Charlotte Richter/ Staff Writer
Four new members were inducted into the Command and General Staff College International Hall of Fame during a ceremony April 12 at the Lewis and Clark Center.
Inducted were Lt. Gen. Martin Wijnen, commander of the Royal Netherlands Army and 2001 CGSC graduate; Lt. Gen. Carlos Alberto Tejada Murcia, chief of the joint staff of the Salvadoran Armed Forces and 2005 CGSC graduate; retired Maj. Gen. Daniel Dee Ziankahn Jr., minister of the National Defense of Liberia and 2011 CGSC graduate; and Maj. Gen. Prince Charles Johnson III, chief of staff for the Armed Forces of Liberia and 2012 CGSC graduate.
Wijnen entered the Royal Netherlands Army in 1989 following graduation from the Royal Military Academy. He has held various command, staff and liaison posts such as liaison officer to U.S. Central Command, deputy director of plans within the Defense Staff, commander of the 43rd Mechanized Brigade, deputy commander of the Royal Netherlands Army, and vice chief of Defense. He was promoted to his current role in 2019.
“I’m truly grateful and humbled to stand before you. Grateful because when I look around this auditorium, I see close to 90 different nations that consider each other allies or friends and who together strive to increase peace and stability around the globe. And at the same time, I also feel an incredible sense of humility because of the realization of how much we owe our American friends for that peace and stability,” Wijnen said.
Wijnen said the reemergence of strategic competition in areas of Europe reinforces the importance of multinational alliances and military power. He said CGSC creates leaders with the skills necessary to foster those partnerships.
Tejada Murcia is the first IHOF inductee from El Salvador. He was honored during the ceremony in absentia. He commissioned into the Salvadoran Armed Forces engineer corps in 1989. His previous roles include detachment commander and departmental commander of the Union of Military Detachment Number 3, commander of the Special Forces Command, commander of the Armed Force Transmission Support Command, head of operations of the Joint Staff, commander of the Engineers Command of the Armed Force, and departmental commander of La Libertad.
In Tejada Murcia’s remarks, he said he was thankful and humbled by the induction. He emphasized the importance of the knowledge and partnership at CGSC through an example of a multinational operation he experienced after graduation and the challenges in his current role. He thanked his sponsors for their friendship and faculty for their contributions to his education.
“I highlight and share this because the knowledge and experience I gathered in my classroom, the interaction with the faculty, U.S. and fellow international students prepared me to work effectively in a multinational environment halfway around the world,” Tejada Murcia said. “The opportunity given to me to become educated and learn U.S. Army doctrine solidified an enduring military-to-military relationship between my country and the United States, benefiting not just our military institutions but also our nations.”
Ziankahn commissioned into the Armed Forces of Liberia in 2006. Key positions in his military career include commanding general of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia and chairman in the Committee of Chiefs of Defense for the Economic Community of West African States. Ziankahn was appointed to his current position in 2018 after retiring from the armed forces.
“My induction is an honor which I owe this very institution that has made me into being who I am today. Surely, I am proud of my CGSC pedigree,” Ziankahn said.
“For me, the cross-cultural experiences and sponsorship to the American way of academic and social life will always be treasured. I’m filled with excitement and greatly overjoyed to be a member of the International Hall of Fame. It’s not just a personal honor but an honor for my family, the men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and the people of Liberia.”
Ziankahn recalled attending CGSC with the occasional loneliness, the stress of assignments and homesickness for Liberia and his family. He said he later understood why others coined CGSC attendance as “the best year of his life” as it came with preparation for future challenges.
Johnson commissioned into the Armed Forces of Liberia in 2007. He has served in his current position since 2018, following his presidential nomination and senate confirmation. His previous assignments include deputy chief of staff; commanding general of the 23rd Infantry Brigade; commander, chief of Operations; deputy assistant chief of Operations; chief of Logistics Headquarters; and military assistant to the minister of National Defense.
He said his current position challenges threats in the West African region, including insurgency terror attacks military coups and civil unrest, but leadership upholds the region. He said he recognized his growth between his time as a CGSC student and now.
“Amid all these numerous challenges, the Armed Forces of Liberia and other militaries in the region continue to uphold the tenant of democracy. The level of leadership would not have been possible without the preparation and leadership training obtained from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, which contributed immensely to our development as senior leaders,” Johnson said.
CGSC, the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars and the CGSC Alumni Association established the International Hall of Fame in 1973.
The International Hall of Fame honors CGSC international military graduates who have attained top leadership positions in their nations’ armed forces through military merit.
The International Hall of Fame Gallery, featuring the portraits of inductees, is on the third floor of the Lewis and Clark Center.