Good Afternoon ... welcome -- you’re out there right? [laughter]

Thanks for being here.

This is a special occasion ... I know all of you recognize that otherwise you probably wouldn’t be here. But, for me, any time you get the opportunity to make awards for excellence is a pretty good day. And, indeed I do have that opportunity right here this afternoon.

I’m going to state the obvious -- excellence is always a good thing. But I think it’s a concept that -- in recent times -- may have lost a little bit of its punch ... a little bit of its emphasis if you will. I remember a long time ago -- I mean a really long time ago -- when I was in little league baseball back in Watertown, New York -- yes, we had baseball back then, it had recently been invented [laughter]. At the end of the year there was one trophy for [the] one team that won the division. Now, today, I’ve got a niece and nephew who are great athletes -- they’re in lacrosse, they’re in hockey, they’re in gymnastics -- but, when I go down there I’m always amazed at the trophies that signify 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place ... sometimes just for showing up.

Now, I think it’s important that everyone is recognized for being part of a team. I think it’s important that everyone understands that a team is made up of everyone and that contributions at whatever level make that team as special as it is. But I have to tell you it’s rather clouded, in our entire society, what it means to be truly excellent ... what it means to be the best.

And, if today tells us anything, I would respectfully suggest that what it tells us is that we need to recognize true excellence -- the commitment, the drive, and execution that it takes to be the very best.

Today’s winners -- those that all of us have come here today to recognize -- came through a very rigorous selection process. That process demands that the nominees demonstrate leadership, that they produce results, and that they have a sustained record of exceptional professional, technical, or scientific achievement. I don’t think there’s any doubt, each one of them that we will today -- on this stage -- recognize has a distinguished record. And to put it simply, we’re very, very lucky to have them on our team.

The 19 outstanding leaders we’re honoring today come from 11 different Commands. Individually, their performances epitomize the best of our Army Values and demonstrate the relentless commitment to public service that’s worthy -- truly worthy -- of recognition as 2010 Presidential Rank Award Winners. That’s individually. But, collectively, what they do impacts the total Army and, most importantly, benefits every single Soldier in our ranks.

I am going to take a few minutes -- if you’ll allow me -- to brag about some of their really remarkable achievements ... the things that these outstanding leaders have done:

They’ve managed a tactical wheeled vehicle fleet of more than 350,000 ... and when our Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan desperately needed protection from deadly IEDs, they delivered. They delivered more than 9,000 MRAPs to the front lines -- and did it in less than 24 months.

They’re world class researchers responsible for technological innovations that give our Soldiers a decisive edge against our enemies. Decisive edges like night-time vision, infrared sensors, and counter-IED technologies.

They’re top organizational integrators who can find efficiencies. They’ve reduced the backlog of Freedom of Information requests at the Army Corps of Engineers by 95%, they’ve reduced operating costs in their Directorates by 15%, and they’ve saved the Army billions of dollars -- and I might add the taxpayers as well -- with objective, thorough internal audits.

They’re leaders who provide critical logistics to Soldiers on remote operating bases half-way around the world -- with on-time delivers approaching 99%. I have to tell you that that’s a feat that’s simply remarkable.

And they’re world class scientists leading all areas of Army research and development -- from devising the technical structure of our largest Micro-Electro Mechanical System to developing the next generation of optoelectronic devices -- whatever the hell those are [laughter]. I know it’s good [laughter].

The contributions of these 19 great public servants not only benefit every Soldier in our Army and contribute to our success in our current fights ... but, in many cases, they also contribute to the betterment of our Nation and the global scientific community as a whole.

And yet, for all that, their most important contribution may be their infectious, dedicated drive to be the best ... to lead ... to inspire -- inspire their colleagues, subordinates and superiors to excel ... to go that extra mile for our Army, for our Soldiers, for our Families, and for the taxpayers.

So on behalf of the 1.1 Million grateful Soldiers of this great Army -- and the Nation as a whole -- I want to thank and congratulate each and every one of these great award winners and to pay them a tip of the hat -- well deserved -- for their tremendous accomplishments and this terrific recognition.

