WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 20, 2009) -- A lifetime of service award was presented to former inspector general and "conscience of the Army," during a March 20 ceremony at the Pentagon.
The "Lt. Gen. Richard G. Trefry Lifetime Service Award" was presented for the first time by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren to the man the award is named after, retired Lt. Gen. (ret.) Richard G. Trefry. The award was presented for the general's service in the Army and his accomplishments as a civilian.
The award represents Trefry's ethos and lifetime of extraordinary service to the Army, consistent support and advancement of civilian and military personnel, and commitment to innovation and leadership.
"Choosing the first recipient of this award was pretty easy," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.
In the future, the award may be presented to individuals that are present or former members of the Army, or present or former Department of the Army civilians.
Trefry said he was surprised that he was chosen to be honored as the first recipient of an award that bears his name.
"I am deeply honored and I was completely floored when they told me they were going to do this," Trefry said.
Trefry began his military career as an enlisted Soldier and served during World War II before attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He went on to serve in Korea and was later deployed to Vietnam in support of the U.S. Marine Corps in the I Corps Tactical Zone.
"He's always been a great Soldier and visionary leader," said Gen. (ret.) Carl Vuono.
In the process of fighting a war, Trefry developed the Army's future leaders before there was a requirement to do so, Vuono added.
Trefry was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in 1977 and assigned the position of Inspector General of the Army. As the IG, Trefry spoke with Soldiers in the field to get a better idea of what they needed. He transformed the annual IG inspection by identifying and correcting systematic failings and deficiencies that would interfere with mission accomplishment.
After retiring in 1983, Trefry co-founded Military Personnel Resources, Inc., and served as the military assistant to former President George H.W. Bush and director of the White House Military Office. Currently, Trefry is the program manager of the Army Forces Management School.
Trefry hopes the award that bears his name will give Soldiers the motivation to achieve all they can, and to learn how the Army works as a whole. He advises potential awardees to "do what the Army tells you" and to read as much as possible.
"I don't worry about us fighting, we turn out great fighters," Trefry said. "But how we put it all together to go fight, that's the important thing. And if this is an incentive for that, then it's worth it."
Trefry's wife and family were there to support him during the ceremony.
"I just think it was great, the honor that was paid him today," said his wife, Jacque. "He is special man."