The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 2010 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 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:
LTG (R) Frederic J. Brown ’56
For more than five decades, Lieutenant General Frederic J. Brown’s service to our nation—as a leader, mentor, and visionary—has consistently reflected the values in West Point’s motto: Duty, Honor, Country. A consummate soldier and scholar, he transformed his ideas into actions that have won him praise and gratitude from countless colleagues during his distinguished military career and his second career as a mentor and the author of numerous articles, research monographs, and books on topics that are germane and central to the maintenance of a strong national defense. He was described by General Dave Petraeus as “one of those rare individuals who has the vision to see potential breakthroughs…that are not apparent to others” remarking also on “his extraordinary energy in driving complex projects to completion.”
Following graduation as a Distinguished Cadet and commissioning into the Armor branch in 1956, he joined the 1/33 Armored Battalion in Germany. His early service in this unit was followed by study at the Army Language School and the Armor School. He then further prepared intellectually as an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Geneva, which awarded him a Masters Degree in Political Science in 1963 and a PhD in 1967. From 1963 to 1966, he returned to his alma mater, where he taught in the Social Sciences Department as an Instructor and Assistant Professor.
His military professionalism and personal bravery were manifest during his two combat tours in Vietnam, which included an assignment as S3 of the 2/2nd Infantry and command of 1/4 Cavalry in the 1st Infantry Division. In addition to the Combat Infantry Badge, Rick was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, and a Bronze Star Medal for Valor.
Rick’s 32 years of superb active duty service and his contributions to our national security in critical Army and Joint assignments resulted in accomplishments that few others have achieved. He served on the Army Staff, the Joint Staff, and the National Security Council Staff. In 1973 he was appointed as Interim Deputy Chief of Staff for the President. After this posting, he requested and was permitted to decline further assignments in Washington. His well honed leadership abilities grounded his excellent performance in a series of critical assignments. He served as G3 of the 1st Infantry Division and G1 of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He commanded the 1st (Tiger) Brigade, 2d Armored Division at Ft. Hood in 1975; he was the Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany from 1978 to 1981; he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Training of the Training & Doctrine Command at Ft. Monroe, Virginia, starting up the National Training Center from 1981 to 1982; from 1983 to 1986, he was the longest serving Commander of The Armor Center, Ft. Knox, since World War II; and finally, he was the Commanding General of the Fourth United States Army from 1986 to 1989.
Former Secretary of the Army Tom White credits General Brown with having such an effect on modernizing armored units while Chief of Armor and Cavalry that he was literally the architect of the magnificent mounted force that fought and won Desert Storm.
Since his retirement from the Army in 1989, he has continued to build on his well-deserved reputation for professional excellence, serving as a catalyst and agent of change with such fundamental visions brought to execution as Army Knowledge Management—the Battle Command Knowledge System, Battle Management Systems—data linking combat vehicles and military applications of virtual simulation—Close Combat Tactical Trainer. At the same time, he has mentored many of those who lead our Army and joint forces today when they were young leaders preparing their units at the national training centers.
In recent years, he has continued to pursue his interest in training as a developer of advanced training systems and applications of the Information Revolution across multiple Army areas with the federally-funded Institute of Defense Analyses. He produced a video entitled “All We Could Be,” which told the Army story of rebuilding following the Vietnam War and displayed what the Army had become with its Desert Storm success. The video was a culminating summary of his three books addressing requirements of the “Army in Transition” written post Vietnam in 1973, post Cold War in 1993, and after 9/11 in 2008.
In short, Rick Brown has had a positive impact, both in and out of uniform, on the military vitality of the nation that few can match. A thinker and doer with enormous energy and drive, he is a truly extraordinary member of the Long Gray Line.
Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Frederic Joseph Brown.
GEN (R) Barry McCaffrey ’64
Throughout a career of professional excellence, General Barry McCaffrey’s service has epitomized the West Point values of “Duty, Honor, Country.” His record as an exceptional military leader, accomplished public servant, and lifelong contributor to the United States Military Academy and its mission make him a superb choice for the Distinguished Graduate Award.
