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Bush School Dean Welsh and Mrs. Welsh Receive Distinguished American Award

December 12, 2016

Dean Mark Welsh and Betty Welsh

Dean Mark and Betty Welsh

Bush School Dean Mark Welsh and his wife, Betty, recently received the Distinguished American Award from the Nation’s Capital Chapter of the Air Force Association. The ceremony was held in Washington, DC, on Friday, December 9, 2016. The Distinguished American Award recognizes individuals whose leadership in national affairs has been instrumental in protecting the values and traditions of the United States.  Officers and board members of the Nation’s Capital Chapter select honorees who exemplify merit in the area of national defense. Previous recipients of the award include Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to President George H.W. Bush, as well as numerous US senators and representatives. 

A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Dean Welsh held several major positions during his long career, including serving as the 20th chief of staff of the Air Force, where he was the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training, and equipping of 664,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and other service chiefs functioned as military advisers to the secretary of defense, National Security Council, and the president. He also served as associate director of Military Affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency, and as commandant of the United States Air Force Academy.

Mrs. Welsh has long been an advocate for military personnel and their families. During Dean Welsh’s time as chief of staff for the Air Force, she traveled to over a hundred bases in nineteen countries facilitating numerous spouse forums to understand the needs of America’s airmen and families.  She focused on several family-related initiatives, including the key spouse program, sexual assault prevention and response, exceptional family member program, and leadership perspectives.  She also volunteered as an Air Force advocate for Spouse Ambassador Network, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, International Neighbors Club, Air Force Officers Spouses Club, United Services Organization, Joining Forces, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, and Wounded Warriors.

“Betty and I are humbled to receive this honor that has been previously bestowed upon so many exemplary public servants,” Welsh said. “It’s always been a team effort for us, and we are so grateful to AFA for recognizing that.  We will always remain committed to serving our military members and their families.” 

The Air Force Association is a nonprofit organization serving as the voice for aerospace power and Air Force service members and their families. The Association provides professional development, programming efforts, and support initiatives to Air Force service men and women throughout and after their time in uniform. The National Capital Chapter of the organization is based in Washington, DC.

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