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The University of Wyoming Military Science welcomed home an esteemed alumni, Les Brownlee on 1 September for a campus visit. The trip back to where he graduated from College was the first the Former Secretary of the Army had made since 1964 and was a positive experience for all. Brownlee was a 1962 graduate of the University of Wyoming (then a Land Grant College) after which he commissioned into the U.S. Army and had a very successful career as an infantry officer. He recalled his time of service to the ROTC Cadets ranging from his challenges as an infantry officer to his development in many key situations. Secretary Brownlee was an honor graduate at the Infantry Advanced Course, the US Army Ranger School and the Command and General Staff College. He was selected for promotion in front of his peers several times during this career but when asked for advice from one cadet on how to stand out amongst his peers, his reply was that they should concentrate on doing their jobs and taking care of people. That shown through in several of the experiences he shared but none more than when he was in Ranger School on a long run where he was feeling tired and had the potential of dropping out when he looked around and saw the person next to him looking a bit worse. He said he reached inside himself and found the strength to not only pick himself up, but the person next to him grabbing his arm and telling him he was not going to let him quit. Pretty soon, the entire platoon was doing the same and everyone made it through. That lesson carried on throughout his career and he found that by helping others, he helped himself. The Cadets took a lot from that situation and others he shared with them.
He carried the same thought process with him after his retirement while serving 18 years as a senate staffer in Washington DC and then on to his continued service to the Army as Under Secretary and later as Acting Secretary. Brownlee was asked to serve as Acting Secretary for what turned out to be 18 months, a period unmatched prior to and since his time in office. Another first was his service as Secretary while the Chief of Staff of the Army (General Pete Schoomaker) was also from the University of Wyoming. The pair were key in the transformation of the Army during a time that it was extended in two wars and various other global activities. Their positive input is still being felt as the Army continues into the next generation of Warriors. Secretary Brownlee attributes much of his success to the leaders around him and to the great Soldiers and civilians who are associated with the Army. Army Senior Zach Goldman said the exchange was a great experience and he was glad to be able to gain a macro perspective of the Army and its future.
Secretary Brownlee met with UW President Tom Buchanan and thanked him for his continued support of the Army program and for his care for UW and its students. The president supports key teams recruiting efforts aimed at Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Later, he was treated to a tour of UW that included his old dorm room, both new buildings and departments as
well as those that were here when he was going through college. His tour ended with an overview of the military science program and a meeting with the Wyoming National Guard Commanding General to discuss the continued partnership between the program and the state.
When asked what the highlight of his visit to Laramie was, he replied that in addition to the football team winning their season opener, was the time with the future leaders of the Army. The cadets in the Army ROTC program really impressed him with their professionalism and the direction that they were taking the training. The questions they asked were deeper than just college or their immediate surroundings but showed a genuine concern and love of Nation. He is proud to be an alumni of the UW program and looks to see an increased number of state and federal leaders to emerge from the program based on the quality he was able to exchange ideas with.