The 101st Airborne Division's deputy commanding general for support was recently honored in Washington, D.C, at an awards conference to honor minority leaders throughout the military and civilian services.
Brig. Gen. Ronald F. Lewis received the Army Stars and Stripes Award during the 27th annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards Global Competitiveness Conference, held Feb. 7-9.
"I'm really honored to have been selected as this year's Army recipient of the Stars and Stripes Award," said Lewis, who has more than 25 years of service.
The award recognized Lewis, a Chicagoan, as an officer who made a distinguished contribution to the mission. Each military branch selects an award winner every year.
The BEYA conference is one of the nation's largest gatherings of professionals committed to increasing minority participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics--also referred to as STEM.
Lewis, and dozens of other high-ranking military officers and civilians, had the opportunity before the award ceremony to spend time talking to approximately 200 pre-college, minority youths about choosing education paths in STEM areas.
This mentoring session was one of the highlights of the whole event, according to Lewis.
"It's a great opportunity to spend some time talking to our youth--primarily our minority youth in the D.C. area," Lewis explained.
Lewis' message to the youngsters is that opportunities are present.
"STEM areas of study are not the easiest topics in the world in which to major, but they are hugely important," said Lewis, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering. "They teach you how to think logically; how to problem solve. And with some hard work, and the right study skills and habits, you can make it through."
After the mentoring session, the 8th annual Stars and Stripes Dinner was held to recognize individual achievements for members of each service branch. Many of the military's top leadership attend the dinner. Also a large veteran community, chairmen, secretaries and members of the defense industry, attend each year.
"I'm looking forward to seeing some old mentors; some people that have paved the way throughout the years coming up," Lewis stated. "I'm very honored to represent the Army at that social."
Lewis recognized one of the other award winners at this year's convention as a great role model and superior sustainer and logistician. Gen. Dennis Via., commander of Army Materiel Command, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lewis recently visited AMC's headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., to discuss the methods in which the command will assist the 101st throughout their upcoming deployment to lead NATO's International Security Assistance Force Regional Command--East, headquartered at Bagram Airfield , Afghanistan.
While deployed, Lewis explained, AMC will sustain the 101st as the division works to advise and assist the Afghans to enable them to safely secure their country.
Also, AMC will help the division with its redeployment and force posturing, he added.
"Those two tasks are going to be tough," Lewis said.
The Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, who will be sending approximately 600 Soldiers, is scheduled to begin its yearlong deployment in March.