• Admiral to receive Truman Public Service Award

  • The 2013 Harry S. Truman Public Service Award will go to Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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  • The 2013 Harry S. Truman Public Service Award will go to Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    The award, presented annually by the city of Independence, will be given at 7 p.m. Friday, May 3, on the steps of the Truman Library on U.S. 24 in Independence. Afterward there’s a reception in the library’s lobby. Both the ceremony and reception are open to the public.
    Also, a special recognition award this year is going to Independence resident and longtime area radio personality Dick Wilson, who has been an active community volunteer for years.
    The city says the awards are given to public servants who typify Truman’s qualities of dedication, industry, ability, honesty and integrity.
    Mullen was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, making him the chief military adviser to President George W. Bush and then President Barack Obama during that time. He oversaw the winding down of the war in Iraq and changes in strategy in Afghanistan, and he successfully pushed to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gays and lesbians in the military.
    Mullen is a native of Los Angeles. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 and rose through the ranks, commanding three ships, an aircraft carrier battle group and a fleet. He held a four-star command in Europe for NATO, and he was chief of naval operations from 2005 to 2007.
    There are now a handful of awards that bear Truman’s name. After his death in 1972, the city and the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation – which arose from a group founded by his Kansas City area friends after he left office – each started giving awards. Both are given on or near the 33rd president’s birthday, May 8.
    The city’s Truman Public Service Award began in 1974. The first honoree was Henry Kissinger, who was secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Through the years, the award has been given to three presidents: Ford, Carter and Clinton.
    Honorees also have included many senators and congressmen – including Ike Skelton, “Kit” Bond and Thomas Eagleton – as well as historians such as Michael Beschloss, the actress and former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Jane Alexander, and Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
    Mullen’s career path is similar to that of the 1982 honoree, Matthew Ridgway, the U.S. Army general who took command of U.S. forces in the Korean War after Truman relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of command in 1951. Ridgway also succeeded Dwight Eisenhower as supreme commander of allied forces in Europe in 1952 and became Army chief of staff in 1953.
    Also, last year’s winners were those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The Truman Good Neighbor Award started in 1973, and the first honoree was Earl Warren, former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Page 2 of 2 - Through the years, the list of Good Neighbor winners has often paralleled the Public Service list. President Ford got it in 1977. David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “Truman,” came out in 1992, and he was given both awards in 1993. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill won both awards in 1986.
    Other winners of both awards include Clinton, Eagleton, Bond and Skelton; former Missouri first lady and former Sen. Jean Carnahan; former FBI Director Clarence Kelly; and Averell Harriman, who served in several Democratic administrations, including Truman’s. Bill Clinton is this year’s Good Neighbor Award honoree.
    Also, at Thursday’s annual Wild About Harry dinner, General Richard B. Myers will be given the Harry S. Truman Legacy of Leadership Award. Myers, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was given the Good Neighbor Award in 2006.
    Every other year since 2005, the Harry S. Truman Library Institute and other organizations award an economist or policy maker with the Truman Medal for Economic Policy. It’s given in the fall.

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