News: Students graduate, reflect on Naval War College experience
NEWPORT, R.I. - One-thousand five-hundred eighteen joint military, civilian, and international students graduated from the U.S. Naval War College (NWC), and were recognized for their achievements by Adm. John M. Richardson, director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., president, NWC, during a graduation ceremony, June 20.
“Individually, you will go on to enhance any team that you join. Together, I see the class of 2014 as a tremendous strategic addition to the arsenal of our Navy and our Nation,” said Richardson during his remarks as guest speaker for the event.
The graduating class encompassed a broad and diverse group of military officers and government civilians who completed the NWC curriculum through the 10-month resident or distance-learning education programs.
Making up the resident graduates were: 279 Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and civilian government employees who attended either the College of Naval Warfare or College of Naval Command and Staff; and 94 international naval officers representing 56 countries who attended either the Naval Command College or Naval Staff College (NSC).
“This entire experience has been extremely rewarding and fulfilling,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lara Bollinger, who was one of four American students and only female officer selected to participate in NWC’s NSC international program.
“It was a huge honor for me to be in that program,” said Bollinger. “It had 47 students representing 39 countries. We traveled together introducing international students to our industry, military and all the great things America has to offer.”
Countries represented by international graduates included: Algeria, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Yemen.
Additionally, 1,145 students graduated by completing coursework through NWC’s College of Distance Education (CDE), which includes NWC programs at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., Fleet Seminar Program, online and CD-ROM programs.
“The level of professionalism that I experienced here at the NWC far exceeds any education that I’ve done in my life,” said Army Col. Jerry Wilson, a CDE graduate and division chief for mobilization and readiness at Fort Bragg, N.C. “My writing skills have improved, my decision making has improved, my abilities to think much larger, away from a tactical world to more of a strategic world, has been the culminating piece of everything I’ve done.”
Wilson, began his NWC education in 2009 as a Fleet Seminar Program (FSP) student attending classes at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas, and completed two core courses of study before being deployed for a year to Djibouti, Horn of Africa in 2011.
Following deployment, Wilson made a permanent change of station move to Fort Bragg, where he enrolled and was accepted to complete his final core course of study as a FSP student in Norfolk, Va.
“I was driving once a week, from Fort Bragg, N.C., up to Norfolk, Va., on Thursdays to go to class and driving back Friday morning to go back to work,” said Wilson. “Quitting was not an option for me. It was important that I got my degree and it was important that I finished what I started.”
During the ceremony, students were recognized and received either a NWC diploma or a Master’s of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
Carter concluded the ceremony by charging each of the students to grasp future opportunities and engage organizational leaders as part of a highly-sought talent pool.
“Each of you departs this college more knowledgeable about your honorable profession. More in-tune with both the responsibilities and rewards of self-less service to the nation, and intellectually refreshed in order to address the many challenges of tomorrow,” said Carter. “ I challenge each of you to follow you own ethical compass, and ensure that those who work for you, who work with you, and for whom you work, respect and protect the worth of every individual they encounter.”