President Ford

Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford

Let it be known that it is with great respect and admiration that we honor Lieutenant Commander Gerald R. Ford, Jr., U.S. Navy, upon his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor. Louis served a distinguished military career, including service during World War II. Indeed, his contribution to his country is a feat to which we all should aspire.

Gerald R. Ford Jr., of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, July 14, 1913. He graduated from Grand Rapids South High School in 1931 where he was a 1930 All-City football selection. Jerry earned a BA degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1935 and his LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1941. Ford played for the undefeated 1932 and 1932 Wolverines National Championship teams. He was the 1934 team MVP and selected for the East-West Shrine Game. Jerry declined offers from the NFL Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

Ford enlisted in the Navy following the Pearl Harbor attack. He served as the antiaircraft battery officer on the USS Monterey (CVL-26) 1943-1944 and as the military training officer at Naval Air Station Glenview, Illinois 1945-1946. Jerry was awarded the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine battle stars, Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars and the WWII Victory Medal. Ford then served in the inactive Naval Reserve 1946-1963. He represented Michigan’s 5th Congressional district 1949-1973. Jerry was elected House Minority Leader (1965-1973) following the 1964 elections. Ford received the “Distinguished Eagle Scout Award” and “Silver Buffalo Award” in 1970. The U.S. Senate confirmed him to become the 40th Vice President (1973-1974) upon Spiro Agnew’s resignation. Jerry ascended to become the 38th President (1974-1977) when Richard Nixon resigned. Ford was the first to serve as President and Vice President without having been elected to either office. He is the only “Eagle Scout” to be President. Jerry recorded a hole in one during the 1977 “Danny Thomas Memphis Classic” pro-am. Ford established the Gerald R. Ford Institute of Public Policy at Albion College in 1977. He opened the “Gerald R. Ford Library” at U-M and “Gerald R. Ford Museum” in 1981. Honors included the 1992 U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation “Lone Sailor Award,” U-M retired his number 48 in 1994, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 and 2001 “Profiles in Courage Award.” The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) was named after him. He died on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at the age of 93.

Indeed, the patriotic contributions of Lieutenant Commander Ford must be recognized, as in all who have served the United States of America in this capacity. The personal sacrifice so selflessly offered by these brave men and women for the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must never be forgotten. Jerry Ford embraced the essence of American heroism and should be recognized as a role model by all individuals.

In special tribute, therefore, we honor Lieutenant Commander Ford for his exemplary service to the United States of America, and to commemorate his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor.