“Be Kind And No Surprises”: Applying The Department Of Social Sciences Ethic In The Army And Business

Dana Mead


COL(R) Dana Mead grew up in southern Illinois and was an athlete in high school, playing football, baseball, and basketball. He was recruited by several Big 10 schools to play football, but chose instead to attend the United States Military Academy. As a Cadet, he continued to play three sports, but also excelled in academics. He credits his success to learning the discipline to budget his time and energy. He thrived on the competitiveness of the Academy, and was positively influenced by members of his company. Strong mentorship from faculty in the Department of Social Sciences (Sosh) planted the seed that he could someday return to West Point to teach. He graduated as an Armor officer and his first assignment was in the 82nd Airborne Division. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked on a dissertation and began to think deeply about strategy. He taught in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point from 1966 to 1969. A deployment to Vietnam followed, and he worked for General William Westmoreland from 1969 to 1970. After Vietnam, he worked on school desegregation as a White House fellow, and the weakening of President Nixon after the Watergate scandal. In 1974, he returned to the Sosh Department, and was the acting head of the department during the Class of ’77 cheating scandal. He served as part of a study group of ten officers and ten cadets reviewing the Honor System. It was at this time that women were admitted to West Point, and he was involved in implementing that change at the Academy. After retiring in 1978, he entered the business world, where he has achieved success utilizing leadership lessons he learned and applied during his career in the Army, including as a Professor in the Department of Social Sciences. In this interview, he talks about his experiences at West Point, his service in Vietnam, his time in the Department of Social Sciences, and his business career. He examines the cheating scandal that rocked the Class of ’77, and the introduction of women into the Military Academy. He discusses the culture of the Sosh Department, and reflects on what makes that department special. Finally, he expresses what West Point means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics West Point History Race in the Military Honor Spring 1976 Cheating Incident Leadership Camaraderie Military Techniques Life After Military
interviewer COL Suzanne Nielsen
date 18 September 2018


name Dana Mead
institution USMA
graduation year 1957
service Armor
unit 82nd Airborne Division
specialty Department of Social Sciences
service dates 1957 1978