by Spc. Eric S. Bartelt
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Army News Service, June 3, 2003) --
Two ceremonies have made lasting impressions on the lives
of hundreds of West Pointers every May for the past 200
years -- graduation and the following commissioning ceremony
during which each new U.S. Military Academy graduate is
officially pinned with the single gold bar of second lieutenant
This year, 2nd Lt. Lester L. Greer enjoyed both ceremonies
May 31 much like any other former cadet. What set his commissioning
ceremony apart was a familiar face many miles, continents
and oceans away.
His father, Col. William Greer, division artillery commander,
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), is currently in Mosul,
Iraq, leading his troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Lester and his family got to spend 45 minutes with the
senior Greer through a video teleconference setup between
Iraq and the academy.
"It's a really good day to be a member of the Class
of 2003, and I'm happy that my father was able to share
in the occasion of my bar-pinning ceremony," 2nd Lt.
Greer said. "It's amazing they were able to set this
up, and I certainly didn't expect this at all."
The groundwork for VTC was set up after Karen Greer, Lester's
mother and William's wife, e-mailed Col. Greer's executive
officer, Lt. Col. Jeff Vuono, and asked him if it was possible
to do a VTC between the two parties.
After much coordination between Vuono and (then) Cadet
Greer's Tactical Officer, Maj. Gretchen Manus, the VTC was
set up with plenty of help from many personnel from the
West Point Army Community Service office.
"I wanted to surprise them because I know it was a
very special day for the both of them," Karen said.
"Col. Greer is very proud of Lester and I know Lester
is very proud of his father, and I just wanted to do something
very special for them to be together on this day."
During the ceremony, Lester recited the officer commissioning
oath to his father before he got pinned with second lieutenant
bars by his mom and his brother, Robert, who is a member
of the West Point class of 2004. After the ceremony, the
family got to spend some personal time talking through the
Taking a few moments away from Operation Iraqi Freedom,
Col. Greer reflected on his son's accomplishments and gave
his son words to live by as he moves on to an Army career.
"It's a great honor for me to be able to do this today,
I remember a day about 25 years ago that I pinned on bars
and it's been a pretty good adventure since then,"
Col. Greer said. "There is a famous phrase that came
out of West Point, talking about "Duty, Honor, Country";
and those are very significant words to me and I know they
will be for Lester in the future as he moves on."
Lester will move on to the Army Medical Corps Officer Basic
Course starting June 15 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He will
attend school for the next four years at the Uniformed Service
University of Health Sciences, Edward Hebert School of Medicine
in Bethesda, Md., with the goal of becoming a cardio thoracic