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FORT BENNING, GA – This year’s Command and General Staff Officer Course U.S. Officer top award goes to USMC Major Ismael Lara.

Lara, one of two Marines in the course of 57 students from 12 countries, was recognized during a ceremony on May 20, 2020, at Marshall Auditorium.

A product of the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Program, Lara was presented the WHINSEC U.S. Distinguished Honor Graduate and the General Marshall Leadership awards, a WHINSEC Saber, the Peruvian Army Academic Excellence, the Institutional Medal of the Secretary of the National Defense of México(SEDENA), and WHINSEC “Junta” Military Medals. He also attained a Support Operations Officer (SPO) Certification.

The General George C. Marshall award is presented to the distinguished US graduate of the resident WHINSEC Command and General Officer Course (CGSOC). This award is based on the “whole student” concept that recognizes scholarship, extramural activities, honors the distinguished service and legacy of one of America’s most honored soldiers, and serves as a lasting incentive to the officers attending resident CGSOC. The US Honor Graduate is presented with an appropriate award in recognition of this achievement. The Peruvian Army Academic Excellence Medal is given to student who earned top of his class overall. The Secretary of the National Defense of México Medal is given to the U.S. student who earned the first place of the CGSOC of professional development. The Support Operations (SPO) certification is a CGSOC Elective (A492)elective available for logisticians. The focus of A492 is on multifunctional logistics in the area of support operations. It prepares CGSOC majors (logisticians) to serve as support operations officers or in other key and developmental positions in tactical units. It also facilitates a critical analysis of doctrinal tactical logistic support concepts and functions and the full integration of multifunctional logistics planning within brigade combat team (BCT), support brigade, and theater sustainment brigade operations. The elective is composed of two phases. Phase I is online via the US Army Logistics University (ALU), Fort lee, VA. Phase II is a resident two-week CGSOC elective at WHINSEC.

When asked about the course, Lara commented, “I want to highlight the tremendous work our partners do in providing excellent officers from their respective countries to serve as instructors at WHINSEC. I also want to acknowledge the high caliber of international officers who attended the course and excellently represented their countries. Throughout the academic year, the instructors and students' superior performance and professionalism fostered a high-quality education and strengthened relationships between the various nations. It was an absolute honor and privilege to represent the Marine Corps among the best officers in the Western Hemisphere.”

Lara's next assignment will be with the Marine Corps Cyber Command (MARFORCYBER).