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2003 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Categories: Distinguished Graduate Award, Events & Awards, Grad News
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The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 2003 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 2003 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:

GEN (R) Walter T. (Dutch) Kerwin, Jr. ’39

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After graduation from West Point in 1939 and commissioning as a Field Artillery officer, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. While serving with that unit in WWII and participating in its campaigns in Africa, Sicily, Italy, and France, he established a reputation as an extremely skilled and innovative canoneer. Of particular note was a system he devised for massing the fires of all VI Corps Artillery units that contributed significantly to the success of the allied landings at Anzio.

Having been wounded in Mutzig, France, in December 1944, Walter Kerwin was evacuated to the United States, and once restored to health in 1945, assigned to the Theater Operations Division of the War Department’s General Staff where he and his colleagues developed the Army’s highest level war plans.

During the post-war years, he attended several service schools, including the Army War College and the National War College, and held a number of positions of ever-increasing responsibility, including Plans and Operations Officer at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Commander of the 56th Artillery Group of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and Deputy Director in the Army’s Office of the Chief of Research and Development.

In August of 1961, Walter Kerwin, now a Brigadier General, took command of the 3rd Armored Division Artillery in Hanau, Germany. It was the first of a series of senior leadership assignments, among them, Chief of Staff of the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, Command of the II Field Force in Vietnam, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for Personnel, and Commanding General of the Continental Army Command – later titled Forces Command. He met the challenges of each position brilliantly, and in the last of them in particular, he was able to effect broad changes for the better by installing revolutionary training methods, tightening up performance standards, and championing the notion of “one Army,” the integration of Active, National Guard, and Reserve forces.

On 29 October 1974 Walter Kerwin took the oath as Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. He spent the last four years of his career in uniform fulfilling the demanding duties of that position and in the process played a key role in the post-Vietnam rebuilding of the Army, which was now an all-volunteer force. Upon his retirement, General Kerwin received the Defense Department Distinguished Service Medal, a final tribute to the brilliant and steadfast performance of duty that had been previously recognized by three Army Distinguished Service Medals, two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, eleven awards of the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” and the Purple Heart.

After retirement, General Kerwin continued to work for the Department of Defense in a number of capacities. He also served for 17 years as a consultant for Martin Marietta Aerospace Corporation and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Having been a member of the Board of Directors of the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association since 1969, he became its Chairman in 1982, and during a long stewardship that ended in 1997 he dramatically increased the organization’s membership, the value of its assets, and the amount of its insurance in force. This work for the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association was emblematic of his deep involvement in and support for organizations that enhance America’s military preparedness or concern themselves with the welfare of military men and women, including the Association of the United States Army, the Field Artillery Association, and the Army Emergency Relief Association.

Walter (“Dutch”) Kerwin is a man whose accomplishments have earned him a place in the first rank of the Long Gray Line, and in recognition of his peerless service, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes pride in presenting him the 2003 Distinguished Graduate Award.

Thomas B. Dyer
Chairman and CEO

LTG (R) Harold G. Moore, Jr. ’45

A distinguished soldier characterized by a former Chief of Staff of the Army as “the bravest battalion commander I observed in three and a half years of combat in Korea and Vietnam; “the author of a best-selling book on warfare in Vietnam; an outstanding lecturer and teacher on leadership and preparation for combat: these achievements illustrate Harold G. Moore’s dedication to the principles expressed in the West Point motto: Duty, Honor, Country throughout a brilliant military career spanning thirty-six years.

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Hal Moore decided to make West Point and the Army his life’s career when he was fifteen years old. He left home in Kentucky before he finished high school, got a job in Washington, DC, finished high school, and attended George Washington University at night for two years while striving for an appointment to West Point. He finally succeeded and entered the Military Academy in 1942, graduating with the Class of 1945.

Commissioned in the Infantry, Hal Moore served with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment in Japan until 1948, when he returned to the United States. Stationed at Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne Division, he volunteered to join the Airborne Test Section, a special unit testing experimental parachutes, and he made some 150 jumps with the Section over the next two years.

Following graduation from the Infantry Advanced Course in 1952, Captain Moore was assigned to the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. While there, he commanded both a rifle company and a heavy mortar company in combat, and was awarded three Bronze Star Medals, two for valor. Later he served as Regimental S-3 and Assistant Division G-3. Major Moore then returned to West Point in 1954 for a three-year tour as an instructor in Infantry tactics. One of his students, General (then cadet) Norman Schwarzkopf calls Major Moore one of his “heroes,” and cites Moore as the reason he chose the infantry branch upon graduation.

