The history of international military student participation at Fort Leavenworth dates back to 1894. And a ceremony Thursday marked another chapter in that long history, one fort official said.
Sixty-eight officers from 63 foreign countries were presented the International Graduate Badge. The officers are members of a class that will graduate today from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
The badge is an emblem that signifies a person is a graduate of the CGSC.
"There's a tremendous quality found in the ranks of our international military students," Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis Jr. said during the ceremony.
Davis is the deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center for leader development and education. He also serves as the deputy commandant of the CGSC.
Davis said each of the international military students represent an enormous investment on the part of his or her home country.
"Your countries will expect a return on their investments in the very near future," he said.
The officers who received badges Thursday have completed the 10-month Command and General Staff Officer Course.
Lt. Col. Uzi Klieger of Israel said the international military students learned how to be senior officers in a joint operational environment.
Klieger is a member of the graduating class and provided the senior international military student address during Thursday's ceremony.
He said the students in the class now have friends all over the world.
During his remarks, Davis noted that the international officers had raised more than $5,000. They used some of the money to purchase the international class gift, which was presented during the ceremony. But they also purchased a pool table, which was donated to the local VA hospital to be used by residents of a long-term care facility.
As is tradition with the badge ceremony, there was an announcement about the winners of two awards that are presented to international military students from each graduating class.
It was announced that Maj. Andrew Nicklin of the United Kingdom had been selected for the Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower Award. Maj. Khamis Alkaabi was chosen for the Maj. Gen. Hans Schlup Award.
Those two awards, along with other honors, will be presented during today's graduation ceremony.
More than 1,000 military officers from the United States and other countries and U.S. government civilian employees will graduate during today's ceremony.