WEST POINT – Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen is the 59th superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point after a change of command ceremony in Eisenhower Hall Wednesday.
The ceremonial passing of the United States Military Academy Colors from Lieutenant General David Huntoon Jr., the retiring superintendent, to Caslen symbolized both the transfer of responsibility and the continuance of command.
Huntoon is retiring after four years as commander of the Military Academy.
The ceremony, presided over by Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odiero, was attended by friends and family, former Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, and Congressman Todd Platts from Pennsylvania, as well as Caslen’s West Point classmates from 1975.
Incoming Superintendent Caslen’s most recent assignment was as the chief of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq.
When he graduated from the academy, Caslen said he thought he would do his five years and get out of the Army.
“What happened was I got in the Army and I fell in love with the Army,” he said. “I fell in love with soldiers and dealing with soldiers in very tough situations, and problems and working your way through those problems.”
Caslen talked about the complexity of war today in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where a solider can be walking a child to school, helping to rebuild the infrastructure, and the fighting in a life or death fight, sometimes all in one day. His role as superintendent is to answer the question: “What leadership models are necessary to develop our leaders to operate in that complex environment,” Caslen said.
The United States Military Academy was established at West Point in 1802 and it is the nation's oldest military academy.
“No other educational institution in the land has contributed as many names as West Point has contributed to the honor role of the nation’s greatest citizens,” Odiero said, quoting President Theodore Roosevelt on West Point. “And of all the institutions in the country, none is more absolutely American.”