Gettysburg Leadership Encounter (GLE)


Back in 2015, the USNA Commandant, Colonel Stephen E. Liszewski, USMC, was describing the Class of ’77 GLE when he was first exposed to it. Col. Liszewski was only the second Marine to serve as Commandant and the first since 2003 (John Allen). The Marine Corps only sends its very best officers to USNA. His understanding of the Class of ’77 GLE was extremely emphatic. During a USNA function in 2015, the Commandant went into conversation with the prior Class President, Lee Geanuleas. The Commandant made a point to thank him for our class’ support for something he described as “the best leadership development tool at the Naval Academy.” His comments made Lee feel like we had “in the Class of ’77 GLE a ‘pinpoint fix’ with six lines of position crossing exactly at the same point on the chart”. By 2015, there was no doubt in Lee’s mind that the GLE was a wonderful initiative with which to associate the Class of 1977.

In discussion with Dr. Thomas, what is clear is that the GLE isn’t merely a training event for the Brigade Commanders, but is an event that impacts the entire Brigade and the teams of the sports so that they will work together for the future of the fleet. Additional information will be provided in the next several months.


In 2009, the Patriot League Conference established a gift of $15,000/year to be used by the NAAA, along with the Athletic Departments of other conference schools, to train the Varsity Team Captains in leadership to better improve the athletics and the operations of the teams. Because of major changes made to improve the leadership at the Naval Academy, the NAAA Athletic Director, Chester Gladchuck, worked with the Superintendent and Commandant to determine how this function should be developed. All three determined in union that the program needed to be developed in combination with LEAD Division and the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership. The LEAD Division designed the program and worked with the Stockdale Center to develop the Gettysburg Leadership Encounter for the team captains.

What should be clearly understood is that the most significant changes in leadership training and development at the Naval Academy are not the GLE; it is what is being done through the LEAD Division for the education of the Midshipmen by “prepar(ing) junior officers for combat and operational leader roles through a four year immersion program of leadership and ethics education and training, as well as leader development experiences and opportunities”; and the Stockdale Center to ensure that ethical leadership is available “to improve and enhance the ethical development of current and future military leaders.” The GLE is just a portion of this processing, and deeply connected to it.

Inclusion of the Brigade Company Commanders, Battalion Commanders, Regimental Commanders, and Brigade Commanders (3+ striper commanders)

Upon review of the NAAA GLE by VADM Walter Carter, a decision was made to include the 3+ striper commanders in the GLE. There were two major reasons for this inclusion. First, it was becoming very clear that the NAAA GLE was doing a really great job in preparing the team captains for their team leadership and having a major impact on not just the team captains, but also the team members. Second, it was becoming more obvious that it was necessary to improve the interactions between the Brigade and the NAAA at the level of the Midshipmen. VADM Carter assumed his position in 2014. The Superintendent always develops a list of major programs for processing through the USNA AA&F for class gifts. The LEAD Division developed the changes to the GLE program and also estimated the funding required to include these personnel both in June with the NAAA Team Captains and in December prior to the 2nd set.

Class Gift Decisions and Processing

The processing of the 40th Reunion gift was performed through a committee that was formed based on the history of supportiveness of class gifts over the prior years. No class vote was performed. This is a common processing for class gifts. The Class President, Lee Geanuleas, engaged in meetings with the USNA AA&F Class Gift Officer, Rich Goldby. He was informed that the current Commandant felt that the most important gift would be associated with the GLE. Lee and other committee members made the trip to the December GLE for the 2nd set of 3+ striper commanders. The event was very impressive, and as a result the committee determined that this should be a priority of the 40th Reunion Gift. It should be fully understood that the 40th Reunion Gift is the second highest of the class gifts. The 50th Reunion Gift is generally the highest and is normally 2-2.5 times higher than the 40th Reunion Gift. All of the class gifts associated with reunions are given to the Naval Academy. The gift was set up as follows:

  • All Individual gifts are determined by the donors. None of the gift is directed to any temporarily restricted gift fund. Classmates are not required to make any donations regarding the settings of the recommended class gift categories.
  • Class Gift recommendations:
    • GLE (60%)
    • Athletic Excellence (20%)
    • Naval Academy Fund (unrestricted funding) (20%)

40th Reunion Class Gift Amounts

The 40th Reunion gifts were reported in 2018. It is fully known that class gifts would still be coming in, so these amounts are not the final amounts received:

  • GLE – $637,911.57
  • Athletic Excellence – $362,182.61
  • Naval Academy Fund (unrestricted funding) – $1,522,475.96

Total: $2,522,570.14

Impact on 40th Reunion Gift Funding

The donations of the GLE are accessible for funding of the GLE until its funds are fully used. As it stands the current funding of the GLE will provide for 14-17 years depending on the inflationary impacts regarding the expenses. The funding for endowment is roughly the same amount that was raised before based on the 4% per year allocation from the endowment fund.

What is the GLE and who is it for?

The GLE is an ethical leadership preparation event for the NAAA Team Captains and the 3+ striper commanders of the Brigade as they are to take their positions. The GLE includes battlefield participation in connection with the three classroom leadership sections – Loyalty, Standards, and Action. However, the event is not just for these Midshipmen that attend the GLE. In both cases, whether it is for the Brigade or the varsity sports, the GLE is for all of the Midshipmen in their sports or in Bancroft Hall. Not only that, the GLE serves to interconnect the sports with experiences in Bancroft Hall. Throughout the year, the GLE Midshipmen meet at least once per quarter and establishes the processing for communication throughout the year to best deal with planning, support, and interaction with all Naval Academy Midshipmen. The “legacy” of the Class of ’77 with regard to the event is that all documentation, uniforms, and challenge coins carry the name of the Class of ’77.

Midshipmen GLE Comments

Comments regarding the GLE are universally positive by the Midshipmen involved in the GLE events. Additionally, any Midshipmen that one is in contact with, regardless of whether they attended or not, are positive as well. The only negative response is that more wish they were in attendance. Indications are that extracurricular activity leadership may be included in a separate event that is not the GLE as it currently exists. Even more important is the response that comes from officers in the fleet that were GLE attendees as Midshipmen. Those comments indicate that the GLE does even more to prepare them for the fleet than for Bancroft Hall.

Class of ’77 Observants

The observations by the Class of ’77 attendees are always extremely positive. While those that have not attended may consider these reports and responses in a negative way, all 22 of the attendees are wanting to return to be observants again. They are fully aware of the purpose of the events, the execution of the events, and the projection of the events back into the sports and Bancroft Hall. Attendees have included virtually all levels and experience both in the fleet and the civilian world. Ranks have included Vice Admirals, Captains (Navy), Colonels (USMC) and those that left the fleet earlier. These perspectives should be considered. While these classmates may have different experiences, all of them see the purpose and functions of the GLE as important.