By Kristin Molinaro, The BayonetSeptember 9, 2010
FORT BENNING, Ga. - MG(R) Jerry White and CSM(R) Andrew McFowler are the 2010 recipients of the Doughboy Award, to be presented Sept. 14 in conjunction with the Infantry Warfighting Conference.
It's the highest award the chief of Infantry can present to an Infantryman and is given to those who have distinguished themselves as inspirational Infantry leaders. Each year, a general officer and noncommissioned officer are selected for induction.
Past recipients include former Secretary of State and GEN(R) Colin Powell, former Sen. Robert Hope and former presidential candidate Ross Perot.
"It's very humbling to think they picked me when you look at all the people with name recognition that they've given this award to ... it's a long, long way from Key Largo, Florida, to the Doughboy Award," said CSM(R) McFowler, referring to the beginning of his military career, when he was drafted into the Army in 1966 during the Vietnam War.
During his 35 years of service, he had various Infantry, Airborne and Ranger assignments. He completed two combat tours in Vietnam - the first as a rifleman with 1st Infantry Division and the second as a platoon sergeant with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, which transitioned to the 23rd Infantry Division. He deployed with 3rd Brigade, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, during the Gulf War.
"As a new Soldier in the Army, I started appreciating the value of living," said CSM(R) McFowler of his Vietnam experiences. "Looking back, I have to thank (the draft board) because my life would've been a lot different had I not joined the Army."
CSM(R) McFowler held numerous command sergeant major positions, including stints with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, Calif.; U.S. Forces Korea at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea; 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C.; and U.S. Army Forces Command.
But the assignments he loved the most were the ones spent as a first sergeant or battalion sergeant major, he said.
"At that level, I think I had the most influence on Soldiers. When I was a first sergeant, I didn't know what the rest of the Army was going to do, but I knew what 126 Soldiers in A Company were going to do," CSM(R) McFowler said.
He retired from the military in 2001 after 35 years of service. He currently serves as the operational supervisor for current operations at Fort Bragg's operations center.
CSM(R) McFowler and MG(R) White share similarities in their careers, both having served in key leadership positions with 7th Infantry Division, and both earning the distinction of being Airborne Rangers.
MG(R) White began his career at Marshall University, W.V. The son of a "wildcat oil man," he said he originally thought he would follow in his dad's footsteps.
"He would wet his thumb, see which way the wind was blowing and he would drill to see if he could find oil. I wanted to be a bit more scientific," MG(R) White said.
He enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant after earning his bachelor's degree in geology in 1960.
He served two combat tours in Vietnam and went on to hold numerous command and staff positions in the U.S. and overseas.
MG(R) White has served as commander of the 2nd Reserve Officers' Training Corps Region at Fort Knox, Ky.; 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, Calif.; and the U.S. Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning. MG(R) White was the first non-West Point graduate selected to serve as a regimental tactical officer at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
"They wanted to infuse into the system some non-West Point graduates and I was the first selected to command one of the regiments," he said.
MG(R) White retired from the Army in 1994 and lives in Columbus. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, the Ranger Tab and the Master Parachutist Badge. MG(R) White currently serves as the president and chairman of the board for the National Infantry Foundation and Association.
"The Doughboy Award is something I've always been involved in but never dreamed I would be the recipient of," MG(R) White said. "It means so much to me as an Infantryman to be selected from among my peers."