Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC ’51
As one of his peers proudly notes, “Bernard E. ‘Mick’ Trainor did not become a Marine—he was born a Marine.”
When the pundits coined the phrase “the greatest generation,” surely they were thinking of men like the General. To study Mickey’s life is to see the oft-repeated pattern of serious study and deep reflection informing unhesitating service and courageous action. To convey the essence, the meaning, of that pattern, we must reach back and employ a word from another era. That word is “valor” and it is fully defined in the man we honor tonight.
The General began his military career in 1946 with his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. Selected for officer training, he was sent to Mount St. James. Upon graduating from Holy Cross, he completed a tour of duty in Korea, where he saw combat as a second lieutenant and platoon leader. Continuing his service in the Corps following his return to the United States, Mickey earned his master’s degree in history at the University of Colorado. His pursuit of his doctoral degree was interrupted by two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Over the course of his career, Mickey rose from the rank of “buck private” to his appointment, in the 1980s, to lieutenant general. During his final active duty assignment, he was posted to the Pentagon, where he served as chief of staff for Plans, Policies and Operations, and as Marine Corps Deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Upon retiring from the military, the General worked as a correspondent for The New York Times, filing reports from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, El Savador and the Sudan. He also served as director of the National Security Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Today, he is a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mickey is the author of The Generals’ War, the definitive account of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and Cobra II, which details the planning and initial phases of the Iraq War in 2003—called by The New York Times “the benchmark by which other histories of the Iraq invasion are measured.”
For his unflagging sense of honor and duty, for his intelligence and insight in the complex arena of geopolitical affairs, for his devotion to his nation and the ideals of justice and liberty, the College of the Holy Cross presents to Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor ’51 the Sanctae Crucis Award.