Norfolk, Va. – The Joint and Combined Warfighting School graduated its 200th class Friday, November 14th
, at the Joint Forces Staff College. JCWS is the legacy course of instruction begun in 1946 when General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz recognized the need for education across service lines. As General Eisenhower stated in a memorandum to Admiral Nimitz, “(The Armed Forces Staff College) is the only college in the school system where the basic mission will be to give instruction on the theater and major joint task force level.”
The graduating class of 256 students brings the total number of graduates to 35,946 since the College’s founding over 62 years ago. This number represents 33,450 U.S. military officers, 1,623 international officers, and 873 civilians. JCWS graduates on active duty today include Army Chief of Staff General George Casey (1981), Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz (1984), Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Patrick Walsh (1988), and President of the National Defense University, Marine LtGen Frances Wilson (1993).
Major General David Edgington, USAF, Chief of Staff, U.S. Joint Forces Command, was the graduation speaker. In recognition of this milestone each graduate received a commemorative coin provided by the National Defense University Foundation.
Brigadier General Kate Kasun, USA, Commandant of the Joint Forces Staff College, stated the graduation was “An awesome milestone! The country has no doubt capitalized on the knowledge passed through these halls… contributions of the Joint Warfighter are myriad and indispensible. JFSC is shaping leaders that make tough calls when two-fisted fighting is necessary. Here, we are arming you with the tools that you need to respond, fight, and win. The stakes are high.”
Kasun continued by stating, “Many of you (graduates) are about to return to Combatant Commands or high echelons of command and control throughout the Federal Government, specifically the Department of Defense. In doing this, please remember that we must do our best to leverage interagency cooperation and collaboration: this is our definition of C2 at the college. To succeed against present challenges, we need linkage and cooperation like never before. The JCWS is a beacon of this line of thought, and to be present in its two hundredth class is an honor.”
A cake cutting ceremony marking the occasion took place Thursday, November 13th and included the unveiling of a new crest for JCWS. According to Army Colonel Craig Bollenberg, the JCWS Dean, “the crest holds multiple symbolic references to the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. The mermaid symbolizes eloquence in speech, applicable to the graduates of the school, but in more familiar terms, the Mermaid also signifies the school’s strong bond and heartfelt association with Norfolk, Virginia. The Mermaid is colored purple to represent the combination of all colors of the Military Forces of the United States. The Torch she carries symbolizes liberty, truth and intelligence, the keystones of genuine Education. Her flowing hair reflects the Service colors of the Joint and Combined military services that attend the school. Her scales represent the armor protection provided by the synergistic effects of joint forces working together. The shaft of the Spear she brandishes represents the supreme force of National Power. The mantle that connects the shaft to the four tines represents the inter-agency coordination that bolsters the strength of those four tines. Each of the tines represents the four Branches of the Military Arm of national Power.”