MISSION FIRST: Profiles In Army Athletics

The following foreword, written by Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan, explains the cultivation and execution of creatingMission First.

Since our arrival at West Point more than two years ago, my family and I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous sense of duty that envelopes West Point.

Goodness surrounds the United States Military Academy, from the professors to the Army officers stationed here to the civilian workers all joining together to form a cohesive team that supports the wonderful Corps of Cadets, who are the lifeblood of these hallowed grounds. As athletic administrators our mission is quite simple ... "To provide an extraordinary Division I athletic experience that develops leaders of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country."

Duty, Honor, Country.

Three simple words that carry an immensely powerful meaning. Together they form much more than a motto, much more than a slogan. No, for West Pointers, Duty, Honor, Country is a way of life.

Daily examples can be seen everywhere you turn ... you can see that spirit in the action in the officers, you see that spirit in the enlisted personnel assigned here, you see that spirit in our coaches, and you can see that same spirit in the eyes of every young man and woman that don the sacred dress gray.

Inspirational stories can be found in almost every corner of this installation and occur daily, both and off the fields of friendly strife.

This book, so appropriately titled, Mission First, attempts to capture a few of those individual stories of inspiration. Heartwarming accounts of cadet-athletes, coaches, administrators and supporters all placing the fortunes of others far ahead of their own personal desires. These are the faces of West Point. More specifically, these are the faces of Army Athletics.

So often we measure success by the final statistical account of a particular game, match or invitational. We know that winning is important to our mission. We understand and accept that responsibility. After all, we are in a scorekeeping industry and wins and losses matter a great deal or we wouldn't keep score at those events.

But we must also take time to reflect on those greater victories that take place far away from any playing field or arena, well removed from any scoreboard. We must make it a point to focus on those special triumphs that are not defined by goals, baskets or runs scored, but rather calculated by the smiles and tears of joy associated with goodness.

College sports and the Army are in the people business and we must never lose sight of that. The 19 stories captured here are representative of many of the members of the Long Gray Line that have passed through West Point's athletic department and helped to generate those bright numbers on scoreboards throughout their careers as a cadet. But more importantly, these 19 individuals have contributed so much more that transcends athletics, that crosses cultural lines and ultimately make this world of ours a better place. We are so proud to be able to call them our own and privileged to have the opportunity to share their unique stories.

Here at West Point, we are very fortunate to be wrought with amazing feats of selfless service, endless examples of a current or former athlete or administrator placing the mission before all else. In fact, it was challenging to whittle the lengthy list of possible stories under consideration for our inaugural edition of Mission First down to the ones you see chronicled here.

West Point is a place unlike any we've ever been, and quite honestly, unlike any we could have ever imagined.

We hope you enjoy reading some of these wonderful accounts half as much as Kristen, myself and our three children enjoy living them each and every day.

Go Army!

Eugene F. Corrigan, Jr.
Director of Athletics

PAIGE BRINK: Turning The Paige

PETER CAREY: Man On A Mission

DICK EDELL: Big Man On Campus

RICH ELLERSON: Answering The Call

BARNEY FORSYTHE: A Frontrunner For Leadership

GAYLORD GREENE: Going The Distance

DICK HALL: A Legend In His Own Right

THE HOUGHTONS: The First Family Of Army Tennis

CW5 DAN AND JANE JOLLOTA: Flying Under The Radar



JENNIFER (JOHNSTON) McAFEE: When Tragedy Strikes

JACK, ROB AND BRIAN RILEY: The Hockey Life Of Riley


LARRAINE SAAVEDRA: Serving Up Strength

GARY STEELE: Leading From The Front

CARL ULLRICH: Blazing A Trail




Editorial Contributors

Christian Anderson served two stints as a member of Army's Athletic Communications staff. He served as the primary contact for the Black Knights' baseball, wrestling, men's soccer and swimming and diving programs and was the secondary football contact. A graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Anderson started his career as an assistant at Army and returned in 2010 before leaving the field.

Bob Beretta is Executive Athletic Director at the United States Military Academy. A local product with deep-rooted ties to the Hudson Valley, Beretta is in 13th year on the senior leadership team and 27th overall in West Point's athletic department. Formerly an award-winning sports information director, Beretta now oversees Army's football schedule and special events and oversees the Black Knights' football, hockey, baseball and women's basketball programs, among other duties. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University, Beretta is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Pamela Flenke spent four years as a member of the Army Athletic Communications staff. The primary media contact for Army's women's basketball and cross country and track and field programs, Flenke holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Providence College. She has since moved on to become the assistant commissioner at the BIG EAST Conference.

