WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service, May 14, 2008) - Twenty-eight commissioned and warrant officers from the active Army, Army Reserve and the National Guard received the 2008 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon today.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. presented the awards and praised the Soldiers for their accomplishments.

"The common thread that binds Soldiers together, that causes men and women to do extraordinary things, is the kind of leadership we celebrate here today," Casey said.

The Soldiers being honored commanded multiple companies in combat, and trained Iraqis in war, law, governance and economics, he said.

"Their units were the best," he said. "Because of leaders like this, our Army is the best at what it does."

The award was created in 1987 by the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation to recognize company-grade officers who demonstrate MacArthur's ideals of "duty, honor, country." The award sustains and promotes effective junior leadership in the Army.

The mother of Capt. Edward E. Kennedy, one of several deployed Soldiers receiving the award, accepted the honor for her son. Mrs. Mary Kennedy was excited to be at the ceremony.

"As a mom, I'm very proud," Kennedy said. "Ed's a great leader. He attributed the fact that he got the award to all the good NCOs under him."

Kennedy said her son was humbled by the award.

"I'm very proud of him-I wish he was here," she said.

The atmosphere at the ceremony was excited and enthusiastic. Commanders of various recipients were present to congratulate their nominees. Family members and friends filled nearly every available seat.

Capt. Scott D. Wence, of Army Forces Command, was stunned to be at the ceremony.

"I didn't know I was nominated," Wence said with a smile.

"I'm very honored. There are a lot of eligible captains out there, a lot of my peers that do very well also. It's an honor to be selected," he said.

Each year, Army major commands nominate a prescribed number of eligible Soldiers for the award and forward the selectee's information to the Pentagon for review. Soldiers are chosen for the award based on criteria including leadership, influence, proficiency, values, team-building and personal skills.

"These Soldiers have without a doubt demonstrated Gen. MacArthur's ideals of duty, honor and country," Casey said.

To see the full list of awardees, visit www.armyg1.army.mil/macarthur.