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2008 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 2008 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 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:

GEN (R) Wallace H. Nutting ’50

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Wally Nutting entered West Point with the Class of 1950. As a cadet, he played both football and lacrosse and upon graduation, he was commissioned in the Cavalry. In 1950-1951, he was assigned to a tank platoon in the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. An exceptional leader, he was decorated with the Silver Star, the Soldier’s Medal, and was twice wounded in action.

After returning to the United States, Lieutenant Nutting was assigned to the Armor Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky where he served as a tactical officer and later, as Aide-de-Camp to the Assistant Commandant of the Armor School. A year later, having been promoted to captain, he commanded a tank company in the 4th Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

In 1956, he was assigned to Germany where he became a regimental staff officer in Plans and Operations, 3rd Armored Cavalry and later took command of an Armored Cavalry Troop and served as battalion operations officer, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. From 1959–1962, Major Nutting served as a tactical officer in the Department of Tactics at West Point. He was selected to attend the Naval War College in 1962, and during his year there, he was awarded a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

From 1963-1966, Wally Nutting was assigned to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was an author and instructor in Joint and Combined Operations. In 1966, he assumed command of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. Lieutenant Colonel Nutting trained the unit and deployed with it to Vietnam. He commanded the unit in combat and completed his tour as Operations Officer, First Field Force. Awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Air Medal, he returned to attend the NationalWarCollege in 1967 and then became Assistant Director of Plans, Headquarters, Department of the Army.

By 1970, Colonel Nutting was again in Vietnam, this time commanding the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and then as Deputy Commander for Operations, First Brigade, 5th Infantry Division. Back in the Pentagon after this second tour in Vietnam, Colonel Nutting served as Army member, Chairman’s Staff Group under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 1973, after promotion to brigadier general, he returned to Army Staff as Deputy Director of Plans. In 1974 he assumed command of the 1st Infantry Division (Forward) in Germany. Back in Washington in 1975, he served as Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy on Army Staff and concurrently as US Army Representative and Chief of the US Delegation, Inter-American Defense Board, and Joint US – Brazil –Mexican Defense Commissions. General Nutting was also a member of the Joint Board on Defense, Canada and the United States. In 1977, Major General Nutting returned to Germany to command the 3rd Armored Division. The Commander of the Division Support Command (later a four-star general) said of him: “I have not served with a finer leader in my nearly 34 years of service – or since.”

The year 1979 brought him an appointment as Commander, US Southern Command. Four years later, with his unprecedented selection as Commander in Chief, US Readiness Command, he became the first officer to command two of these combatant organizations so vital to our national defense. In 1985, Wally Nutting retired with the rank of General, and for the second time was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

Ambler M. Moss, Jr. served as Ambassador to Panama when Wally Nutting was CINC, SOUTHCOM. Ambassador Moss recalls, “The times were challenging…the security issues too numerous to mention. It is no exaggeration to say that Wally Nutting set the tone and policies for SOUTHCOM’s successful management of the Panama Canal treaties. His example inspired a new generation of Panamanians.”

General John W. Vessey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during this period said of General Nutting, “Truth was at the heart of every report received from him.” A former Army Chief of Staff said, “Wally’s views were always among the best provided to the Secretary of Defense…he had an enduring reputation for 24 karat character and integrity.”

Wally Nutting is a proud citizen of the State of Maine, and both of its US Senators laud his commitment to service. Senator Susan Collins said, “I am equally impressed and grateful for General Nutting’s extraordinary commitment to public service. He has sought out opportunities to serve and lead the people of Maine, and has done so in a way that set a powerful example of public service.”

In 2003, Wally was urged to run for mayor in Biddeford, Maine. Elected, he ran again two years later, unopposed. The president of the Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce said, “General Nutting has set the bar to a new, higher level. He has done it by deeds, not words. He has led by example, and his legacy will be one of outstanding achievement.”

Throughout a lifetime of service to his country, Wally Nutting has made permanent and invaluable contributions to the security and freedom of the United States. As a civic leader and educator, his diplomatic skills, political acumen, and selfless concern for his fellow man set standards that few can emulate.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award to Wallace H. Nutting.

LTG (R) Clarence E. McKnight, Jr. ’52

McKnight’s service to our nation—as a soldier and a civilian—is the embodiment of the three words which best capture the essence of his alma mater: Duty, Honor, Country. General McKnight spent his life helping others in extraordinary ways, and the results of those efforts have made him richly deserving of his selection as a distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy.

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“Mac” McKnight was born on September 9, 1929, and his talent and drive made themselves known early in his life. He captained his high school baseball team, was Lieutenant Governor for three regions in the Junior Kiwanis program, and devoted himself to his studies, graduating as the salutatorian of his class. After entering the University of Tennessee, joining the ROTC program, and being elected President of his Class, Mac learned that he had been accepted for admission to West Point. He entered with the Class of 1952 and graduated four years later as a Signal Corps officer, while the country was at war in Korea.

General McKnight’s military career took him around the world, and he served in Korea, France, Germany, India, El Salvador, Panama, and Vietnam, as well as in the United States. During his career, he was successful at every level of service, from his leadership of a signal platoon during the Korean War to his command of the Army Communications Command, a Major Army Command. His career culminated with his assignment as the Director of Command, Control, and Communications in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Upon his retirement from active duty in 1987, General McKnight continued his extensive involvement in national-level telecommunications issues by joining Booz Allen Hamilton as Director of Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Plans and Programs. A year later, he became the Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the National Science Center, and in 1992, he co-founded the Community Learning and Information Network. Mac McKnight retired from Booz Allen Hamilton in 1998, but he has remained in close contact with its senior leadership and has continued to provide invaluable advice and counsel on matters pertaining to national-level telecommunications systems.

As a soldier and a civilian, General McKnight’s legacy is based on two pillars: leadership and vision. Mac McKnight commanded soldiers at every level from company to Army; and, his leadership spanned two of his nation’s most bitter conflicts, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, during which he led soldiers at the platoon and battalion level, respectively. After Vietnam, he went on to command a Signal battalion, two Signal Groups, and the 5th Signal Command in Germany during the height of the Cold War. In addition to his command of tactical and strategic communications commands, he served as the Deputy Commandant and the Commandant of the Signal Training Center, and CG of Fort Gordon, Georgia. His contributions to our Army as a commander reached their height when he became the first 3-star commander of Army Communications Command, a global command of more than 33,000 soldiers and civilians spread throughout fourteen countries.

In addition to being a combat leader, General McKnight was a visionary whose efforts were directly responsible for quantum improvements in the ways in which different organizations within the Army communicated with one another. Furthermore, his efforts also greatly improved the Army’s ability to communicate with its sister Services and with the Armed Forces of its allies. Ultimately, General McKnight’s efforts resulted in the Army’s being a much stronger fighting force due to its streamlined, state-of-the-art communications at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

General McKnight continued his service to the nation as a civilian. During this period of his life, General McKnight was instrumental in developing the National Guard’s Distributive Training Technology Project (DTTP), a platform that enables the National Guard and local first responders to easily coordinate vitally important training and communications. This platform was so successful that it was honored with an award from the Smithsonian Society for visionary use of information technology, and it has been inducted into the permanent research collection of the Museum of American History and Technology.

During a lifetime of service to his nation, Mac McKnight never forgot his close connection to West Point. Throughout his career, he constantly encouraged promising young people to serve their country by applying for admission to USMA. There can be no better summary of Lieutenant General McKnight’s character and contributions than the following words by one of his distinguished classmates: “General McKnight is a hero in war and in life, a builder of dreams, a champion of the troubled, a strong and good man who treasures his God, his family, his country, and his USMA experience.”

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award to Clarence E. McKnight, Jr.

GEN (R) John A. Shaud ’56

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He then took command of the massive Air Force Training Command before serving as the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, during the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait. Upon retirement from active duty he continued to serve as Director, Air Force Aid Society; Executive Director, Air Force Association; the Hap Arnold Chair of Air and Space Leadership at the Air War College and most recently as Director of the Air Force Research Institute.

General Shaud began his operational career with the 358th Bomb Squadron, flying the Strategic Air Command’s first jet bomber, the B-47, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and advanced to aircraft commander while still a first lieutenant. Later, in Vietnam as a flight commander with the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, he flew 110 reconnaissance missions in the F-4 fighter, many at night and at low altitude, over both South and North Vietnam. After earning a doctorate at The Ohio State University, duty on the faculty of the Air Command and Staff College, and attendance at the National War College, he returned to operational duties with the 449th Bomb Wing as Deputy Commander for Operations and then as Vice Commander.

After two years in the Pentagon, on the Air Force Operations Staff, he commanded the 92nd Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command and then the 47th Air Division, compiling a no-loss safety record. As a brigadier general he commanded the 57th Air Division which was the bomber arm of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force that has subsequently become CENTCOM.

