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GENERAL Ann Dunwoody to Receive 2019 West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award

Thayer Award 2019 GEN(R) Ann DunwoodyThe West Point Association of Graduates is pleased to announce that General Ann Dunwoody (USA, Ret.)—the first woman in U.S. history to achieve the rank of four-star general—will receive the 2019 Sylvanus Thayer Award. The award will be presented on October 10, 2019 during ceremonies hosted by Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, Class of 1983, 60th Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

West Point Association of Graduates Board Chairman Lt. Gen. (USA, Ret.) Joseph E. DeFrancisco, Class of 1965, said, “The West Point Association of Graduates is honored to present the Thayer Award to General Ann Dunwoody. Her distinguished career of service to our nation spans more than 37 years and includes command at every level from second lieutenant platoon leader in the Quartermaster Corps to commanding general of Army Materiel Command, the Army’s largest global logistics command. Along the way she was a role model and inspiration to thousands of men and women in uniform who watched her become America’s first woman four star general based on her leadership, talent and determination. General Dunwoody is an exemplary American leader of character, whose lifetime of service exemplifies the West Point values of ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’ She embodies the proud legacy of our Association’s highest award. Having General Dunwoody forever associated with West Point through the Thayer Award speaks directly to its purpose of recognizing a citizen of the United States, other than a West Point graduate, whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives.”

“I thank the West Point Association of Graduates for this high honor,” said General Dunwoody. “With four generations of West Point graduates in my family; my brother, my Dad, my Grandfather and my great Grandfather, I am especially proud that I will have the privilege of trooping the line, and the opportunity to salute the men and women of the Corps of Cadets who will lead and inspire our future Army.”   

Ann E. Dunwoody was born at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where her father was serving as a career Army officer. She grew up in Germany and Belgium and graduated from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe American High School. Despite coming from a four-generation Army family, Dunwoody always thought she’d be a physical education teacher and coach. This changed during her junior year at State University of New York College at Cortland when she attended a four-week Army introductory program, followed by an 11-week Women’s Officer Orientation Course. Upon graduation from SUNY Cortland with a degree in physical education, she was direct commissioned into the Women’s Army Corps.

Dunwoody’s first assignment was as a platoon leader with the 226th Maintenance Company, 100th Supply and Services Battalion at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, a company she later commanded. In her three-plus decades as a Quartermaster Corps officer, she achieved several notable “firsts,” including the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division; the first female general officer at Fort Bragg, NC; and the first woman to command the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. Dunwoody also deployed overseas for Operation Desert Shield/Operation Desert Storm and, as 1st Corps Support Command commander, deployed the Logistics Task Force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom I. Her major staff assignments include planner for the Chief of Staff of the Army; executive officer to the director, Defense Logistics Agency; and deputy chief of staff for Logistics G-4. As commander of Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Dunwoody supported the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since World War II.

In her last assignment, Dunwoody led and ran Army Materiel Command, the largest global logistics command in the Army, comprising 69,000 soldiers and civilians located in all 50 states and more than 140 countries. She managed a budget of $60B and was responsible for the Army’s Research and Development, Installation and Contingency contracting, Foreign Military Sales, Security Assistance, Supply Chain Management, all Army Depots supporting supply and maintenance functions, manufacturing sites and ammunition plants. Dunwoody led the transformation of the Army’s logistics organizations, processes and doctrine in support of an expeditionary Army. General Ray Odierno (Retired), the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, calls Dunwoody “quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever had.”

Dunwoody holds master’s degrees from the Florida Institute of Technology and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and is a graduate of U.S. Army Airborne School and holds the Master Parachutist Badge. She has been decorated with the Army Distinguished Service Medal (2), the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit (3). She has been recognized by the NCAA with its highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award, by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association with its ITA Achievement Award, by France with its National Order of Merit, and in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. She has been recognized by SUNY Cortland as a Distinguished Alumna, received the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award from the Florida Institute of Technology, and in 2018 was inducted in the inaugural class of the 82nd Airborne Division Hall of Fame. In 2013, she authored the book A Higher Standard—Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General. Today General Dunwoody is president of First 2 Four, LLC, a leadership mentoring and strategic advisory services company and serves on a number of public, private and non-profit boards. Dunwoody’s great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all graduates of the U.S. Military Academy: Brigadier General Henry Harrison Chase Dunwoody (Retired), Class of 1866; Colonel Halsey Dunwoody (Retired), Class of 1905; and Brigadier General Harold H. Dunwoody (Retired), Class of 1943 June. Her brother, Harold H. “Buck” Dunwoody  Jr., Class of 1970, was also a West Point graduate.