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West Point gets a new commander in Gen. Caslen

Jul. 17, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  

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WEST POINT, N.Y. — Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr. has taken the top command position at West Point during a ceremony Wednesday morning on the campus overlooking the Hudson River.

Caslen officially became the 59th superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, replacing Lt. Gen. David Huntoon Jr., who is retiring from the U.S. Army after 40 years.

Caslen is a 1975 West Point graduate who has commanded at every level from company through division. Most recently, he was the Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation for Iraq. Caslen had previously served as West Point's commandant, a top academy position in charge of day-to-day operations of the cadets.

He's the first person since 1951 to serve as both commandant and superintendent at the academy, following Maj. Gen Frederick Irving, who had been commandant in 1941-42.

During the change of command ceremony, Caslen was presented the academy colors by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.

"I am well aware of the great gift that has been given to me today," Caslen said in a statement on the Army's website. "Command is always a privilege. Command in time of war and in the transition of a post-war Army is a distinct honor."

Huntoon has been superintendent since 2010. The 1973 West Point graduate was involved in Operation Desert Storm and was commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

Huntoon was admonished last year after a Defense Department inspector general report concluded he misused his position, government resources and personnel. The report said he improperly allowed subordinates to give driving lessons, didn’t properly compensate those who worked at a charity dinner and misused his position to obtain cat care.

The report said Huntoon took full responsibility and repaid the affected parties $1,815 based on prevailing labor rates.

Army officials have said Huntoon’s retirement is not related to the investigation.

The change in command also comes after a series of negative stories about the 211-year-old military academy whose graduates include Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.

An Army sergeant assigned to West Point was charged in May with secretly photographing and videotaping at least a dozen women at the academy, including in a bathroom. And West Point’s men’s rugby team was temporarily disbanded after cadets forwarded emails that were derogatory to women.

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