• International Hall of Fame welcomes new inductees

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Two international officers were inducted into the Command and General Staff College International Hall of Fame in a ceremony Oct. 4 in Eisenhower Auditorium at the Lewis and Clark Center. Their portraits now hang in the IHOF hallway alongside 278 other inductees representing 73 different nations.
    The IHOF was established in 1973 by CGSC, the Kansas City Chapter of the Military Order of World Wars, and the then-CGSC Alumni Association, now the CGSC Foundation. Induction into the IHOF is for international graduates of CGSC who have attained one of the highest positions of military importance in their country’s armed forces through military merit.
    The newest inductees are Maj. Gen. Saleh al Ameri, commander of the United Arab Emirates Land Forces, CGSC class of 2006-02; and Lt. Gen. Leonids Kalnins, chief of Defence, Latvian National Armed Forces, CGSC class of 2011-01.
    The 278 current inductees are out of more than 7,000 international CGSC graduates since 1894.
    “This is a very small and distinguished group and it certainly speaks to their professionalism, their commitment, their character and their ability to lead soldiers,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth and commandant of CGSC. “Today, we recognize two awardees that certainly epitomize everything that we think about when you think about the profession of arms.”
    Ameri joined the Armed Forces as a cadet studying economics at UAE University in 1988 and is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
    Throughout his career, Ameri has served in several command positions at the platoon, company and battalion levels and served on the staff of the UAE Joint Command and Staff College.
    In July 2014, Ameri became deputy commander of Land Forces before taking command of Land Forces in January 2015. He was promoted to major general on June 30, 2015.
    Ameri is the first of the 33 CGSC graduates from UAE to be inducted into the IHOF.
    Ameri said 2006 was the best year of his life for many reasons.
    “From a military education aspect, I spent the entire year with the people who write doctrine, who create leader development strategy, who envision mission command strategy and who bring to life operational art and military history,” Ameri said. “From a civilian aspect, it gave me a great chance to study for a second master’s degree at Central Michigan University on post.
    “From a social aspect, it was the only year I spent with my family during my military service. My family has great memories of Leavenworth,” he said. “From a friendship aspect, I made lifelong friends.”
    Ameri said UAE Land Forces have participated in several operational experiences with the U.S. Army, which led to the start of a major transformation in 2012 focusing on joint capabilities, integration and development system. The engagement between the UAE and the U.S. Army has continued to increase over the years, he said.
    Page 2 of 3 - “We appreciate the role of the U.S.A. to provide security and stability around the world and we also appreciate the support of the U.S.A. to its allies,” Ameri said. “In the last 40 years, we were present in the six military coalitions that have been led by the U.S.A., and today, we are in very high allegiance, combined with partners, shoulder to shoulder, for peace against aggression, for permanence against division, for education against ignorance, and for development against corruption and poverty.”
    Kalnins was commissioned at the Air Defence Military Academy, Vilnius, Latvia, in 1975. From 1975 to 1991, he served in several command and engineer positions with the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He suspended his service in 1991 when Latvia restored its independence.
    In 1997, Kalnins joined the Latvian National Armed Forces as a duty guardsman of the communications group with the 51st National Guard Battalion before serving in several leadership positions.
    In October 2011, he became commander of the National Guard of the Republic of Latvia. He was sworn in as the chief of defence of the Latvian National Armed Forces on Jan. 27, 2017.
    Kalnins is the first of the 19 CGSC graduates from Latvia to be inducted into the IHOF.
    Kalnins was unable to attend the ceremony. Retired Lt. Col. Brooks Lyles, who was Kalnins’ military sponsor while he attended CGSC, read Kalnins’ speech on his behalf.
    “I consider it a tremendous honor and profound privilege to be inducted into the (IHOF) of the U.S. Army (CGSC),” the speech read. “At the same time, I’m aware that this is a tremendous responsibility that does not end here.
    “Studying abroad is a unique experience and the opportunity to attend the Command and General Staff (Officer) Course was a great privilege for me,” the speech continued.
    Kalnins said he treasured the advice, support and encouragement of the staff during his time at CGSC and that it was an asset to him throughout his career.
    “I strongly believe that the international environment at the college is one of the great cultural building programs demonstrating strong interoperability and bonds between the defense sectors of our countries not only from the perspective of procedures and powerful weapons,” it read, “but also because of the opportunity it provides for officers from all around the world to get to know each other better and work effectively together.
    “I’m grateful that, throughout the years, the U.S. and Latvia friendship has only continued to grow, evening and strengthening our relationship on the basis of shared values and common interest,” the speech continued.
    Kalnins said he had advice for the current CGSOC students in the audience.
    Page 3 of 3 - “Wherever life takes you, dedication, hard work and integrity have always been appreciated personal competencies, which will make you stand out from the crowd. I encourage you to always set high standards and accept responsibility for the outcomes. Your presence here is clear proof of your commitment to setting high standards for yourself and your units,” the speech read.
    “Education is a great and strong foundation for the future. It brings us further and helps us to discover new horizons. The encouragement and advice of mentors will lead you to places you never thought you could go. Your eventual graduation will mark an important day in your lives and the beginning of a new journey in today’s rapidly changing and unpredictable world.”
    The inductees were presented with a CGSC certificate of honor by the MOWW, and a Life Constituent Certificate and eagle statuette from the CGSC Foundation during the induction.
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