By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 1, 2015 – The Atlantic Council presented Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove its Distinguished Military Leadership Award last night during a black-tie event here.
Breedlove’s friend and fraternity brother, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the award to his fellow Georgia Tech alum who is now the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European Command.
“Of all the good fortune that has followed me around the world, I consider none better that to have had Phil Breedlove as a colleague and a friend,” Winnefeld said in remarks during the ceremony.
Friends From the Start
Winnefeld said he and Breedlove have known each other since the start of their military careers.
Breedlove’s “friendly southern drawl, his sharp intellect, his easy sense of humor and his out-going personality” were immediately evident at their first meeting, the admiral said.
As their careers progressed, the two officers sometimes disagreed, the admiral said.
“We have sometimes found ourselves in very senior forums on opposite sides of a tough issue -- with gusto,” Winnefeld said. “But no matter the resolution, two steps outside the room and Phil and I are back to the old days.”
Pillars of the Trans-Atlantic Partnership
The Atlantic Council recognizes people who are pillars of the trans-Atlantic partnership, the admiral said, and Breedlove exemplifies this.
“At every point along his career, Phil has built trust and fostered relationships in important positions of responsibility in Europe and Asia, but none more strategically important than those he has skillfully developed among his NATO partners and particularly in the last year that has been so difficult with all of the new challenges, the re-emerging challenges that are facing the alliance today,” Winnefeld said.
General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower first held the position Breedlove now occupies. Winnefeld quoted Eisenhower: “Our real problem is not our strength today, but it’s rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow.”
Preparedness Today, Building Force of Tomorrow
Breedlove advocates for preparedness today and building the force for tomorrow, Winnefeld said.
“He is an extraordinary leader with high moral character and unflinching dedication to the people and the relationships that propel his mission,” Winnefeld said of Breedlove. “And most importantly -- he has a deep passion for the men and women, regardless of nationality, who serve the cause of freedom everywhere.”