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Beginning in 2009, the Army Heritage Center Foundation has recognized individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, the Army, its Soldiers, and their Families. The Foundation presents three recognition awards at its annual membership dinner: the Armstrong Award, the Living Legend Award, and the Boots on the Ground Award.
The Major General John Armstrong Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center and its programs. MG John Armstrong was a Soldier, a Statesman, a Leader, and a Pioneer who helped shape the development of our Nation. He helped found Carlisle, Pennsylvania, served our Nation during the American Revolution in the Continental Army and the Pennsylvania militia and served as a member of the Congress after our freedom from Great Britain was won. Our recipients, through their efforts, are helped build an institution that will provide a resource to the Nation.
MG John Armstrong Awardees:
2009-Mr. Clifford Jones – Mr. Jones was recognized for his efforts in building local and regional support for the development of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC). As the Co-Chair of the Governor’s Pennsylvania Base Development Committee, he worked with BG Joseph McCarthy to build the support of local, regional, and Commonwealth leaders, to include Governor Tom Ridge, for the creation of USAHEC.
After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea during 1946 and 1947, his career of public service in Pennsylvania includes serving as Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor and Industry, Secretary of Environmental Resources, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, President of Pennsylvanians for Effective Government, President of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, President for the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC), and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. He served as Co-Chair of the Governor‘s BRAC Pac under Governors Ridge, Schweiker, and Rendell. He was also a member of the Governor’s Action Team for Economic Development under Schweiker and Rendell. He also served on multiple advisory boards and commissions including Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, and the Army Heritage Center Foundation, to list a few. Mr. Jones passed away in May 2008 in Mechanicsburg, PA.
2009- BG Joseph McCarthy, USA Ret. – General McCarthy was recognized for his inspirational role as founder and President of the Army Heritage Center Foundation and his untiring efforts since the mid-1990s to bring a world class museum to Carlisle. He saw in the collection of the Military History Institute a greater potential for public education and outreach for the Army. Working with local, regional, Commonwealth, and national leaders, he built support for the development of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.
BG McCarthy is a 1945 graduate from West Point and throughout his Army career he served in numerous command and staff positions in infantry, armor, and airborne units; in the Pentagon; and in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served two tours in Vietnam and two tours at NATO headquarters in Brussels and Naples. He was the founding President of the Keystone Capital Chapter of MOAA (Military Officers Association), past president of the Foreign Policy Association of Harrisburg, founding president of the Susquehanna Conference, and a founding board member of the South Central Assembly for Effective Governance. He was also Chairman and later Co-chairman of the Governor’s Pennsylvania Base Development Committee. General McCarthy passed away in April of 2010.
2010- The Citizens of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania - The citizens of Cumberland County and visionary leadership of its elected officials significantly contributed to the creation and development of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. During the project’s inception, the vocal support of community residents and the Commissioners offer to donate land as a home for the new Center’s campus proved instrumental in the Army’s acceptance of the project. Then as the project developed, the community’s financial assistance allowed the Foundation to continue its efforts to secure additional funds to design and construct Phase One of the Visitor and Education Center and to work with our federally elected officials to secure funds to support the construction of the Museum Support Facility and the expansion of programs at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.
2010- The Citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its citizens have provided significant support to the development of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. Former Governor Tom Ridge provided strong and vocal leadership during discussions with the Army. He authorized early Department of Community and Economic Development grants that allowed the Foundation to facilitate the development of the complex. Our local elected state representatives obtained legislation that provided the authority for the project to receive Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP) grants. Former Governor Mark Schweiker authorized the RACP grant, and Governor Edward Rendell released money that supported the construction of Phase One of the Visitor and Education Center.
2012- The Honorable Thomas Ridge -Governor Ridge has been a friend of the Army, Carlisle Barracks and of the US Army Heritage and Education Center even before the concept of USAHEC was fully formed by the Army. His experience as a Soldier led him to appreciate the recommendations of the leadership of his Base Realignment and Closure – Pennsylvania Action Committee (BRAC-PAC) – Cliff Jones and BG Joe McCarthy – when they came to him and discussed how the holdings of the US Army Military History Institute, the predecessor organization to USAHEC located at the Army War College could do more to tell the Army and the Soldier’s Story.
