In 2008, the George C. Marshall Foundation established the Goodpaster Award to honor the life and service of General Andrew J. Goodpaster, a longtime trustee and chairman of the Foundation, a champion of the Marshall legacy, an American hero and an extraordinary public servant. The Goodpaster Award is presented to American heroes in a variety of fields who, like General Goodpaster, have exhibited great courage, selfless service, patriotism and leadership in their lives and careers. Past recipients have been Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, General Gordon Sullivan, General Raymond Odierno, General John Jumper, General Richard Cody, General Mark Milley, and General Joseph Dunford.
Dr. Mark T. Esper, former Secretary of Defense, will receive the Andrew J. Goodpaster Award from the George C. Marshall Foundation at a dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, in early 2021 as soon at the pandemic situation allows. Dr. Esper will be recognized for his distinguished career and his many contributions to our nation. He has overseen a rebuilding of our national defense capabilities and been a strong advocate for both military preparedness and our brave men and women in uniform.
A native of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Dr. Esper is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy and received his commission in the Infantry. Upon completion of Ranger and Pathfinder training, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the 1990–91 Gulf War with the “Screaming Eagles.” He later commanded a Rifle Company in the 3-325 Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.
After leaving active duty, he served as Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation think tank, followed by service as legislative director and senior policy advisor to former Senator Chuck Hagel. He was a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. During the President George W. Bush administration, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon.
The Honorable Mark T. Esper was sworn in as the 27th Secretary of Defense on July 23, 2019 after serving as Acting Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army. He ended his service on November 9, 2020.
For more information about the Andrew J. Goodpaster Award event, contact Leigh McFaddin at (540) 463-7103, ext. 138.