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Home > UNS > 141015-01



USASOAC CG recognized for efforts in protection of cultural heritage

WASHINGTON, D.C. (USASOC News Service, Oct. 15, 2014) – Brig. Gen. Erik C. Peterson,U.S.  Army Special Operations Aviation Command commanding general, was honored by the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS) during a ceremony at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum, Sept. 19, for his efforts in promoting the protection of cultural property and heritage.

The USCBS is a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of cultural property worldwide during armed conflict that works closely with military leadership to ensure that cultural preservation is an integral part of military operations.

Peterson, who is the first recipient of the USCBS Cultural Heritage Protection Award, was recognized for his contributions as the 10th Mountain Division’s Chief of Staff, located at Ft. Drum, N.Y. During his tenure, he supported and facilitated initiatives to provide cultural protection training for forces deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, while actively supporting efforts to document and preserve Paleo-Indian sites locally.

Dr. Laurie Rush, Fort Drum’s Cultural Resource Manager and USCBS Committee member, said it was Peterson’s work as the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Cadet Command to ensure that cultural awareness and protection became part of the core competencies taught to future Army leaders as part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.

“Brig. Gen. Peterson has played an essential role in guaranteeing future Army Leaders maintain an appreciation for the criticality of cultural awareness and preservation in achieving operational success in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said.

Peterson, who received the award in the presence of an group of individuals that included. Irina Bokova, the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Dr. Richard Kurin, under secretary for History, Art and Culture for the Smithsonian Institute; and Harry Ettlinger, a member of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Civil Affairs Division in World War II, who was recently portrayed in the film, “The Monuments Men,” said there is still work to be done in the years to come for the continued preservation of such resources.

“These efforts are not only morally right in the eyes of the international community and enlightened people, and compliant with law and policy; they are practical and effective militarily,” Peterson said during his acceptance of the award. “They contribute directly to stabilization, unity, conflict termination and post-conflict resolution.”

“As such, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command is placing significant focus on the human dimension of competition and conflict and investing in structure and organization, like the Military Support Governance, and in our emerging doctrine and operational design, placing specified emphasis on culture as it relates to the causes, conditions and resolution of conflict,” he said.