The Council of Trustees of the Association of the United States Army awarded the 2007 George Catlett Marshall Medal to Lieutenant General Julius Wesley Becton, Jr., United States Army, Retired, for his selfless, exemplary and unmatched service to our nation, to our Army and to the men and women who serve.
Like many young Americans of his time, General Becton voluntarily entered the Army in 1944. He became a commissioned officer at the age of 19. As a young Lieutenant of Infantry, he was assigned to the 93d Infantry Division as a platoon leader in World War II.
In 1946 he was transferred from the Active Army to the Reserve and entered Muhlenberg College. He remained there until 1948, when he re-entered the Active Army. For the thirty-five years that followed, General Becton served with great distinction, retiring in 1983. During this period, he led America’s soldiers in combat in Korea and Vietnam, and in Cold War operations.
General Becton’s service included many command assignments at the company, battalion, brigade, division and corps levels. He ended his service career as the Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and Army Inspector of Training. The quality of his service is reflected in his numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star for service in Korea and Vietnam.
General Becton’s very distinguished military career was followed by equally distinguished post-military service to the nation in several significant positions. The first of these, in 1984, was as the Director, United States Foreign Disaster Assistance, in the Agency for International Development. In 1985 he was appointed Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 1989 he became President of Prairie View University, where he launched a new era of fiscal and academic accountability. In 1994 he left the university and returned to Virginia for his second retirement, but shortly thereafter he accepted an appointment as Superintendent of the Washington, D.C., school system.
General Becton’s public service has allowed him to make worthy and lasting contributions in both government and education. Concurrently, he has been an active senior leader on the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, a commissioner with the American Battle Monuments Commission, a member of the USO Board, and a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation and the Association of the United States Army. He is a well-known and respected national leader.
For his lifetime of service and contributions to our armed forces, it is with profound admiration and sincere gratitude that the Association of the United States Army proudly presented its highest award, the George Catlett Marshall Medal, to Julius W. Becton on this the tenth day of October, two thousand seven.