2007 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

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The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 2007 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.” View photos here. The 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:

LTG (R) John MacNair Wright, Jr. ’40

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Jack Wright graduated from West Point in 1940. Commissioned in the Coast Artillery Corps, he was assigned to the 91st Coast Artillery, Philippine Scouts, an element of the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays. He served in a four-gun 155mm battery until the Japanese final assault to defeat Corregidor, at which time he was designated “Battery Wright” with one 155 mm roving gun and authority to move this battery to any position on Corregidor to deliver effective fire on Japanese targets on Bataan. Battery Wright fired the last artillery round in the defense of Corregidor. For his gallantry under fire during this desperate period, Lieutenant Wright was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.

Captured on Corregidor by the Japanese, he was a prisoner of war for three years and four months, enduring the worst kind of depraved, inhuman, and demoralizing conditions. Near the end of the war he was moved from the Philippines to Japan, and then to Korea, surviving the sinking of one POW ship, the total destruction of a second ship, and the safe arrival of the third ship at Moji, Japan. Although there were many officers senior to Lieutenant Wright, he was frequently chosen by the senior American POW to occupy the most difficult leadership positions. A fellow POW said of him, “Throughout this ordeal, Jack Wright was an inspiration to all under the most trying of circumstances.”

He was liberated in September 1945. After a year of hospitalization, he transferred to the Infantry and qualified as a parachutist. In 1948, he became the Military Attache at the US Embassy in Paraguay. Back in the United States, he attended The Infantry School and then commanded the 3rd Battalion, 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team at Fort Benning, Georgia.

During the Korean War, Lieutenant Colonel Wright was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division, where he served as 32nd Infantry Regimental Executive Officer, Division G-1, and Division G-4. After returning from Korea, he earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Southern California, and was then assigned to the Department of the Army Staff. In 1961, then Colonel Wright graduated from the National War College.

After assignments in Germany as Chief of Staff, 8th Infantry Division; G-3, VII Corps; and G-3, Seventh Army; he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned as Assistant Division Commander of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test), an experimental unit formed to test and evaluate airmobile concepts at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Brigadier General Wright contributed significantly to the development, refinement, and implementation of air assault tactics and doctrine for this new division. In order to know and understand the capabilities of the primary means of battlefield mobility for this new combat doctrine, he qualified as a helicopter pilot. In 1965, the division was reorganized as the 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile), and deployed to Vietnam.

Returning to the United States, he was promoted to major general and assigned to the Army Staff to conduct a study, “Aviation Requirements for the Combat Structure of the Army.” This study became the blueprint for the future development of Army Aviation. In 1967, he became Commanding General of the Infantry Center and Commandant of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1969, he returned to Vietnam to command the 101st Airborne Division. For his brilliant leadership, professionalism, and personal courage, he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and 47 Air Medals.

Promoted to lieutenant general, Jack Wright was appointed Comptroller of the Army. In this, his final active duty assignment, he had a significant impact on the rebuilding of the Army and the recruiting, training, and retention of quality soldiers. In 1972, he retired from active duty and was awarded a third Distinguished Service Medal. A year later, he earned a Master’s Degree in International Affairs at George Washington University.

In retirement, Jack Wright turned to his second major interest – serving the youth of America through the Boy Scout movement. An Eagle Scout, he was deeply involved with Scouting as a volunteer throughout his military career. He served as Scoutmaster, Explorer Advisor, District Commissioner, District Chairman, and Council President. He participated in national and world jamborees, and served as technical advisor to the Boy Scout Association of Vietnam while Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam.

Now out of uniform, he became a professional Scouter and for the next ten years he served as Director of Research and Development, National Director of Programs, and National Director of Exploring for the Boy Scouts of America. Under his direction, the Exploring program’s membership reached an all-time high of 800,000. The impact of his influence, example, and overall leadership on the young men and women of Scouting was unprecedented.

General Wright is the recipient of the coveted Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope Awards for distinguished service to Scouting, as well as the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award for outstanding service to the Army and the nation. Elected to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 1986, he later was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal by the Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge.

Throughout a lifetime of service to his country, General Wright made permanent and valuable contributions to the security and freedom of the United States. His personal courage under unimaginable conditions, his dedication to the welfare of the American soldier throughout his career, his lifetime commitment to the welfare of the youth of America, and the example of leadership and integrity he set, are in the finest traditions of the United States Military Academy.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award to John MacNair Wright, Jr.

