The Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance is presented annually to an individual or group in recognition of their service to the United States. The award is selected by the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Military Affairs Committee. In selecting the recipient, the committee considers numerous criteria. Candidates must be of high moral fiber and good character, having spent their lives and/or careers serving the common good of the United States. They will have gone beyond the call of duty to serve and protect this country, with proven dedication and loyalty in upholding the Constitution and the laws of the nation. Finally, the Great American Patriot Award winner will have worked tirelessly to make the U.S. a better and safer place for all its citizens. Award winners are formally presented with their award during the bowl’s half-time ceremony each year.
General Norton A. Schwartz was presented the 2012 Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance on December 29, 2012, during halftime of the 10th anniversary Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Armed Forces Insurance Chairman Garry Parks, Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), officially presented the award.
General Schwartz served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. until his retirement on August 12, 2012. As Chief, he served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian personnel serving in the United States and overseas. While a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also functioned as a military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President.
A 1973 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, General Schwartz is also an alumnus of the National War College, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a 1994 Fellow of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI. He has served as Commander of the Special Operations Command-Pacific, as well as Alaskan Command, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and the 11th Air Force. Prior to assuming the Chief of Staff position, General Schwartz was Commander, U.S. Transportation Command and served as the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense.
General Schwartz retired as a command pilot with more than 4,400 flying hours in a variety of aircraft. He participated as a crewmember in the 1975 airlift evacuation of Saigon, and in 1991 served as Chief of Staff of the Joint Special Operations Task Force for Northern Iraq in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1997, he led the Joint Task Force that prepared for the noncombatant evacuation of U.S. citizens in Cambodia. A native of Toms River, New Jersey, General Schwartz currently resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife of 31 years, Suzie.
Previous Great American Patriot Award Recipients
|General Norton A. Schwartz, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force||Salvatore Giunta, Medal of Honor recipient||Admiral Thad Allen, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)||Admiral Michael G. Mullen, former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff|
|General David H. Petraeus, former Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan||Preston "Pete" Geren, former U.S. Secretary of the Army||Gordon England, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense|
A special thank you to Armed Forces Insurance for sponsoring this award.