With the assistance of Senator Hal Mowery, he signed into law the Capital Budget Act of 1999 that authorized the development of an Army Museum at Carlisle to draw up to $25 million of Commonwealth Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project Funds to build a museum at Carlisle. Thus far we have been able to draw $10.75 million from that program to join with the more than $35 million of federal investment in the project. Governor Ridge and his staff also supported the development of USAHEC in other meaningful ways. Last year as the Army debated options to save future funds, he reminded Members of Congress and the Defense Department of the importance of USAHEC and its mission to preserve Soldiers memories, honor their service, and educate the American public. Those letters proved critical and helped secure the future of USAHEC.
2013- Mr. Randy Hackenburg, Mr. John Slonaker, and Dr. Richard Sommers- Our recipients, through their work within the archives, library, and photo collections and their efforts acquiring and preserving the resources, has allowed USAHEC to gain the reputation as the premiere research facility in the Nation on the history and heritage of the U.S. Army.
Mr. Hackenburg served in the Air Force and earned Bachelor and Master Degrees from Bloomsburg University before coming to the U.S. Army Military History Institute in 1975 as the organization’s photo curator. His periods of historical expertise include the Mexican War and the Civil War, along with 19th Century U.S. martial weapons. He is also the author of publications on Pennsylvania’s involvement in the Mexican War. He worked at MHI for over 30 years and helped create the magnificent photograph collection that USAHEC maintains today.
Mr. Slonaker came to the U.S. Army Military History Institute after working for the National Park Service. He earned a Bachelor degree in History from George Washington University, a Master in American Studies from Penn State University, and a Master of Library Science from Clarion University. He served as the Chief of the Historical Reference Branch at MHI for over 30 years. His expertise and skill in patron services helped USAHEC garner the outstanding reputation it has today.
Dr. Sommers attained a Bachelor of Arts in History from Carleton College and a Doctorate in History from Rice University before coming to MHI in 1970 as the Chief Historian and Archivist. He is a world renowned Civil War expert. He also teaches American history courses at the U.S. Army War College. He has served in various positions in the archives and patron services at USAHEC along with being the Harold K. Johnson Professor of Military History in 2007 and 2008. During his career, he has also authored more than 30 publications. Dr. Sommers’ knowledge and expertise have been a true asset to USAHEC.
2014 - G.B. Stuart Charitable Foundation - The G. B. Stuart Charitable Foundation has been an ardent supporter of the Foundation’s efforts and has been instrumental in enhancing the public components of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center campus. Since 2003, G. B. Stuart has provided more than $500,000 that has allowed the Foundation to design and build the Visitor and Education Center, to outfit the Foundation operated museum store, and to fund educational program enhancements on the Army Heritage Trail.
Created from the proceeds of the estate of Mr. George B. Stuart, the G. B. Stuart Charitable Foundation believes that as Americans, we enjoy the privileges and freedoms we have today because of the courage and sacrifice of the wonderful men and women who serve in uniform.
Mr. Stuart was a long time resident of Carlisle. He served the community as an attorney, a Cumberland County solicitor, and an attorney for the Commonwealth’s Public Utility Commission and the Labor Relations Board. An Army veteran of World War II, he was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Dickinson School of Law.
The Foundation recognizes and honors as Living Legends those Soldiers whose service illustrates both individual and group excellence and is significant to the history and heritage of the U.S. Army.
Living Legend Awardees:
2009-Mr. Joseph Lesniewski - In October 1942, Joe enlisted in the Army Air Force. He completed Airborne Infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia in late 1943. Afterward, he was shipped to Northern Ireland and on to work with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). After the Soviet Armies overran Warsaw, he requested to be sent to the 101st Airborne, and in March 1944, Joseph Lesniewski joined E (Easy) Company, 506th Infantry Regiment. He jumped into Normandy at approximately 0100 hours on D-Day June 6, 1944. He landed near the town of Sainte-Mère-Église along with fellow E Company paratroopers. During the war, he and other members of Easy Company participated in the Battle for Normandy, Battle of Carentan, Operation Market Garden, and the Siege of Bastogne. His exploits were described in Stephen Ambrose’s book Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest and in Steven Spielberg’s miniseries for television Band of Brothers. He is one of 20 contributors to the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers, published by Penguin/ Berkley-Caliber.
