The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 1994 recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Award. This annual award has been bestowed upon those West Point graduates whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The 1994 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:
BG (R) Paul W. Thompson ’29
As a distinguished soldier whose extraordinary achievements and personal leadership greatly contributed to the success of Operation Overlord, the 1944 assault on Normandy and Fortress Europe; as a recognized leader in the field of publishing; as an author of numerous books and articles on military subjects; and as a strong leader in support of educational and historical institutions, Paul Williams Thompson has served his country with distinction in a wide variety of endeavors over an active career spanning seven decades.
General Thompson graduated from West Point in 1929 and began his career as a second lieutenant of Engineers at Kansas City, Missouri being schooled in the control of the Mississippi River. A year later he joined the 2nd Engineers at Fort Logan, Colorado. This assignment was followed by a year at the University of lowa where he was awarded a degree in Civil Engineering. For the next three years, General Thompson was engrossed in river improvement work at the U.S. Waterways Experimentation Station at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and at Omaha, Nebraska. Tulane University awarded him a second degree in Civil Engineering for his academic accomplishments in 1934.
After an unusually promising early career in the Corps of Engineers, which included award of the prestigious Freeman Scholarship by the American Society of Engineers, General Thompson was sent to Berlin, Germany as the American Observer of the Corps of Engineers to the German Army. During this critical period in Europe that heralded the beginning of World War ll, General Thompson’s insightful analysis of German capabilities was invaluable.
Returning to the United States in February 1937, General Thompson, then a First Lieutenant, was appointed to the position of Director, U.S. Waterways Experimentation Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
After serving with the 5th Engineers at Fort Belvoir in early 1940, General Thompson was assigned to the Office, Chief of Engineers in Washington, DC until January 1943, when he was selected to command the U.S. Assault Training Center for the European Theater. Located on the West Coast of England, the Center was responsible for training the American and Allied Engineer forces which were to lead the Operation Overlord assault on Fortress Europe. While commanding the Center, then Colonel Thompson developed the tactics and techniques to be used in the D-Day attack.
In this key assignment, General Thompson’s inspired leadership, organizational skills, and indomitable determination provided the assault landing training that contributed so remarkably to the success of the Normandy invasion.
As D-Day approached, General Thompson sought and was appointed to command the 6th Engineer Special Brigade which spearheaded the assault on the beaches. For his courageous leadership in the initial wave of those forces on June 6, 1944, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Later on D-Day, he was severely wounded.
While recuperating from his wounds, General Thompson was assigned to General Staff duty in Washington, DC. In 1945 he returned to the European Theater of Operations, and served for a year 2S General Eisenhower’s Chief of Information and Education. In this capacity he was responsible for publication of the daily newspaper Stars and stripes and the Army weekly, Yank, as well as supervision of the Armed Forces Radio Network in Europe. At war’s end, General Thompson set up and administered educational projects participated in by hundreds of thousands of American soldiers awaiting orders shipping them home.
General Thompson retired from the Army in 1946. His decorations, in addition to the DSC, include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Commendation Ribbon, and two awards of the Legion of Merit. He has been honored by the award of the Order of the British Empire; by the award of Commander, Order of Leopold ll from Belgium; and he has been named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor from France.
Upon his retirement, General Thompson was sought by Reader’s Digest magazine to expand publication of this domestic magazine into Europe. Thus, he began the second stage of a lifetime of distinguished accomplishment. Not only was he directly and personally responsible for the initiation of the publication and distribution of Reader’s Digest in Europe but also, after returning to Reader’s Digest headquarters in New York, he directed the expansion of the Digest’s overall operations into the Far East, notably Japan. Later, as Vice Chairman, General Thompson laid the groundwork for the Digest’s publication in eastern Europe and Russia. In the discharge of these extraordinary publishing responsibilities following World War ll, General Thompson made an enormous contribution to the projection of American culture and values to the rest of the world
In 1962, General Thompson began the third phase of his long and distinguished career of service by increasingly turning his attention and talent to the support of historical and educational institutions. He became a Trustee of the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy in 1962, and in 1970 he was elected President of the Association, a position he held for four years. Calling upon his experience in directing Reader’s Digest, General Thompson planned and implemented a comprehensive reorganization and redirection of alumni support of the Military Academy which recast the Association into a modern, broadly based alumni organization with a potential for diverse, direct and indirect support. The most significant element or this reorganization was the inclusion of a capability for a flexible, expanding private fundraising program for the benefit of the Academy. Later, after his tour as President, he accepted responsibility as the volunteer leader of the fundraising program which he had envisioned and which he had set in motion.
