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Class Notes

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2009 Distinguished Graduate Award

LTG (R) Robert Franklin Foley ’63

Throughout his life of service as an Army officer, scholar, and leader, Lieutenant General Robert F. Foley has continuously dedicated himself to the principles of Duty, Honor, and Country.

LTG Foley began his Army career after graduation from West Point in 1963. He advanced quickly through junior officer assignments while honing the skills he learned at West Point. During this phase of his career, he began demonstrating a characteristic of service to others and compassion for the Soldier, themes which would be reinforced throughout his life both in and out of uniform. An early indication of his commitment to these values became most evident when he earned the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War for conspicuous gallantry on 5 November 1966 while serving as Company Commander of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. His professionalism and caring concern for Soldiers are a sterling reflection of the spirit of “Duty, Honor, Country.”

When General Sam Walker became Commandant of Cadets in 1969, he specifically asked for then Captain Foley to be assigned as a Company Tactical Officer for the Corps of Cadets. According to General Walker, Foley stood out as an officer of tremendous courage, not only for his award of the Medal of Honor for actions during the War in Vietnam, but also for the courage of his convictions and character traits that he demonstrated to members of his company and to the Corps at large.

LTG Foley continued to expand his leadership experience during the next phase of his career by holding positions of increased responsibility including Commander, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry in Aschaffenburg, Germany; Commander, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in Kitzingen, Germany; and Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea. Between these commands, he continued to contribute to the war fighting capabilities of the Army, serving in various positions in and out of the Pentagon, where he focused his efforts on the readiness of our forces world-wide.

LTG Foley returned to West Point in 1992 as the 63rd Commandant of Cadets. As Commandant, he established a core value “Consideration for Others,” now called “Respect,” which inspired cadets to be responsible for treating others with respect and dignity.  This became an Army–wide program that focused leaders on the kind of trust and cohesion essential to successful mission accomplishment. The program he began at West Point was and remains an integral part of the inculcation of values and cadet leadership development.

In his final assignment on active duty, LTG Foley became Commanding General of Fifth US Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In this assignment, he was responsible for integrated training support and wartime mobilization for Army National Guard and Army Reserve units, as well as disaster relief support to civilian authorities. After completing thirty-seven years of active duty in 2000, he became the President of Marion Military Institute, a junior college in Marion, Alabama.  Since 2005, LTG Foley has been Director of Army Emergency Relief, a private, non-profit organization that has provided emergency financial assistance to Soldiers and their families for more than 67 years.

LTG Foley has distinguished himself for nearly fifty years of selfless service to West Point, the US Army, his Soldiers, their families, and the nation. Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2009 Distinguished Graduate Award to Lieutenant General Robert F. Foley.