Following graduation from West Point in 1964, General McCaffrey was commissioned in the Infantry and began 32 years of active military service, including four combat tours (one in the Dominican Republic, two in Vietnam, and one in Iraq) during which he earned three Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat. He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Bronze Star as a parachute infantry platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Organization of American States’ intervention in the Dominican Republic. A few years later, as a rifle company commander leading troops in Vietnam, he was twice awarded the Silver Star for exceptional valor. He was also twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in Vietnam. One of General McCaffrey’s former platoon sergeants recalled seeing him being evacuated in March 1969 after having sustained serious wounds during an intense fire-fight. He said, “I wondered how we could get along without his leadership. It then occurred to me that he had done his job of preparing us to take care of ourselves because of what he taught us.”
In 1970, General McCaffrey received a Master of Arts degree in Civil Government from American University and would return to teach in the Department of Social Sciences at his alma mater. During his final combat tour, as Commanding General of the 24th Infantry Division (Mech), he led the remarkable 370-kilometer left-hook attack into Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. For this bold maneuver, General McCaffrey was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
General McCaffrey has also demonstrated his leadership in complex political-military assignments. In addition to serving as Special Assistant to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, he also served as the Chairman’s liaison to the National Security Council, the Secretary of State, and the Ambassador to the United Nations. In his last position prior to retirement, General McCaffrey received a fourth star and was assigned as the Commander-in-Chief of US Southern Command. In this capacity, he coordinated US international security policy with foreign heads of government, ministers of defense and foreign affairs, and US ambassadors in 19 countries in Central and South America. He advised the President, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State on US Latin American security policy and created the first Human Rights Council and Human Rights Code of Conduct for an American military joint command.
In 1996, following his retirement from military service, President Bill Clinton reached out to General McCaffrey to serve as Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a cabinet-level position. He was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate and remained in the position for five years, making vital contributions to US national interests by authoring the US National Drug Control Strategy and developing and supervising multi-billion dollar drug control budgets. In the words of Raymond Kelly, current Police Commissioner for the City of New York, “General McCaffrey made ONDCP a force to be reckoned with. He brought a fierce intellect, compassion, and vision to the job. In short, he brought leadership.”
Though his accomplishments as a military leader and public servant are remarkable, General McCaffrey’s commitment to West Point and its mission to educate, train, and inspire cadets is of equal consequence. In 2001, he became the Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies where he developed a superb course in international security for the top 20 junior and senior cadets from all academic departments at the Academy. His service as the Bradley Professor extended well beyond the conduct of a single course. He contributed across the curriculum through his participation in numerous guest lectures, professional development classes, panel sessions, and social activities. Since leaving the Bradley Chair in 2005, he has been an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Social Sciences. The hallmark of his tenure at West Point has been the mentorship which he has willingly provided both cadets and faculty. As one faculty member stated, “the General has been my most inspiring mentor – in my view, a true model of integrity, personal sacrifice, and moral courage.”
In addition to his current role as a military analyst for NBC News, where he helps explain complex national security issues to the American public, General McCaffrey is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is on the Board of Advisors of the National Infantry Foundation. In 2007, he was inducted into the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame.
General McCaffrey’s service to the nation in war and peace, combined with his lifetime support of West Point, is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Academy.
Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Barry R. McCaffrey.
LTG (R) Dan Christman ’65
For more than 44 years since his graduation from West Point, Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman has set himself apart as a soldier, a scholar, and a statesman. On active duty, and in the years following – in every field of endeavor – he has held as his guiding principles the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country. Dan Christman graduated in 1965 at the top of his class. His Howitzer entry stated, “Success in Dan’s future life is unquestionable; for it will only be a matter of time before his achievements truly become an indication of his superior abilities.” He subsequently earned twin masters degrees from Princeton, in public affairs and civil engineering and he graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. This much formal education was unusually broad and comprehensive for any serving soldier, but it proved to be a perfect complement to his development and accomplishments as an Army leader.
His command assignments included companies in Korea and Vietnam, a battalion in Germany, the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Savannah District, and the US Army Engineer Center. His remarkable intellect and extraordinary character earned him the respect of his fellow officers and soldiers. He consistently demonstrated wisdom, energy, firm but caring leadership, and a genuine passion for mentoring younger leaders.
General Christman also made contributions to the security of our nation at the highest levels in his many staff positions. His counsel was heard and accepted in the Army, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the White House. He exercised superb skill in statesmanship and law, and had an ability to deal with complex technical, diplomatic, and legal issues. In each of these assignments he was marked as someone with great potential.