General Thompson also gave generously of his energy and resources in support of the MacArthur Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia and the Boscobel Restoration, a major historical museum for early nineteenth century decorative arts in the Hudson Valley. As a Trustee of the MacArthur Foundation and as President and Chairman of the Board of Boscobel Restoration, General Thompson played a major role in placing both organizations on a sound financial footing. His wise counsel and leadership gave strong impetus to much needed fund-raising programs.
Throughout a lifetime of service to his country, General Thompson made permanent and invaluable contributions to the security and freedom of the United States, to the spread of American culture and values worldwide, and to the support and strengthening of historical institutions of national importance. General Thompson’s personal and professional life have epitomized the words of the West Point motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”
Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes pride in presenting the 1994 Distinguished Graduate Award to Paul Williams Thompson, USMA Class of 1929.
Mr. E. Douglas Kenna, Jr. ’45
A dynamic and pioneering captain of industry, an outstanding business leader, an enthusiastic volunteer and philanthropist who has served his Alma Mater for over forty years, and a West Point athlete whose exploits in three sports established records and standards still unsurpassed, the career of Edgar Douglas Kenna, Jr. has exemplified the finest traditions of the United States Military Academy.
Doug Kenna attended the University of Mississippi for one year before being appointed to West Point in 1942. As a cadet, he excelled in athletics, was a cadet captain and regimental commander, and was elected president of his class.
In athletics, Doug Kenna achieved a fame that is accorded few cadets. In his three years at West Point- the course for the Class of 1945 was shortened to three years because of World War ll – Doug Kenna was awarded eight varsity letters, three in basketball, three in tennis, and two in football. He quarterbacked the 1944 undefeated national championship Army team that averaged 56 points a game – a record that still stands for college football. He was named first team All-American in 1944. And, in 1984, he was elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. In the 104 years West Point has played the game, he is one of only 21 Army players so honored. In basketball, Doug Kenna started at guard for three years, playing on one of only two undefeated basketball teams in Army history, and participating in a record 27 game winning streak over a period of three seasons. As captain of the Army tennis team, Doug Kenna led the cadets to an undefeated season.
Upon his graduation from West Point, he was commissioned in the Infantry and assigned to the 35th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division in the European Theater of Operations. Transferring to Armor branch in 1947. he was later assigned to the 2nd Constabulary Regiment. In 1948 he returned to the United States and joined the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Meade, Maryland. In December 1949, he resigned his commission.
Beginning in the fall of 1946, Doug Kenna returned to West Point on temporary duty each fall as an assistant football coach under head coach Earl Blaik. In that capacity, he was instrumental in developing two more unbeaten Army teams, and, when he turned to civilian life, he stayed on at West Point coaching football for three more years.
In 1952 Mr. Kenna joined Avco Corporation. and in 1954 he accepted a position as Sales Manager for Mississippi Power and Light. Five years later he returned to Avco.
During the next nine years, Doug Kenna rose rapidly through the corporate ranks at Avco. As Vice-President of the Missiles, Space, and Electronics Group he was responsible for the design, development and production of ICBM payload reentry systems, and for a wide variety of programs in spacecraft communications, radar, oceanography, propulsion systems, and medical research. In this position of great responsibility during the troubled era of the Cold War, and later as Vice-President in charge of Marketing and Planning, Mr. Kenna made significant contributions to the defense and security of the United States.
In 1968 he joined Fuqua Industries as its President, and in two years increased sales eight-fold. In 1970, Mr. Kenna joined Robert B. Anderson, Ltd in a partnership that provided broad financial services and marketing throughout the world.
In 1973, his illustrious career in business resulted in his selection as President of the National Association of Manufacturers, an organization of over 12,000 members. While in this position, Mr. Kenna founded and directed the United States/USSR Trade and Economic Council. His enthusiasm and innovative planning made this visionary project a reality. In 1977, Mr. Kenna left the National Association of Manufacturers to become President of Carrier Corporation, the nation’s leading manufacturer of air-conditioning, heating, and refrigeration equipment. In 1981, he became a partner and director of G.L. Ohrstrom & Co., a capital investment firm.
Mr. Kenna has served as chairman and director of many companies during his long and brilliant career in business. Among these is Vinnell Corporation, where as Chairman of the Board he was directly responsible for the important military and logistics training of Saudi Arabian military forces carried on by that firm for many years, training that played a key role in the success of the Gulf War.
He has formerly served as a Trustee of Eisenhower College and Northeastern University; he is a member of the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Foundation; he has been active as Chairman of the United Way campaign and the Hiawatha Boy Scout Council for Upstate New York; and he is a Trustee Emeritus of the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy, an honor achieved after serving fifteen years as a Trustee. For many years, he was also Vice-Chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Doug Kenna has served two Presidents of the United States as chairman of investigative committees, devoting his time and energy as willingly as he has assisted charitable organizations during his career. He is a recipient of the Freedom Foundation Medal and the Gold Knight Award of the National Management Association.
Throughout a lifetime of distinguished service to the nation and his fellow citizens, Mr. Kenna’s career has been one of selfless contributions and dedication to the principles and ideals of the West Point motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” As a soldier, athlete, industrialist, and philanthropist, Mr. Kenna’s outstanding leadership and integrity have set a standard of performance and conduct against which future generations of West Point graduates will be measured.
Accordingly, the Association of Graduates is proud to present the 1994 Distinguished Graduate Award to Edgar Douglas Kenna, Jr., USMAClass of 1945.
GEN (R) H. Norman Schwarzkopf ’56
General Schwarzkopf’s thirty-five years of military service stand as a matchless example of a professional soldier’s selfless preparation to answer his nation’s call to arms whenever it might come. As a junior officer, he mastered his craft, serving with small infantry units and attending infantry basic and advanced courses. As the nation’s military involvement in Vietnam escalated, he volunteered for combat assignment as a task force advisor with the elite Vietnamese Airborne Brigade. In nine months of combat, he accompanied his task force in seven military operations, earning two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, two Air Medals, a Commendation Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.
The middle years of his career were spent perfecting his military competence and leadership skills. After attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, he again volunteered to serve in Vietnam, where he took command of an Infantry battalion of shattered morale and combat effectiveness. In six months of command, his inspired leadership and indomitable concern for the welfare of his soldiers restored unit confidence and brought tactical success to a revitalized battalion. Always with his troops at the point of heaviest combat, his valor and competence again were recognized with the award of his third Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Air Medals and his second Purple Heart for wounds in combat.
After returning to the United States he was selected to attend the Army War College. Brigade command assignments followed in both Alaska and the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1979, the next steps in his preparation for high command were assignments to joint staff duty as an operations planner on the staff of Pacific Command and a tour as Assistant Division Commander in the 8th Infantry Division in Europe. Upon his promotion to Major General in 1981, he was assigned as Director of Military Personnel Management in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel in the Pentagon. This assignment was followed by his selection as the Commander of the 24th Infantry Division, Mechanized, at Fort Stewart, Georgia. While assigned at Fort Stewart, General Schwarzkopf was temporarily detailed to serve as the United States Army advisor to Vice Admiral Metcalf, the United States Military Commander of the military operation to intervene in Grenada. After the initial landing of Marine and Army forces on the Island, Vice Admiral Metcalf ordered General Schwarzkopf to assume operational direction and coordination of land forces for the final phases of the operation.
In 1986 General was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed command of I Corps at Fort Lewis. A year later he returned to the Pentagon as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army.
General Schwarzkopf’s final preparation for the highest field command came with his promotion to General and assignment as Commander-in-Chief, Central Command. As CINC CENTCOM, he was responsible for all United States military contingency planning and military assistance activities in the Middle East region. It was as CINC CENTCOM that General Schwarzkopf made his indelible mark in the annals of our nation’s military history.
General Schwarzkopf’s superb conduct of the Gulf War is an extraordinary feat of generalship unparalleled in its decisiveness.
In recognition of his incomparable service to the United States and the United Nations in leading the coalition forces to victory, General Schwarzkopf was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Medals of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. On July 3, 1991, President Bush, in the name of a grateful nation, awarded General Schwarzkopf the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
His lifetime of outstanding service epitomizes the very finest qualities of the American soldier. He was steadfast and fearless in battle, dauntless in pursuit of combat readiness, and ever mindful of the welfare of his troops and their families.
Throughout a military career of uncommon devotion to his country and its Army, he was dedicated to the principles and ideals reflected in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 1994 Distinguished Graduate Award to H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Class of 1956.