Inaugural event honors members of the armed forces for exceptional service

Links in this article are preserved for historical purposes, but the destination sources may have changed.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The University of Iowa honored five members of the armed forces for exceptional service to both their country and the Hawkeye community with a new award Thursday night, Nov. 12.

During the ceremony—which was emceed by UI Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President Georgina Dodge — four veterans and one current UI student military member received the Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Memorial Award. Criteria for the award includes: a strong university connection, to have served honorably, military accomplishment, and service to their community.

"Veterans Day is a time to honor and celebrate those who serve our country in times of war and peace," Dodge said before the ceremony. "The Iowa Memorial Union serves as a place to gather and learn about those who sacrifice so much for the freedoms we enjoy here today. This event honors true heroes and their stories, and gives us a chance to express our thanks." 

The first recipients of the Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Memorial Award were:

  • The late Col. (retired) Brooks Booker, U.S. Air Force
  • Gen. (retired) James Cartwright, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Staff Sgt. Mike Considine, U.S. Air National Guard
  • Maj. Gen. (retired) Kenneth Leuer, U.S. Army
  • Lt. (retired) Ernie Pascarella, U.S. Marine Corps

The event was sponsored by the UI Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs, the Division of Student Life/Iowa Memorial Union, and UI Military and Veteran Student Services.

Each award recipient will also be recognized with a plaque displayed in the IMU, which was built to pay tribute to Iowans who served their country. The Memorial Honor Roll on the first floor of the IMU recognizes students and alumni who have given their lives in service to the nation as members of the armed forces. 

More about the honorees:

Col. (Ret.) Brooks Booker

Col. (retired) Brooks Booker: Booker received commission as first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1941. He was chief of Operations and Intelligence Organizations of the Strategic Air Command, the Tactical Air Command, and Pacific Command from 1950 to 1959. Booker served as chief of the War Plans Branch for the Joint Chief of Staff and advised the President’s Board of Consultants, the Secretary of Defense, Congressional Committees, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on ULS strategic war plans from 1959 to 1963.

He was founder, president, and director of Goodwill Industries of Southeast Iowa. Booker was also the president of the Iowa City Kiwanis Club, director of the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, founder and director of the Mid-Eastern Iowa Mental Health Center, and president of the Gideons of Iowa.

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Kenneth Leuer

Maj. Gen. (retired) Kenneth Leuer: Leuer is a retired U.S. Army two-star major general who is most famous within military circles as being the commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment when it was activated and organized. Leuer was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in May 1956 from the University of Iowa.

While at the UI, Maj. Gen. Leuer led a distinguished athletic career where he won a Big Ten wrestling title and was an NCAA Champion in 1956. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for 32 years and later retired as President/CEO of Goodwill Industries. Maj. Gen. Leuer is currently serving as chairman of the Ranger Memorial Foundation, Inc., recognizing U.S. Army Rangers, past, present, future.

Gen. (Ret.)  James “Hoss” Cartwright:

Gen. (retired) James “Hoss” Cartwright: Cartwright is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general who last served as the eighth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Aug. 31, 2007, to Aug. 3, 2011. Cartwright was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1971 after a stint at the UI.

After his sophomore year, Cartwright was drafted, right in the heart of the Vietnam War. He was able to finish his education and competitive swimming career, before being commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1971. Cartwright swam butterfly, IM, distance free, and relays at the UI.

Lt. (Ret.) Ernie Pascarella:

First Lt. (retired) Ernie Pascarella: Pascarella is former director, and currently a faculty affiliate, of the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa. He has focused his research and writing on the impact of college on students, authoring over 275 journal articles on this topic. Pascarella has won numerous awards for his work nationally and was identified as the second most cited scholar in his field. While at Iowa since 1997 Pascarella has received the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and in 2015 he received the UI Leadership in Research Award.

Pascarella enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966 after completing a degree at Princeton. He completed his training and served as first lieutenant from 1966 to 1969. First Lt. Pascarella led a Marine-rifle company in the Battalion that relieved Khe Sahn, an embattled Marine outpost, during the Vietnam War Tet Offensive. Pascarella received three Purple Hearts and was awarded a Bronze Star in Vietnam. Pascarella returned home and completed a Ph.D. at Syracuse on the GI Bill.

Staff Sgt. Michael Considine

Staff Sgt. Michael Considine: Considine is currently a student at the UI. Staff Sgt. Considine is a member of the Iowa Air National Guard's 185th Aerial Refueling Wing. Considine joined the 185th ARW as an avionics technician directly out of high school, finished training, and immediately began his undergraduate degree at the UI. As an undergraduate student, Considine deployed four different times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.

While finishing his education at the UI, Considine bolstered the support of military veterans on campus by integrating new programming for Iowa veteran recognition, faculty and staff education, and community activism that directly affected thousands of veterans in the Iowa City area. Considine will graduate with a double major in finance and management in December 2015.