The U.S. Naval Academy will present the inaugural Bancroft Award for Exceptional Leadership Achievement to Ryan Crocker, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The superintendent of the Naval Academy will present the Bancroft Award to Ambassador Crocker during the fall semester, when he will also be invited to speak to the 4,500 member Brigade of Midshipmen.
The Academy initiated the Bancroft Award to recognize accomplished leaders who are not Naval Academy graduates and, through their personal sacrifice, unremitting determination, extraordinary vision and unwavering integrity, have made substantial contributions to the United States and who exemplify a lifelong commitment to excellence, as modeled by former Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. Recipients will be lasting role models for current and future naval officers who are called to live lives of honor, courage and commitment.
Bancroft, a preeminent historian and statesman, established the U.S. Naval Academy in 1845.
Ambassador Crocker retired from Foreign Service in 2009 after a 37-year career but was recalled to active duty by President Barack Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. He had served as a U.S. Ambassador five times previously – to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon.
Since joining the Foreign Service in 1971, he also has had assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Washington. He was assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983.
Ambassador Crocker is now Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he holds the Edward and Howard Kruse Endowed Chair.
Ambassador Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award in 2009. His other awards include the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Award, the Presidential Distinguished and Meritorious Service Awards, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service and for Distinguished Public Service, the Award for Valor and the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award for creative dissent.
In 2004, President George W. Bush conferred on him the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.
In 2012, he was named an Honorary Marine, the 75th civilian so honored since the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1775.
Ambassador Crocker’s lifetime achievements and sacrificial and selfless contributions to our nation eminently qualify him to be the first recipient of this prestigious award.