So, with all of that, let’s get to the good part -- let’s get on to the awards [applause].




This is a special occasion … I know all of you recognize that otherwise you probably wouldn’t be here. But, for me, any time you get the opportunity to make awards for excellence is a pretty good day. And, indeed I do have that opportunity right here this afternoon.

I’m going to state the obvious " excellence is always a good thing. But I think it’s a concept that " in recent times " may have lost a little bit of its punch … a little bit of its emphasis if you will. I remember a long time ago " I mean a really long time ago " when I was in little league baseball back in Watertown, New York " yes, we had baseball back then, it had recently been invented [laughter]. At the end of the year there was one trophy for [the] one team that won the division.
Now, today, I’ve got a niece and nephew who are great athletes " they’re in lacrosse, they’re in hockey, they’re in gymnastics " but, when I go down there I’m always amazed at the trophies that signify 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place … sometimes just for showing up.

Now, I think it’s important that everyone is recognized for being part of a team. I think it’s important that everyone understands that a team is made up of everyone and that contributions at whatever level make that team as special as it is. But I have to tell you it’s rather clouded, in our entire society, what it means to be truly excellent … what it means to be the best.

And, if today tells us anything, I would respectfully suggest that what it tells us is that we need to recognize true excellence " the commitment, the drive, and execution that it takes to be the very best.

Today’s winners " those that all of us have come here today to recognize " came through a very rigorous selection process. That process demands that the nominees demonstrate leadership, that they produce results, and that they have a sustained record of exceptional professional, technical, or scientific achievement. I don’t think there’s any doubt, each one of them that we will today " on this stage " recognize has a distinguished record. And to put it simply, we’re very, very lucky to have them on our team.

The 19 outstanding leaders we’re honoring today come from 11 different Commands. Individually, their performances epitomize the best of our Army Values and demonstrate the relentless commitment to public service that’s worthy " truly worthy " of recognition as 2010 Presidential Rank Award Winners. That’s individually. But, collectively, what they do impacts the total Army and, most importantly, benefits every single Soldier in our ranks.

I am going to take a few minutes " if you’ll allow me " to brag about some of their really remarkable achievements … the things that these outstanding leaders have done:

They’ve managed a tactical wheeled vehicle fleet of more than 350,000 … and when our Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan desperately needed protection from deadly IEDs, they delivered. They delivered more than 9,000 MRAPs to the front lines " and did it in less than 24 months.

They’re world class researchers responsible for technological innovations that give our Soldiers a decisive edge against our enemies. Decisive edges like night-time vision, infrared sensors, and counter-IED technologies.

They’re top organizational integrators who can find efficiencies. They’ve reduced the backlog of Freedom of Information requests at the Army Corps of Engineers by 95%, they’ve reduced operating costs in their Directorates by 15%, and they’ve saved the Army billions of dollars " and I might add the taxpayers as well " with objective, thorough internal audits.

They’re leaders who provide critical logistics to Soldiers on remote operating bases half-way around the world " with on-time delivers approaching 99%. I have to tell you that that’s a feat that’s simply remarkable.

And they’re world class scientists leading all areas of Army research and development " from devising the technical structure of our largest Micro-Electro Mechanical System to developing the next generation of optoelectronic devices " whatever the hell those are [laughter]. I know it’s good [laughter].

The contributions of these 19 great public servants not only benefit every Soldier in our Army and contribute to our success in our current fights … but, in many cases, they also contribute to the betterment of our Nation and the global scientific community as a whole.

And yet, for all that, their most important contribution may be their infectious, dedicated drive to be the best … to lead … to inspire " inspire their colleagues, subordinates and superiors to excel … to go that extra mile for our Army, for our Soldiers, for our Families, and for the taxpayers.

So on behalf of the 1.1 Million grateful Soldiers of this great Army " and the Nation as a whole " I want to thank and congratulate each and every one of these great award winners and to pay them a tip of the hat " well deserved " for their tremendous accomplishments and this terrific recognition.

So, with all of that, let’s get to the good part " let’s get on to the awards [applause].

Page last updated Thu July 14th, 2011 at 15:45