In 1996, General Christman became the 55th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. During his tenure, he recrafted the Academy’s mission statement to more accurately reflect the link between West Point and the Army. He also drafted a new strategic direction for the Academy’s future in areas ranging from academic excellence to facilities modernization to cadet leadership development. He took a strong personal interest in efforts to publicize West Point’s Bicentennial Celebration and renew public awareness and pride in the Academy. At the same time, he led an unprecedented fundraising campaign with the West Point Association of Graduates that raised over $200 million in private funds. He also convinced Congress to increase federal funding for the Academy despite overall reductions in defense spending. Combined, these increased resources underwrote a dramatic Margin of Excellence at West Point. Arguably, his actions as Superintendent set the Academy on a direct course for its current ranking as the nation’s number one college.
After retiring from active duty, General Christman served in the private sector for several years before he was enlisted to lead the vast international operations of the US Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization. He now represents the Chamber before foreign business leaders and advises the Chamber’s leadership on national security and international issues affecting the business community. He is also a widely recognized expert on strategic leadership and national security issues.
Dan Christman’s achievements have been a reflection of his superior abilities. His unique service to the nation in war and peace, combined with his lifelong support of West Point, is in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Military Academy. His record of service and commitment to the highest standards will be his legacy. He has exemplified the finest values of West Point for more than four decades.
Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Daniel W. Christman.
HON Thomas White ’67
Throughout his adult life, from commissioning on June 7, 1967, through 23 years of active-duty service, becoming the first general officer for the Class of 1967, followed by a successful business career and then subsequently as the 18th Secretary of the Army, Thomas E. White has personified the precepts of Duty, Honor, Country and selfless service to the nation.
Tom White commanded troops with great distinction at every level from armored cavalry platoon through regiment. He served two tours as a junior officer in combat in Vietnam, first as a reconnaissance platoon leader in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and later in the 1st Aviation Brigade with the last US air cavalry troop remaining in Vietnam. He quickly established a reputation as valorous in battle, courageous in command, attentive to his Soldiers, and unshakeable in his resolve to accomplish every mission, regardless of its difficulty. During his two combat tours, Tom was decorated several times for valor, receiving the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After his combat tours in Southeast Asia and graduate school, Tom took on duties as the main analyst in the office responsible for developing and acquiring the M1 Main Battle Tank. Later, he returned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany, during some of the coldest days of the Cold War. There, he commanded a squadron and, several years later, the regiment itself, where he again set the standard for tactical command. His final assignment brought him to The Pentagon as the executive assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell. Throughout Tom’s time as an active duty officer, his example of excellence was very clear to all who served with him. Because of his great talent, he was always selected for the most difficult and competitive jobs. In each of those demanding positions, he performed magnificently, always gaining tremendous respect from his peers.
After his retirement from active duty in 1990, Tom embarked on a career in the civilian sector, rising quickly to senior level positions within Enron Corporation, principally in charge of its hard asset business and primarily focusing on power generation, gas pipeline transmission, and alternative energy sources throughout the world. In 1993, he was appointed Chairman and CEO of the Enron subsidiary charged with developing its energy infrastructure portfolio, domestically and internationally. In 1997, he was promoted to run Enron’s new venture business, exploring state of the art alternative energy concepts (solar, wind, bio fuels, and other green technologies), which today serve as essential building blocks for US energy policy. One of these “cutting edge” businesses (the wind segment) was developed from infancy, sold to General Electric, and is now the second largest wind turbine manufacturing business in the world.
Electing early retirement from Enron in April 2001, Tom then accepted an appointment as Secretary of the Army in the administration of President George W. Bush. He served in that position until May 2003, leading the Army during one of the most difficult periods ever encountered by our nation. It started with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and these were followed by the early days of the Global War on Terrorism and combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, all huge challenges for America. The needs of the Army frequently were at odds with others demands, but Secretary White endeavored to do what was right for Soldiers, the Army and the nation. Army Transformation, the Stryker family of vehicles, Future Combat System, and Army Family Well-Being all bear his handprints. However, he is perhaps best remembered for his unwavering support of former Army Chief of Staff General(R) Eric Shinseki, and his unblinking testimony before Congress on the required force structure needed to sustain ongoing combat operations in Iraq, a position that proved correct. Tom White’s example of placing the nation above his career serves for all as a model of the “harder right” articulated in the Cadet Prayer.
After serving as Secretary of the Army, Tom returned to Houston, Texas, where he and several other West Point graduates started DKRW Energy LLC. During the past six years, this company has grown to be one of the leading alternative energy development companies in the country. In his role within the company, Tom has proven to be an inspirational and creative leader, with exemplary business and financial skills. His vision has earned him the highest respect of the Houston area business community.
