Mystery Zag from Spring 2024: Alan Westfield

Headshot of Alan Westfield.
Alan Westfield

April 12, 2024
Gonzaga Magazine | Spring 2024

Alan Westfield

Retired ROTC Recruiter and Assistant Professor of Military Science 2000-2024

When this West Point graduate retired from active duty as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army after 21 years, Alan Westfield became a recruiting officer for the Bulldog Battalion at Gonzaga. He welcomed students and their parents, helped with scholarship applications, ran physical training three times a week at 6 a.m., coached Ranger Challenge teams, worked with leadership labs, taught military science and maintained a huge network of former cadets, their family members and other GU students. Serving here for 23 years, he is also one of the best- connected and beloved colleagues in the GU community. He retired Jan. 30, 2024.

Reader Responses

I first met LTC Westfield in 2012 when we lost one of our students who was deployed to Afghanistan shortly after graduating. This was the first time I had experienced the loss of one of my students in this manner during my time teaching at Gonzaga. The loss hit hard and the grief we all felt was palpable. Alan was a big support to our community and kept us informed. Thank you to LTC Westfield for the care he has shown to the Gonzaga community.

— Anjali Baretto, former GU faculty, Spokane

It was an honor serving beside LTC Alan Westfield in the Bulldog Battalion. Together we solidified the training program and Alan maintained it for over 20 years, resulting in countless accolades and success for the battalion and Gonzaga. We flew to Arlington National Cemetery to honor Forrest Ewen, a super Bulldog who was lost in battle. Alan’s absence will be missed, but what a legacy he leaves. If I know Alan, he will continue to give to the Bulldogs and GU in any way he can for as long as he can.

— Michael Wright (’01 M.O.L.) Nine Mile Falls, Wash.

From the first time I met LTC Westfield as a senior in high school through my Army career, the care and lessons he taught me and my classmates during ROTC have carried me through difficult leadership challenges. He has shown us how a leader can genuinely care while maintaining high standards. A phenomenal leader earning a well-deserved retirement! 

— Alyssa Nuehs (’16) Great Falls, Mont.

Alan and I served as company commanders in the 1st Armored division in Germany in 1986. He was a great commander and we have been friends since. He is truly a great person and even greater soldier.

— Sam Higgins, former ROTC faculty, Spokane

The span of LTC Westfield’s impact cannot be overstated. While he passionately coached, trained and mentored 427 cadets who would go on to commission, with each of those officers comes another 40, 100, 500, or more soldiers under their command as they advance in their careers. If each of these officers mirrored even a fraction of Alan’s commitment to his country, his craft and his cadets, thousands upon thousands of lives have been and continue to be positively impacted. There are few leaders as dedicated, genuine and selfless as Alan Westfield. Retirement well- earned!

— Will Woodbery (’16), Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.



Alan Westfield at his retirement party with former cadets.
Alan celebrated his retirement in January with friends, colleagues and former cadets, including Erik Solbert ('05) and Colton Crawford ('11) shown here.

LTC Westfield picked me up at the airport and drove me to campus to introduce me to my cadet sponsor during a visit in high school. I didn’t know at the time, but LTC Westfield would be one of the most consistent and impactful leadership mentors for my classmates and me throughout our journeys at GU.

LTC Westfield is a storytelling machine. He was quick to share stories of all of the amazing things cadets went on to achieve in their military careers. He was (and still is) the glue that holds the network of ROTC alumni together. Supervising our Ranger Challenge training he had such a relentless passion for our team’s success that I think he would have traded his left hand to be able to compete with us out on the Land Nav course– just to show us how it was really done. What every cadet looked forward to throughout their college career wasn’t commissioning or pinning our bars, but the commissioning after-party when we could finally share a Sam Adams (or two) with LTC Westfield. It was a right-of- passage that meant the world to us. Even years after graduating, LTC Westfield was willing to write me recommendation letters for grad school. I am very thankful to have been one of the 427.

— Christopher Smith (’13) Grand Rapids, Mich.

A truly earned retirement from an unmeasurable amount of time, care and sweat he gave to the GU ROTC cadets and program.

— Bradley Rudolph, former sergeant on ROTC staff Clarksville, Tenn.

One cannot begin to measure the impact Al Westfield has had on our nation’s leaders and the profession of arms.

— Justin Pritchard (’04) Portsmouth, RI

Mr. Westfield is an exceptional leader and truly cares for his students/cadets. He loves his country and lives by example.

— Robert Rochon, retired colonel Dallas

Alan Westfield is a wonderful leader with a heart for his ROTC students. He is truly the embodiment of what it means to be a Zag!

— Kyla Jo Colliton (’19) Spokane Valley

LTC Westfield was/is the face of the Gonzaga ROTC. At our introduction to the program, we met Col. Westfield and immediately knew that our daughter Anna would be joining a truly professional organization. Col. Westfield is an absolute treasure for young women and men, Gonzaga and the United States Army!

— Bob Russell, parent Chehalis, Wash.

LTC Westfield was one of the first people I spoke to about joining ROTC in 2003. He helped change the trajectory of my life and I will always have a deep gratitude for him. To this day, I always look forward to seeing and talking to him. He has always been the heart and soul of the Gonzaga ROTC program.

— LTC Christina (James) Crittenden (’07, ’16 M.A.) Olympia, Wash.

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