FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas — The Command and General Staff College inducted leaders from the Netherlands, El Salvador, and Liberia into its International Hall of Fame at the Lewis and Clark Center on Fort Leavenworth April 12.
Inductees are: Lt. Gen. Martin Wijnen, Commander, Royal Netherlands Army; Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto Tejada Murcia, Chief of the Joint Staff, Salvadoran Armed Force; Major General (Retired) Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr., Minister of National Defense, Liberia; and Major General Prince Charles Johnson, III, Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of Liberia. Following this induction, the International Hall of Fame consists of 292 leaders from 78 nations. Tejada Murcia was the first leader to be inducted from El Salvador. More than 8,400 international officers have graduated from the college since the first international officer attended in 1894.
All four inductees thanked their sponsors who assisted them in their year at CGSC. Wijnen commented on “the legendary warmth of those who live in America’s heartland.”
Wijnen, CGSC Class of 2001, was the first to be honored. He noted the recent outbreak of conventional war in Europe. “Western values and western freedom have become overtly challenged through the re-emergence of long-term strategic competition between nations and we need to rely on the strength of our alliances and partnerships in order to protect what we value,” he said.
“To remain relevant in this emerging security environment, we need to develop a mindset in which we out think, out maneuver, out partner, and out innovate revisionist powers, rogue regimes, terrorists groups, and other threat actors,” Wijnen said.
CGSC is the premier institution committed to the education and training of the leaders we need for that emerging security environment, Wijnen said. “It is here that the best tools for command are created,” he said.
Tejada Murcia, CGSC Class of 2005, was inducted in absentia because of the high operational tempo of his military against criminal organizations. He send remarks that were read by Jim Fain, CGSC International Student Director.
Tejada Murcia recalled being part of a multinational humanitarian operation in Iraq shortly after graduating from CGSC. “The knowledge and experience I gathered in my CGSC classroom, the interaction with faculty, U.S. and fellow international students, prepared me to work effectively in a multinational environment halfway around the world,” he said
Ziankahn, CGSC Class of 2011, has served as Liberia’s Defense Minister since 2018. He earned a Master of Military Arts and Science Degree while attending the course and his thesis was the runner-up for best thesis in his class. “The cross-cultural experiences of the American way of life will always be treasured,” said Ziankahn. He re-coined CGSC’s unofficial motto “’The best year of your life’ in preparing you for the daunting facts ahead.”
Ziankahn’s countryman Johnson, CGSC Class of 2012, was the final inductee. “The future holds a lot for us if we are prepared and work diligently,” he said. “My current position as the head of the Liberian Military has not been all roses. The West African region has been faced with insurgency, maritime crimes, terror attacks, military coups and civil unrest,” said Johnson. “Amid all these challenges, the armed forces of Liberia and other militaries in the region continue to uphold the tenant of democracy. The law of leadership would not have been possible without the preparation and leadership training obtained from the United States Army Command and General Staff College,” he concluded.
In addition to being inducted into the Hall of Fame, inductees are presented a certificate of honor by the Military Order of the World Wars and are honored as Life Constituents by the CGSC Foundation. Brig. Gen. (Retired) Bryan W. Wampler, chairman of the Foundation Board of Trustees presented the Life-Constituent award.
International military student participation in cooperative military studies in the United States originated at Fort Leavenworth with the arrival of Swiss Lieutenant Henri Le Comte in 1894. Since then, international students have become an integral part of the Fort Leavenworth experience. These talented military officers contribute to a rich professional and cultural exchange environment.
The CGSC International Hall of Fame was established by the college, the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars and the CGSC Foundation in 1973. To be nominated for the International Hall of Fame an officer must be a graduate of CGSC and have attained, by merit, the position of leader of his or her country’s army or defense forces.