MARIETTA, Georgia, Feb 4, 2010 — General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, became a Trumpet Award recipient, January 30, 2010, during the 18th Annual Trumpet Awards, for his ability to inspire others through his extensive military career.
“It is a pretty cool award,” Ward told reporters during media interviews after the presentation.
Men and women who have achieved success through consistency and longevity in a chosen profession or career and who through their achievements inspire others are eligible for consideration for this award, according to event officials.
Ward said that those who have been – and are – inspired by his life’s work are simply inspired by the work of a hard-working soldier, which makes being a role model easier.
“I am a soldier first, and as a soldier, I’ve always tried to do what I’d been asked to do and do it the very best I can,” he said. “I take the obligation (of being a role model) very freely, but I also take it knowing that maybe if I can be an inspiration to others then that’s OK with me.”
“If (individuals) do the things (they) are asked to do well … such that (one’s) teammates are better off because of what has been done, then all will benefit from that,” Ward explained. “In the military, (individuals) are given the opportunity to make a difference because of what (he or she) does and how (he or she) does it…not necessarily because of what (he or she) looks like.”
Ward’s inspiration toward a successful military career came from his father, who is deceased and who was a proud World War II veteran. Through military service, Ward said his father was afforded many opportunities as many servicemembers are afforded today.
“Today’s situation is the same,” he said.
The military is a launch pad for individuals to use their service experience to acquire character, discipline and professionalism-skills that will serve them well in both military and civilians career fields, Ward added.
Ward is the fifth African American to be promoted to the rank of four-star general in U.S. Army history.
As an African American and senior Army leader, Ward sees his accomplishments and the accomplishments of other military leaders as signs that the Army is a well-rounded institution.
“It represents that our Army is indeed a diverse organization. It is the strength of that diversity from which we all benefit,” Ward said. “As we take advantage of all the diversity that exists and the contributions each member can make, we as a whole are better…a better institution…a better Army.”
By Paul Prince
U.S. Army News Service
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AFRICOM public affairs office