The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 2018 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 awards will be presented in a ceremony at West Point on May 22, 2018. The 2018 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:
COL (R) Dana G. Mead ’57
Soldier, educator, businessman, and national policymaker, COL (R) Dana Mead has accomplished much in his nearly seven decades of service. Commissioned Armor upon graduation, Mead served in the 82nd Airborne, Third Armored Division in Germany and at Fort Knox, KY where his company had the alert security mission for the Gold Depository. After receiving a doctorate from MIT, he taught in West Point’s Department of Social Sciences, designing the National Security Seminar. While at West Point he served on Pentagon teams preparing the Westmoreland Report on the War in Vietnam and writing the last volumes of the Pentagon Papers. He was then assigned to be Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans, for the III Marine Amphibious Force, writing the plans and coordinating withdrawal of the Marines from Vietnam. Returning stateside, Mead was chosen as a White House Fellow and served there three more years as the Deputy Director of the Domestic Council. After a second tour with USMA’s Social Sciences Department (as Deputy Head), Mead retired from the Army and began a business career, first at International Paper and then as President, Chair, and CEO of Tenneco, a financially troubled conglomerate. He and his team quickly restored it to profitability; Industry Week named Tenneco one of the “100 Best Managed Companies” in the world three years running. Three notable chairmanships followed: the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the MIT Corporation. GEN (R) Barry McCaffrey ’64 sums up Mead’s career by saying, “Dana is one of the most accomplished and brilliant leaders that West Point has produced in the post-WWII era.”
Mr. Thomas C. Barron ’65
Mr. Thomas Barron is known as a quiet force behind the scenes, adept at getting things done without great fanfare. He was one of the first of his class to lead Infantry troops in combat and completed two tours in Vietnam. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1972, Barron spent 34 years in leadership roles with top American companies, including Dun & Bradstreet, culminating his career as COO of the Episcopal Church Pension Group. While working in industry, Barron also made major contributions to West Point, Outward Bound Schools, and Business Executives for National Security. He is a Life Member of the West Point Society of New York and, as its President, led the society’s period of greatest membership growth. As a member of the WPAOG Board from 1987 to 2005, Barron served on 10 different committees, including the Development, Finance & Business Operations, and Executive Committees. His 11-year leadership role in USMA’s Bicentennial Campaign was recognized by the Secretary of the Army with the Army’s Public Service Award. Passionate about its mission, Barron assisted the History Department in revitalizing the Center for Oral History (COH) program, and today remains a trusted personal advisor to COH leaders. He is also a generous contributor to the Combating Terrorism Center and the Rugby Team. LTG (R) Dan Christman ’65, the 55th Superintendent of West Point, says of Barron, “Nobody, but nobody, has combined these important contributions with dozens of other major outreach efforts that have positioned our alma mater and its alumni association for excellence in the 21st century.”
LTG (R) Larry R. Jordan ’68
According to GEN (R) Fred Franks ’59, “LTG (R) Larry Jordan has been a distinguished graduate his entire life since his commissioning and graduation in 1968.” Airborne trained and Ranger qualified, he quickly distinguished himself as an Armor officer while serving in the 2-2nd Infantry Regiment with the famed 1st Infantry Division (“Big Red One”) in Vietnam. After further education, and an assignment with the USMA History Department, Jordan began a rapid rise through command and staff positions at the battalion, brigade, and installation levels, including chief of staff of the 1st Armored Division and command of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Upon promotion to general officer rank, Jordan became Commanding General of the Armor & Cavalry Center at Fort Knox, KY and excelled in three different Army three-star posts, notably Inspector General. When he retired after 35 years, Jordan had received numerous awards for his service, including the Armor Association’s Gold Order of St. George and the Field Artillery Association’s Order of St. Barbara. In 2012, the HistoryMakers designated him a Military History Maker, archiving his career story in the Library of Congress. Post-Army, Jordan served as Senior Vice President of Burdeshaw Associates and on several councils and boards, including as Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates from 2014-17. As his biographical sketch in the 1968 Howitzer prophesized, “General Jordan, as indeed someday it shall please one to address him, has combined an outstanding military manner with amiability.”
