2004 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients Honored
By Laura Kurz
In May 2004, the United States Naval Academy graduated 990 new ensigns and second lieutenants. These young men and women will undoubtedly go on to serve their nation as leaders in the armed services and eventually in the private sector. Each year, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Naval Academy, recognizes those graduates who have led a life dedicated to the betterment of their country with the Distinguished Graduate Award. These individuals serve as an example for today’s midshipmen as well as for the Extended Brigade.
The purpose of the Distinguished Graduate Award is to recognize Alumni of the Naval Academy who have provided a lifetime of service to the nation or armed forces, have made significant and distinguished contributions to the nation via their public service and have demonstrated a strong interest in supporting the Navy or Marine Corps and the United States Naval Academy. These individuals are the embodiment of the Naval Academy’s mission to provide graduates who will be ready “…to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”
The recipients of the 2004 Distinguished Graduate Award are: Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak ’34, USMC (Ret.); Vice Admiral Gerald E. Miller ’42, USN (Ret.); Admiral James F. Calvert ’43, USN (Ret.); Lieutenant General Charles G. Cooper ’50, USMC (Ret.); and Rear Admiral Ronald F. Marryott ’57, USN (Ret.). The awardees will be recognized at a formal ceremony at the Academy on 10 September 2004.
“This year’s selection recognizes five truly inspirational graduates whose lives of service have had a dramatic impact on our country, the Navy and Marine Corps, and especially the Naval Academy,” said George P. Watt Jr. ’73, president and CEO of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation. “Their collective service provides a living example of the character and leadership qualities that the Naval Academy has developed for nearly 160 years. Although we appropriately recognize five tremendous graduates, this is also recognition of the nation’s premier producer of leaders of great character.”
“Distinguished graduates are the living embodiment of what we strive to achieve in the U.S. Naval Academy’s mission,” said Vice Admiral Rodney P. Rempt ’66, Superintendent of the Naval Academy. “Our midshipmen can gain much from learning about our distinguished graduates. Krulak, Miller, Calvert, Cooper and Marryott—and previous distinguished graduates we have honored—have exemplified a lifetime commitment to service, personal character and distinguished contributions to our nation. Like the Medal of Honor plaques throughout Bancroft Hall, the memorials of heroes around the Yard and the names of reverence in Memorial Hall, our distinguished graduates are beacons to motivate our midshipmen to serve with honor, courage and commitment. They are our heroes.”
Lieutenant General Victor Krulak arrived at the Naval Academy at the young age of 16, weighing only 121 pounds. “Brute” as he was known, would later go on to serve his country for 35 years in the United States Marine Corps and play a major role in three wars: World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. His nickname was fitting. Brute Krulak led the Marines through these three wars with both mental and physical toughness.
As a first lieutenant stationed in Shanghai, Krulak embarked on a daring spy mission. The second Sino-Japanese war had just begun, and Krulak was able to maneuver a Navy tug boat into the midst of the Japanese warships conducting an amphibious invasion. There, Krulak witnessed a new amphibious boat—one he had never seen before—it had a square bow ramp that allowed men and vehicles to disembark directly onto the beach. Krulak drew plans for this boat and sent those plans, as well as photographs, to the Navy and Marine Corps Headquarters. His plans and photographs were subsequently filed away, but two years later, Krulak would return to Washington, DC, and try again to drum up interest in this new amphibious vessel. He caught the interest of Brigadier General Holland M. Smith and eventually more than 20,000 of these boats—the LCVP—were built. In 1998, Krulak was inducted into the Department of the Navy Acquisition Hall of Fame. The award cited his dedication and determination in the face of daunting bureaucracy and his ability to break through a deadlocked process to help develop the amphibious assault craft which eventually spelled victory for American forces in the Pacific War.
“In his own right, a great warrior,” said John W. Douglas, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisitions, at Krulak’s induction into the Acquisition Hall of Fame. “He took his warrior spirit and turned it inward…He allowed us to win the war in the Pacific.”
During World War II, Lieutenant Colonel Krulak led a raid against the Japanese at Choiseul Island in the Northern Solomon Islands. He succeeded in his mission of creating a diversion to cover a larger invasion, but was wounded in the battle. PT boats had been dispatched to help Krulak’s battalion evacuate, and he was rescued by a Skipper of one of the boats—John F. Kennedy.