Back at the Pentagon as Deputy and then Director of Plans, he was instrumental in developing Air Force force structure during the Reagan administration as well as planning operations after the Beirut bombing and during Grenada. After serving another Pentagon tour as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, he returned to operational duty heading the Air Training Command, one of the Air Force’s largest major commands. Despite the inexperience of student pilots and the large number of takeoffs and landings required for training, the Air Force Training Command, under his command, won the Air Force Flying Safety Award in 1988.

At the pinnacle of his military career, as Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe from 1988 to 1991, General Shaud faced significant challenges, not the least being the need to deal with the sensitive military, political and social situation as the Iron Curtain was dismantled and the Warsaw Pact dissolved. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Europe provided massive support, with General Shaud facilitating the deployment of V Corps and much of Vll Corps from Europe to Saudi Arabia. He also was responsible for arrangements that permitted AWACS aircraft to operate out of Konya, Turkey and US Air Force fighters and tankers to operate from Incirlik, Turkey, opening a significant “second front” against the Iraqi forces.

Upon retirement, General Shaud directed the Air Force Aid Society and dramatically increased the organization’s resources while launching a campaign to insure that the availability of its benefits became widely known among Airmen assigned throughout the world. General Shaud next served in Washington, DC as Executive Director of the 150,000 member Air Force Association, acting as an advocate for air power and the welfare of Airmen and veterans. A significant accomplishment was the Association’s contribution to insuring the passage of the Tricare for Life legislation of 2000. Ever since retirement, General Shaud has been a senior mentor for officers of all Services, newly promoted to flag rank, in a program termed CAPSTONE.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award to John A. Shaud.

Mr. James V. Kimsey ’62

2008 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient Mr. James V. Kimsey '62

As a soldier, public servant, business leader and philanthropist, James V. Kimsey has provided exceptional service to our nation and the world throughout his remarkable career of accomplishment and distinguished leadership.

Jim Kimsey grew up in South Arlington, Virginia, and spent a year at Georgetown University before entering the United States Military Academy with the Class of 1962. Upon graduation and commissioning as an infantry officer, 2nd Lieutenant Kimsey joined the 82nd Airborne Division, where as a company commander, he was first on the ground during the US intervention in the Dominican Republic. In 1965, Jim commanded a District Advisory Team at Duc Pho in the northern part of South Vietnam. While in country, he tenaciously and successfully argued with various US and international organizations to establish an orphanage at Duc Pho, an entity that he has supported for more than thirty years. After a year stateside, Captain Kimsey returned to Vietnam in 1968 with HQ, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) and the Joint Special Operations Center, where he was promoted to Major. As a soldier, Jim demonstrated characteristics drawn from the basic tenants of leadership at West Point: taking care of soldiers; mission focus; and core values of integrity and respect. His combat decorations and induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame reflect powerfully on those tenets. He maintains an active interest in America’s national security through his membership on the Joint Special Operations Forces Institute Advisory Board and the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board.

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Upon his return to the United States after military service, Jim embarked on a successful business career culminating in one of the most profound commercial success stories of the last thirty years. His visionary leadership and entrepreneurial spirit was on full display when in 1985, he transformed what began as Quantum Computer Services into the widely recognized America Online, Inc. (AOL), the nation’s leading independent provider of interactive online services to consumers, and the largest company ever started in the Washington Capital Area. Perhaps most importantly, Jim’s business career reflects the principle of personal and professional honor in his every endeavor. His many awards for leadership and business excellence attest to that core value.

The phenomenal success of AOL provided Jim Kimsey with the resources to make a difference in the world. In 1996, Jim became AOL Chairman Emeritus and turned his energies to new challenges in business, philanthropy, and personal diplomacy through the creation of the Kimsey Foundation. The Kimsey Foundation provides grants that benefit the community in areas from the arts to education; its overarching mission is to level the playing field for Washington, DC’s disadvantaged youth through education and technology. Jim has served on boards such as Washington Scholarship Fund, taking time often to visit various schools, hold meetings with the students and encourage their desire to become better students and better citizens. He demonstrates pride in his Army service and West Point with his support for JROTC, ROTC, and Army recruiting in the District of Columbia. Jim is also deeply engaged in international affairs. Jim has accompanied former President Clinton to Vietnam, and in his position as Chairman of the Board of Refugees International, he has visited Bosnia, Timbuktu, and Cambodia to assess refugee repatriation, land mine removal and the other human rights concerns.