BG (R) Amos A. (“Joe”) Jordan ’46

Brigadier General Amos A. (“Joe”) Jordan has applied his exceptional intellect and broad experience to prepare strong leaders for a modern world and left behind a legacy that will serve our nation for years to come. His two decades of extraordinary service at the United States Military Academy, his outstanding contributions after he retired from the military, and his lifelong dedication to “Duty, Honor, Country” have immeasurably enhanced the prominance of West Point as an institution wihtout peer.

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While a Cadet, Amos Jordan served as First Captain of the Corps of Cadets and graduated third in the Class of 1946. Physically as well as mentally fit, he was twice Eastern Intercollegiate Boxing Champion, and in 1945, was named outstanding boxer in the East.

As a Rhodes Scholar, he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford University, earning a B.A. and M.A., with high honors. In 1961, he earned a PhD in International Relations from Columbia University. His doctoral dissertation published commercially as “Foreign Aid and the Defense of Southeast Asia,” drew on his impressive educational background and his practical experience, establishing him as a national authority on foreign aid.

Included in his early career was distinguished military service with the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Benning, the 49th Field Artillery Battalion, and the 7th Division Artillery in Korea. Then, less than 10 years after his graduation, he was called upon to serve the nation in a different way, specifically as a statutory professor at the US Military Academy. He responded to that call of duty.

Amos Jordan consistently applied his exceptional talent to developing people and policies for a modern world. His lectures and leadership at West Point for over twenty years helped shape a military better qualified to deal with the challenges of the Cold War, Vietnam, and the complex challenges facing the nation today. His contributions were instrumental in helping to transform the US Military Academy from a school focused on engineering and military science to the world’s premier broad military college. He introduced and developed a curriculum that built challenging courses in economics, political science, and policy analysis. As a statutory professor, he provided continuity and overall guidance to the Academy leadership through his service on the Academic Board, the Admissions Committee, the Athletic Board, the Library Committee, and the Museum Board. Of key importance, he pioneered the “Areas of Concentration” concept that ultimately evolved into today’s academic majors program.

He developed and articulated an integrated understanding of the elements of national power and was among the first in the nation to grasp the full significance of developing countries, particularly in Asia, as arenas for the pursuit of US national security interests. Detailed to the Department of State for a year in 1963-64, he served as Special Political Adviser to the US Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles. His responsibilities included developing a US military aid program for India, studying the economic impact of the Indian defense budget, and analyzing Soviet political strategy in India. Ambassador Bowles would note that “Rarely …have I met anyone who has a keener insight into the basic forces shaping events in Asia, sounder perspective on how the United States can best conduct itself in its new world setting, and greater powers of analysis and expression.” Convinced that the US would become engaged in Vietnam, he played a lead role in responding to a 1965 request from the Army Chief of Staff for “a comprehensive analysis of past, present, and future issues relating to South Vietnam.” In 1969, he would ultimately lead a three-month, in-country evaluation of pacification operations in South Vietnam and how they were measured. Earlier in 1966-67, he was detailed to serve as Director of the Near East-South Asia Region in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He prepared a military aid program for the Kingdom of Jordan, developed a new military supply policy for India and Pakistan, and initiated proposals for a political settlement of the 1967 Arab-Israeli hostilities.

From 1974-76, after retirement, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, he was the key advisor to Secretaries Schlesinger and Rumsfeld on all matters in which foreign and defense policy were intertwined. Secretary Schlesinger stated, “Mr. Jordan’s personal dedication, intellectual achievement, professional integrity, and outstanding leadership have combined to produce a record of achievement bringing great credit to himself and to the Department of Defense.” In 1976-77, he served first as Deputy then as Acting Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance and was the principal advisor to the Secretary of State on security assistance matters, providing policy guidance for all US security assistance programs worldwide.

Beyond government service, General Jordan helped to bring to prominence the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). This non-partisan, non-profit, public policy institute provides strategic, multi-disciplinary insights on international security and foreign policy issues. During more than two decades of association with CSIS, including service as President and CEO in 1983-88 and Vice Chairman of the Board in 1988-94, he helped establish CSIS as one of the most respected think-tanks in the nation and a worldwide leader in its field. Late in this period, he co-founded and co-chaired the international “Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific” which has become the leading non-governmental organization in the region dealing with foreign and defense policy matters.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, he has lectured widely and authored numerous articles and books. His classic, American National Security: Policy and Process, in its five editions, has been the best-selling textbook in the field for more than two decades. More recently (1989-93) he served as a member of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board to review and report on the intelligence community’s internal procedures and operations.

