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Dunwoody to Receive 2019 Thayer Award

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U.S. Army
Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Retired Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the first woman in U.S. history to reach the rank of four-star general, will receive the 2019 Sylvanus Thayer Award, the West Point Association of Graduates’ highest honor for a nongraduate.

Dunwoody, a member of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Council of Trustees, will receive the prestigious award on Oct. 10 during a ceremony hosted by Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

The Corps of Cadets will conduct a parade on the Plain in Dunwoody’s honor later that day. The parade is open to the public.

“With four generations of West Point graduates in my family, I am especially proud that I will have the privilege of trooping the line, and the opportunity to salute the men and women of the Corps of Cadets who will lead and inspire our future Army,” Dunwoody said in a statement released by West Point.

Dunwoody’s brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all West Point graduates.

Joining the Army in 1974, Dunwoody was a second lieutenant in the Women's Army Corps in 1975 and went on to serve at every level of command, including several firsts. She was the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division; the first female general officer at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and the first woman to command the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia.

She deployed overseas for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and, as 1st Corps Support Command commander, deployed the Logistics Task Force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom I. Her major staff assignments include planner for the chief of staff of the Army; executive officer to the director, Defense Logistics Agency; and deputy chief of staff for logistics, G-4. As commander of Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Dunwoody supported the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since World War II.

In her last assignment, Dunwoody led and ran Army Materiel Command, the largest global logistics command in the Army. She retired in 2012, saying, “From the very first day that I put my uniform on, right up until this morning, I know there is nothing I would have rather done with my life.”

Dunwoody currently serves as president of First 2 Four, a leadership mentoring and strategic advisory services company, and serves on several public, private and nonprofit boards.

The Thayer Award, presented annually since 1958, is named for Sylvanus Thayer, West Point’s superintendent from 1817–33, whose improvements in academic standards and emphasis on military discipline and honorable conduct led to his being considered the Father of the Military Academy.

Past recipients of the Thayer Award include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Bob Hope, Neil Armstrong, Barbara Jordon, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, and former President George W. Bush. Last year’s recipient was Leon Panetta.