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Five men who served their country will be honored at Wednesdays Maneuver Dinner. They are former Secretary of State Les Brownlee, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Foley, retired Brig. Gen. John Sherman Crow, retired Lt. Col. William Bewley and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Tadeusz Gaweda.
Each will receive one of the highest awards their branch can confer. For former Infantrymen Brownlee, Foley and Gaweda, it will be the Doughboy Award; for former Cavalrymen Crow and Bewley, the Order of St. George Gold Medallion.
The Gold Medallion
The Order of St. George Gold Medallion is the highest honor awarded to a member of the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association, said retired Maj. Gen. Terry Tucker, the associations 38th president. The Gold Medallion was established in 1986 to recognize and honor lifetime achievement in promoting mounted warfare both while serving in the Army and, just as importantly, after leaving military service.
The association awards black, bronze, silver and gold medallions each year. For the Gold Medallion, typically no more than two individuals are selected.
Any member of the Armor or Cavalry community is eligible, Tucker said, but the individual must be nominated by a previous Gold Medallion recipient and elected by Gold Medallion members.
Since its inception, the Gold Medallion has been awarded 68 times to Cavalry and Armor officers and NCOs.
Both Brig. Gen. Crow and Lt. Col. Bewley exemplify the very best of the leaders of the mounted force, Tucker said. (They) both had stellar careers leading mounted forces while on active duty. Both were training innovators, stellar leaders of mounted formations, and mentors to a new generation of mounted officers and noncommissioned officers. After retirement both have been great supporters while in industry and both lead volunteer organizations that provide support to our Army, Armor and Cavalry units, troopers and their Families.
Retired Brig. Gen. John Sherman Crow
Commissioned as a second lieutenant of Cavalry in the late 1950s, Crow said he knew what branch he wanted from the start.
Its very much like a family, I think, Crow said of the Cavalry regiment. It is indeed a brotherhood of Soldiers. I wanted to be a Cavalry officer when I first went in, and I was fortunate to be able to be one. In retirement, I spent a considerable amount of time with the Blackhorse Association. Its purpose is principally to provide educational opportunities for children who lost a parent in service of our regiment.
Like Cavalrymen before him, Crows first duty station was Fort Knox, Ky. His final tactical command was as the commanding general of the 2nd Armored Division (Forward) in northern Germany. His last assignment before retiring in the late 1980s was serving as the deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Japan.
Immediate past president of the Blackhorse Association and former deputy director for operations with the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Crow has remained involved with the Calvary community following his retirement. The Louisiana resident said receiving his regiments highest award came as a surprise to him.
I am happy to be able to join my principal mentor among that august body Gen. Donn Starry, said Crow, adding that the award was more poignant since his mentors passing last year. And I will join a number of my dear friends with whom Ive served during the years. Im deeply humbled. Individuals dont get these kinds of accolades without the help of a lot of young Soldiers. I had a lot of wonderful Soldiers throughout the years devoted Soldiers so I will accept this on their behalf.
Retired Lt. Col. William Bewley
During 20 years of service, Crow held positions across the globe, including commands in Europe and Korea. His last assignment was commander of the Command & Control Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Bewley said the Gold Medallion award will take a place of honor in his home, where he can see it daily.
Its very humbling to be recognized by my peers for a lifetime of service, said the Kentucky native, now a resident of Virginia. Its difficult for me to accept the fact that Im in the same category as these great men. The fact that I have been chosen is very, very special to me.
Crow retired from service in 1989 but remained active in Army pursuits, working in a number of executive positions in commercial defense work enterprises and volunteering with a range of military charities. He is president of the 2nd Cavalry Association and a director of the Armor and Cavalry Museum Foundation Board.
I have to give the 2nd Cavalry a lot of credit for my success, both in the military and in business, he said. Theres no way this would have happened without the incredible backing and support I got from noncommissioned officers over a 40-year period. (They) helped me along the trail.
Its not a one-man trip. Its a team. Were tankers and were Cavalrymen and theres a cadre of us at work who continue the legacy of the Armor force for the nation. I definitely consider myself a tanker and a Cavalryman and will until the day I die.
Crow, who has attended the Gold Medallion ceremony before, said its a piece of the tradition.
The Cavalry has been a long part of the history of the nation, he said. Its come a long way. The mount has changed. The spirit of Cavalry has not. The legacy itself is the people and what the force has done in war and in peace. Thats what its all about.
The Doughboy Award
The Doughboy Award is presented on behalf of all Infantryman, past and present, to recognize three individuals for significant and lifelong contributions to the Infantry, said Michael Ramirez, Doughboy Award project officer for the Office of the Chief of Infantry.
Created in 1980 to recognize former Infantrymen, the award now has three categories: officer, NCO and, as of last year, civilian.
The Doughboy Award is the highest honor the chief of Infantry can bestow on an individual, Ramirez said. This years winners were overwhelmingly selected by 130 of the active voting members. The voting panel consists of all current and retired three- and four-star generals with an Infantry background, all command sergeants major of three- and four-star Infantry commands, and all retired sergeants major of the Army.
The judging is based on significant contributions nominees have made to the military both during and after service. Its a nine-month process, with nominations received in January. Ramirez said Brownlee, Foley and Gaweda were chosen because they continued serving even after laying aside their uniform and live the Infantry ethos of leading by example and strong moral character.