Many of the nation’s highest military leaders, yesterday and today, were once his students. Perhaps most important, he has helped develop and lead enduring institutions that will continue to shape the leaders and issues of the future.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award to Amos A. Jordan.

COL (R) Joseph G. Clemons ’51

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In 1951, after graduation from West Point, where he was an academically distinguished cadet, a leader in the Corps of Cadets, and a stalwart on athletic fields, Joe Clemons pinned on the crossed rifles of Infantry branch. Shortly after completing officer basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and an assignment in the 82nd Airborne Division, he reported to A Company, 31st Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in Korea. There, Lieutenant Clemons heroically led a series of attacks to retake a tactically and strategically critical outpost in the fiercely contested Iron Triangle. His platoon suffered many casualties, but Clemons repeatedly reorganized, rallied, and led his men in ferocious hand-to-hand combat. His courageous leadership earned him the Distinguished Service Cross. Six months later he would be fighting again on similar terrain. On 17 April 1953, Lieutenant Clemons, in command of K Company, led his Pork Chop Hill before being relieved by another unit. For his actions in command, Lieutenant Clemons received the Silver Star.

Upon returning to the United States, Joe Clemons served on the staff and faculty of The Infantry School until 1957 when he volunteered for Ranger training. In later years, he commanded a mechanized infantry battalion in Germany and attended the Army War College, before earning a Master’s Degree in economics from the University of Maryland. He was also with the Institute for Defense Analysis and on the staff of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.

In 1969, Joe Clemons returned to combat duty; this time in the Republic of Vietnam. A colonel, he was initially assigned as commander of the Americal Division’s Support Command, then later commanded the 198th Infantry Brigade. His awards during this period were numerous, many of them stemming from his imaginative use of helicopters to support combat. In particular, he was highly respected for directing that his personal helicopter be flown in support of medical resupply and evacuation missions. On one such mission in 1970, he landed to assist a unit pinned down by intense enemy fire, directing that his pilot land, pick up the wounded, and evacuate them. Meanwhile, Colonel Clemons remained with the embattled unit, directing fire support. For his courageous actions, he received the Bronze Star with V device for valor. In addition to being known for leading from the front, Colonel Clemons also was respected for choosing the harder right and for supporting subordinates, traits that would characterize his life after the military, as well.

Among the assignments concluding Joe Clemons’ illustrious military career, was Battle Staff Commander of the Airborne Command Post in the Pacific area of responsibility. Characteristically, he organized and led the staff to achieve the highest level of proficiency.

Joe Clemons’ civilian life has been multifaceted and service-oriented. In addition to skippering his 44-foot yawl on a long voyage from California to Hawaii with his wife, Cecil, his son, Mike, and brother-in-law, Pierre Russell, he continued his interest in aviation, flying his own Cessna aircraft. He also piloted a 1946 NAVION with US Air Force markings at numerous air shows.

Colonel Clemons has retained his connection to West Point and the Army. A guest of the Department of History in 1997, he spent time with cadets in class and addressed the entire Corps of Cadets in Washington Hall. A leader in his community of Henderson, North Carolina, he was elected by fellow parishioners to lead the vestry of St. James Church, personally organizing transportation for senior members of the parish and serving as an usher and on the finance and outreach committees. In 1999, he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, and in 2000, he was made a member of the Legion of Valor of the United States of America, a congressionally-charted organization.

Colonel Joseph G. Clemons’ life has been an example of the ideals associated with Duty, Honor, Country. As a combat leader, the head of a family with a rich record of military service, and as a model citizen, he is truly a distinguished role model for cadets and other citizens, as well.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award to Joseph G. Clemons.

MG (R) Joseph P. Franklin ’55

Throughout his life of service as a distinguished Army officer, scholar, diplomat, business leader, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the West Point Association of Graduates, Joseph P. Franklin has continuously and conspicuously dedicated himself to the principles of Duty, Honor, Country.

