The 2008 General Creighton W. Abrams Medal for exceptional service to the United States Army was awarded to Major General John A. Hemphill, United States Army, Retired, for his outstanding service to America’s Army.
A Graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, General Hemphill began his distinguished career with a commission as a second lieutenant of infantry. As a commander during the Korean War, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and two Purple Hearts. His two tours in Vietnam earned him two Silver Stars, two additional Bronze Star Medals for Valor and a third Purple Heart. His dedication to the Army, as evidenced by his numerous decorations, has continued even into his retirement.
As President of the Association of the United States Army’s Fort Lewis Chapter, and later as the Association’s Sixth Region President, General Hemphill initiated and chaired the committee that led to the creation of the Captain Meriwether Lewis Memorial Park, to honor the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery.
Under General Hemphill’s steadfast leadership, the volunteer committee raised $290,000 to finance the development of three bronze statues, including one of Sergeant John Ordway, the first sergeant of the Army’s transcontinental expedition to the Pacific Coast. This is the Army’s first statue to be dedicated to a noncommissioned officer, and the accompanying plaque beautifully commemorates and honors the essential role noncommissioned officers have played in the Army from the Revolutionary War to today’s global war on terrorism.
General Hemphill continues to spearhead the next phase of this project, which will include a site for teaching the Lewis and Clark epic journey to Soldiers, military families and civilian visitors for years to come.
In grateful recognition of his exceptional, steadfast, and visionary service, the Association of the United States Army proudly presented the General Creighton W. Abrams Medal to Major General John A. Hemphill on the sixth day of October, two thousand eight.