Four-star U.S. Army leaders visit to deliver Defense Department award and honor a fallen alumnus

Here come the generals! (Rise up!)

In the fall, two four-star U.S. Army generals visited campus within a month of each other, both greeted by Corps of Cadets marchdowns. One of the four-stars delivered the second of two major national awards for Norwich’s U.S. Army ROTC program.

On Oct. 19, Gen. Paul E. Funk II, a four-star general, U.S. Training and Doctrine Command commander and U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Famer, visited Shapiro Field House to bestow the Defense Department ROTC and Educational Institution Partnership Excellence Award for “exceptional performance” in academic year 2019-20. 

In an award letter to President Mark Anarumo, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III noted that in 2020, Norwich University’s Army ROTC Pioneer Battalion surpassed its recruiting goal of 90 by commissioning 106 leaders. Seventy-one were active-duty lieutenants, 26 were Guard members, nine were U.S. Army reservists. Among that group were 20 distinguished military graduates; seven were in the nation’s top 10%. 

As he spoke, Funk displayed “Funk’s Fundamentals,” 40 bullet points of wisdom to live and lead by. He said the cadets in the United States’ Joint Forces wears “the jersey of the greatest nation on Earth.”

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On Nov. 2, Michael X. Garrett, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, visited Plumley Armory and honored U.S. Army Sgt. Adam Kennedy, a 2004 Norwich graduate and former Mountain Cold Weather Company member who died April 8, 2007, in Al Diwaniyah, Iraq. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

Funk, who with his father are the only father-son Army ROTC Hall-of-Famers, said, “That great cloth that you wear means two things around the globe, hope and fear, and they’re in equal measure. You see, it’s hope for those that are downtrodden, those that need a change, those that need an opportunity, those who need a despot destroyed, those who demand something more.”

The Defense Department Award followed the MacArthur Award, which Norwich won for academic year 2019-20 by besting the Cadet Command’s 1st Brigade. (Norwich also won the award for 2013-14).

In announcing the award in April, the U.S. Army said the MacArthur Foundation and Cadet Command consider colleges’ commissioning missions, cadet performance, cadet retention rate and standing on the national Order of Merit List when determining honorees. 

On Nov. 2, Michael X. Garrett, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, visited Plumley Armory after exercising with the Corps of Cadets’ Mountain Cold Weather Company. The workout enthusiast also had the cadets in Plumley’s audience drop and give him 30 hand-release pushups. 

Garrett also honored U.S. Army Sgt. Adam Kennedy, a 2004 Norwich graduate and former Mountain Cold Weather Company member who died April 8, 2007, in Al Diwaniyah, Iraq. Kennedy, of Norfolk, Massachusetts, was on the Army’s 25th infantry division’s 4th brigade combat team. He was serving on Garrett’s security team, driving the general’s vehicle, when an enemy rocket hit and killed him. 

Garrett called Kennedy’s death heart-wrenching.

“He represented Norwich and lived by the values that each of you are carrying on today. He did so with exceptional pride,” Garrett said.

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