Myers receives Character and Leadership Award

Retired Gen. Richard B. Myers, the 15th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current president of Kansas State University, received the Air Force Academy’s 2017 Character and Leadership Award in the Academy’s Arnold Hall Theater on April 5, 2018.

Myers received the award before an audience of more than 2,000 Academy cadets and visitors. 

In recognition of Myers' award, The Anschutz Foundation of Denver, Colorado, presented a $100,000 donation to the Air Force Academy to support character and leadership initiatives including the Diversity Fellows Program, the Profession of Arms Character (Impact II) Seminar and the Ethics and Character Graduate Scholarship. 

Myers is the fifth recipient of the Character and Leadership Award, with The Anschutz Foundation contributing $500,000 to the Academy since 2013. Past recipients include Senator Jim Inhofe, Gen. Ronald Fogleman, Brig. Gen. Allison Hickey and Gen. Michael Hayden.

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The check presentation was attended by Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria '85, Academy superintendent; Ted Harms, executive director of The Anschutz Foundation; and retired Lt. Gen. Mike Gould '76, president of the United States Air Force Adacemy Endowment.

Drawing on 40 years of distinguished military service, Myers highlighted his presentation “Leadership in the 21st Century" by focusing on three words that define effective leadership:

  • Honor: “If you’re going to be successful in the United States military, you’ve got to be a person of honor."
  • Humility: “Nobody is more important than anyone else."
  • Humor: "It's what makes us all human."

Myers brought those defining qualities to life by sharing personal stories with the cadets, from one of his early assignments serving as the “Snack-O” (the officer in charge of an air base snack bar) to serving as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff following 9/11.

“There’s nothing more important that you could be doing, in my opinion, for you, your family or our country than what you’re doing right now,” Myers told the cadets. “You’ve got to be ready to defend your country in many different ways. It’s going to take all you have to do it right and keep our country free.”

Myers joined the Air Force through the ROTC program at Kansas State University in 1965. During his Air Force career, he logged more than 4,100 flying hours, including 600 combat hours.

His significant commands included U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan; Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD); and the U.S. Space Command.

He received numerous awards and decorations for his service, including the Legion of Merit, French Legion of Honor and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Myers returned to his alma mater in 2016 to serve as president.


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