Ryan Crocker, the United States ambassador to Afghanistan, recalled for the 3,000 attendees at the George Catlett Marshall dinner Oct. 12 a regular morning practice he has as he meets with his staff to look at what has happened the day before, what will be happening that day and what is expected in the future.
Before the first item on the agenda is on the table for discussion, Crocker has the names of those killed in action that week read aloud during that morning staff meeting. “It is in their memory that I accept this medal with profound thanks.
Crocker, who previously served as ambassador to Iraq and was called from retirement to serve in Afghanistan, is the 2011 recipient of the Association of the United States Army’s highest award, the George Catlett Marshall award.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Association’s 57th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, Crocker said, “If there is an institution that understands resolve, commitment and sacrifice, it is the United States Army.”
In accepting the Marshall Medal, Crocker said, “I am truly humbled by this honor which is an honor for the foreign service of the United States.”
He said that being “a diplomat among warriors” was recognition of the “changed national security environment we face.” Adding, the armed forces and the foreign service corps “have had to learn to work together” again in furthering the nation’s interests in some ways similar to those used in the late 1940s.
As Marshall did in rebuilding post World War II Europe, Crocker said, “We can only succeed if we bring all of the elements of soft power together.” Adding, “Our military won the war [then]. The Marshall Plan won the peace” on an investment of $13 billion in late 1940s dollars.
Awarded annually to an individual who has exhibited selfless service to the United States, the Marshall Medal was presented to Crocker by the Association’s Council of Trustees for his contributions to the United States Foreign Service, the diplomatic corps, national defense and the men and women of the armed forces.
"As an exceptional diplomat and ambassador, who served his country for over 37 years in many of the world’s most volatile, dangerous and challenging posts with extraordinary heroism, dedication and diplomacy, Ambassador Crocker is a true American icon who represents the best of public service and sacrifice to the nation," AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., said in announcing the selection.
Adding, "Through his close collaboration with Gen. David H. Petraeus in Iraq and later in Afghanistan, Ambassador Crocker has demonstrated how potent strong civil-military partnerships can be in addressing the global challenges we are faced with today.”