Joining the ranks of “some of the world’s best and brightest leaders,” 44 international students from 45 countries received badges Dec. 13 for completing the Command and General Staff Officers Course at the Command and General Staff College.
Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., deputy commandant of CGSC, used those words to praise the students in the International Graduate Badge Ceremony, noting that their participation in the college has strengthened mutual alliances, partnerships and professional developments. Since 1894, more than 7,500 international military students representing 160 nations have graduated from Fort Leavenworth. The newest was Class 2012-02’s Capt. Mehriddin Odinaev of Tajikistan.
Through the years, Davis said, half the international graduates have achieved the rank of general officer; several hundred have become cabinet ministers, ambassadors and other senior leaders within their governments; 300 have reached their nations’ highest military positions; and 27 have gone on to become heads of state of their respective countries.
In this class, one officer earned two master’s degrees from Kansas State University, 15 have earned a master of military arts and science degrees from CGSC, two were recognized for distinguished awards at the CGSOC gradation on Dec. 14, and two will stay to attend the School of Advanced Military Studies.
“Many of you have served alongside U.S. counterparts across the world, and many of you will do so in the future,” Davis told the students. “Indeed, bonds forged here with your fellow students may one day prove vital in resolving some unforeseen conflict halfway around the world.”
Each international graduate, Davis said, represents an enormous investment to his or her country.
“By your demonstrated academic and leadership excellence while here, you have come to realize a part of your vast potential,” he said. “And make no mistake, your countries will expect a return on their investment in you in the near future.”
The skills they have developed, Davis noted, include how to think critically and creatively, how to communicate, how to manage knowledge, how to interact and collaborate with others, how to influence and how to lead.
“Collectively, you represent 44 countries,” Davis said. “Many of your countries are at peace, a peace secured only through your continued and ceaseless vigilance. Some of you live in countries in the midst of conflict where the hopes for peace will literally rest upon your shoulders.”
In presenting the senior international military student address, Lt. Col. Dut Nyangroor of South Sudan told his fellow students that he suspected it will take them many years to fully appreciate all that has transpired during their time at the college.
“I am certain that the friendships we have made here, and perspectives we have formed here, will follow us throughout our lives,” he said. “And may those lives be long, healthy and peaceful.”
Winning both the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award and the Major General Hans Schlup Award, Maj. Terrence McDonald of New Zealand said after the ceremony that he was surprised and humbled by the recognition. He attributed the double win to a “group effort” with his classmates.
“It’s all about relationships,” he said.
McDonald will report to Army headquarters in Wellington, New Zealand.
“I thought, ‘Holy cow, what’s going on?’” he said when he learned he won the awards.
The Eisenhower Award, established in 1969, recognizes the distinguished international officer graduate in each class. The Schlup Award, established in 1997, recognizes and promotes the significance and importance of international relations developed through the network of friends and professional acquaintances at CGSC in the international military student community.