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MILITARY MATTERS: War Hero Receives Spirit of the Infantry Award at National Infantry Museum

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 12:09 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A family with a long legacy on Fort Benning returned to the Chattahoochee Valley for a special honor. News leader 9 was there for the ceremony, where there was emotional reaction from the awardee’s family.

“From 1 infantryman to another...I’m blessed to have had you teach me what it takes to lead this Army,” GEN Michael X. Garrett, FORSCOM Commanding General, choking back tears as the honoree’s son.

The 9th African-American 4-star General in the history of the U.S. Army is talking about his father, retired Command Sergeant Major Edward Garrett, who just received the Spirit of the Infantry award at the National Infantry museum, around the corner from where he served on Fort Benning. The medal and statue will be added to his collection that includes our nation’s 2nd highest award, a Distinguished Service Medal.

“35 years of service. He joined the Army at 15 years old, multiple tours in combat,” National Infantry Foundation VP of Operations Martin Scelestine Jr. said. “During his 2nd tour in Vietnam, he earned the silver star for acts of gallantry and bravery.”

“He took charge of an ambush squad, ran into hostile gunfire 5 times to save the lives of 6 wounded soldiers, then led a flanking maneuver to kill the enemy,” GEN Garrett told the crowd at the National Infantry Museum ceremony.

As the U.S. Army Forces Command commanding general, he also says his dad is the most disciplined soldier and most devoted leader he’s ever known.

GEN Garrett, looking at his dad, said, “You set high standards for your troops, and in so doing, helped shape a generation of leaders.”

“Just happy that they’re honoring and recognizing the contributions that he instilled in the Army, and passing on his legacy still to this day,” daughter of honoree Stephanie Garrett said.

CSM Edward Garrett’s daughters and son helped their wheelchair-bound father cut the cake with the sword, as part of an award that many say is long overdue.

Emotional again when speaking at the event, GEN Garrett said, “If my mother could be here to see this...but I want all of you to know, we are sincerely touched by this honor. It’s still wonderful today because I’m not exactly sure how much of this my dad got, but I know how much I got, and I think I know how much my sisters got out of this today.”

“It’s really truly a way to honor those that have served and made great sacrifices to the Infantry,” Scelestine said.

And now the honoree, who served in virtually every noncommissioned officer leader position, with distinction, has a grandson who went to West Point and was commissioned into the Army.

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