2010- Retired Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Ney - Lewis Ney was born July 11, 1909 in Harrisburg and developed a love for horses while living on his grandparent’s farm. He joined the Army in 1928 when he was only 17. After serving most of his career with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, he retired after 33 years of service as a Chief Warrant Officer. As a dedicated “horse Calvary soldier” Lewis Ney celebrated his 100th birthday on horseback. CWO Ney passed away in March of 2012.
2010- Sir Stanley Wojtusik - While still a high school senior, Wojtusik enlisted on December 21, 1943into the 106th Infantry Division, 422nd Infantry Regiment. He arrived in England in November of 1944, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, where his regiment became separated from the rest of the unit. With only an M-1 rifle to fight tanks, he scrambled from foxhole to foxhole and was captured by Germans. A recipient of the Purple Heart, knighted in Belgium and Luxembourg, and past National President of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, Wojtusik worked tirelessly to ensure Battle of the Bulge veterans are honored for their service and sacrifice with a monument at Arlington National Cemetery.
2011- COL Robert W. Black, USA Ret. - A member of the Ranger Hall of Fame, Colonel Black distinguished himself throughout his military career, rising from the rank of Recruit to Colonel. Serving in Korea as an enlisted Soldier in the 8th Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) and as a commissioned officer in Vietnam, Black was twice awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. Colonel Black has since become the foremost historian of Army Rangers. He has written extensively on the subject of Army Rangers, informing a wide audience of their contributions to our national development and security. Colonel Black was even able to secure the coveted Ranger Tab award for his unit’s accomplishments in Korea and assist other Ranger units to acquire decorations earned but not received. He is the founder of the Ranger Research Collection at the U.S. Military History Institute; and through his exhaustive research, Colonel Black has helped to recognize and honor the service of many Ranger units and keep their legends and history alive.
2011- BG James Herbert, USA Ret. - A member of the Ranger Hall of Fame and a graduate of West Point, General Herbert embodies devotion and sacrifice. As a Captain commanding the 8th Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) in Korea, he demonstrated his remarkable character in the face of overwhelming odds. When Chinese forces threatened to engulf the 24th Infantry Division, Herbert led 89 of his fellow Rangers into action. Despite being shot multiple times, Herbert’s daring leadership saved the lives of many American infantrymen. Herbert’s role in establishing the Ranger Department at the U.S. Army Infantry School, his service in Korea and during the Vietnam War, and his thirty years of Army service are an inspiration to all Rangers and Soldiers.
2012- CSM Jeffrey Mellinger, USA Ret.-
Jeffrey Mellinger was drafted into the Army on April 18, 1972 and retired from continuous active duty on December 31, 2011. During his 39 years in the Army, he served with units in Alaska, Georgia, Oregon, North Carolina, Missouri, Germany, and Japan. Notable assignments included serving in the 1st and 2nd Battalion (Ranger) 75th Infantry, as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Gordon, GA, as the Command Sergeant Major for the Multi-National Force in Iraq from August 2004 through May 2007, and as the Command Sergeant Major for U.S. Materiel Command.
CSM Mellinger’s military schools include Ranger School, Jumpmaster School, Jungle Expert School, Military Freefall Course, Drill Sergeant’s Course, Sergeants Major Course, and the Command Sergeants Major Course. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2d award), Bronze Star Medal with V, Meritorious Service Medal (8th award), Iraqi Campaign Medal (3), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Expert Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.
2013- BG Anna Mae Hays, USA Ret.-
Anna Mae Hays graduated from the Allentown General Hospital School of Nursing in 1941 and joined the Army Nurse Corps early the next year. She was stationed in India for the duration of World War II and saw service in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. During peacetime, she served in several academic posts, including Walter Reed Hospital. She also served as President Eisenhower’s nurse. She was promoted to Brigadier General on June 11, 1970, becoming the first female general officer in the U.S. Army, having been appointed by President Nixon the month before. She served as the Chief of the Army Nurse Corps from 1967 until her retirement in 1971. She also holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Nursing. Her awards include Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with One Battle Star, Merit Service Plaque, Korean Service Medal with Three Battle Stars, Merit Unit Commendation, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and Army of Occupation, Japan.
