OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - In an emotional ceremony, Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander of United States Strategic Command, learned today he has been selected to be the Command's first inductee of the Strategic Order of the Sword and Shield.
Gen Kevin P. Chilton, commander, U.S. Strategic Command is notified of his inductment into the USSTRATCOM Strategic Order of the Sword and Shield, Nov 4, 2010. Photo by Steve Cunningham
The surprise notification was made in front of a small joint-service gathering of the Command's enlisted members as the general arrived for duty this morning.
Command Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Narofsky, the Command's senior enlisted leader, announced the induction and read a proclamation explaining the significance of the Sword and Shield.
"The sword represents our commitment to globally strike our adversaries anywhere on the planet, should the need arise, and the shield represents our commitment and readiness to defend the Nation without firing a shot," the chief said. "The USSTRATCOM Strategic Order of the Sword and Shield will be our way of recognizing those who display superior leadership qualities and a genuine concern for the enlisted force. "
The general was selected for this honor by the enlisted Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen of USSTRATCOM and its Joint Functional Component Commands, Task Forces, Service Elements and Combat Support Agencies. According to the nomination, "At each level of command; Wing, Numbered Air Force, Major Command and Unified Combatant Command; (General Chilton) has created an environment that valued and respected the expertise and experience of enlisted members. "
General Chilton, clearly not expecting the presentation, was humbled, saying, "I'm rarely speechless. . . ". He then added, "I hope you know how much I respect you all, and that's why this means so much. "
A formal presentation ceremony is in the works for a future date.
USSTRATCOM is one of ten U.S. unified commands under the Department of Defense (DOD). The command, including components, employs more than 2,700 people representing all four services including DOD civilians and contractors who oversee the command's operationally focused global strategic mission. (For further information, contact Master Sgt Kevin Allen, (402) 294-5659 or 294-4130, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org).