Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., Army War College Class of 1978, president of the Association of the United States Army and the 32nd Army chief of staff (1991 – 1995), was honored with an Outstanding Alumni Award for his military leadership and long-term influence on the nation and national defense at a ceremony Dec. 2 with current and future strategic leaders at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) in Carlisle, Pa.
The award’s justification noted that Sullivan leads the Association of the U.S. Army, promoting programs for soldiers and their families, creating opportunities for professional dialogue with industry and advocating public awareness of Army and national security issues through educational and outreach programs.
In 1997, he founded the Marshall Legacy Institute that now has programs that help solve real world problems, such as the humanitarian dangers and destabilizing effects of landmines in a dozen war-torn countries.
Also honored with Sullivan were Gen. Donn A. Starry, USA, Ret., a former commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Class of 1966, and Dr. Lewis (Bob) Sorley, world renowned author, Class of 1973,
The awards were presented by Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, Army War College commandant, during the celebration of the college’s 109th birthday.
Addressing the three recipients, Martin said, "You have made our nation better. You have provided us with incredible examples of the power of service, wisdom and strength. This honor is but a small way to say thanks to you, and your families and friends. We are proud to share the title ‘U.S. Army War College Alum.’"
The Army War College mission is to develop strategic leaders for a lifetime and these three were selected for exemplifying the USAWC spirit.
"Follow in the footstep of these three great leaders that are here before you today," Martin said to the students and faculty.
Adding, "These men have made a huge difference both in and out of uniform. Find your individual passion and go for it for your lifetime. I want each of you to know how much the nation needs your leadership, your wisdom and your strength to solve the many wicked problems we face both now and in the decades ahead. Make the most of every day you have here."
Starry has directed a number of private corporations that have worked to develop new command and control systems for the military and NASA.
Sorley, who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Army staff, has carried on the research and publications tradition of the college, winning numerous awards from military and private organizations for works like the "Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes" and "Honor Bright: The History and Origin of the West Point Honor Code and System."
"This program is designed to provide a prestigious and visible means of honoring U.S. Army War College graduates who distinguished themselves through outstanding achievement to their community or country," Col. Ruth Collins, USA, Ret., CEO of the Army War College Foundation, Inc., said.
"Being here reinforces my feelings that there is hope ahead for us as long as it is in the hands of today’s young people," Starry, who donned his uniform for the first time in 23 years for the event, said. "There are good days ahead."
"I appreciate deeply and understand the immense value of this great institution," Sullivan said. "What you learn here and the relationships you form will open doors later on in your career. Thanks for your service; we are all extremely proud of you."
Sullivan also took some time to thank military families.
"You all understand what it means to be in an era of persistent conflict," he said. "I want to thank your families for their courage and sacrifice."
Sorley quoted renowned retired Gen. Creighton Abrams when talking about the service of the students in the audience.
"Soldiers are not in the Army, they are the Army," he said. "I know that in your service you are measuring up to the responsibilities placed upon you."
After the awards, students were shown a video highlighting the 109 years of the Army War College.