News today that Lieutenant General Franklin L. “Buster” Hagenbeck, the 57th and current superindentant of the U.S. Military Academy, will be retiring this summer. President Barack Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon, Jr. to take over the job for 2010, and according to West Point, a ceremony will be held July 19 to make the hiring official.
Hagenbeck is hanging it up after a long and distinguished career in the Army; he’s commanded at every level from company through division, culminating as Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division. He has also served in the 25th Infantry Division, 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions.
Huntoon joins a fairly long line of West Point leaders — Thomas Jefferson created the academy in 1802 and Jonathan Williams, grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin, became the Academy’s first Superintendent. In 1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer took over and established the curriculum still in use to this day. Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederacy, first led West Point from 1852-55. General Douglas MacArthur got the job in 1919.
“Huntoon’s selection is great news for West Point” said Hagenbeck in a West Point release. “His experience and wide range of assignments are exactly what is needed to prepare cadets for the many challenges they will face.”
Huntoon, who graduated from West Point in 1973, also graduated from Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Army Command and General Staff College and School of Advanced Military Studies. He’s currently Director of the Army Staff, U.S. Army.
I’ll have one more chance to photograph Mr. Hagenbeck — if I can peel myself out of bed in time, I’ll be covering the West Point graduation ceremonies on Saturday, in which President Obama will deliver the guest speech.