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ANG director to be inducted into Order of the Sword

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The director of the Air National Guard is slated to be inducted into the Air Force Order of the Sword during a ceremony at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, April 17.

Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, the thirteenth director of the ANG, was nominated for the honor during a December, 2014 ceremony in New York City.

The Order of the Sword is the highest honor that the enlisted corps can bestow upon an individual. It is given in recognition of a military senior officer or civilian's conspicuous and significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the enlisted force, to mission effectiveness, and to the overall military establishment.

Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling, the command chief master sergeant of the ANG, spearheaded the effort to nominate Clarke for the award.

"It's important for us to recognize the accomplishments of all our ANG Airmen, from the newest airman basic, all the way to our director at the top," said Hotaling. "General Clarke was nominated for this honor because he understood when it was the right time to clear aside the red tape and let the enlisted Airmen concentrate on accomplishing their mission."

The Order of the Sword traces its history to King Gustavus the First of Sweden. In 1522, he enjoined the noblemen commissioned by him to appoint officers to serve him. These noncommissioned officers were responsible for conducting the ordinary daily affairs of the kingdom, and proved to be so successful that the system was incorporated into the Swedish Army as a way to establish and maintain a cohesive, disciplined, well-trained force for protection of lives and property in the kingdom.

These NCOs would honor their leader and pledge their loyalty by ceremoniously presenting him with a sword, which served as a token for all to see and mark him as a leader among leaders. This ancient ceremony was revised, updated and adopted by the NCOs of the United States Air Force in 1967.