Attendance at the Command and General Staff College was followed by a three-year tour in the Office, Chief of Research and Development where Hal Moore’s initiative and insights were key to the development of new airborne equipment and airborne/air assault tactics. Graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1960 was followed by a three-year tour with Headquarters, Allied Forces Northern Europe in Oslo, Norway. In 1964, Lieutenant Colonel Moore completed the course of study at the National War College, while earning a master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

Assigned to Fort Benning, Hal Moore commanded a battalion in the 11th Air Assault Division, undergoing air assault and air mobility training and tests until July 1965, when the Division was redesignated the 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile). Lieutenant Colonel Moore then took his battalion, the 1st battalion, 7th U.S. Cavalry to Vietnam and combat.

On November 14, 1965, Hal Moore’s under strength battalion of 450 men was inserted into an isolated clearing in the la Drang Valley with the mission of seizing, by air assault, a landing zone and engaging and destroying an enemy force estimated by intelligence to be of battalion strength. The desperate three-day fight that ensued turned out to be the first engagement of the United States Army against North Vietnam regulars. And the enemy strength was not a battalion, but three regiments of over 2,000 men. Hal was the first man of his battalion to set foot on the ground of the landing zone, and for the next three days he personally directed every phase of the battle, employing all available support fires from artillery, helicopter gun ships, and close air support from fighter-bombers to offset the enemy’s vast superiority in manpower. Through the intensive training he gave his battalion before it went to Vietnam, his indomitable will to win, and his tactical brilliance on the battlefield, Lieutenant Colonel Moore ensured the survival of his men and a crushing defeat to the NVA force. For his extraordinary heroism and inspired leadership at la Drang, Hal Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

General Moore’s last assignments in an extraordinary military career were served in Korea as G-3 8th Army and Commanding General, 7th Infantry Division; Commanding General of the Army Training Command at Fort Ord; Commanding General of the Military Personnel Center, and finally, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Department of the Army. It was during his last tour that West Point experienced a wave of violations of the Cadet Honor Code. Through Hal Moore’s intervention in resolving this extremely difficult situation, the Honor Code was strengthened and remains strong today.

In 1981, General Moore and Joseph L. Galloway began researching and writing the book that described the three-day action in the la Drang valley. Eleven years of interviewing survivors, traveling to Vietnam and the battlefield, and meeting with former enemy commanders resulted in the book, We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, a seminal work that was 19 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list and was later made into a riveting motion picture.

Since the publication of his book, General Moore has dedicated his life to lecturing and teaching the lessons learned from that 1965 battle. His several lectures to cadets at West Point were inspirational, imparting to his audience, the crucial requirements for leading in combat. Awarded the prestigious Doughboy Award for his lifelong contribution to the Infantry; his book selected by the Commandant of the Marine Corps as required reading; named by a distinguished military historian as the leader best qualified to speak on Vietnam: Hal Moore’s legacy is best summed up in the words of a former Chief of Staff of the Army: “…his greatest contribution has been his willingness to give of his life to teaching young officers and soldiers.”

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2003 Distinguished Graduate Award to Harold Gregory Moore, Jr., USMA Class of 1945.

Thoma B. Dyer
Chairman and CEO

2003 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient Mr. John A. Hammack ’49

Mr. John A. Hammack ’49

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Born in Mississippi and appointed to West Point from that state, Jack Hammack graduated in the top fifth of the Class of 1949 and was commissioned in the United States Air Force. After earning his pilot’s wings, he served as one of a small, pioneering group of all-weather instrument aviation instructors at Moody Air Force Base. Following that, he went on to an assignment at West Point, where he served as Aide de Camp and pilot for the Superintendent, MG Frederick A. Irving.

In 1954, he resigned his commission and began a civilian career that has included endeavors in the fields of petroleum exploration and production, banking, and real estate. However, his service to the Nation did not end with his departure from the Air Force. In the early 1970’s he was appointed as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. While in that position, he set in place the petroleum delivery system that would finally enable the Elk Hills oil field to fulfill its strategic mission of supplying oil to cities on the West Coast of the United States. He also helped formulate a personnel policy that succeeded in recruiting talented members of minorities to work for the Department of Defense.

Back in his own community, he held numerous positions of public trust: President of the Dallas Petroleum Club, the Greater Dallas Crime Commission, and the Highland Park Independent School District Educational Foundation. He was also elected the Mayor of the Town of Highland Park, and during his tenure succeeded in unifying its police department, fire department, and other emergency service agencies, resulting in a significant savings for the municipality. Finally, he became the Vice Chairman of the Board of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

While working to benefit his community in general, Jack Hammack devoted particular attention to those who were Academy alumni and to their families. He joined the West Point Society of North Texas and eventually became its President, assuring that during his tenure the strength and vitality of the organization and its programs would remain robust.

