• 3 officers join International Hall of Fame

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Three international officers were inducted into the Command and General Staff College International Hall of Fame in a ceremony March 1 in the Eisenhower Auditorium at the Lewis and Clark Center. Their portraits now hang in the CGSC hall alongside the 274 inductees, representing 77 countries, who were inducted before them.
    “The hall’s purpose is to provide a prestigious and visible means of recognition for international graduates who through military merit have obtained one of the highest positions of importance in their respective countries’ armed forces or who have held an equivalent position by rank or responsibility in a multinational military organization,” said International Military Student Division Director James Fain, who served as the master of ceremonies.
    The inductees included Maj. Gen. Jørgen Høll, commander of Special Operations Command, Defensce Command, Denmark, CGSC class of 1991; Gen. Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh Army, CGSC class of 1994; and Lt. Gen. Diego Luis Suñer, Argentine Army chief of staff, CGSC class of 1999.
    Brig. Gen. Troy Galloway, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center - Army National Guard, hosted the ceremony. Galloway said CGSC is fortunate to have had international students since 1894.
    “Our international students bring a wealth of knowledge, diverse perspectives, supreme talent and they serve as ambassadors of their nations here at the (CGSC),” Galloway said. “Today, our guests of honor join the ranks of other distinguished officers in the (IHOF) and this is a truly rare and honorable achievement. Not only are (our three inductees) very accomplished in their military careers, they are fine human beings and individuals and it is our honor to have them here.”
    Høll graduated from the Royal Danish Military Academy in 1983 and passed the Special Operation Force selection course in 1986. Since his graduation from CGSC, Høll has served in staff appointments at the Danish Army Operational Command, the Danish Army Materiel Command, the Installation Management Command and the Danish Joint Staff, and Headquarters Chief of Defence. In 2003, he served as Danish liaison officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom Headquarters Central Command Forward/Qatar and as director of staff of the Headquarters International Security Assistance Force 9 in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2006. In 2015, he was chosen to create Denmark’s Special Operations Command and was named commander of the organization in 2016.
    Høll said as he reflected on his time at CGSC, his thoughts revolved around three key themes. First is that the soldier on the ground is the No. 1 priority.
    “If we forget the soldier in our everyday work, we miss the point that our armies exist to fight and win, and higher staff, first and foremost, exist to support that fight,” Høll said. “I strive to keep this in mind throughout my career.”
    Page 2 of 3 - The second theme is that valuable experience and learning will happen at the most unexpected places, he said.
    “One day you will be deployed to a remote corner of the world drawing on lessons from that exact lesson you got here,” he said. “Learn as much as you can because it will come into play professionally no matter where you find yourself going.”
    Høll said the final theme is trust in soldiers and staff.
    “When you find yourself leading soldiers and staff, provide them the mission and guidance in a clear, concise manner and then let your subordinates move to work on the task with all their skills and creativity,” he said. “Let every situation and every mistake be a learning experience rather than an opportunity to reprimand and humiliate. Trust your subordinate and provide them room to grow.”
    Belal graduated from the Bangladesh Military Academy in 1978. He has commanded two armoured battalions, two infantry brigades, an armoured brigade and two infantry divisions. As a staff officer, he has served as the additional deputy commissioner to the Hon’ble President of Bangladesh, brigade major of an infantry brigade and colonel staff of an infantry division. In 2015, he took over command of the Bangladesh Army as chief of Army staff.
    Belal said upon reflecting on how he flew into the same airport he did when he came as CGSC student, he was reminded of a quote by Nelson Mandela.
    “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered,” he quoted.
    “It’s truly a humbling feeling coming back to the same city and share some of my experience of the moments I spent within these halls,” Belal said. “The insight I gained through discussions and interaction with U.S. and international students in Leavenworth helped me in the understanding of challenges of the present-day world much better.”
    Belal told the current CGSC students that they should feel lucky.
    “Fort Leavenworth, it’s not only a place to learn the art of war, rather an institution to learn the art of peace. Here you not only get different views and perspectives on the same issue, you also make lifelong friends,” he said. “I’m proud to be an alumnus of this great institution. Thank you for honoring me with a place in the (International) Hall of Fame. This will surely be a very important day in my professional career.”
    Suñer was nominated as Army chief of staff by resolution of the Argentine president and commander in chief of the armed forces in 2016.
    Page 3 of 3 - Suñer said his time at CGSC was a great and unique experience.
    “It’s a chance to share the year with selected officers of the services plus people coming from, at the moment, 88 different countries. It was a surrounding of knowledge, professional experience (and) interpersonal relations,” he said. “Feel proud of what you all do every year, every day here for the fruits for the future of your country and the future of the nations. We all want the same at the end of the day. We all want honest, humble, brave and courageous soldiers for our armies.”
    At the beginning of each year, CGSC students are told that it will be the best year of their lives, and all three inductees agreed that it was.
    “No one is shooting at you. You get to go home to your family every day. You get your weekends off to spend with your family and friends. You get to improve your professional skills as a soldier and an officer — skills that may save lives later in your career,” Høll said. “For a soldier, that is a pretty damn good year. So, enjoy it, spend the time with your family, remember to do your (physical training) and remember it is only a lot of reading if you do it.”
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