By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LamoNovember 5, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Nov. 5, 2009) - Upon leaving his assignment as commanding general of Fort Leavenworth, Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV had one last award to present - to a friend and mentor, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Arter.
"Today we want to honor this extraordinary leader who has a sharp focus, boundless energy and engaging style of leadership who continues to work to better our community, our Army and our nation on a daily basis," Caldwell said.
Arter, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, was presented the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest Army award civilians can receive. The award was presented in front of community leaders Oct. 30. Caldwell said in his own 33 years of service, this is the first time he has given the award.
"General Arter embodies the very Army values and commitment that we seek to inculcate into our junior officers and NCOs," Caldwell said.
Arter has served the Army a total of 59 years, both as active-duty military and a civilian. Arter was first commissioned in 1950. Two assignments in Kansas included commanding general of the Third ROTC region and as deputy commandant of the Command and General Staff College.
When Arter decided to retire from the Army in 1986, there was no question that he would live anywhere other than the Leavenworth community. Arter said the reception his family had received from America's heartland - both at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth - was unique and continues to be unique. He has continued to serve as a civilian for 23 years after his retirement.
As a CASA, Arter serves as the Secretary of the Army's personal representative in Kansas. The primary function is to keep the Secretary apprised of issues affecting the Army, Army installations and Army units within the state. The position is equivalent to two-and-a-half stars.
Caldwell called Arter the steady hand that guides Fort Leavenworth leadership.
"His willingness to give up his time to support any event serves as a reminder to all of us the importance of deeds and not words," Caldwell said of Arter. "He is a man of deeds."
Caldwell said during his time as commander of Fort Leavenworth, he could call upon Arter anytime for advice or support.
"I have looked at you as my role model, my mentor during these last 28 months and it has been a great feeling," he said.
Arter was a founder of the Command and General Staff College Foundation and is now chairman, Caldwell said. He also established the Arter-Darby Award with the late U.S. Senator Harry Darby. The award is given each year to a CGSC student to encourage the study and writing of military history.
Arter and his wife, Lois, have two children. Lois is also active in the community, especially with the Fort Leavenworth Spouses' Club, and is a recipient of the Training and Doctrine Command's Margaret C. Corbin Award for volunteering.
Arter said it was a pleasure to serve in the community, where future leaders are influenced.
"In all situations, one can always turn to the Soldiers, and one can turn to the Soldier because - of certainly moral and physical commitments they continue to make - but (because they are) nurtured by extraordinary leaders of Soldiers," he said. "The genesis of that leadership is right here at Fort Leavenworth."