SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T TAKE A HERO
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, VA. (September 26, 2022): While heroic acts of bravery deservedly receive the most notoriety, it is the long and faithful servant that often goes overlooked. The military recognized this dilemma when it created the Distinguished Service Medal, granted to “any soldier (or civilian) who distinguishes themselves with exceptionally meritorious service to the United States in a duty of great responsibility”.
Retired General William E. “Kip” Ward provides a classic example.
Over his 40 years of military service, General Ward held increasingly responsible positions of command across the globe. Commissioned in 1971, President George Bush appointed Ward to be the first leader of Africa Command with responsibility for Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya. Prior to this, he headed the European Command with military operations in ninety-six countries ranging from Germany to Saudi Arabia.
Ward also served as commander of the Stabilization Force during Operation Joint Force in Sarajevo, Bosnia; as commander of the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army, Hawaii; and as assistant division commander for the 82nd Airborne Division.
Before that, he was commander of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade and Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia, and as commander of the 6th Infantry Division's 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, and the division's logistics staff.
He has served in a long string of staff positions as well, including service as vice director for operations on the Joint Staff, chief of the Office of Military Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, and deputy director of operations for the National Military Command Center.
The son of an Army sergeant who served when the military was segregated, Ward rose through the ranks to become one of a handful of African Americans in history to attain the rank of four star general.
Their actions may not grab headlines, but a grateful nation extends its heartfelt thanks for long and faithful service by bestowing the Distinguished Service Medal.
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