When the Korean War broke out, Krulak was assigned to serve as Chief of Staff for the First Marine Division. From 1957-1959, he served as director of the Marine Corps Education Center in Quantico. In March 1964, Krulak was designated commanding general, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, and promoted to lieutenant general. In this position, Krulak was responsible for all Fleet Marine Force units in the Pacific and made more than 50 trips to the Vietnam Theater.
Krulak is the recipient of numerous accolades, including: the Navy Cross for heroism, valor and leadership under fire; the Distinguished Service Medal;
three Legions of Merit with Combat “V;” two Purple Hearts; the Bronze Star; and the Air Medal.
His book, First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps, is still widely read around the world.
Vice Admiral Gerald E. Miller led a distinguished Navy career which included 14 sea commands, including special task forces and the U.S. Second and Sixth Fleets. In addition, he was a leader in changing the process of targeting the nation’s strategic nuclear weapons, and in updating Navy personnel administration. The impact of these services is still recognized today.
A member of the Class of 1942, Miller graduated from the Academy in 1941, just after Pearl Harbor. He completed flight training in 1945. During his career, Miller took part in combat in three wars, including surface warfare against the Japanese in World War II, carrier staff duty and jet squadron command in Korea and carrier division command as a flag officer in Vietnam. He was deeply involved in identifying naval aviation requirements and flew more than 60 different types of aircraft, including jets, helicopters and gliders, as well as U.S. Air Force and Russian aircraft. In view of his flying career, his peers have recognized him as a “Golden Eagle.”
Following the Korean War, Miller served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and introduced large-scale digital computers to the accounting and distribution processes. A capability was developed for the assignment of enlisted personnel, as well as commissioned officers from a central location, based on their expanded personal records, not just job specialty. Because of this action, the Navy led the world in the use of digital computers in personnel administration.
In 1959, Miller was assigned to the Atomic Operations Division of the Joint Staff in Washington and became involved in the targeting of nuclear weapons. In 1960, he was one of the first members of the newly created Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. This Staff produced the first highly classified Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), for the use of 3,500 strategic nuclear weapons. His final tour of duty in 1973-74 was as the Deputy Director of this same staff. By that time, the number of weapons in the Plan had increased to about 8,000.
Miller’s duties with naval aviation in the 1960s included the identification and procurement of some great aircraft and associated weapons systems, including the F-14, the A-7E, the S-3, the EP-3 and the E-2C, among others.
For his service to his country, Miller was awarded three Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” the Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Air Medals and the Navy Unit Commendation.
He continues to make contributions to the Naval Academy and the military profession though speeches, a book titled Nuclear Weapons and Aircraft Carriers and the writing of articles addressing national security. He recently became the president of the Class of 1942. He has a son in the Naval Academy Class of 2005.
Throughout his career in the Navy, Vice Admiral James Calvert was known as an innovative leader, both in his service in submarines and later as Superintendent of the Naval Academy from 1968-1972. He graduated from the Academy in 1942 with the Class of 1943. He went directly to submarines and made nine war patrols, eight in Jack and one in Haddo. For his service, he was awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, a Legion of Merit and a Presidential Unit Citation.
the war, he was the commissioning commanding officer of Skate, our third nuclear submarine, and took her on two patrols to the North Pole. On the second patrol, Skate broke through the arctic ice at the Pole and became the first ship in history to reach the surface at the Pole.
In 1968, Calvert arrived at the Naval Academy to serve as the 46th Superintendent. During his time at Annapolis, he developed and installed the Majors Program, which replaced the lockstep curriculum that had been in place since the Academy’s founding. This program is still in place today and was followed within a few years by both West Point and Colorado Springs.
He also established the James Forrestal Lecture Series, installed the present practice of having a civilian director of athletics and recruited Dr. Barry Talley, who has moved the Academy’s glee clubs to national ranking. He also initiated and completed the fundraising programs for the Dahlgren Hall hockey rink and student center and for the construction of the Robert Crown Center for sailing.
Calvert’s impact on the Academy still resonates today. As an example, the present academic organization, which he set up, enables the Academy to select the best qualified people as department heads, whether officer or civilian. This, along with the Majors Program, has significantly increased the Academy’s ability to recruit superior civilian faculty members.