Brian Gunning recently completed his seventh year as a member of the Army Athletic Communications staff. Gunning serves as the primary media contact for Army's men's basketball and golf programs and also has a bevy of football duties. A graduate of Ithaca College, Gunning worked at Ithaca, Syracuse University, Marshall University and Ohio University before arriving at West Point. A College Sports Information Director of America award winner. Gunning is also responsible for layout and design for many of the Army Athletic Association's collateral materials.

Tracy Nelson is in her seventh year as a member of the Army Athletic Communications staff. Nelson serves as the primary contact for Army's lacrosse and hockey programs. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University, Nelson worked at Lafayette College before arriving at West Point. A College Sports Information Director of America award winner, Nelson is also responsible for oversight of the Army Athletic Association's official website.

Mady Salvani is in her 45th year with the Army Athletic Association and is a member of the Black Knights' Athletic Communications staff. Salvani serves as the primary contact for Army's women's soccer, gymnastics, rifle and softball programs and is also the Director of Research and Special Projects. A talented photographer, Salvani started her career with West Point's Public Affairs Office and recently completed her 50th year working at the Academy

Tim Volkmann recently transitioned to another university following a seven-year stint with the Army Athletic Association. He served as Director of the Army A Club prior to spending six years in the Athletic Communications office where he worked with the men's soccer, wrestling, swimming and diving and lacrosse programs.

Ryan Yanoshak is in his seventh year as a member of the Army Athletic Communications staff. He serves as the primary contact for Army's football and baseball programs. A graduate of Bloomsburg University with a master's degree from East Stroudsburg University, Yanoshak also serves as Deputy Licensing Director, and as the Special Assistant to the Executive Athletic Director.

Image Contributors

James Arrowood has been a photographer serving our armed forces for over 20 years. For the past three years, Arrowood has worked as the command photographer for the United States Army Training Center and Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. Prior to arriving at Fort Jackson, Arrowood served two years as an Air Force civilian photographer and 17 years as an Air Force enlisted photographer. Arrowood's work can be found in the Jen (Johnstone) McAfee piece.

Tommy Gilligan has been a professional photographer for over 10 years. For the past four years, Gilligan worked as a staff photojournalist for the United States Military Academy. Prior to arriving at West Point, Gilligan served as a Photographers Mate in the U.S. Navy for six years. Gilligan also shoots for the Super Bowl champion-New York Giants as well as other professional and NCAA teams. Gilligan provided photos for the Gary Steele, Dick Hall, Gaylord Greene and Haley (Edwards) Uthlaut pieces.

Phil Hoffmann is the Director of Photography for the Naval Academy Athletic Association and the team photographer for the Baltimore Ravens. In addition to 30 seasons with Navy Football and 17 years on the Ravens' sidelines, he has photographed numerous college sporting events, such as basketball, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, track and field, crew, and fencing. Phil has also covered Major League Baseball, the Professional Golfers Association Tour, horse racing, and the Olympics. He produced the Dick Edell profile photograph.

Phillip Jones is a member of the Public Affairs Office at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He is from Little Rock Ark., and started taking photos in 1970. His camera has taken him all over the world. He is still shooting roll film and uses his darkroom to print. Jones has a passion that motivates him to look for that perfect shot despite where he goes in the hospital. He provided the anchor photo of Myreon Williams.

John Pellino is in his 13th year as a photographer and graphic designer at West Point. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, he spent six years on active duty in the United States Army with assignments in Panama and the Pentagon. He also serves as head coach of West Point's women's club lacrosse team. Pellino shot the photos for the Gen. David Rodriguez, Jack, Rob and Brian Riley, and Barney Forsythe stories.

Maj. Kamil Sztalkoper is the Public Affairs Officer for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a commission in the Infantry, serving as a rifle platoon leader, rifle company executive officer, OCS platoon trainer, and recon troop commander. He is responsible for the brigade's command information, media relations, and community relations programs. He has deployed to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan and shot photos for the Liz Lazzari feature.

Rick Voight is a photographer who has provided photographic services for Old Dominion University and other colleges for almost 35 years. He also handles corporate photography, and through Tidewater Community College, has served as an instructor for video production basics. He is actively involved in his church, and loves to spend time with his wife, his three sons, and the family dog. Voight snapped the anchor photo of Carl and Becky Ullrich.

Danny Wild is in his seventh year as a reporter and photographer for MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball. He began volunteering at West Point as a photographer in 2009 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in journalism from SUNY New Paltz. His work with Army has been published by ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated magazine, The New York Times, Daily News and more. Wild shot photos for the Dan and Jane Jollota, Paige Brink, Rich Ellerson and LoRusso family stories.

The premier edition of Mission First is dedicated to the American Soldier.

"Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice ...

... You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long, gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, honor, country."

-- Gen. Douglas MacArthur in his speech to the U.S. Corps of Cadets in accepting the Sylvanus Thayer Award, May 12, 1962