Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for inviting me here to speak today. It is a privilege to be among our greatest and strongest assets, our talented young leaders. As we just said, this marks the 25th year of this Award with 622 recipients to date. The 27 of you receiving the Award this year clearly stand out among your peers as leaders. To all distinguished guests, fellow General Officers, thank you all for being here. Mr. Kessler from the MacArthur Foundation, thank you so much for sponsoring this great event and for being here today as well. This Award recognizes Company Grade Officers and Warrant Officers who demonstrate the ideals for which General MacArthur stood: duty, honor, country.

It was 50 years ago this month that General MacArthur bade us farewell, leaving in his wake those three hallowed words that reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be. General MacArthur is undoubtedly one of the greatest military leaders that our Nation has ever produced. So our Nation stands in good stead with young leaders such as yourselves, so obviously committed to its tenets of duty, honor, country. You are being recognized for demonstrating outstanding leadership at the Company Grade level, which comes with a unique set of challenges. Company Grade leadership is about leading our Nation's sons and daughters at the tip of the tactical spear. At the Company Grade level, the Army entrusts you with the distinct privilege of command for the first time.

As Company, Troop, and Battery Commanders you have the most direct impact and influence on our young Soldiers. You are the ones that start to build the bedrock of trust that our Profession of Arms rests on, the trust between Soldiers, and the trust between Soldiers and leaders. You lead from the front and by example. You set the tone and climate that directly influences whether they choose to embrace the Army Profession. Soldiers vote with their boots. The climate you establish by your leadership enables life decisions these young men and women will make.

It is profoundly ironic that the true strategic depth of our Army, our quality All-Volunteer Force, is placed not in the hands of our Senior Generals, but directly in the hands of our Junior Officer Corps, the most talented and aspiring group of leaders in the world. You have proven by volunteering and continuing to serve at a time of war, the true strength of our Nation, is our Army. This has validated our Army's consistent standing across the Nation as the most trusted of institutions, topping the confidence polls in leaders of major institutions. You have embraced the fact that your decisions at the tactical level can and do have strategic impact. You have demonstrated and validated some of the critical characteristics that will define our future force: adaptability, innovation, flexibility, and agility. I truly envy your energy, spirit, vigor, and commitment to continue to lead and serve. Frankly, I am humbled to be in your presence, just as I know you are humbled as you interact daily with our Soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers. These Soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers are selflessly dedicated, achieving incredible results on a daily basis. I know that you know it is an honor to lead them and to be part of an institution that demands the best out of all of us.

As a group, you exemplify the ideals of duty, honor, country, while ably leading American Soldiers in arguably the toughest environments we've ever faced. Now, the Army needs you to continue leading through the challenges ahead. We need leaders like you to be at the forefront. It will be you pioneering approaches and creative solutions that will guide our transition to a leaner, more agile Force that remains adaptive, innovative, versatile and ready as part of the Joint Force 2020. You are the future of our Army, the future of our Nation. I want to finally congratulate you on this Award. I remind you that the strength of our Nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our Families. That is what makes us Army Strong. Thank you so much.