After serving as commander of the First Fleet (later the Third Fleet), Calvert retired from the Navy and entered the business world. He was assistant to the chairman of Texaco, chief operating officer of Combustion Engineering and chairman of Aqua Chem. All told he served on five corporate boards.
After retiring from the business world, he served as chairman of the Fales Committee, the Superintendent’s advisory committee on sailing, and is still active on the committee today. Calvert is the author of four books: Surface at the Pole, A Promise to Our Country, The Naval Profession and Silent Running, the story of his war patrols in the Pacific.
“Vice Admiral Calvert pursued his outstanding naval career in resolute fashion,” said Captain Edgar A. Robie ’43, USN (Ret.). “Through his distinguished career whether it was as commanding officer of a submarine, Superintendent at the Naval Academy or as chairman of the Fales Committee, his approaches were always direct and innovative to achieve his objectives.”
Early in his career as a Marine, General Charles G. Cooper realized the truth in a leadership concept he called the “Band of Brothers.” He carried this with him throughout his successful military service.
Cooper graduated from the Academy with the Class of 1950 and immediately went from Basic School to serve in Korea. He arrived in Korea at the height of the Chinese Spring Offensive in 1951. His “baptism of fire” came immediately, and he soon became an experienced combat leader within months of his graduation. He spent three months with a rifle company, Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which was engaged in continuous combat against both Chinese and North Korean forces. He was wounded twice, with the second wound occurring during the fierce battle for Hill 907 on 17 June 1951. He incurred a severe spinal and nerve injury that he barely survived. Initially paralyzed from the chest down, then Second Lieutenant Cooper was informed by Navy doctors that he probably would never walk again. During a remarkable recovery, Cooper had an opportunity to reflect on his service to his country and what that experience had meant to him. This is when he first developed this special creed for fighting men, the Band of Brothers—the glue that holds men in battle together and makes them never surrender, even against overwhelming odds.
“Since my early days in the Marine Corps, I have made every effort to foster in all of my commands this close-knit feeling of pride in organization, mission and mutual respect among men that leads to success in combat,” Cooper said. “I consider it an implicit mission to show the entire Marine Corps that if there is a better way for all Marines to live and work, and, if needed, fight side by side—we are capable of developing it. With your interest and help, I’m sure we can—as a Band of Brothers.”
Cooper recovered from his injuries and after five years, he returned to troop duty with the Fourth Marine Regiment in Hawaii. He then went on to command two infantry battalions and the prestigious 1st Marine Division, as well as to hold staff assignments at the Headquarters of the Marine Corps and on the Joint Staff. Prior to his retirement in 1985, Cooper was named commanding general, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, where he commanded two-thirds of the fighting Marine Corps.
He is the author of a book entitled Cheers and Tears that highlights both his combat experiences and his Band of Brothers leadership concept.
Cooper is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, two Legions of Merit (one with a combat “V”), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
“Charlie Cooper is a man admired for his tenaciousness, but even more so, for his character and standard of ethics. In my associations with him, his unspoken, but clear, philosophy might be summed up as, ‘Get it done, but do what’s right,’” said Rear Admiral Roy Snyder ’50, USN (Ret.).
Cooper’s philosophy of a Band of Brothers reached further than just the Marine Corps, but into his family, as well. His influence is clear: his son, Chip, a graduate of the Naval Academy Class of 1973, had a distinguished 28-year naval career and retired as a captain; two of Cooper’s grandsons are NROTC graduates and are Marine officers; a third grandson is a NROTC student at the University of Virginia; his son-in-law is also a graduate of the Class of 1973; and finally, another of Cooper’s grandsons is currently a first class midshipman at the Academy and captain of Navy’s 2005 baseball team.
Rear Admiral Ronald F. Marryott’s leadership ability can be traced back to his time as a midshipman when he commanded his battalion in the spring of 1957. His natural ability to lead followed into his career as a naval officer, where among other posts, he served as president of the Naval War College and Superintendent of the Naval Academy. After retiring in 1990, Marryott went on to hold leadership roles at the George C. Marshall Foundation and the Naval Academy’s Alumni Association and Foundation.
