Retired SGM inducted into Public Affairs Hall of Fame
May 2, 2014
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 2, 2014) -- The chief of Army public affairs inducted retired Sgt. Maj. Dave Stewart into the Public Affairs Hall of Fame in a Pentagon ceremony May 1.
Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky praised the Canadian-born Stewart for his lasting contributions to the profession, history and traditions of Army public affairs over the course of 38 years of combined active-duty service and Army civil service.
"He decided he wanted to serve in the U.S. Army, so he enlisted in 1961 and became a medical record specialist for his first five years, but he really wanted to be a broadcaster and that's what he eventually became," said Volesky to the audience of friends, former co-workers and members of the Army Retiree Council which Stewart sits on.
"Now, after 27 plus years in the Army, he retired as a sergeant major and continued to serve in the Army Department," he said. "So when we talk about being a Soldier for life, we talk about the lifecycle of a Soldier who many of you on the council represent. From the day he came in until well through his active service and now into retirement he continues to be a great spokesman for our Army.
"That advocacy and those folks who will speak on the Army's behalf are critical to maintain the trust and confidence of the folks who we serve," said Volesky. "He has just been on the cutting edge of public affairs and we could not be more proud to put you into the Hall of Fame."
Following the presentation of a plaque commemorating his induction into the PA Hall of Fame, Stewart said he was overwhelmed by the induction and thanked his wife, Hedy and his two children for the support they had given him over the bumps -- "My heartfelt thanks to them," he said.
"The other important part of this award goes to those NCOs and officers who helped me, mentored me, worked with me and guided me along the way toward the success I've had, because without them I wouldn't be up here today… I'm certain of that," he added.
Stewart is in his fourth and final year as part of the Army Retiree Council. The 14 members who are all Army retirees themselves present the retired community's issues to DoD, the Army and the Veterans Administration, among others.
He's called to active duty once a year from his home in Bayruth, Germany, for the trip to Washington and he always makes a call on friends at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"During the second year I was involved in the Army Retiree Council, I took a trip to one of the Fisher Houses to see some friends who were out there," he said. "That is a very moving event, to see some of those wounded warriors -- those are the true heroes; those are the Army's Hall of Famers. I salute those heroes."
Created in 2000, the Public Affairs Hall of Fame program educates and inspires the current generation of public affairs practitioners to build upon the achievements and history of their forebears. More than 50 individuals have been inducted for exemplary public affairs efforts in peacetime and during World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and Somalia.
During Stewart's combined 38 years of active Army and civil service, he served as a public affairs planner for significant events, operations and deployments such as Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Rwanda, World War II commemoration events in Normandy, Belgium and Holland as well as for the Balkans peacekeeping operations and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He planned and executed media operations supporting the 50th and 55th D-Day anniversaries and served as an advisor for the 60th and 65th annual D-Day celebrations, becoming the planner-of-choice for the Defense Department in support of White House operations in France.
Stewart also served as a consultant to HBO on the "Band of Brothers" premiere at Utah Beach in 2001 and as liaison between the production staff and the local media and the towns of Sainte-Mer-Eglise and Sainte-Marie-du-Mont.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Stewart was part of the lead team guiding the transition of television operations in Europe from the Air Force to the American Forces Radio and Television Service. It was an initiative which eventually led to the enabling of the transmission of American Forces Network television to an audience that previously had only radio service. That service was in place for more than two decades before the development of the current satellite and decoders systems.
He later became a member of the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., and developed the first broadcast instructional extension courses which laid the ground work for the development of future extension courses previously unavailable to Army Reserve and National Guard broadcast journalists.
Stewart served the majority of his dual career in Germany and became a recognized figure to U.S. Army Europe leadership and the public affairs family he mentored. USAREUR still maintains a library of Stewart's plans and "how-to manuals" for deployments, exercises and events.
Stewart was the first of three former Soldiers to be inducted into the PA Hall of Fame class of 2013.