Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant
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Published:February 15, 2008

American Veterans Center's "2008 Raymond G. Davis Award"  

This autobiography, published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), highlights Lt. Gen. Becton's remarkable career and reveals the influences that contributed to his success. Becton's autobiography reflects on his youth in the suburban Philadelphia area, his parental and family influences, and his almost forty years of service in the U.S. Army and in subsequent civilian appointments. His devotion to leadership, education, service, race, and his spiritual upbringing are all central themes in the book.

After finishing high school, Becton entered a segregated Army at age eighteen and over nearly forty years rose to the rank of lieutenant general. Two years after enlisting in the Army Air Corps Enlisted Reserve, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry and subsequently fought with distinction in the Korean War. Integrated into the Regular Army in 1951, he went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics and economics and held combat commands in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He commanded the legendary 1st Cavalry Division in 1975–76. Promoted to lieutenant general in 1978, he served as commanding general of the U.S. VII Corps in Germany and deputy commander of Training and Doctrine Command and the Army Inspector of Training before retiring in 1983.

Following retirement he entered fields of international disaster assistance, emergency management, and education. Becton joined the Reagan administration in 1984 as Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for the Agency for International Development. From 1985 to 1989 he was director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Over the next six years, he was the COO of American Coastal Industries and president of Prairie View A&M University. His final civilian post was as CEO/Superintendent of public schools in the District of Columbia. Becton was listed several times by Ebony magazine as "One of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America."

In 2007 he was selected to receive the George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest award presented by the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) for being a "soldier, combat commander, administrator, educator, public servant, government leader, and role model."

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Product Details
  • Subject: Biography & Memoirs, Korean War, Leadership, Military History, U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Hardback : 320 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (February 15, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1591140218
  • ISBN-13: 9781591140214
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 20.32 oz

Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr., USA (Ret.), a resident of Springfield, Virginia, holds a master of arts degree in economics from the University of Maryland and five honorary doctorate degrees.

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Customer Reviews

3 Reviews
Average Customer Reviews
4.33 Stars
Becton: A Soldier and Public Servant
Monday, September 8, 2008
By: Dorene Hurt
Having had the benefit of Gen Becton's leadership for decades, reading his life's journey was both inspiring and heart-warming. It is hard to imagine that his life's work would have come to fruition in any other nation. A loyal soldier beyond measure and unwaveringly dedicated public servant, his story epitomizes self-sacrifice. It also shows what can happen when a person is grounded by a supportive family and community despite seemingly overwhelming odds, when one properly prepares for ones future, actively engages in life long professional and personal development, then shares oneself with the world. If any reader of this book doesn't learn life lessons that can help you - they just aren't trying.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
By: Joyce Best
Reading this book gives you a true understanding of the character it takes to maintain your integrity and still rise through the ranks of the military/corporate world. This book should be required reading for all levels of management. The world will be a better place if all adopted Becton's "philosophy of command". This book makes you "proud to be an American."
A great American who spent 60 years in service
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
By: Joel Rudy
?Becton?s? autobiography is the tale of a great man of humble beginnings. Born the son of a handy-man, he took advantage of the opportunities life presented. Julius Becton, Jr. is the role-model of someone we should all aspire to be. Julius Becton, Jr. enlisted in the Army just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Beginning the World War II as a private, he ended it as a second lieutenant. The book follows his military career through two more hot wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the Cold War in West Germany, which he finished as the Commanding General of VII Corps. After serving our nation in the profession of arms, he came out of retirement to run another organization that greatly benefitted from his proven abilities at international diplomacy and crisis management. He ran the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), which coordinates United States assistance to other countries that have suffered man-made or natural disasters. After fixing OFDA he was asked to head the newly-formed Federal Emergency Management Agency. From there, he returned to his Alma Mater of Prairie View A&M University, this time as President and saved it from going into receivership. He continued his pattern of restoring desperately needed leadership to dysfunctional organizations one final time for the District of Columbia Public School system before finally retiring. Lt Gen Becton?s career predated another famous Black American?s military career by just a few years. Similar to General Colin Powell?s ?My American Journey?, both books recount the experiences of two men who were very successful in the environment provided by the US armed forces. Gen. Powell?s biography benefitted from a professional writer, resulting in a better flow and more detailed description of many of the vignettes. Lt Gen Becton?s autobiography contained incredible accomplishments, but many times they were missing Paul Harvey?s ?The Rest of the Story?? I was amazed by his deeds, but I really wanted to know more of the details behind them. Lt Gen Julius Becton?s life story is an incredible one. Becton?s candid story-telling provided examples of what worked balanced with his own circumspection as to what he could have done better. Combine this critical self-assessment with Becton?s 13 principles of the ?First Team Philosophy? and the reader is left with a very powerful lesson in applied leadership.


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