U.S. Army adjutant general officer Major Robert “Bobby” L. Barnhart received the Lieutenant Colonel Boyd McCanna “Mac” Harris Leadership Award for the Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) Class of 2022 in a ceremony conducted in the Lewis and Clark Center on June 9. Barnhart graduated with the class during a ceremony on June 10 as one of 1,100 students.
Professor Andrew Shoffner, director of the Command and General Staff School Department of Command and Leadership presented the award to Barnhart. CGSC Foundation CEO Rod Cox was also present and presented Barnhart with the CGSC Foundation’s 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin Program Proof Silver Dollar with engraved plate, which is the commemorative gift sponsored by the Sinise family for the annual award.
Barnhart was nominated by his small group and leadership department instructors. A panel comprised of leadership department faculty performed a blind review of all the nominations and selected Barnhart for the award.
According to the CGSC catalog the Lieutenant Colonel Boyd McCanna “Mac” Harris Leadership Award recognizes one student each year for excelling academically and demonstrating superior leadership in class through outstanding performance in positions of responsibility and to their fellow students’ learning. In keeping with the award’s namesake, the award is presented to the individual possessing the innate leadership and communications skills embodied in the Army Leadership concept of “Be-Know-Do,” a concept developed by Lt. Col. Harris when he was a CGSC instructor and doctrine writer with the Center for Army Leadership. His concept was contained in the 1983 version of FM 22-100, “Army Leadership.” Harris was diagnosed and died of cancer in October 1983, the same month the Army published the new version of the leadership manual.
Lt. Col. Harris was a two-tour Vietnam veteran and was inducted into the Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame in May 2016. The leadership award in his name is sponsored by Moira and Gary Sinise with a permanent endowment through the CGSC Foundation. Moira Sinise is Lt. Col. Harris’ sister. The endowment provides a memorial plaque as well as an individual award of a 2013 General of the Army Commemorative U. S. Silver Dollar in a presentation box along with a framed certificate. The awardee’s name is displayed on the permanent plaque on the first floor of the Lewis and Clark Center.
“Mac was a lifelong student of leadership,” said Ms. Anne Harris, widow of the award’s namesake, in a phone interview after this year’s award ceremony. “But he never got to see the results of his work on the leadership manual. He would certainly be amazed to know that his efforts have had a positive impact on the Army and numerous military and civilian leaders over time. Mac put everything he had into the project and it’s very gratifying to me, our daughter Kathryn and our whole family to see how it has been valued.”
Barnhart began his career as a U.S. Army adjutant general officer in 2011 after completing Reserve Officer Training Corps requirements at the University of Central Florida where he also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. His first assignment was with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, serving there for three years as the Regimental Strength Manager. During this time he also deployed as an advisor during Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.
Following completion of the Officer Advanced Course, Barnhart completed consecutive assignments in the 4th Infantry Division, first as the Battalion S-1, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team during Operation Joint Guardian, then later as the Division Strength Manager, Division G-1. Upon relocating to Fort Knox, Kentucky, he served as a Board Recorder in the Department of the Army Secretariat for Selection Boards, then as the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
Barnhart’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, and Parachutist Badge.
Barnhart is married to his wife of 11 years, Courtney, with whom he has two children: nine-year old Ava and six-year-old Noah.
After graduating CGSOC, Barnhart was assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to serve as the Brigade S-1, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
“The CGSC Foundation is very proud to sponsor awards for deserving students like Maj. Barnhart,” said Foundation CEO Rod Cox. “One of our missions here is to help foster and recognize academic excellence and we thank the Harris and Sinise families for their support in that effort.”