Military hero to speak at Church of Redeemer

HERALD STAFF REPORTSeptember 7, 2013 

Maj. Gen. Mark Hamilton, U.S. Army retired, is a graduate of the U.S. Military West Point and served in Vietnam during his 31-year career. PHOTO PROVIDED

SARASOTA -- U.S. Army retired Maj. Gen. Mark Hamilton will be guest speaker at 10:15 a.m. Sept. 22 during the Church of the Redeemer's "Rector's Class" between the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.

Hamilton, who lives in St. Petersburg, and was featured on ABC Evening News in the 1990s as a "Person of the Week" for his negotiation with Somalian warlords, will speak about his life as a Christian.

The public is invited to attend.

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Hamilton retired from the military after serving 31 years.

During his career, he earned the U.S. Army's highest peacetime award, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Armed Forces' highest peacetime award, the Joint Distinguished Service Medal.

After his service in the military, which included a tour in Vietnam, he was named the president of the Alaska Statewide University System for 12 years.

Hamilton's military highlights include being the commander for the U.S. military in El Salvador, where he was largely responsible for negotiating an end to the country's 12-year civil war. In Somalia, his negotiations with warlords resulted in a window of tranquility that enabled the removal of the U.S. 10th Division. In Brussels, he advised the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe on NATO planning in the former republic of Yugoslavia.

As president of the Alaskan college system from 1998 to 2010, Hamilton created scholarships to persuade the state's brightest high school graduates to remain in-state. The program provides students in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class with scholarships of $10,800 over four years. The program, which received national attention, has been a major success.

Hamilton holds a master's degree from Florida State University in English literature, and is a graduate of the U.S. Armed Forces Staff College in Virginia, and the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. He is a published poet.

The Church of the Redeemer is at 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Information: redeemersarasota.org or call 941-350-9201.

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