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West Point Removes ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ From Its Mission Statement

Published: March 20, 2024
Class of 2023 cadets are sworn in during commencement ceremonies at the US Military Academy West Point, on May 27, 2023, in West Point, New York. US Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the commencement address. (Image: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point has made the decision to remove the words “Duty, Honor, Country” from its mission statement. These words have been included in the academy’s guiding statement since 1998.

In a March 18 (Monday) letter to students and supporters, Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland, who serves as the 61st superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, said that the phrase would be replaced with the words “Army Values.”

“Our responsibility to produce leaders to fight and win our nation’s wars requires us to assess ourselves regularly. Thus, over the past year and a half, working with leaders from across West Point and external stakeholders, we reviewed our vision, mission, and strategy to serve this purpose,” the general wrote.

“As a result of this assessment, we recommended the following mission statement to our senior Army leadership: ‘To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.”

This mission statement change is West Point’s tenth since 1925.

While the words will be removed from the academy’s mission statement, they will remain an important part of the school’s motto, according to Gilland.

He said that the new statement “binds the Academy to the Army,” and that the patriotic phrase, “Duty, Honor, Country,” will “always” remain the school’s motto. 

“Duty, Honor, Country is foundational to the United States Military Academy’s culture and will always remain our motto,” he wrote. “It defines who we are as an institution and as graduates of West Point. These three hallowed words are the hallmark of the cadet experience and bind the Long Gray Line together across our great history.”

‘Army Values’

Army Col. Terence Kelley, a West Point spokesman, told Fox News, “Duty, Honor, Country is West Point’s motto and the foundation of our culture as it has been since 1898. As we have done nine times in the past century, we have updated our mission statement to now include the Army values [of] loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, integrity and personal courage.”

According to Gilland, both the Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, and Army Chief of Staff, Randy George, approved the change. 

“Our updated mission statement focuses on the mission essential tasks of Build, Educate, Train, and Inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character, with the explicit purpose of being committed to the Army Values and Ready for a lifetime of service,” Gilland said.

Despite now being absent from the Academy’s mission statement, Gilland says the words remain reflected in the various actions taken by the Army’s cadets, such as “Loyalty, bearing true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers.” 

The motto “Duty, Honor, Country” remains engraved in granite over the entrance to buildings of the Academy, and continues to adorn cadets’ uniforms.

Some controversy

The latest change in West Point’s’ mission statement is not sitting well with everyone. Some commentators have taken to social media to air their grievances over the new mission statement.

Conservative radio host Jeff Kuhner, with 20,000 followers on X, wrote in a post that mistakenly said West Point “has announced its motto will no longer include ‘Duty, Honor, Country,’” despite those words remaining in the school’s motto, according to Academy leadership. 

“West point is going woke. We’re watching the slow death of our country. Gen. MacArthur is rolling in his grave,” Kuhner’s post continued,

The co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Rachel Campos-Duffy, took aim at the change as well, writing on X, “Wow! #Westpoint announcing they’ve gone full globalist. Purposely tanking recruitment of young Americans patriots to make room for the illegal mercenaries.”