Story by SFC Joy Dulen on 08/01/2019When military officers graduate from the Army War College, they don't just receive congratulations and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, they also receive a Master's degree in Strategic Studies.
Five U.S. Army Reserve officers from the 7th Mission Support Command based out of Kaiserslautern, Germany, graduated from the U.S. Army War College Class of 2019 on Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, July 26.
The two-year distance education program had a high proportion of Reserve component officers in its graduating class of 367.
"Split between a resident and distance learning course, the Army War College is difficult to get in to," said Col. Aaron Justice, commander of the 510th Regional Support Group, 7th MSC, and recent War College graduate. "It is an important step in my career as it shows the Army values my previous accomplishments and believes I have the potential for future service."
The 2019 graduating student body included officers from the active, Reserve and National Guard Army, active and Reserve Marine Corps, active and Reserve Navy, active and Reserve Air Force and the Air National Guard, as well as international officers from Germany, Netherlands and Lithuania. Thirty-eight civilians from the departments of State, Army, Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, intelligence agencies and Congressional staff also received diplomas.
"The two-year curriculum was primarily online learning, with two resident phases at Carlisle," said Carol Kerr, Army War College public affairs. "The work spanned international relations studies, military planning, military exercises, case studies, and individual projects."
Justice, along with Col. Betty Cummiskey, Col. Ed Jugueta, Lt. Col. Clifton Kyle and Lt. Col. Kenneth Gilliland, juggled the two-year curriculum while maintaining their Army Reserve officer careers, family lives, civilian jobs and other responsibilities.
"It is always difficult balancing a civilian career, family, Army Reserve job and then adding school," said Justice. "I had just completed another Master's degree as well as the Joint and Combined Warfighting School-Hybrid course so knew what to expect from a distance learning environment."
The class is designed to change thinking and leadership approaches from operational and tactical to strategic to help meet the needs of servicemembers across all components.
"Completing the Army War College will not only help me think and plan strategically but it will also help me communicate and execute those plans," added Justice.
Though trying at times, Justice said he has a lot to be thankful for when he thinks back on the last couple years.
"It was a long and tough two years," he said. "I am thankful not only to my family but also to the 7th MSC for letting me juggle my (Troop Program Unit) requirements when I had pressing War College requirements."