During the dinner, which annually draws hundreds of attendees, the National Infantry Association also presents the Doughboy Award winners with the Order of Saint Maurice and their wives with the Shield of Sparta.
Former Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee
Brownlee retired as a colonel in 1984 after 22 years on active duty. His career as an Infantryman was marked by two combat tours in Vietnam, command of a mechanized Infantry battalion in Germany, and several honors, including the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with V device and the Army Commendation Medal with V device and oak leaf cluster. In his final assignment, he served at the Pentagon as military executive to the undersecretary of the Army.
After retiring, Brownlee went directly from the Army to the U.S. Senate where he worked for almost 18 years, mainly on the staff of the Committee on Armed Services, serving as staff director his last six years.
I loved the Army always, and when I left it, I loved it as much as I ever did, he said. It wasnt accidental that I went to work in the Senate when I left the Army. The opportunities one has to do things there for Soldiers and not just Soldiers but all those who serve in the military and their Families is very great. And then to have the opportunity to go back to the Army in my last few years of government was a great joy for me. I loved every second of it.
The longest acting secretary of the Army, Brownlee served in that role from May 2003 to November 2004. Today, Brownlee works as the senior vice president for a Virginia-based technologies company and sits on the board of directors for Blue Star Families.
I think no matter where you are, no matter what youre doing, you owe a great debt of gratitude to those who serve our country, said Brownlee, explaining his continued dedication to the military. Of course, those in the Infantry are always farthest forward, and its never very crowded there, but its always the most dangerous place to be. So to have the opportunity to do what I could for Soldiers and their Families was one that I cherished.
Brownlee said he was honored to be included with so many great Infantrymen who have received the Doughboy Award, especially Foley, who he knows personally and respects highly, and Gaweda, one of our finest Infantry leaders.
But those foremost in my mind, he said, as I contemplate receiving this award, are the courageous young Soldiers of B Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, that I was privileged to command more than 46 years ago in the jungles of South Vietnam and all the brave young men and women who volunteered to serve our Army in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This award to me is, in reality, a tribute of honor to all of them: their courage, their service and their great sacrifices for our country.
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Foley
During his 37 years of service in the Infantry, Foley earned the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with silver oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. But the Doughboy Award, he said, is right at the top.
To me, it represents what the Infantry does, he said. The Infantry puts boots on the ground. You can look at all of the wars going back to the Revolutionary War. If we wanted to clearly make a difference it didnt matter what kind of an operation it was in the final analysis you had to put boots on the ground. Infantry had to be there to secure the objectives to bring whatever conflict it was to a successful conclusion.
The Vietnam veteran remembers his first summer as a cadet, when he was introduced to the Armys many branches of service. Thats when he chose to become an Infantryman. I knew from my second year at West Point, and I never changed my mind, he said. Ive never regretted that I did it. Theres nothing better.
Foley soon was at Fort Benning, attending the basic course for Infantry officers, followed by Ranger School and Airborne School. His time here formed a building block, he said, for his future career, which included commanding the Fifth United States Army and, after retirement, serving as the president of Marion Military Institute, the nations oldest military preparatory school.
Foley is currently the honorary colonel of the 27th Infantry Regiment and director of Army Emergency Relief, which provides financial support to Soldiers and their Families in times of need.
I really dont feel like I left the Army, he said. That kind of camaraderie is so rewarding. Foley, though often invited, has been unable in years past to attend the honorary dinner where so many Infantrymen gather. He said hes looking forward to seeing old Army friends, but receiving the award is a very humbling experience.
All one has to do is look at the previous recipients, he said. I see a lot of names of people who were my mentors. Ive been inspired by the kinds of things theyve done. They were inspirations, and they were mentors.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Tadeusz Gaweda
Gaweda served four tours in Korea, two in Vietnam and others in Thailand, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic and Grenada. Today, he still often finds his way downrange, visiting Soldiers in current theaters of operation.
Over the past 21 years, I have been and still am serving as the honorary sergeant major of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Gaweda said. I visited the regiment in Iraq and in Afghanistan on four separate occasions over the past years. A tremendous honor and a privilege it was to visit the Soldiers in the best Army in the combat zone.
Since his appointment as honorary sergeant major, Gaweda also participates in its monthly four-mile runs. And since 1986, he hasnt missed a single annual four-mile run held by the 2nd Airborne Division.
Born in Poland and survivor of a Nazi labor camp, Gaweda immigrated to the U.S. in 1949. Less than five years later, he swore to defend the Constitution of the United States.
I am genuinely proud to be an American and am equally proud to have worn the uniform of the United States Army for over 35 years, he said. It was worth every success and failure, every exhilaration and disenchantment, every joy and heartache. It was worth every moment of every day, of every year and of every decade. Leaving the military in 1988 was certainly one of the hardest things I have ever done. I love Soldiers, like being with Soldiers and will always be a Soldier. It is a great honor to be an Infantryman.
Gaweda, who earned more than 20 individual awards for valor and meritorious service in his 35 years on active duty, said he was honored to receive the Doughboy Award.
During my military career no Soldier has been more fortunate than I, he said, Fortunate to have served under commanders whose faith, pride, courage and self-confidence motivated me and in the process showed me what leadership at its best can be. Fortunate to have served with Soldiers whose toughness, combativeness, discipline and pride in themselves and their units awed me and whose loyalty friendship humbled me.