FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (March 5, 2009) - The Pakistan Chief of Army Staff was the 231st officer to be inducted into the Command and General Staff College's International Hall of Fame Feb. 26 at the Lewis and Clark Center at Fort Leavenworth.
Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is among the 3 percent of international students who have graduated from CGSC to be inducted into the hall of fame.
Lt. Gen William B. Caldwell IV, CGSC commandant and Fort Leavenworth commander, said Kayani was joining a distinguished group of officers. Caldwell said about 50 percent of the more than 7,000 international student graduates have gone on to become general officers.
"That's an incredible achievement for those 230 that have been selected to come back and be inducted into the International Hall of Fame," Caldwell said.
Kayani distinguished himself as a student when he attended CGSC during the 1987-1988 academic year, Caldwell said. In this critical time in the history of the world, Caldwell said Kayani is the right man at the right time to be leading in such an important part of the world.
"His dedication to his country, his recognition that we are all in this together, and that the military is necessary but not sufficient sets him apart from many others," Caldwell said. "He recognizes that we must win the peace through a comprehensive approach."
Caldwell highlighted events that took place around the world during Kayani's time at CGSC, including Oliver North's testimony about the Iran-Contra affair, the beginning of construction on the Chunnel, the tunnel linking France and the United Kingdom, and Soviet forces withdrawing from Afghanistan.
While Kayani was at CGSC he also completed the Masters of Military Art and Science program. Caldwell said Kayani's MMAS thesis was on the "Strengths and Weaknesses of the Afghanistan Resistance Movement."
"It's remarkable that 20 years later that work that he wrote as a young major, as a student here, still stands out as an exceptional piece of study," Caldwell said. "It's a thoughtful and systematic analysis combined with a unique understanding of the Afghan people and is particularly relevant to many of us here today."
Kayani's staff group motto at that time was "doing time." Caldwell said the students in that staff group did anything but mark their time at CGSC. Four of the group, 25 percent, went on to become general officers.
Caldwell said last year was the 60th anniversary of students from Pakistan attending and being a part of CGSC. In those 60 years, there have been a little more than 100 graduates, and 73 of them have gone on to become general officers.
"General Kayani will be the fourth, out of that 100, to be inducted into the International Hall of Fame from his nation," Caldwell said. "He will be the sixth from his class of 1988."
Kayani was commissioned in the Army in Pakistan in 1971 as an infantryman, Caldwell said. He has served in command, staff, and instructional positions at every level in the Pakistan Armed Forces. In November 2007, he was appointed to his current position as the Chief of the Army Staff, Pakistan.
"Sir, you have been described by many of your colleagues and your friends as being very studious, a quiet professional, and a perfect gentleman," Caldwell said. "Your work ethic and dedication to excellence have served you well."
Kayani said his year at Fort Leavenworth was a unique experience for him in many ways.
"I think it was professionally very, very rewarding," Kayani said.
The best part of his education here, Kayani said, were the electives offered, which later helped him a great deal with the different assignments he has had in the Pakistan army.
Kayani said he had already attended the Pakistani staff college and was prepared to compare and contrast the two schools when he arrived at Fort Leavenworth. He said he learned many things, and when he returned to Pakistan, he served on the faculty of the staff college there and used what he learned at CGSC to improve the syllabi.
"This was the professional part," Kayani said. "But I think what I value the most is my association ... with my colleagues who are from different countries and also my colleagues from the U.S. Army."
Kayani said he remembers all that he shared with his classmates in and out of the classroom. He said he and many of his classmates had gathered in Washington, D.C., a few days before the induction ceremony. Even after 20 years, Kayani said, when he saw his old friends it was as if he had just met with them yesterday.
His remarks would not be complete, he said, if he didn't mention the faculty at CGSC.
"I think they are some of the best professionals," Kayani said.
Kayani talked about the values of sponsorship program. He said one of his sponsors, who has since passed away, took it upon herself, almost daily, to take his son to kindergarten in the morning and bring him home in the afternoon.
"He always used to call her grandmother," Kayani said.
Through the sponsorship program, Kayani said he learned about the values of U.S. citizens and how wonderful the people are.
"That is what, in fact, the U.S.A. is all about, and I'm very proud and very, very honored to have these associations," he said.
It also helped him a great deal to learn how the U.S. Army and armed forces operate, Kayani said. He said there is a deep understanding between the Pakistan army and the U.S. Army and that helps the relationship between the two countries in their fight against the war against terrorism.
The IHOF was founded in 1973 to provide a means of recognition of international officer graduates who have obtained one of the highest positions of importance in their respective countries' armed forces. Fifteen IHOF inductees have also gone on to become the chief executive of their countries.
The IHOF was founded jointly by CGSC, the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars and the CGSC Alumni Association. During the ceremony the inductees are presented a CGSC certificate of honor by the MOWW, and a Life Constituent Certificate and eagle statuette from the CGSC Foundation. A framed portrait is placed in the IHOF gallery in the Lewis and Clark Center.