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Class Notes

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2001 Distinguished Graduate Award

COL James L. Hayden '45

The West Point roots of James Lloyd Hayden may be traced back to the 19th Century, when his great-grandfather graduated as a member of the Civil War Class of 1862 and his grandfather graduated in the Class of 1888. In the 20th Century, his father graduated in the World War I Class of 1917, and “Buster” Hayden — after three attempts at securing an appointment — graduated with the World War II Class of 1945. After a distinguished career of 30 years, with tours of duty with the Constabulary Force during the occupation of Germany, an Armored Field Artillery Battalion during the Korean War, in the Pentagon, and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he retired as the Deputy Assistant Commandant of the Air Defense School in 1975. He then began to place his mark upon graduates reaching into the 21st Century by means of his dedicated work with the Admissions Field Force.
In 1976, he volunteered to assist with West Point Admissions as Area Coordinator for El Paso, Texas. In 1983, he expanded his area of responsibility by becoming the Region Coordinator for Southwest Texas and Southern New Mexico and continues to serve that region now. To date, he has sent 186 young men and women from the El Paso area to West Point; currently there are 27 Cadets from the El Paso area here — all due to the efforts of Buster Hayden. Additionally, he has assisted 156 young men and women from outside the El Paso area to become Cadets.
As the result of a quarter century of effort, he has received awards and recognition from a myriad of sources. In 1979, he received the Award of Merit from the El Paso Chamber of Commerce for heading the Armed Services Committee. In 1983, he was cited by the Academy “for outstanding support of USMA Admissions during the period 1976-83.” In 1985, he was selected as a member of the newly formed Academy Advisory Committee for the 16th District of Texas and, in 1987, became Chairman, a position he holds to this day. In 1985, he also was selected to serve on an ad hoc committee of the Association of Graduates to study the relationships among the Academy, the Association, and graduates in the various West Point Societies. In 1987, he was made a charter member of the “12th Man Club” for his support of the Army football program. In 1988, he served with distinction on the committee that supported the Army football team’s visit to the Sun Bowl, and the following year he was asked to brief lessons learned from both the Sun Bowl support mission and Admissions support in general to the Third Annual West Point Society Presidents Conference. In 1988, he was honored by the West Point Society of El Paso for “untiring commitment . . . to the United States Military Academy and the youth of the greater El Paso area.”
In 1991, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Association of Graduates and served three terms, achieving Trustee Emeritus status in 1999. During this time, he only missed one Board meeting — because he was attending his 50th Reunion elsewhere at West Point! In 1991, he also became the first recipient of the USMA Admissions Distinguished Service Award. In 1997, the mayor of El Paso bestowed the city’s highest honor, the Conquistador Award, upon Colonel Hayden, and the U.S. Representative for the 16th District presented him a Certificate of Special Congressional Appreciation. In 1999, Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera ’78 presented him with the Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service for “extraordinary effort on behalf of the Military Academy.”
In addition to the above activities, Colonel Hayden organized Academy Week in El Paso in 1979 to honor the five federal academies, their Cadets and Midshipmen, and local Congressmen. Academy Week was an annual event for the next ten years. The following year, he organized the West Point Parents Club of El Paso.
During 30 years of active duty and another 25 years supporting Admissions and a spectrum of other programs connected with West Point, Colonel Hayden has truly espoused the motto of the United States Military Academy: Duty, Honor, Country.
Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes pride in presenting the 2001 Distinguished Graduate Award to James Lloyd Hayden.

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