Marryott graduated from the Academy in 1957 and, subsequently, qualified as a naval aviator. He served in both hemispheres and later went on to command Patrol Squadron 9 and the Naval Air Station, Moffett Field, California. Marryott also served as both assistant and the Project Mercury recovery officer, where he was responsible for airborne search and recovery for the first three U.S. manned space flights.
After tours including the special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations, commander of the Iceland Defense Force and several Pentagon tours, Marryott was named president of the Naval War College in 1985. From there, he went on to serve as the 52nd Superintendent of the Naval Academy. While at the Academy, Marryott was responsible for supervising a fundamental overhaul of the academic curriculum.
“During his time at the Naval Academy, he directed the most comprehensive changes in more than 30 years in the Military Performance System,” said U.S. Representative Thomas McMillen, addressing Congress on the occasion of Marryott’s relief as Superintendent in 1988. “His unwavering commitment to excellence has dramatically improved the level of performance, morale and, most importantly, the quality of officers which are being provided to the fleet.”
For his service in the Navy, Marryott was awarded the Air Medal; two Legions of Merit; the Meritorious Service Medal; the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Order of the Falcon, Government of Iceland; and the Order du Merite, France.
Marryott retired from active duty in 1990 and served as president and CEO of the George C. Marshall Foundation before returning to Annapolis as president and CEO of the Naval Academy Alumni Association from 1996-2000. While in that role, Marryott helped upgrade the Association’s communications capability and increased visibility of the organization. He also played an integral role in the establishment of the Naval Academy Foundation, the sole fundraising arm of the Naval Academy, and successfully melded the Alumni Association and Foundation into a working organization. He also established the Distinguished Graduate Award program.
Even after retiring as president and CEO of the Alumni Association and Foundation in 2000, Marryott continues to give back to the Alumni Association and Foundation as a member of the President’s Circle and co-chair of his class fundraising efforts for its 50-year anniversary.
His public service continued after retirement when he was appointed as chairman of two separate committees focusing on security and terrorism for the City of Annapolis. He continues as an advisor to the Director of Emergency Management today.
About the Distinguished Graduate Awards
The Distinguished Graduate Awards were established in 1999. The 2004 DGA Selection Committee was chaired by Admiral Kinnaired R. McKee ’51, USN (Ret.).
This year’s Distinguished Graduates join the following previous awardees from 1999 to 2003: Major General William A. Anders ’55, USAFR (Ret.); The Honorable James E. Carter ’47; Captain John W. Crawford ’42, USN (Ret.); Admiral William J. Crowe Jr. ’47, USN (Ret.); Ambassador William H.G. FitzGerald ’31; Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey ’35, USN (Ret.); Admiral James L. Holloway III ’43, USN (Ret.); Vice Admiral William D. Houser ’42, USN (Ret.); Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence ’51, USN (Ret.); Captain James Lovell ’52, USN (Ret.); Dr. John J. McMullen ’40; Rear Admiral Robert W. McNitt ’38, USN (Ret.); Vice Admiral Charles S. Minter ’37, USN (Ret.); Admiral Thomas H. Moorer ’33, USN (Ret.); Colonel John W. Ripley ’62, USMC (Ret.); Mr. Roger Staubach ’65; Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale ’47, USN (Ret.); Admiral Carlisle A.H. Trost ’53, USN (Ret.); and Admiral James D. Watkins ’49, USN (Ret.).
Nominations for this award will normally be provided by class and chapter presidents. Nominees need not necessarily be a member of the chapter or class presenting the nomination. In order to be nominated, candidates must be living graduates who have:
• Demonstrated a strong interest in supporting the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Naval Academy
• Provided a lifetime of service to the nation or armed forces
• Made significant contributions to the nation through public service
• Are of character, distinguished military or civilian service, and stature that draw a wholesome comparison to the qualities that the U.S. Naval Academy strives for in keeping with the values of duty, honor and integrity, and “from knowledge, seapower.”
Individuals who are currently serving on active duty, occupy or are currently candidates for elective office at the state or federal level and those who currently serve in an appointed senior government position typically requiring Senate confirmation are not eligible to receive the award. A Call for Nominations for 2005 has been officially sent to all class and chapter presidents. All Alumni may view the nomination criteria and forms which are available on www.usna.com. Deadline for 2005 submissions is 19 November 2004. The 2005 DGA Selection Committee, chaired by Admiral Robert Natter, USN (Ret.) ’67, will convene in January.