New West Point leader in the fight against extremism in the military: NPR


Brig. General Mark Quander will take up a new leadership position at West Point in the spring or summer. One of the challenges will be to deal with extremism in the military ranks.

Lynda Yezzi / US Army

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Lynda Yezzi / US Army

Brig. General Mark Quander will take up a new leadership position at West Point in the spring or summer. One of the challenges will be to deal with extremism in the military ranks.

Lynda Yezzi / US Army

Brig. General Mark Quander is taking on a new leadership role at the prestigious West Point Military School at a time when the spotlight is returning to the problem of extremism in the military.

Quander was appointed the next cadet commander last month, the equivalent of a student dean. Many West Point graduates continue to play leadership roles in the military.

“It’s hard, and it’s also challenging,” Quander tells Michel Martin further All things considered o countering extremism. “Because I think it would have been easy we would have fixed it a long time ago. But I think everyone is committed to it.”

About 15% of people were arrested for the attack on the American Capitol had a military background, an NPR analysis was found, higher than in the normal population. A Military Times research In 2019, he found that more than a third of active military forces said they had recently witnessed examples of white nationalism and racism in the military.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week ordered the army “step back” for commanders to discuss the “corrosive effects” of extremist ideologies.

For Quander, who is Black, a Incident in December 1995 in Fort Bragg it was a formative experience. Three soldiers with neo-Nazi ideologies from the elite 82nd Airborne Division were involved in the murder of two black infantrymen in nearby Fayetteville, NC prosecutors said the man who pulled the trigger did so as part of a membership ceremony for the racist group.

Austin was a lieutenant colonel at the time, overseeing the operations of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Quander arrived in Fort Bragg just two months later, in February 1996.

“2nd Lieutenant Quander appears in his first unit,” Quander recalls, “and that’s the atmosphere in the 82nd Airborne Division at the time. Where we have these soldiers that no one knew expressed those views, and now we have to contact and deal with it. “

He says the leadership is now “committed to ensuring that this does not exist in our formations and that we treat everyone with dignity and respect. And it is about caring for our fellow soldiers and ensuring that these views and these people express those views do not serve in our The army. But it will be difficult. “

Quander notes that his parents lived in Fayetteville in 1995. His family has a long military history. His extended family is the only black family to have produced four U.S. Army generals, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Quander extended family is also thought to be the oldest documented African-American family in the United States, dating back to at least 1684. Nancy Carter Quander were previously enslaved by George and Martha Washington on Mount Vernon.

Quander says he thinks about family history “now more than I’ve probably thought about it at any other time. And that’s because I value history and where we came from much more and those lessons we learned from history so we don’t repeat them . “

His family is also major and important when it comes to thinking about his job at West Point, which will begin this spring or summer.

“For me, it’s personal because we continue the tradition of” family military service, “he says. “My niece is up there right now and next year she will become a senior, or ‘first.’

Kalyani Saxena and Tinbete Ermyas produced and edited the audio interview.

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