2014 - Secretary John O. Marsh, Jr. -
Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh, Jr. is the longest serving Secretary of the Army in our Nation’s history. He is receiving the Living Legend Award for his unwavering service to our Nation and its Army. A World War II and Vietnam War veteran, Marsh also served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1962–1970), representing the Commonwealth of Virginia, before being selected as Secretary of the Army during the Reagan and Bush Administrations (1981-1989). He helped to shape the Army of the 1980s and returned the Army’s focus to its roots. Secretary Marsh served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs (1973-1974) and as Counsellor to President Ford, with Cabinet rank (1974-1977).
Secretary Marsh entered the Army in 1944 and was selected for Infantry O.C.S. at Fort Benning at 18 and commissioned at 19. He served in the Army of the Occupation of Germany. From 1947 to 1951, he was an officer in the Army Reserve. In 1951, he joined the 116th Infantry Regiment of the Virginia National Guard. He retired in 1976 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the American Legion Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Guard Distinguished Service Award.
The Foundation recognizes with the Boots on the Ground Award individuals and organizations whose contributions and service demonstrate their commitment to the U.S. Army, its Soldiers, and their Families.
Boots on the Ground Awardees:
2010- The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - The McGowan Institute serves as a single base of operations for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s leading scientists and clinical faculty working to develop tissue engineering, cellular therapies, biosurgery, and artificial and biohybrid organ devices. Technology developed by the Institute is being used in a study managed by the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research in San Antonio. The study is assessing the feasibility of restoring some function to the hands and muscle tissue of Soldiers who have suffered significant loss. Through regenerative medicine research and the studies that the Army is conducting at the Institute for Surgical Research, there is hope that some functionality can be added to the hands of some of our brave wounded warriors.
2011- Mr. H. Ross Perot – Best known for his entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Perot has consistently and often quietly supported and assisted Soldiers and their Families since the Vietnam War when he spearheaded a campaign to end brutal treatment of U.S. prisoners.
Today, Soldiers and their Families continue to benefit from Ross Perot’s consistent support of those who defend our Nation, personally and through his family's foundation.
2012- The Army Arlington Ladies -The Army Arlington Ladies were founded by Mrs. Creighton Abrams in 1973 with the purpose to represent the Army Chief of Staff and the Army family and to ensure that no Soldier will ever be buried alone at Arlington National Cemetery. The group is comprised of approximately 65 volunteers who are the spouses of active duty, retired, or deceased Soldiers. In 2011, the Army Arlington Ladies attended over 2,000 funeral services.
2013- Family Readiness Group, HHC, 109th Infantry, 28th Infantry Division (PA National Guard) -
Based in Scranton, the Family Readiness Group of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry, 55th Brigade Combat Team,
2013- Hendrick Motorsports -
The Army Heritage Center Foundation recognizes the support that Hendrick Motorsports provides to Soldiers and their Families. Hendrick Motorsports is a proud advocate of service to our Nation and to our Army. Its most visible contribution is the Number 88 National Guard car driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. This race team highlights service to our Nation. Hendrick Motorsports also supports the National Guard Youth Foundation and over the past several years has contributed financial backing for the benefit of high school students who attend leadership academies nationally. These young men and women benefit from their support and through the program by learning the value of leadership and patriotism. The Number 48 car, driven by Jimmie Johnson, has since 2001, partnered with Lowe’s and the USO to support our Soldiers and their Families deployed worldwide. Finally, team members have spent time with Veterans, actively promote the hiring of Veterans, and have helped our Wounded Warriors.
2014- American Gold Star Mothers -
The Army Heritage Center Foundation recognizes the support that the American Gold Star Mothers provide to Soldiers and their Families. The Gold Star Mothers is a national organization composed of mothers whose sons or daughters served and died in the line of duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Since its inception in 1928, these ladies work to maintain service fellowship, inspire patriotism, allegiance, and love of our country, assist Veterans and other Gold Star Mothers, perpetuate the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed in our wars, and promote peace and good will.
There are over 140 Gold Star Mothers Chapters throughout the country. In September 2012, President Barack Obama rededicated the last day in September as "Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day."