Career Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, who came out of retirement as an ambassador from the United States Foreign Service to become the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, will receive the 2011 George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest award presented by the Association of the United States Army.
Nominated to the Afghanistan post by President Obama in April 2011, he was confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on June 30.
In retirement, Crocker served from 2010 as dean and executive professor at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
Awarded annually to an individual who has exhibited selfless service to the United States of America, the medal will be presented to Crocker by the Association’s Council of Trustees to recognize his contributions to the United States Foreign Service, the diplomatic corps, national defense and the men and women of the armed forces.
"His service exemplifies his underlying firm and patriotic commitment to the highest American ideals of freedom, liberty and democracy," an AUSA official said.
The award presentation will take place Oct. 12, at the George Catlett Marshall Memorial Dinner, the final event of the three-day AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington.
"As an exceptional diplomat and ambassador, who served his country for over thirty-seven 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.
Adding, "Now serving again in harm’s way as our ambassador to Afghanistan, Ambassador Crocker, through his close collaboration with General David H. Petraeus in Iraq, demonstrated how potent strong civil-military partnerships can be in addressing the global challenges we are faced with today.
"The Association of the United States Army and its over 110,000 members are honored and proud to recognize Career Ambassador Ryan Crocker. He is a great American and truly deserving of AUSA’s highest award."
A native of Spokane, Wash., who grew up in an Air Force family, Crocker attended University College Dublin and received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Whitman College in Walla Walla, before entering the Foreign Service and Persian language training before his assignment to Iran.
He then moved to Doha, Qatar, as an economic-commercial officer before returning to Washington for Arabic training and later a tour in Tunis. He then received a post in the U.S. Interests Section in Baghdad, Iraq.
From 1981 to 1984, Crocker served in Beirut, Lebanon, as chief of the political section. It was in this position that he reported to the State Department about the Sabra and Shatila massacre and, in 1983, he survived the U.S. Embassy bombing.
After pursuing course work in Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, he served as deputy director of the Office of Israeli and Arab-Israeli Affairs at the American Embassy before becoming the political adviser at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
In the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Crocker was appointed to serve as a member of the Iraq-Kuwait Task Force.
From 1990 to 2009, he served as the United States Ambassador to Lebanon (1990 to 1993), Kuwait (1994 to 1997), Syria, where his residence was attacked and plundered by an angry mob, (1998 to 2001), Pakistan (2004 to 2007) and Iraq (2007 to 2009).
Before his confirmation as ambassador to Pakistan, he was appointed interim envoy to the new Afghanistan government.
In September 2004, President George W. Bush conferred on Crocker the diplomatic rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service, equivalent to a four-star rank in the military.
Bush also presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, to Crocker in January 2009 for his work "to build a worldwide coalition to combat terrorism and help millions of oppressed people travel the path to liberty and democracy."
"Ambassador Crocker’s unparalleled accomplishments and his extraordinary diplomatic career – in the tradition of soldier-statesman General George Catlett Marshall – make him truly deserving of the Marshall Medal, and we at AUSA are proud to recognize him in this way," Sullivan said.