In 2001, Jim was named Chairman of the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia by Secretary of State Colin Powell. The ICMP is an organization dedicated to identifying the more than 40,000 missing from the conflicts in the regions of the former Yugoslavia, through DNA research. From this little-heralded, but important post, Jim not only helped thousands of grieving families, but also contributed significantly to healing the wounds of the nations in that troubled part of the world. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, he deployed the Commission’s DNA experts to assist in the identification of remains found at Ground Zero. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Jim traveled to Iraq to oversee ICMP efforts there and has visited several times since.

Jim was recently appointed by President Bush to a second term as a member of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.

Nationally, Jim supports many veterans’ projects, including the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund, where he is chairman of its corporate counsel. Jim gave his time and talent to help enact legislation, passed by Congress in 2003, for the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Center. His speeches about duty, honor, and country at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial are always enthusiastically received. West Point has also been a great recipient of Jim Kimsey’s patronage. During the Bicentennial Campaign to support “margin of excellence” programs at the Academy, Jim’s Leadership Gift provided one of the key elements that allowed the Campaign to be so successful. In addition to supporting a new athletic center and training facilities at West Point, Jim assisted in the development of the internationally recognized Combating Terrorism Center.

It is rare that one person gets a chance to make a difference in the world in so many areas; Jim Kimsey is such a person. His management skills created one of the world’s leading Internet firms. He has brokered international agreements; served with distinction in prestigious diplomatic positions; improved educational opportunities for youth; been a spokesperson for veterans and their programs; and made West Point a better, stronger place for growing future leaders.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award to James V. Kimsey.

LTG (R) Dell L. Dailey ’71

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Lieutenant Dailey was commissioned in 1971 in the infantry, but over the next thirty-six years he served in progressively demanding troop assignments at all levels in conventional and special operations units, to include Ranger, Air Assault, Airborne, Mechanized Infantry, Armored Cavalry, and Aviation. His Special Operations assignments spanned almost three decades, with multiple assignments with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and the 75th Ranger Regiment. General Dailey distinguished himself in campaigns in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Uphold Democracy, Joint Guardian, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.

For three years, General Dailey commanded the Joint Special Operations Command, a unit shrouded in secrecy executing classified missions worldwide. The Joint Special Operations Command became the military hub for counterterrorism efforts immediately following the tragedy of 9/11 and was responsible for selected tactical special operations in Afghanistan and Iraq leading up to, and during, the introduction of conventional units into those countries. He directed the creation of a specific campaign strategy that effectively aided in dismantling the Taliban, allowing for the quick installation of legitimate Afghan leadership and the denial of sanctuary for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Later, he provided clear direction and leadership that effectively allowed special operations forces to penetrate Iraq, creating havoc and hastening the Iraqi forces’ downfall. These operations directly facilitated the attack of our main conventional forces on Baghdad.

As the Director of the Center for Special Operations, Lieutenant General Dailey’s professional focus was not only on the military aspect of counterterrorism operations, but also on the need to deal with complex terrorist threats using all appropriate instruments of national power. Under his leadership, the Center for Special Operations promoted interagency collaboration and built closer partnerships between military personnel and the members of other US Government agencies involved in global counterterrorism activities. While most of General Dailey’s duties were, and continue to be, classified, the Center’s mission demanded the strategic and operational deployment of special operations forces to include Army Rangers and Green Berets, air combat controllers/para-rescue, civil affairs, psychological operations forces, Navy Seals, all kinds of aviation, and other cross-service military and para-military forces, who on a daily basis operated in the most demanding environments in service to our country.

Dell Dailey’s contributions to the national defense did not end with his retirement from the Army. Due to his extraordinary contributions to his country and the special operations community during times of significant terrorist threat and continuous conflict, he was selected by Secretary Rice to be an Ambassador-at-Large as the Coordinator for Counterterrorism for the Department of State. His selection and confirmation recognized that no other individual in the United States possessed the breadth of experience or depth of character required to execute the duties and responsibilities. As the principal advisor to the Secretary of State on international terrorism matters, Ambassador Dailey is responsible for taking a leading role in developing coordinated strategies to defeat terrorists abroad and in securing the cooperation of international partners toward that objective.

A truly remarkable soldier, Dell Dailey has selflessly served our nation, our Armed Forces, and especially the men and women he has commanded with distinction. He was guided always by his sense of Duty to the accomplishment of the most difficult military missions while ensuring the wellbeing of his soldiers; the Honor of service while adhering to the highest standards of professional conduct; and a true love for our Country and the protection of our national security.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United StatesMilitaryAcademy takes great pride in presenting the 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award to Dell L. Dailey.

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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