Then, in 1990, Jack Hammack was elected a Trustee at Large of the Association of Graduates. His service in that position was of such excellence that in 1993 he became the Association’s Vice Chairman, and in 1997, its Chairman and CEO.

During his years as Chairman, the organization launched its first large-scale comprehensive fundraising effort, the Bicentennial Campaign for West Point. Aimed at providing for the “margin of excellence” needs of the Academy that would not be funded by the Federal Government, the Campaign achieved extraordinary success under Jack Hammack’s superb leadership, eventually bringing in $220 million for a wide variety of programs and projects beneficial to West Point and the Corps of Cadets.

Jack Hammack also brought his leadership skills to bear on the planning and execution of the Academy’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2002. He inspired his fellow graduates with his enthusiasm; he used his diplomacy to achieve agreement on complex and contested issues; and he provided wise guidance and counsel to literally hundreds of men and women working on various aspects of the undertaking. Having left the Chairmanship when 2002 arrived, he nonetheless was on hand to join in the Celebration and to take well-deserved credit as one of the key contributors to its success.

From the time he took office as Chairman until the day he stepped down from the position at the end of 2001, Jack Hammack essentially put his personal business affairs on hold. He was always available — and was frequently called upon — to travel from Texas to New York in order to deal with important AOG issues. He applied his business acumen to the governance and functioning of the organization. He served as the conduit for communication between the members of the extended West Point family and the Academy’s leadership. He expanded the programs of services and support for alumni that had been set in place by his predecessor. In short, he gave his all to the Association of Graduates. And he achieved great things.

Through over fifty years of happy marriage to his wife Gloria and through decades of changes and challenge for the Nation, Jack Hammack’s contributions to his fellow citizens, the Long Gray Line, and his Alma Mater have set a standard of performance and conduct against which future generations of West Point graduates will be measured.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes pride in presenting the 2003 Distinguished Graduate Award to John A. Hammack.

Thoma B. Dyer
Chairman and CEO

GEN (R) Carl E. Vuono ’57

General Vuono’s career of service to the Nation began with his assignment as a young artillery officer with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and reached its zenith with his selection for four-star rank and the position of Chief of Staff of the Army. During a distinguished career of over thirty-four years, he served as executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery of the 1st Infantry Division and later as Division Artillery executive officer and commander of the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery of the 1st Cavalry Division during two tours in Vietnam. He also commanded the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized), the Combined Arms Center, and the Training and Doctrine Command.

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His active duty career spanned the Cold War, from the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, through the restructuring of the Army during the collapse of the former Soviet bloc, and finally to America’s initial post-Cold War victories in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait and Iraq. Upon retirement from active duty, he continued to serve our Nation by heading MPRI, a group of retired military leaders bringing their expertise to bear in support of U.S. national security objectives around the world.

Following Airborne and Artillery training, then-Lieutenant Vuono joined the Howitzer Battery, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment; later he commanded the Howitzer Battery of the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron. Reassigned to Korea in 1960, he served as Operations Officer for the 5th Howitzer Battalion, 82nd Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. After a tour of duty with the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery headquarters, he was selected to spend two years as an exchange officer with the 7th Royal Horse Artillery (Parachute), 16th Parachute Group, Aldershot, England. Following duty with the VII Corps Artillery in Europe, he joined the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966. Upon completion of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and duty as a Field Artillery Assignment Officer in the Office of Personnel Operations, he returned to Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division in 1970. He then served at the Pentagon as an Operations Research/Systems Analyst and as executive officer for the Office of the Project Manager for Reorganization of the Army.

Upon completion of the Army War College, he was Chief of the Budget Division in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel before taking command of the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery in 1975. While assigned as Executive to the Army Chief of Staff, he was promoted to brigadier general and then served as assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division, followed by duty as Deputy Chief of Staff for Combat Developments, Training and Doctrine Command. In 1981, he assumed command of the 8th Mechanized Infantry Division and in 1983 took command of the Combined Arms Center. After a tour of duty as the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, he was selected to head the Training and Doctrine Command in 1986. In 1987, he became the 31st Chief of Staff of the Army, serving in that capacity until retiring in 1991.

During the last four years of his career, years of great international tension, confrontation and war, General Vuono’s Six Imperatives of Training, Doctrine, Personnel, Structure, Leaders, and Equipment shaped the Army as it shifted its emphasis from containing the Soviet Union to the less-defined challenges of the post-Cold War world. It was his vision and adept coordination that led to a successful joint intervention in Panama and a massive two-corps international coalition operation to repel Iraqi oppression in Kuwait. His legacy was demanding, realistic, effective training, but his guiding principle was to do what was best for the American soldier.

His service was recognized with the award of the Defense, Army (three awards), Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals in addition to the Bronze Star for Valor (six total awards), the Legion of Merit, and numerous other awards.

For a lifetime of selfless service to West Point, the Army and our Nation, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2003 Distinguished Graduate Award to Carl Edward Vuono, USMA Class of 1957.

Thomas B. Dyer
Chairman and CEO

GEN (R) Edwin H. Burba ’59

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Upon his graduation from West Point, Ed Burba was commissioned in the Infantry. Completing Airborne and Ranger training, his early service was with the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 325th Infantry and the 504th Airborne Infantry Regiment, at Fort Bragg. After a tour of duty with the 7th Psychological Operations Group as Assistant Operations Officer in Okinawa and Vietnam, CPT Burba attended the Infantry Officer Advanced Course.

Volunteering for a second tour in Vietnam, Ed Burba joined the 1st Cavalry Division as Operations Officer for the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry. In early 1968, while in close combat with a major North Vietnamese force during the Tet Offensive, he was grievously wounded by enemy automatic weapons fire. Despite multiple chest, stomach, and neck wounds and at one time given up for dead, Ed Burba survived. He returned to duty in just four months, and for thirty-five years he has stoically endured the painful aftereffects of his wounds.

Subsequent to his Vietnam service, Ed Burba held a series of increasingly important command and staff assignments that prepared him for the major contributions to the Army he would later make. These included battalion commander and G-3, 8th Infantry Division; branch chief at the Army Military Personnel Center; director of the Battalion Training Model at the Training and Doctrine Command; Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Recruiting Command; Brigade Commander, 4th Infantry Division; and Executive Officer to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. Additionally, then-Lieutenant Colonel Burba attended the National War College and earned a master’s degree in International Relations from George Washington University.

Promoted to Brigadier General in 1983, Ed Burba was assigned to The Infantry Center at Fort Benning as Deputy Commanding General. In 1985 he became Commanding General.

From his arrival at The Infantry Center until the very present, General Burba’s impact on the equipping, training and leadership of the Army has been extraordinary. He led the way in revitalizing the combat forces from the malaise of Vietnam to a new, dynamic, and purposeful Army. He orchestrated the acquisition of a number of significant new weapons systems, including the Squad Automatic Weapon; the improved M-16 rifle; night vision technologies; and the Javelin anti-tank weapon which provides mech infantry units with the capability to defeat enemy armor – a first in military history. Despite efforts on the part of detractors to terminate the program, he brought the Bradley Fighting Vehicle to final development. Its performance in the Gulf War vindicated his confidence.

General Burba completely restructured the Infantry Basic and Advanced Officer Courses, vastly improving tactical and leadership training for a generation of young officers. He was instrumental in modernizing infantry unit organizations. Combined with new equipment and innovative doctrine and training concepts, maneuver warfare at the tactical level reached a state of readiness under Ed Burba’s leadership that prepared the Army to fight and win the conflict in Panama and the two in Iraq.

In 1987 Major General Burba was named Commanding General of the 7th Division at Fort Ord, California. In 1988, promoted to Lieutenant General, he was assigned to Korea as Commanding General, Combined Field Army. There, he introduced the South Korean Army to new concepts of training and materially improved the overall combat readiness of that army.

In 1989, General Burba returned to the United States as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Forces Command. In this, his terminal assignment, he mobilized, trained, and deployed the bulk of the Army that fought in the Persian Gulf War. Widely recognized as the best trainer in the Army since Vietnam, Ed Burba’s understanding of soldiers and their equipment, and enemy strategy and tactics permitted the U.S.-led coalition to defeat the enemy in fewer than 100 hours.

Ed Burba retired from the Army in 1993. At his retirement ceremony, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, said “…he has been a leader in re-instilling a sense of purpose to the Army, and applying the values of the past to the challenges of the present and future…but my thanks pale against the thanks from all of the soldiers whose lives he touched over the years.”

General Burba continued to influence Army doctrine and tactics as advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, during the Kosovo campaign and for the past ten years as Senior Observer for the Army’s Battle Command Training Program.

Among his many decorations, Ed Burba holds the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army and Air Force Commendation Medals.

Every aspect of Ed Burba’s brilliant military career of dedication and selfless service to the Army and the Nation embodies the ideals expressed in the West Point motto: Duty, Honor, Country.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates is proud to present the 2003 Distinguished Graduate Award to Edwin Hess Burba, Jr., USMA Class of 1959.

Thomas B. Dyer
Chairman and CEO

Distinguished Graduate Award

The Distinguished Graduate Award (DGA) is to be given to graduates of the United States Military Academy 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 DGA is funded by a generous endowment from E. Doug Kenna ’45 and his wife, Jean.

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