Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, 37th chief of staff of the United States Army, hosted a retirement ceremony April 26 in honor of the former commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward at Summerall Field, Fort Myer, Va.

Gen. Ward served in Stuttgart, Germany, as the first commander of AFRICOM from Oct. 1, 2007 to March 9, 2011. He was commissioned into the infantry in June 1971. His military education includes the infantry officer basic and advanced courses, US Army Command and General Staff College and US Army War College. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s in political science from Morgan State University.

Ward’s awards and badges include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with six Oak Leaf Clusters), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Master Parachutist Badge.

Ward retires from military after serving the nation for 39 years. He was joined by his wife, Joyce and other family and friends at the ceremony.