The Value of Lasting Friendships

Larry and Barbara Dolci

On the evening of September 11, 2001 we received a phone call from a former student of the Command and General Staff College. The purpose of that call, from the Portuguese officer we had sponsored at CGSC, was to provide support and reassurance after the terrorist attacks earlier in the day. In the next few days we would receive similar messages of support from several other CGSC graduates.

Although it has been almost sixteen years since the events of 9/11 the memory of the support we received from around the world after the attacks remains one of the most powerful memories of our time as sponsors of International Military Students. To say we were moved by their expressions of support would be an understatement. They were expressions of the sincere friendships we had established thanks to the sponsorship program at Ft. Leavenworth.

We have sponsored 30 officers at CGSC during the 28 years we have been involved in the program. Thanks to changes in technology it is much easier to maintain contact with the officers we have sponsored. The first contact we had with the first officer we sponsored was by long distance phone call from Saudi Arabia. Now, Facebook, email and various other forms of technology have allowed us to keep in touch with our officers in ways that would have been unheard of a few years ago. Just today we had news of two of our officers. We learned through Facebook and email that LTC Barbara Honig of Canada will be in charge of the Engineer School at the Combat Training Centre, in New Brunswick, Canada and that LTC Mntenjele of Tanzania will be posted on the border with Rwanda and Burundi as District Commissioner for Ngara.

One of the real joys of sponsorship has been the opportunity to follow the careers of the incredibly capable officers we have sponsored. To date six of our International Military Students have become general officers. Many of these officers have served in highly responsible positions in the war on terror and have received many decorations for merit and valor from their armed forces and in some cases from the United States as well.

Another special benefit for us has been the chance to watch the growth of the children of our international families. Four of our sponsored families had babies while assigned to Ft. Leavenworth. We have been able to visit five of our families in their own countries and to see their children with their own careers and families. A few years ago we were able to visit one of our British officers and to see the beautiful seventeen year old daughter, Elspeth, whom we remember as a new born at Leavenworth. In the first photo, on the left, Elspeth is doing volunteer work in a museum near her home in the Lake District of England. On the right, Elspeth and her parents are shown in a photo that we took during our visit.

The lower photo on the left is of another British officer we were able to visit in Scotland.  We were guests of the officer’s family on the lovely Isle of Bute.

As we mentioned above hardly a day goes by without a Facebook or email notification with news about one of our international families. The sponsorship program offers so much to the United States, international families and sponsors. One of the greatest benefits to us has been the establishment of lasting, genuine friendships around the world.




Oct 25, 2011

Dear Ms. Haber,

I extend my congratulations on the Greater Kansas City Chapter of People to People International's selection, by the United Nations Association - Greater Kansas City Chapter, as the 2011 "K.C Citizen of the World" award recipient. For nearly 50 years, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College has enjoyed the commitment of your organization and the individual support of your remarkable membership as "Kansas City” sponsors for our International Military Students and their families.

Your membership consistently models the behavior encouraged by President Eisenhower, founder of People to People International: tolerance and mutual understanding achieved through the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. While difficult to quantity, the impact of the chapter on more than 5,000 International Students and their families was unquestionably positive - attested to in the remarks of 241 International Hall of Fame inductees - from 67 countries - who returned to the College for induction into the Hall as the highest ranking member of their nation's military - and on more than a dozen occasions, as the civilian head of state. In every instance these accomplished military professionals and statesmen remarked that it was their sponsors that made the most memorable impact on them and their families during their year of study at Fort Leavenworth; as it was the sponsors who enabled their understanding of the United States and her people. 


Sean B.TvlacFarland
BG, US Army
Deputy Commandant, CGSC


"It is almost certain that when the first International Military Student stepped off the steamboat or train in downtown Leavenworth in 1894, some helpful soul directed him to the fort and perhaps even offered him a ride in their wagon.  Since then the citizens of Leavenworth and the Greater Kansas City area have continued to give willingly of their time and affection to support and befriend the thousands of International Military Students and their families who travel from all over the world to live in our community and study at Fort Leavenworth.

 The dedication of our International Military Student Sponsors is legendary.  They are the truest of ambassadors for our nation - setting a sparkling example of friendship;  and they contribute tremendously  to the outstanding reputation enjoyed by the United States Army Command and General Staff College throughout the free world. "

Jim Fain
Chief, International Military Student Division
US Army Command and General Staff College

"Words cannot express the gratitude that I would like to share for your great spirit and volunteer actions to help an international student make America their home away from home for a year or more.  I believe that each of you have played a crucial role in American relations around the globe and deserve a great big THANK YOU!" 

Lieutenant Colonel Teena M. Barber