After graduating from West Point in June 1955, General Franklin was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers and completed the Engineer Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, and Ranger School. He then reported to the 78th Combat Engineer Battalion in Germany, where he served as a platoon leader and a company commander until 1959. In 1959, he was selected to attend MIT, where he earned Master’s Degrees in both Civil and Nuclear Engineering.

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Following graduate school, General Franklin was assigned to the Army’s Nuclear Power Field Office as part of the Army Nuclear Power Program. In this assignment, his initial role was project manager for the design of the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. His second task was to lead a team of specialists to dismantle a portable nuclear power plant located on the Greenland icecap, and to salvage and return its highly radioactive components to the United States. General Franklin accomplished both of these unique and incredibly complex missions to perfection.

Following completion of the Engineer Officer’s Advanced Course, General Franklin was assigned as an instructor in the Department of Military Art and Engineering at the Military Academy. He took charge of the Nuclear Engineering course, and wrote a new full year curriculum in nuclear engineering for First Class Cadets. His accomplishment with this course remained essentially unchanged for 40 years, until 2005, when it was expanded to become a Major Course of Study.

After his assignment at West Point, General Franklin completed a year of study at the School of Naval Command and Staff at the Naval War College. In 1969, he was selected to command the 299th Combat Engineer Battalion, conducting combat operations in Vietnam and Cambodia. For his superb leadership of this battalion in combat, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.

General Franklin’s follow-on assignment from Vietnam was to the Office of Plans and Policy, the J-5 of the Joint Staff. There he used his nuclear training and field experience to write the study that was the basis for recasting the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal under the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). While in that assignment, General Franklin was selected for attendance at the Army War College in 1972. Shortly before his graduation, he was reassigned to be the Army Staff Group Executive for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For his outstanding performance in this important position, he was recognized with a second Legion of Merit and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

In 1979, Joe Franklin became one of the first members of the Class of 1955 to be promoted to Brigadier General, and soon afterwards was selected to be the Commandant of Cadets at West Point. It was a turbulent period in the Military Academy’s history. A serious cheating scandal had brought intense scrutiny to the institution, and West Point was also preparing to graduate its first class with female cadets. With recommendations from a Blue-Ribbon panel, General Franklin worked with the Cadet Chairman of the Honor Committee to develop the initiatives that shaped new policies strengthening the Honor Code and Honor System. Another of his highly successful innovations was persuading the Army’s personnel center to assign one senior non-commissioned officer as the “Tac NCO” for each cadet battalion.

Following a tour of duty as Assistant Division Commander of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii in 1982-83, General Franklin’s special talents earned him another call from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to take an important assignment as Chief of the Joint US Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Spain.

Spain was poised to become a member of the European Economic Community when he arrived. This new democracy had just entered NATO, and many critical diplomatic and military issues had to be addressed and resolved. Using his great interpersonal skills, General Franklin was instrumental in ensuring that Spain would become an important partner for peace. When his tour of duty ended, he was awarded Spain’s highest decoration for military service and the US Army Distinguished Service Medal.

Following his retirement from active duty in 1987, Joe Franklin entered the world of business in the private sector. Initially remaining in Spain, he began his service in the corporate world by forming a Spanish corporation, Franklin Sociedad Anonima, which consulted for US corporations seeking business in Spain, as well as for Spanish companies seeking business in the United States. In 1992, he was recruited to lead Frequency Electronics, Inc., located in New York. Serving as Chairman and CEO, he led FEI through a complex series of legal and administrative transactions that positioned the company to become a highly profitable and valuable contributor to the US defense, space, and telecommunications industries. He stepped down as CEO in 1999, but remains Chairman of the Board.

Building from the broad array of personal and professional skills he had honed through both his military service and his private business career, Joe Franklin made a conscious decision: he would turn his attention, and his impressive talents, to giving back to West Point. He began his contributions to the Association of Graduates in 1993 with service on the Alumni Support Committee. He was subsequently elevated to the Board of Trustees, appointed Chairman of the Alumni Support Committee, and was finally elected Vice Chairman of the AOG, where he served for four years. In this capacity, he was a driving force behind the Bicentennial Campaign for the Military Academy, helping structure, guide, and lead the AOG development team that made the Bicentennial Campaign an unprecedented success: exceeding its $150 million goal by $75 million. He was also instrumental in orchestrating the many changes necessary to bring governance of the AOG into the 21st century and into compliance with the new statutes associated with not-for-profit organizations.

