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1995 Distinguished Graduate Award

Bernard W. Rogers

     General Rogers' illustrious career of distinguished achievement began with his appointment to West Point in 1940.  As a cadet he quickly rose to prominence, leading the Corps as the First Captain.  Upon graduation in June 1943, he was commissioned in the Infantry and joined the 70th Infantry Division.  In June 1944 he was reassigned to West Point, where, in recognition of his academic achievement as a cadet, he was detailed to the faculty as an instructor in the Department of Economics, Government and History.

     As a junior officer, General Rogers was soon recognized as an individual of extraordinary talent and intellectual capacity. From 1945 to 1947, he served in sensitive assignments as Aide and Executive Officer to the Superintendent, to the US High Commissioner for Austria, and to the Commander, Sixth Army.  In 1947 he was selected in national competition to attend Oxford University as one of the nation's first post-war Rhodes Scholars.  Following graduation from Oxford and attendance at the Infantry School, General Rogers was assigned to Korea where he assumed command of the 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry, then engaged in sustained combat.

     Following his promotion to Brigadier General, General Rogers was ordered to Vietnam as  Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Infantry Division.  In successive combat actions, he distinguished himself, winning the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star of Valor, and the Air Medal with Valor Device.

     In 1967 he returned to West Point to command the Corps of Cadets.  As Commandant, he reformed the cadet disciplinary system, to ensure that the cadet model of leadership reflected those proven principles and techniques required to successfully lead American soldiers.  As with
every command assignment throughout his career, General Rogers left the indelible imprint of his dynamic leadership and abiding concern for the welfare of the men he commanded.

     In 1969 General Rogers was chosen to command the 5th Infantry Division, Mechanized, at Fort Carson.  Assuming command of a unit of flagging spirit and low combat effectiveness, he designed and implemented innovative programs to restore the morale and unit readiness of his division.  These initiatives proved so successful, that the Army's leadership adopted them as the model and framework for the Volunteer Army Program, instituted Army-wide to maintain and improve the mission effectiveness of the Army during its critical transition to an all-volunteer force.

     Following Pentagon assignment as Chief of Legislative Liaison and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, General Rogers assumed command of the United States Army Forces Command, where he stressed unit readiness, modernization, sustainability and enhancement of the quality of life of the individual soldier and his family.

     In 1976 General Rogers was appointed Chief of Staff of the United States Army.  For the next four years he continued his focus on combat readiness, and Army family quality of life. Under his leadership, the Army's capability to reinforce NATO was a markedly improved and became the
cornerstone of a credible deterrence of war between the Western Alliance and the Soviet Union.
    In June 1979 the Allied nations of NATO selected General Rogers as Supreme Allied  Commander, Europe.  In his eight years of leadership in Europe, NATO became stronger than at any time in its history and as a peaceful alliance of strength, assured the victroy of the West in the Cold War.

     At that conclusion of his service with NATO, General Rogers received the highest praise and honors from the member nations of the Alliance.  His own nation added its recognition, awarding him the Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals.

     General Rogers' lifetime of outstanding service to the nation has been characterized by matchless leadership at every level of command in the United States Army and culminated with his appointment as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

     Soldier-Scholar-Statesman, keenly perceptive and extraordinarily skilled in national and international political-military affairs, General Rogers' contributions in the service of his country and to the NATO Alliance are unparalled and are among those that future generations will
count as key to the winning of the Cold War.

     His uncommon devotion to his country and its Army epitomizes the finest qualities of the American soldier and clearly reflects the principles and ideals embodied in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 1995
Distinguished Graduate Award to Bernard W. Rogers, Class of June 1943.