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Gen. William Ward

U.S. Army General William E. Ward was born on June 3, 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Morgan State University and graduated with his B.A. degree in Political Science in 1971. While there, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and as a Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG) was commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant in 1971. In 1979, Ward received his M.A. degree in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University. He then went on to attend the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

Ward’s military service has included overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, two tours in Germany, and a wide variety of assignments in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. His command and troop assignments include: Commander of 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 2nd Brigade at Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Commander of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York and during Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia; Assistant Division Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Commanding General 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army in Hawaii at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii; Commander of the Stabilization Force during Operation Joint Forge in Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Deputy Commander U.S. European Command. His staff assignments include: Executive Officer to the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C.; Deputy Director for Operations of the National Military Command Center in Washington, D.C.; Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation with Egypt in the American Embassy in Egypt; and Vice Director for Operations of the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.

In 2005, Ward served as the Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Europe and the Seventh Army. While in this capacity, he was selected by the Secretary of State to serve as the United States Security Coordinator, Israel-Palestinian Authority where he served from March of 2005 through December of 2005. Ward served as the inaugural Commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany from October 1, 2007 to March 8, 2011. Ward is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the 100 Black Men of America, and the National Society of Pershing Rifles. He is also an honorary member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy club and was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Morgan State University and Virginia State University.

Ward’s military honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit with Three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with Six Oak Leaf Clusters), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters); the Army Achievement Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Expert Infantryman's Badge, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and the Master Parachutist Badge.

Ward currently serves as the President and COO of SENTEL Corporation.

U.S. Army General William E. Ward was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.180

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/25/2013

Last Name

Ward

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

Morgan State University

Pennsylvania State University

Army Command and General Staff College

U.S. Army War College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

WAR16

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Improve The Foxhole.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/3/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter

Short Description

General Gen. William Ward (1949 - ) Commander of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division during Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia, Commander 25th Infantry Division, Commander of the Stabilization Force during Operation Joint Forge in Sarajevo, Bosnia, US Security Coordinator in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the inaugural Commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany from 2007 to 2011. He currently serves as the President of SENTEL Corp.

Employment

United States Army

Stabilization Force, Operation Joint Forge

25th Infantry Division

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gen. William Ward's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward talks about his maternal grandfather's upbringing in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward talks about his mother's upbringing in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward talks about his mother's education and her employment at the Social Security Administration

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward talks about his father's employment and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gen. William Ward talks about his father's service as a combat engineer in World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gen. William Ward describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gen. William Ward describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gen. William Ward talks about his sister, Christina Ward Young

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Gen. William Ward talks about his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Gen. William Ward describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Gen. William Ward describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward talks about his father building their family's home in Baltimore County, Maryland, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward talks about his father building their family's home in Baltimore County, Maryland, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward talks about the community's interest in sports in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward talks about the community's interest in doo wop music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience in the first grade in Baltimore County, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience in an integrated school system in the 1950s, and his family instilling self-confidence in him

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward talks about his interests in elementary school as well as the schools he attended

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward talks about his exposure to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward talks about his experience in elementary school in Towson, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward talks about his interests while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward reflects about his non-military oriented childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward talks about attending junior high school in the early 1960s, and meeting his wife in college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward talks about his interest in political science, playing football, and running track in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward talks about being employed in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gen. William Ward talks about his social experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gen. William Ward talks about the poor career counseling that he received in high school, and his decision to attend Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward describes his decision to attend Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward describes his graduation from Towson Senior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward talks about his desire to become a lawyer while studying at Morgan State University, pt 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward talks about the influence of his teachers, Maxwell and Sandye Jean McIntyre, at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward talks about his desire to become a lawyer while studying at Morgan State University, pt 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward talks about the reaction in Baltimore, Maryland, to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward talks about being employed in college, and his experience in the political science department at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience in the ROTC program at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gen. William Ward talks about historian Benjamin Quarles and the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gen. William Ward talks about getting married and being commissioned into active duty in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in 1971

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward talks about General Daniel "Chappie" James and General Benjamin Oliver Davis

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience on his first commission to the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, where he became a platoon leader

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward discusses disciplinary challenges within the U.S. Army during the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward discusses his assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea in 1974

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as a lieutenant in the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward talks about becoming a captain, going to graduate school, and teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward talks about his experience in the advanced infantry career course

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward talks about the Korean axe murder incident in 1976

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward describes his decision to attend graduate school at Penn State University, and to teach at the United States Military Academy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as an assistant professor of social sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward describes how he became Commander of the 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as Commander of the 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry in Fort Wainwright, Alaska

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward talks about being selected for colonel, and becoming the brigade commander of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in 1992

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division during relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew in 1992

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as part of the U.N. relief mission in Somalia in 1992

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward discusses the Battle of Mogadishu and Somali Civil War, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward discusses the Battle of Mogadishu and Somali Civil War, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward talks about his experience as the Executive Officer to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward talks about his experience as the Deputy Director for Operations in the National Military Command Center

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward describes the ceremony where he was promoted to become a brigadier general in 1996

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as Assistant Division Commander for Support at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Cairo, Egypt

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward talks about his assignment as the commander of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward talks about his assignment as the Vice Director for Operations on the Joint Staff and after the 9/11 attack

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward talks about his principle of "improving the foxhole," and his experience at the Pentagon after 9/11

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as Commander of the NATO Force in Bosnia

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience as United States Security Coordinator between the Israeli and Palestinian authority

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward talks about his service as the deputy commander of EUCOM and as the inaugural commander of AFRICOM

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward talks about the formation of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward talks about the goals for the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward discusses the initial apprehension towards the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward discusses the initial reactions to his appointment as commander of AFRICON

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward describes his experience in Africa as the commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward describes the highlights of his service as the inaugural commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward talks about his engineering leadership experience in the U.S. Army, and receiving the Black Engineer of the Year Award in 2010

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Gen. William Ward discusses his retirement from the U.S. Army

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Gen. William Ward talks about his life after retirement

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Gen. William Ward reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Gen. William Ward talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Gen. William Ward describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Gen. William Ward reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Gen. William Ward talks about a lesson of accountability from his service in Korea

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Gen. William Ward talks about his team philosophy

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Gen. William Ward narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
William E. Ward talks about his interests while growing up
William E. Ward describes the ceremony where he was promoted to become a brigadier general in 1996
Transcript
Okay, now, in light of the fact that you achieved the rank of Four-Star General, were you exhibiting, or did you have--where did you exhibit leadership as a young fellow, growing up? I mean, I know you played sports. But were you in the Boy Scouts or were you in church organizations or, you know--How did you display, you know--?$$Yeah, I think I was--I was a Cub Scout for two years. And then I stopped that. And I don't recall exactly why, but I did stop that. You know, in my little community where we lived, there were probably six or seven of us guys, you know. And we would always play, you know, three-on-three, or four-on-three, football, basketball. I played Little League baseball. And I think, you know, neighborhood activity where we lived--before we moved into our house once my dad [Richard Isiah Ward] finished it--You know, we would do little organized games there, organized--I call them playground sports. Did a lot of that. I think that was my biggest, I guess, set of activities--the largest set of activities I engaged in that would later on culminate into what I eventually did. The YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association], you know, that's where I learned to swim, at the YMCA. You know I'd get on a bus and go downtown in Baltimore [Maryland] by myself to the YMCA on Saturdays and engage in the programs that the YMCA offered. My mom [Phyllis cashen Ward] wanted me--dad wanted me to do that. And I think that's probably the biggest thing. I did sing in a little church choir. But so did a lot of other guys. Obviously, we all did that. So, those are probably the most substantial things. There's really nothing about my childhood, quite frankly, that would automatically point to "Hey, this guy always wants to take charge and be in charge." That wasn't the case at all. I don't think that was, you know, something that was inherent in who I was, you know--anytime I'd get involved in something, I'm going to take charge, I'm in charge. (laughter) That wasn't it. You know--$$Okay. So, you couldn't spot you as a little general.$$No, no. Now, I did like to, you know, I think I've always been pretty organized. I mean, and I've got a cousin who will talk about me playing with little, you know, toy soldiers and things of that sort. I can recall, I used to play with trucks a lot, you know, and what not. In fact, I think, you know, as a youngster, one of the things that I talked about mostly was, you know, I liked to drive trucks, you know. I just was fascinated with trucks.$And being made Brigadier General in '96 [1996]. Now this, this is a big deal. I mean it's a big deal, I think, and we shouldn't gloss over it. What kind of a ceremony is it, and did your parents [Phyllis Cashen Ward and Richard Isiah Ward] get a chance to come in?$$My dad did not. My dad was too ill to make it. My mom was there, and obviously all the rest of my family. But the ceremony was a pretty special one. It was conducted by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, who was my boss. And done there in the Pentagon. A host of friends who I've known my entire life--family. And I think as I was delivering my comments--Once I'd been promoted, you know, I was evoking my dad. Because a lot, you know, certainly who I am and who I was on that day for sure, was reflective of who he was as a man and what I'd learned from him. And so I really was, you know, evoking all that. He was too ill at the time to be there, though. But I clearly made sure everyone knew that, you know, he clearly was a part of my life that was responsible for me having achieved what I had achieved. And basically, because of what he taught me about how to treat people. Because of--not what he said to me, but what I saw him do, and how I saw him treat people. And then clearly, you know, you acknowledge--you know, your family. And my wife [Joyce Lewis] and kids, you know, my mom's sister and aunts, uncles and cousins, and also friends. But the important--you know, the teammates that I served with over those years--the non-commissioned officers [NCOs], the soldiers, all those folks who have been a part of my experiences in my various units, and what they had done to help the teams that I've been a part of, to be successful. And by acknowledging all of that, it was a big part of it. So, yeah, it's a big deal. It's a big deal, a huge step. One that--you know, when I look back on my days at Morgan [State University, Baltimore, Maryland], even my days as a lieutenant in the 82nd [Airborne Division], you're never thinking that you would achieve that, because clearly I didn't. I know there are some who say, yeah, I just did all these things. But, just never me. I mean, things happen over time and you get selected for a school, and you do it well. And you're able to command a formation. And that happens because you have some great teammates. So, yes, giving thanks for all that. You know, and certainly you're being thankful to the Almighty for all the care that he's provided as you go through all the stages. I talked about being in these various assignments, in Korea. You know, being so cold in Korea as a young captain walking those ridges, checking on my people--I think I'm going to die, I'm so cold. You can't feel your feet, your hands, your ears. Just absolutely, just chilling, chilling cold. You know, being in Germany there before the Cold War hit, you know, there in that mechanized brigade--Knowing that if something happens and the war goes off, your first line is to move, is to march east to stop the invaders that are coming from the east. And you're there, you know, training and preparing for that. You know, in Somalia, as a brigade commander--you know, doing what I did there--knowing that anytime you go out on this mission, you send your soldiers out, you know, they may not come back. You go out, and you're just as vulnerable as they are. And so, when you look at those experiences and you say to yourself, well, why is it that you get through it? Well, you train for it. You have teammates that you count on, that you can depend on, those old stories that you've heard about so much, you know. Why do you do this? You do this for your buddy to your left and to your right. And that is the same true echelon. It doesn't matter how senior you are, or how junior you are. I can recall being in Somalia on one occasion there. And I had a, you know, my driver and my vehicle and, you know a security guard had a machine gun. And we're both under this Humvee, you know, being shot at. And he looks at me, and I look at him. And I said, "I sure hope that machine gun you got got bullets in it." He said, "Sir, this got bullets, and I hope that rifle you got has bullets." "I got bullets, too." He said, "Well, we're both in this thing together." So, that, when you get in those types of situations, it doesn't matter what rank you are, you're still a human being first and foremost. And so, you apply that to all that you do. First and foremost, you start off with human beings. So when I got that, you know, that star--And I'll always remember, I had received a gift from a good friend. And he kind of described to me the points of that star, what each of them meant. And I kind of took that--I said, that's right. This star doesn't belong to Kip Ward. This star belongs to everyone who's been responsible for what Kip Ward is. And each point belongs to one of them. And I talk about my family, my teammates, my God--those things that have contributed to me receiving the star. And then the final one was mine. When you look at it, you know, this star belongs to the combination of all these people--all these events that have gone on in your career to enable you to have achieved this particular milestone. And so, and that's the way I thought about every one of them, you know. Every one--I say these aren't mine. These belong to those who I've been fortunate enough to serve with, and have been fortunate enough and blessed enough so that, you know, the things that I have done have contributed to making the team better. And in doing the best that I could do, to cause what they have done, to make them better as well. And that's what it's about for me. And so, that first ceremony, that first promotion that I had as a brigadier general, that's--those were the things that were, you know, flooding through my mind at that point in time.$$Okay.