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2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Categories: Events & Awards, Distinguished Graduate Award, Grad News
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The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 2019 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 20, 2019. View photos of the event here. The 2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:

2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient GEN (R) David A. Bramlett '64

GEN (R) David Bramlett ’64

COL (R) Victor F. Garcia, M.D. ’68

2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient COL (R) Victor Garcia, M.D. '68

From growing up the son of Puerto Rican immigrants in Harlem, NY, to becoming one of the nation’s leading pediatric trauma surgeons, COL (R) Victor Garcia, M.D., has always embodied the excellence, integrity, and character that West Point seeks to instill in its graduates. Following graduation, Garcia headed to Fort Benning, GA, where he was elected commander of his Ranger School class. After an assignment with the 8th Signal Battalion in Germany, he entered Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, completing his residency in general surgery at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in 1978. After studying pediatric surgery under Dr. C. Everett Koop (13th Surgeon General of the United States) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Garcia returned to Walter Reed and, in 1987, became the Chief of General Surgery Services. After retiring from the Army, he founded the Trauma Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, serving as its director until 2009. During that time, he not only focused on advancing the treatment of traumatic injuries but also preventing them. He developed the “Buckle Up for Life” program with Toyota, co-founded the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, started a nonprofit to address the root causes of health disparities, catalyzed the development of a for-profit inner city business to stimulate economic growth in disadvantaged inner-city neighborhoods, and co-developed an artificial technology-based medical platform that predicts and treats blood flow instability during trauma care. In May 2018, in recognition of his work, Garcia received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Xavier University. Father Michael Graham, President of Xavier University, calls Garcia “a champion for the marginalized, a man who truly lives his life for and with others.”

2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient LTG (R) Robert L. Van Antwerp '72

LTG (R) Robert L. Van Antwerp ’72

GEN (R) Walter L. Sharp ’74

2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient GEN (R) Walter L. Sharp '74

Called the “George Marshall of our generation” by his classmate GEN (R) Martin Dempsey ’74, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN (R) Walter “Skip” Sharp served multiple tours on the Joint Staff, culminating as the Director of the Joint Staff; fought in Iraq during Operations Desert Shield/Storm; led peacekeeping operations in Haiti and Bosnia; and commanded more than 28,500 troops in the Republic of Korea (ROK). During his command tour in Korea he stood fast and courageously defused several volatile crises, including North Korean forces sinking a South Korean naval vessel and shelling an island, killing sailors and ROK citizens. Addressing these incidents, ROK Ambassador Ho-Young Ahn says, “Despite the rising tensions on the Peninsula, General Sharp’s calm and resolute leadership helped deter future belligerence from the North.” Sharp continues to work on ROK–U.S. relations as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Korean Defense Veterans Association and a director on The Korea Society Board of Directors. He also is on the MOAA Board of Directors. Sharp has served West Point in retirement, leading the Class of 1974 to raise more than $4 million for the atrium of the Malek West Point Visitors Center, the largest class gift ever given to USMA for a single purpose. “Throughout his 37 years of active duty, Skip proved himself to be a leader of extraordinary ability and strategic vision,” says GEN (R) John Abizaid ’73. “A tested combat leader, a respected mentor and a strategic advisor to the highest levels of our government and that of several major allies, Skip Sharp’s contribution to the defense of our nation is unequaled.”

2019 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient LTG (R) Robert L. Caslen Jr. '75

LTG (R) Robert L. Caslen Jr. ’75

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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