Dawkins

Peter M. Dawkins

Peter M. Dawkins

LET IT BE KNOWN, that it is with great respect and admiration that we honor Brigadier General Pete Dawkins, U.S. Army (Ret.) upon his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor. General Dawkins’ exemplary military service and contributions to the nation both during and after the Vietnam War serve as an example to which we all should aspire.


Peter Miller Dawkins was born on March 8, 1938, to Henry and Frances Dawkins in Royal Oak, Michigan, he overcame a bout of polio as a youth, but went on to excel in academics and graduated from Cranbrook School, Bloomfield Hills in 1955.


Although accepted at Yale University, Pete Dawkins chose to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point. While working towards his engineering degree, he became the third Black Knight to win the Heisman Trophy while leading the Army’s football team (ranked third in the nation) to an undefeated season in 1958. To this day he remains the only cadet to serve as Brigade Commander, President of his Class, Captain of the football team, and a “Star Man” – one of the top 5% of his class academically. After his graduation in 1959, his success at West Point earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics earning a master’s degree. By the time his collegiate career was over, he had already appeared in both Life Magazine and Reader’s Digest.

Upon completing his education, Dawkins underwent Infantry, Parachute, and Ranger training before being assigned to the fabled 82nd Airborne Division eventually commanding a Rifle Company. He then deployed to Vietnam as a senior advisor to a Vietnamese Airborne Battalion earning two Bronze Stars for Valor among several other decorations. He continued serving in Vietnam in the Military Assistance Command – Vietnam (MACV) working on the Vietnamese Pacification Program. Upon returning from Vietnam, he returned to West Point to serve as an instructor in the Social Sciences Department. During one of the summer breaks, he returned to Vietnam on a special assignment. Recognizing his special talents, the Army sent him to Princeton University to earn a Master of Public Affairs and his Ph.D. Subsequently he served as a Battalion Commander in the 2nd Infantry Division and as a Brigade Commander twice, first with the 7th Infantry Division, and then with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Prior to his stint as a Brigade Commander, he served another special assignment as a White House Fellow, serving as a Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. In June 1981, Colonel Pete Dawkins was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army in the Pentagon. His final assignment was as the Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate before choosing to retire from the Army after 24 years of distinguished service.

His career following the Amy was in the field of business and finance and was also very successful. Pete has been recognized by numerous awards and tributes from a variety of organizations.

RESOLVED BY THE MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE, That we honor and commemorate the military service and commitment to excellence of retired Brigadier General Pete Dawkins. His selfless service and commitment to our country for the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans must never be forgotten. General Dawkins exemplifies the essence of American public service and should be recognized as a role model by all individuals.

Therefore, this document is signed and dedicated to honor Brigadier General Pete Dawkins for his exemplary service to the State of Michigan and to the United States of America, and to commemorate his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor.