The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 1995 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 1995 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:
GEN Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., USAF (Ret.) ’36
General Davis attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and the University of Chicago before being appointed to West Point in 1932. He graduated in 1936 and was commissioned in the Infantry. Benjamin Davis had always wanted to fly, but the Army Air Corps was not open to black Americans in 1936. After a year of service with the 24th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, he attended the Infantry School and was then assigned as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
In February of 1941 he was appointed Aide to the Commanding General, 4th Cavalry Brigade at Fort Riley, Kansas. With war imminent, the Roosevelt administration reversed the policy of excluding blacks from flight training. Thus, in April 1941, General Davis was transferred to Tuskegee Army Air Field, where he joined the first class of black aviators.
In March 1942, General (then Captain) Davis received his pilot’s wings, and two months later he transferred to the Army Air Corps. Placed in command of the first black Air Force unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee Army Air Field, he moved with the Squadron to North Africa in 1943, and later to Sicily. Under the leadership of then Lieutenant Colonel Davis, the 99th Pursuit Squadron had a distinguished record in aerial combat and in close ground support missions. The unit established itself as a premier fighter squadron in the European Theater, an achievement made possible largely through the efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Davis. General Davis returned to the United States in October 1943, and took command of the 332nd Fighter Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan. Two months later he returned with this organization to Italy.
At the end of World War II, General Davis returned to the United States and took command of the 477th Composite Group at Godman Field, Kentucky. He later assumed command of the Field. In March 1946, he was assigned to Lockbourne Army Air Base in Ohio, where he was Base Commander, and later Commander of the 332nd Fighter Wing.
After attending the Air War College in 1949-50, General Davis was assigned to the Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters, United States Air Force, in Washington, DC. In 1953, he completed the advanced jet fighter gunnery school at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
In November 1953, he became Commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, Far East Air Forces, Korea. In 1954, General Davis was appointed Director of Operations and Training, Far East Air Force Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan. In 1955, he assumed the position of Vice Commander, Thirteenth Air Force, with the additional duty of Commander, Air Task Force 13 (Provisional), Taipei, Formosa.
In 1957, General Davis arrived at Ramstein, Germany, as Chief of Staff, 12th Air Force, United States Air Forces, Europe. Shortly thereafter, he assumed new duties as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters, United States Air Forces, Europe. Back in the United States in 1961, General Davis became Director of Manpower and Organization, Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Requirements, Headquarters, United States Air Force, in Washington, DC.
Promoted to Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff Programs and Requirements in early 1965, he held the position only a few months before being posted to Korea, where he became Chief of Staff for the United Nations Command and US Forces in Korea. In 1967, General Davis assumed command of the Thirteenth Air Force at Clark Air Force Base, in the Philippines.
In August 1968, General Davis returned again to the United States to become Deputy Commander-in-Chief, US Strike Command, at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. In February 1970, General Davis retired from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant General, completing an illustrious career of 38 years of military service to his country.
Among the many military decorations awarded General Davis were both the Army and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals; the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; the Distinguished Flying Cross; the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters; the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters; and numerous foreign decorations.
In September 1970, General Davis was selected to be Director of Aviation Security in the Department of Transportation, and he returned to Washington, DC. Less than a year later, General Davis was appointed Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Safety and Consumer Affairs. In this new position, General Davis faced an immense and critical challenge in combating a widespread increase in aircraft hijackings and cargo theft. By 1975, when General Davis left the Department of Transportation, he had successfully accomplished his mission, dramatically reducing cargo thefts and almost completely eliminating hijacking of aircraft within the continental United States.
In 1987, the Office of the Air Force History published “Makers of the United States Air Force.” General Davis was one of only 12 outstanding leaders included in that anthology. In describing his contribution to the Air Force, the book stated, “Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. can claim a larger measure of credit for inaugurating this critical reform integration of the Air Force than any other person. For that pioneering accomplishment, America stands in his debt”.
Throughout his career, General Davis has never deviated in thought or action from the words he expressed in his autobiography: “I have fought all my life for the integration of blacks into the mainstream of American life.”
General Davis’ life serves as an example to all Americans; his career exemplifies uncommon dedication to the ideal of selfless service and is clearly in keeping with the finest traditions expressed in the motto of the Military Academy: Duty, Honor, Country.
Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy is proud to present the 1995 Distinguished Graduate Award to Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., USMA Class of 1936.
GEN Bernard W. Rogers, USA (Ret.) ’43 Jun
General Rogers’ illustrious career of distinguished achievement began with his appointment to West Point in 1940. As a cadet he quickly rose to prominence, leading the Corps as the First Captain. Upon graduation in June 1943, he was commissioned in the Infantry and joined the 70th Infantry Division. In June 1944 he was reassigned to West Point, where, in recognition of his academic achievement as a cadet, he was detailed to the faculty as an instructor in the Department of Economics, Government and History.
As a junior officer, General Rogers was soon recognized as an individual of extraordinary talent and intellectual capacity. From 1945 to 1947, he served in sensitive assignments as Aide and Executive Officer to the Superintendent, to the US High Commissioner for Austria, and to the Commander, Sixth Army. In 1947 he was selected in national competition to attend Oxford University as one of the nation’s first post-war Rhodes Scholars. Following graduation from Oxford and attendance at the Infantry School, General Rogers was assigned to Korea where he assumed command of the 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry, then engaged in sustained combat.
Following his promotion to Brigadier General, General Rogers was ordered to Vietnam as Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Infantry Division. In successive combat actions, he distinguished himself, winning the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star of Valor, and the Air Medal with Valor Device.
In 1967 he returned to West Point to command the Corps of Cadets. As Commandant, he reformed the cadet disciplinary system, to ensure that the cadet model of leadership reflected those proven principles and techniques required to successfully lead American soldiers. As with
every command assignment throughout his career, General Rogers left the indelible imprint of his dynamic leadership and abiding concern for the welfare of the men he commanded.
In 1969 General Rogers was chosen to command the 5th Infantry Division, Mechanized, at Fort Carson. Assuming command of a unit of flagging spirit and low combat effectiveness, he designed and implemented innovative programs to restore the morale and unit readiness of his division. These initiatives proved so successful, that the Army’s leadership adopted them as the model and framework for the Volunteer Army Program, instituted Army-wide to maintain and improve the mission effectiveness of the Army during its critical transition to an all-volunteer force.
Following Pentagon assignment as Chief of Legislative Liaison and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, General Rogers assumed command of the United States Army Forces Command, where he stressed unit readiness, modernization, sustainability and enhancement of the quality of life of the individual soldier and his family.
In 1976 General Rogers was appointed Chief of Staff of the United States Army. For the next four years, he continued his focus on combat readiness, and Army family quality of life. Under his leadership, the Army’s capability to reinforce NATO was markedly improved and became the cornerstone of a credible deterrence of war between the Western Alliance and the Soviet Union.
In June 1979 the Allied nations of NATO selected General Rogers as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. In his eight years of leadership in Europe, NATO became stronger than at any time in its history and as a peaceful alliance of strength, assured the victory of the West in the Cold War.
At that conclusion of his service with NATO, General Rogers received the highest praise and honors from the member nations of the Alliance. His own nation added its recognition, awarding him the Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals.
General Rogers’ lifetime of outstanding service to the nation has been characterized by matchless leadership at every level of command in the United States Army and culminated with his appointment as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
Soldier-Scholar-Statesman, keenly perceptive and extraordinarily skilled in national and international political-military affairs, General Rogers’ contributions in the service of his country and to the NATO Alliance are unparalleled and are among those that future generations will
count as key to the winning of the Cold War.
His uncommon devotion to his country and its Army epitomizes the finest qualities of the American soldier and clearly reflects the principles and ideals embodied in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 1995 Distinguished Graduate Award to Bernard W. Rogers, Class of June 1943.
LTG Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.) ’47
In positions of great responsibilities in the national interest of the United States, General Scowcroft has exemplified outstanding devotion to the principles expressed in the motto of West Point: DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.
General Scowcroft graduated from West Point in 1947 and was commissioned in the Army Air Corps. He began his flight training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and joined his first unit, the 82nd Fighter Wing at Grenier Air Force Base, New Hampshire, shortly over a year later. After serving in a variety of operational and staff assignments in the Wing, he attended Columbia University where he was awarded his master of arts degree in 1953. From 1953 until 1957, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point.
Attendance at the Strategic Intelligence School in Washington, DC, preceded a two-year tour as Assistant Air Attache at the American Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The following two years saw General Scowcroft assigned to the Political Science Department at the United States Air Force Academy, where he served as Associate Professor and acting head of the department.
In 1964, General Scowcroft was assigned to Headquarters, US Air Force, in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, and served in the Long Range Planning Division, Directorate of Doctrine, Concepts and Objectives.
During the 1967-68 academic year, General Scowcroft was a student at the National War College. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and served in the Western Hemisphere Region. In September 1969 he was reassigned to Headquarters, US Air Force, in the Directorate of Plans as Deputy Assistant for National Security Council Matters. In March 1970, he became Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In February 1972, General Scowcroft was appointed Military Assistant to the President, and a year later became Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, a post he held until the end of the Ford administration in January 1977.
In 1975, he retired from the Air Force with the rank of lieutenant general. From 1978 until 1981, General Scowcroft served as a member of the President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, and in 1983 he was selected Chairman of the President’s Commission on Strategic Forces. In 1985, President Reagan appointed General Scowcroft to the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management. In 1986-87 he was a member of the President’s Special Review Board investigating the Iran-Contra affair.
Prior to joining the Bush administration in 1989, General Scowcroft was Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc. In January 1989, General Scowcroft was appointed Assistant to the President, National Security Council. As advisor to President Bush, he made important contributions to the planning for the reunification of Germany; he was a principal architect shaping the strategy leading up to Desert Storm; and he was a key advisor during the planning
for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In July 1991, President Bush presented General Scowcroft with the Medal of Freedom Award at the White House. In 1992, he was the recipient of the first award of the Eisenhower Leadership Prize. And, in 1993, General Scowcroft was presented with the insignia of an Honorary Knight of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
General Scowcroft is a Director of the National Bank of Washington; Chairman of the Board of the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies/Pacific Forum; and a member of the Board of Visitors of the US Air Force Academy.
General Scowcroft has an aeronautical rating as a pilot, and his decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, National Security Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, and the
Air Force Commendation Medal.
General Scowcroft’s lifelong career of distinguished service made permanent and invaluable contributions to the national security of his country; and as advisor to five presidents of the United States, his selfless dedication exemplified the principles and ideals of West Point.
Accordingly, the Association of Graduates is proud to present the 1995 Distinguished Graduate Award to Brent Scowcroft, USMA Class of 1947.