Colonel Richard G. Piscal, USA, Commandant of Cadets
The President of Valley Forge Military Academy & College has named Colonel Richard G. Piscal, USA, as the institution’s new Commandant of Cadets.
“We are very enthusiastic about the appointment of Colonel Piscal as the new Commandant of Cadets,” said Dr. Stacey Sauchuk, President. “He was chosen for his prestigious military career and his commitment to the development of young people. We are confident that he will bring to the position, valuable insight, and a firm but fair approach to educating and counseling our Corps of Cadets.”
Colonel Piscal, a 30-year career Armor Officer, is an experienced senior leader who is prepared to make difficult decisions in complex environments. He commanded at the Platoon through Brigade level, and deployed on numerous combat tours. He taught Captains and Lieutenants at the Armor Advanced Course, and taught tactics at the Command and General Staff College. Additionally, Colonel Piscal did two tours as an observer controller at the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center.
“As I transition from the military, I am very passionate about continuing to serve our great Nation, and what better way than to encourage young people to pursue lives of leadership and service,” said Colonel Piscal. “The core values and military traditions that Valley Forge instills in their students are the same ones my family and I believe in and embrace. I am excited to get started working with the cadets and the administration.”
Colonel Piscal earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in Business Management from the University of Saint Mary’s in Leavenworth, Kansas, and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.
Colonel Piscal is married to the former Theresa Rizzo of Ocean County, NJ. The Piscal’s have three children and a son-in-law. Daughter, CPT Hayden Howell, a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame is a Blackhawk MEDEVAC pilot, and her husband, CPT Andrew Howell, a 2007 graduate of Virginia Tech is an OH-58D pilot [Air Cavalry] . Their son 1LT Jake Piscal [Armor], a 2011 graduate of Kansas State University, is a Scout Platoon Leader. Hayden, Andy, and Jake recently returned from deployments to Afghanistan. Their youngest daughter, Danielle, is a 2013 graduate of Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and plans on pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist.
The Commandant’s Department is commanded by the Commandant of Cadets and organized to supervise the Corps of Cadets as an organization and each cadet as an individual. The Commandant of Cadets is specifically charged with the reception, equipping, character and general well-being of the Corps and of its discipline, social training, housing, close order drill instruction, ceremonies, internal security and organization. The Commandant’s Department is assisted by TAC Officers assigned to each company, whose responsibility is the actual operation, training, discipline and overall supervision of the cadets assigned to his organization. A printable PDF of the Commandant’s Department contacts by Barracks can be downloaded here.
At the heart of the Military Model is the TAC Officer. The TAC Officer is the common thread that can be traced through all the functions, goals and objectives that effect cadets at Valley Forge. TAC Officers are responsible for tying together the Five Cornerstones throughout a cadet’s experience setting the conditions to achieve the ultimate outcome: an ethically-minded, citizen-leader of character. The Unit TAC Officer is akin to a Company Commander in a Military Unit and is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do; but above all, the TAC is there to Teach, Advise and Council/Coach.
The TAC Officer is:
- Responsible and accountable for the sustained operation, training, discipline, leadership, management and overall supervision of the cadets assigned to their unit.
- Sets the conditions outside the classroom and to make cadets successful in the classroom.
- Is the principal point of contact for all problems associated with the cadets in their unit and is the primary counselor and role model for their cadets.
- Leads by precept and example and is the embodiment of all the school stands for.
- Develops, counsels, and mentors cadets into self-sufficient, self-confident, ethically minded leaders of character.
TAC is an acronym which stands for TEACH, ADVISE and COUNSEL:
As a teacher, the TAC Officer must be the resident expert in all matters that pertain to the cadet and their support. The TAC Officer will be knowledgeable of all phases of drill and capable of instructing School of the Soldier, Manual of Arms, Saber and Sword Manual and Physical Training. Responsible for the drill proficiency of their unit and will supervise and correct their unit’s drill at every opportunity. Responsible for the selection, training and development of the cadet leaders in the unit, ensuring each of them know what is expected of them and how they may successfully meet their leadership obligations. Will submit semi–annual Leadership and Personal Efficiency Reports on all the cadets in their unit. Teaching is a principle that occurs each and every day, whether that be formal or informal. TAC’s must know what right looks like and be able to articulate it to their subordinates to achieve.
The TAC Officer has a huge influential impact over the cadets in his/her charge; therefore, the TAC is seen as a mentor and roll model to their subordinates. One of the areas that are rudimental is the ability to advise and give sound advice to cadets and recommend an appropriate course of action or direction in their endeavors. To offer suggestions, make proposals and highlight a plan of attack to assist the cadet in ensuring they are successful in their designated personal quest. Advising requires the skill and patience to not just provide an answer, but to develop one from your cadets. This is where the explanation and understanding of the “why” behind actions becomes your strongest tool.
Representing the institution assumes all the duties, liabilities and responsibilities of the lawful parent. Looks after the welfare of the cadets in their unit as a parent looks after the welfare of the children in their family. Works to maintain an open relationship with both cadets and their parents. Is the primary counselor for the cadets in their unit and is responsible for giving them guidance in dealing with personal, academic and cadet–life problems. Works closely with the Chaplain’s Office, Guidance Department and Health Center, as well as with other members of the Staff and Faculty, to provide the proper direction in a cadet’s life. Remember that counseling is not limited to only negative actions. TAC Officers must be experts on all types of counseling, such as performance and developmental. The goal in counseling is to make a cadet more effective as applied to our Five Cornerstones and Mission.