving the award.
    He said it was good to see his long hours of work pay off.
    Allen said his 60-page monograph focused on the occupation of Germany after World War II.
    Army Majs. Erik Peterson and Angelica Martinez received the Iron Planner award.
    "I think it's just part of the Army lifestyle," Martinez said of fitness.
    She said SAMS is fairly rigorous, and running and other physical activity are good ways to relieve stress.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Col. Thomas Felts Leadership Award was presented to Army Maj. Will Harris.
    "I think it was a great year," Harris said of his SAMS experience.
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