Chairman, Senator Receive Awards
By Staff Sgt. Lee Roberts, USAF
National Guard Bureau
WASHINGTON, May. 9, 1997 Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Sen. Strom Thurmond and received awards May 1 from The Retired Officers Association.
The association presented the awards in a ceremony at the Russell Senate Office Building. Shalikashvili accepted the association's Distinguished Service Award. Thurmond received the Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award -- named after the retired Marine colonel who founded TROA in 1929.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dick Burpee, association's chairman, said the two "represent the highest caliber of leadership in supporting both a strong national defense and the service men and women who make that defense a reality. Each of the recipients has a distinguished career in serving his country and serving the uniformed people who help keep our nation free and a world leader."
In accepting his award, Shalikashvili said the chairman's job' is personally rewarding in that he has represented active and retired military members to Congress, the administration and the American people, and has given voice to their needs and concerns. The chairman said programs and policies today are often questioned, but one thing must not be: "That is the obligation to honor those who serve ... and those who served ... by respecting the commitments made to them when they entered service."
He said people in the military today look at how America treats retirees. "If our young people see the military valued and respected by our leaders and the American people; if the terms of service are reasonable and fair; if the prospects for advancement and career stability are encouraging; and if the benefits of service remain proportional to the service rendered; then we will continue to attract our fair share of America's best and brightest," he said.
"Nothing is more right and honorable than keeping faith with you," Shalikashvili stressed.
(Roberts is editor of the Joint Staff newspaper J-Scope)