GEN (R) William S. Wallace ’69
When others discuss the five-decade Army career of GEN (R) William “Scott” Wallace, the word that comes up over and over is “visionary.” Whether he was, as GEN (R) Gordon Sullivan notes, “…practicing his skills as an Army warrior or teaching others the skills of war at the tactical and operational level,” Wallace was a key figure in the Army’s renaissance after Vietnam. Early in his career, he was instrumental in developing a system to deliver tanks to the drop zone with minimal impact. Wallace later designed a new math and computer-based decision system, one of the Army’s earliest digital combat simulations. He also served as commanding general of the Experimental Force of Force XXI, the transformed 4th Infantry Division, applying advanced technologies to command and control when the Army sought to modernize after the Cold War. His innovative nature was clearly on display when, as commanding general, Wallace led the 140,000 soldiers of V Corps to swift victory, using unparalleled capabilities against unconventional adversaries, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wallace’s capstone assignment was as commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). GEN (R) Peter Schoomaker, the 35th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, says, “General Wallace’s contributions at TRADOC were instrumental to the Army’s great success through some of the most challenging periods in our history, while concurrently setting a vision into the future that is unfolding even today.” Part “muddy boots” soldier and part “premier trainer,” few West Point graduates have had as influential an Army career as Wallace.
HON Sloan D. Gibson ’75
The Honorable Sloan Gibson is, as VADM (R) Richard Carmona, the 17th U.S. Surgeon General, puts it, one who “understands that leaders are ultimately responsible for the destiny of others.” After time as a rifle platoon leader, he served as aide-de-camp to BG Fred Mahaffey, then Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School, and as speechwriter for LTG William Richardson ’51, then Commander of the Combined Arms Center. Gibson then began a distinguished 22-year banking career, culminating as Vice Chairman and CFO of AmSouth, having helped it grow fourfold to $50 billion in assets and join the S&P 500. Looking for new ways to serve, he obtained a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School and three years later was selected as the 22nd President and CEO of the USO, the only West Point graduate to serve in this role. Under Gibson’s leadership, the USO dramatically expanded its support for forward deployed troops, wounded troops and their families, and families of the fallen. He was selected by then Secretary Eric Shinseki ’65 to become Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, taking over as Acting Secretary in 2014. He worked alongside classmate then Secretary Bob McDonald in the transformation of VA through the successful MyVA program. Quoting GEN (R) Martin Dempsey ’74, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “It is not an exaggeration to say that tens of thousands of military members and their families owe their lives to Sloan Gibson.” Through it all, Gibson has supported West Point as a featured speaker at Founders Day dinners and as a generous donor.
HON Douglas E. Lute ’75
“In every generation,” writes GEN (R) Peter Chiarelli, “West Point produces one or two soldier-statesmen who make a difference at the national level—the Honorable Doug Lute is one.” As a soldier, Lute served as an Airborne Ranger in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment before returning to West Point to teach in the Department of Social Science, earning the Lincoln Award as best instructor. He served again with 2ACR during Operation Desert Storm, receiving the Bronze Star. Lute was promoted to general officer rank in 2001 and was the first in his year group to receive his third star in 2006. He commanded U.S. forces in Kosovo, served as the Director of Operations for U.S. Central Command and later for the Joint Staff, and was selected by President Bush to serve in the White House as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the senior White House official retained by President Obama, serving the two presidents for a total of six years. As a diplomat, Lute in 2013 was appointed the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, “the most important post in the diplomatic corps” according to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. During his tenure, Ambassador Lute used military expertise and skillful diplomacy to lead NATO’s response to the most severe security challenges since the end of the Cold War. As both a soldier and a statesman, Lute is, as former Vice President Joe Biden says, “a proven true American patriot.” Lute currently serves as the Robert F. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Social Sciences at USMA.