Thoughtful, forthright and modest, Joe Franklin is the epitome of a professional. He has repeatedly proven his dedication to the ideals of West Point in the 52 years since his graduation. As a soldier, businessman, and leader of the Association of Graduates, he has made all graduates proud to call him a West Pointer. In short, Joe has been, is, and will continue to be a leader’s leader.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award to Joseph P. Franklin.

MG (R) Bernard “Burn” Loeffke ’57

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Three and a half combat tours in Southeast Asia established the foundation of Bernard Loeffke’s military career. In combat, he led from the front. He was repeatedly decorated for gallantry in action and deeply committed to the well-being of his soldiers. As a Special Forces officer, a paratroop advisor to Vietnamese units, and later as an infantry battalion commander, he proved to be an effective and courageous leader. Rapid promotions in combat with four Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart attest to his military skill and courage under fire.

While serving in Vietnam, General Loeffke was changed by the battle death of Sgt. Larry Morford, a soldier in his battalion. Morford, though opposed to war, explained that he chose to be a soldier because “War is a beastly job and the least beastly of us should be doing it.” General Loeffke honors the memory of Sgt. Morford to this day. In particular, he has dedicated the Friendship Fund at West Point in his honor. The Fund, established in 1995, looks to inspire cadets, our future American soldier-statesmen, to increase their understanding of their Russian and Chinese colleagues.

As a diplomat in uniform, General Loeffke was the quintessential soldier-statesman. His foreign language skills and political savvy proved more than equal to the unusual challenges he faced while serving as the military attaché in Moscow during the iciest days of the Cold War and then as defense attaché in the Peoples Republic of China. He commanded at every level culminating his career as the Commanding General of US Army South. As a staff officer, he helped to develop strategic plans for the Army general staff and served in the National Security Council staff in the White House. His involvement with the Soviet Union included participation in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Geneva Switzerland. Another important assignment was his chairmanship of the Inter-American Defense Board, and military advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States. He retired as a Major General in 1992, but was recalled to serve as the Director of Task Force Russia in its mission of investigating and resolving questions regarding US POWs and MIAs in the old Soviet Union. This assignment led him to visit many labor camps in Siberia, and testify before Senate committees on his findings.

As a scholar, Bernard Loeffke earned a Master’s Degree in Russian language and Soviet Area Studies and a doctorate in International Relations. He taught Russian at the United States Military Academy and US Foreign Policy at Georgetown University. He was the Army’s visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Most recently, in 1997, he earned a Physician’s Assistant Degree from Nova Southeastern University and later received the President’s Distinguished Alumni Award for his medical service in Africa. He now teaches as a visiting professor; public health, emergency medicine and mediation at two medical universities. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and French and has a working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. He has authored several inspirational books, and he and his son are currently co-authoring a book on their experiences in China.

As a humanitarian, he continues to employ the skills he acquired in his medical training on relief missions in many of the world’s most daunting areas. On retiring from the Army, he embarked on this new calling – that of healer – to provide medical aid to people in impoverished circumstances, often at personal risk. His medical theater of operations spans the globe. He had his first taste of missionary medicine in a combat zone in Africa. His travels have taken him to such places as Bosnia, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Niger, Darfur, Sudan and the Amazon jungles. His book; “Warrior to Healer”, summarizes his life’s transition. He and his children maintain a website; HOT – “www.helpingotherstoday.com” – to inspire support for worthwhile causes important to them.

One cannot know Bernard Loeffke without noting his strong commitment to physical fitness. At West Point, he lettered in both intercollegiate swimming and soccer. He was a US Army Swimming Champion as a junior officer. He believes that the first priority for soldiers is to be physically fit and lead by example. Five days before he retired, members of Company B, Third US Infantry, many of them less than half his age, joined him in one of his infamous Friday morning workouts of 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, and a 3-mile run in 21 minutes carrying an 11-pound mock M-16 rifle. He has run marathons in China and a military-type decathlon in Moscow. He has served as an Advisor to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and continues to promote physical fitness today by personal example and authoring books on the subject.

General Bernard Loeffke has served his nation heroically in uniform during war and peace, exemplifying the principles of Duty, Honor, Country. Now, he exemplifies these same principles as a healer. He has fought; he has taught; he has cured and saved lives. He has earned the title of a distinguished graduate of West Point.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award to Bernard Loeffke.

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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