WWI Centennial Commission Chair receives Distinguished Public Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Terry W. Hamby, the Chair of the United States World War I Centennial Commission, received the Distinguished Public Service Award from General Mark A. Milley, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a ceremony May 28, 2021 at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.
The award was presented in recognition of Hamby's "extraordinary contributions as the Chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission." In particular, the award highlighted Hamby's leadership of the Commission "to completion of its mission to build the United States National War Memorial in Washington, DC. "
Hamby was appointed to the Commission by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was elected Chair on September 13, 2017.
Hamby is a Viet Nam veteran, serving in the Naval Air Wing during the conflict. After discharge he joined the US Army Reserve, retiring with 26 years of service in 1993.
Hamby is part of a family filled with a tradition of military service, with his Great Grandfather serving in the Civil War Union Army, his Grandfather was in the Army during WWI, his father served in the Army Pacific Theater during WWII, his son served in the Navy during the Persian Gulf War, and his grandson is now serving. Hamby's grand uncle was killed serving in the Army in WWI.
As a result, Mr. Hamby has dedicated his life to serving and honoring our U.S. military and is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
During his four years of membership and leadership, Hamby led the World War I Centennial Commission through the design approval proceess and fundraising effort that ultimately earned the Commission a construction permit for the National World War I Memorial in 2019.
Construction of the Memorial began in December, 2019, and the Memorial was opened to the public on April 16, 2021 during the First Colors Ceremony.
The Memorial will be dedicated in 2024 after the "A Soldier's Journey" bronze sculpture is completed and installed.
The Citation on Hamby's award reads as follows:
Mr. Terry W. Hamby distinguished himself by superior public service in recognition of extraordinary contributions as the Chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission. In this position, Mr. Hamby led the World War I Centennial Commission to completion of its mission to build the United States National War Memorial in Washington, DC. As a direct result of these efforts, the service of the 116,516 Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines who perished and the 320,000 military members who were wounded will never be forgotten. Motivated by his patriotism, good citizenship, sense of public responsibility, and a devotion to the World War I "Doughboys," he took over a commission that had no public funding and led it to the successful completion through a remarkable public-private partnership. His tenacity and dedication to mission ensured that the Nation's Capitol had a truly historical memorial to those who sacrificed so much and an inspiration to all future generations. The distinctive accomplishments of Mr. Hamby reflect great credit upon himself, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Department of Defense.
After receiving the Distinguished Public Service Award, Hamby then presented General Milley with an official U.S. Mint World War I Centennial coin, and a flag that was flown over the National World War I Memorial on April 16 after the First Colors ceremony. The presentations acknowledged General Milley's long-time and ongoing support of the Commission's efforts to honor the 4.7 million Americans who served their nation in uniform during World War I.