USSOCOM Inducts 18 New Members into Commando Hall of Honor

USSOCOM Inducts 18 New Members into Commando Hall of Honor

U.S. Special Operations Command inducted 18 former special operators to include 9 Medal of Honor recipients into the USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor located at the USSOCOM headquarters, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, April 17, 2024. More than 100 people attended the ceremony and watched as each inductee received a medal from U.S. Army Gen. Bryan P. Fenton, USSOCOM commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Shane Shorter, USSOCOM command senior enlisted leader.

The Commando Hall of Honor was established in 2010 by former USSOCOM Commander Admiral Eric T. Olson and the award recognizes individuals who have served with distinction within the special operations forces community. The inductees join the storied ranks of those who preceded them.

This year’s Medal of Honor inductees were Vice Adm. John Duncan Bulkeley, Lt. j.g.  (SEAL) Joseph R. Kerrey, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor, LT. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, Lt. (SEAL) Thomas R. Norris, Seaman David G. Ouellet, Lt. Cdr. Arthur M. Preston, Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Britt Kelly Slabinski, and Lt. (SEAL) Michael E. Thornton.

The special operators inductees were Air Force Col.. Stephen L. Baker, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lewis H. Burruss, U.S. Army Col. Jerry M. King, U.S. Marine Corps Col. Craig S. Kozeniesky, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Wesley H. Rice, U.S. Navy Capt. William M. Shepherd, U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Peter Stalik, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William P. Tangney, and U.S. Air Force Lt Gen. Marshall B. Webb.

“Today for us is historic. This ceremony is about our people and really reflects our first SOF truth that humans are more important than hardware,” Fenton said. “Today we will reach 8 decades inducting 18 heroes into the Hall of Honor who took on some of the toughest missions in special operations.”

Buruss is a Vietnam veteran who conducted frequent cross border operations against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army and was also heavily involved in sensitive activities. For his numerous valorous acts and courage under fire, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with valor, the Air Medal and three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry.

“It’s just a real honor to be inducted to the Commando Hall of Honor,” Buruss said. “I know there are so many more deserving, but I am still honored and proud.”

Webb had a myriad of assignments over his 38 years of dedicated service to special operations. He participated in the search and recovery effort of United States Commerce Secretary Ron Brown who was on an official trade mission in Bosnia, when the Air Force CT-43 he was traveling in crashed into a mountainside near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Immediately following that mission, Webb participated in Operation Assured Response, the noncombatant evacuation operation of the United States Embassy located at Monrovia, Liberia. During both events, in recognition of his extreme fortitude, airmanship, and devotion to the humanitarian effort, he earned the 1996 Cheney Award. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he commanded a contingent of three Pave Low helicopters, crews, and support personnel to assist with recovery, search and rescue, and provided critical assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he led a flight of seven Pave Low helicopters that inserted several teams of United States SEAL teams and British Royal Marines in the al Faw area to safeguard oil platforms to prevent an ecological disaster. During the operation to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, he coordinated and facilitated the real-time video feed in the White House Situation Room as the United States President, Vice President, and members of the national security team looked on.

“This induction ceremony is so unique to SOCOM because it reached back 8 generations inducting people from World War II. You could see pride in the face of the families seeing their relatives inducted into the hall,” Webb said. “For me personally, it is an honor to be in the company of these heroes.”

The newest members will join other recognized warriors in the Commando Hall of Honor, which includes such legendary names as Aaron Bank, Charles Beckwith, Ted Lunger, Sidney Shacknow, William Darby and Army Col. Ralph Puckett, Jr.. Their contributions and legacies to the special operations community and this country have been unquestionably influential and are truly inspirational.

By: Michael Bottoms

USSOCOM Public Affairs

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