Tom White’s lifelong career of distinguished public service as an Army Officer, business leader, and Secretary of the Army has made permanent and invaluable contributions to the welfare and security of the nation. With an uncommon devotion and dedication to Soldiers, the Army, and the nation, Tom White exemplifies the finest qualities of an American Soldier and graduate of the United States Military Academy.
Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Thomas E. White, Jr.
HON (R) Robert Kimmitt ’69
Throughout an extraordinary career of service, Ambassador Robert M. Kimmitt has contributed significantly to our nation’s security and well-being. Seamlessly blending the roles of soldier, statesman, and businessman, he has established himself as a national security and financial policy expert, personifying the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country across an exceptional scope of engagement. At West Point, Bob Kimmitt was a distinguished cadet, cadet company commander, and captain of the Rugby Team. He is a class officer, has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Graduates, and, as Class Scribe, has written the Class of 1969 column in Assembly magazine for over 40 years.
Lieutenant Kimmitt volunteered for duty in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade after graduating first in his Ranger School class. He served with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry; C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery; and Headquarters, 4th Battalion, 503rd Infantry. Extending his tour, he became the first in his class to command in combat. He left Vietnam with three Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal, returning to Ft. Campbell, KY, where he served with the 101st Airborne Division.
In 1974, as a member of the first class of the military’s Funded Legal Education Program, Captain Kimmitt attended Georgetown University Law Center. While at Georgetown, he began working on the National Security Council Staff, commencing a lifetime’s work in international and security policy.
Ambassador Kimmitt eventually served as the NSC Executive Secretary and as the first NSC General Counsel. When he left to become General Counsel to the US Treasury Department, he had served three Presidents, bridging the Iranian hostage crisis, the American downing of Libyan aircraft following an attack over international waters, the Soviet shoot down of a Korean airliner, the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and the liberation operation in Grenada.
Returning to public service from private law practice in 1989, Ambassador Kimmitt became Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, serving during German Unification and the fall of the Soviet Union, the Panama operation in December 1989, and the first Gulf Crisis and War. For his performance during this critical period, especially as architect of the U.N. strategy that underpinned the historic coalition effort that removed Iraqi forces from Kuwait, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Nation’s second highest civilian award, by President George H.W. Bush.
In 1991 he was appointed as the first American Ambassador in over 50 years to a united Germany. For his service, he was awarded Germany’s highest decoration, the Order of Merit, and the US Defense Department Public Service Award. On his return from Germany in 1993, he was elected to the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Ambassador Kimmitt then began over a decade in the private sector, still continuing national service as a member of the National Defense Panel, the Director of Central Intelligence’s National Security Advisory Panel, and the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. A lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations, he is never far from the issues that drive national and international concerns.
Ambassador Kimmitt’s private sector experience complemented his public service. As an attorney, he specialized in international law before the concept of globalization was part of our business vernacular. As Vice Chairman and President of Commerce One, he led a software provider at the forward edge of e-commerce business solutions. And at Time Warner, as Executive Vice President, Global Public Policy, he led integration of policy and business approaches that anticipated the blurring of news and entertainment content and delivery.
As Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 2005-2009, Ambassador Kimmitt served in a position requiring his unique combination of diplomatic, economic, and business expertise. He led the efforts to stand up healthy economies in difficult post-conflict environments like Afghanistan and Iraq, oversaw financial sanctions to thwart the nuclear proliferation programs of Iran and North Korea, and chaired the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, championing openness to foreign investment while protecting our national security. Upon leaving government, Ambassador Kimmitt became Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Cross-Border Investment and Senior International Counsel to the law firm of WilmerHale.
Throughout his careers in government and business, Ambassador Kimmitt has maintained his commitment to the Army. Leaving active duty for the Army Reserves in 1982, he held a series of Mobilization Designee assignments, culminating in service as a Deputy Director (J-5) on the Joint Staff. Remembering his own generation of servicemen and women, he was a member of the small group of veterans who led the effort to construct the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, where 17 of his classmates are forever remembered. Major General Kimmitt retired from the Army Reserves in 2004.
Bob Kimmitt — General, Ambassador, and Secretary Kimmitt — has advanced on many avenues to a single destination: that of the modern day Soldier Statesman. His life and work serve as reminders of what the United States Military Academy represents and seeks to instill in its graduates.
Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Robert M. Kimmitt.