Distinguished West Point Graduate Award


Below at the URL is the full text of the Distinguished West Point Graduate Award Nomination letter - with extensive documentation originally submitted to the West Point Association of Graduates by the Annapolis Association of West Point Graduates in 2000. It sums up all I have done as a West Point Graduate, even after I 'retired' from active service in 1973.

The Award was made in 2004 during Graduation Week at West Point. I was  only the 6th retired Colonel to have received this prestigious award since it was initiated. All the rest have been very high ranking (Lt Generals to Full Generals) officers and very selected civilians who have risen to positions of high responsibility after leaving military service after graduating from West Point.


Below are photographs of that 2004 Ceremony. and accompanying activities including the gathering of Hughes immediate family - all of whom attended . As well as a number of Enlisted Veterans of the Korean War who served in 'Lieutenant Hughes' Company K 7th Cavalry in 1951. They flew in from California just to attend. In tribute to that unusual loyalty to me, I wore a 7th Cavalry Hat - the only recipient of the award with a hat, all the others were bare headed.

 The Background of that Award is that any of the local - US or foreign land - West Point Associations, and any Graduating Class may nominate a graduate, and other associations or classes may endorse a nomination.

In the case of Dave Hughes Class of 1950, the winning nomination was made by the Annapolis, Maryland West Point Association of Graduates - Lt Gen (Ret) Jack Cushman '44, President, and Col (Ret) Bill Taylor '70 . Fourteen other regional Associations co-nominated Hughes.


The Award Medal

                    Front Side                            Obverse Side


5 Retired General Officers, 1 Civilian graduate, 2 Retired Colonels, including me in the 7th Cavalry hat

I became only the 6th Colonel who was awarded the Distinguished Graduate Award by 2004




                The Display Citation



The Citation



All but Diana, who was in a wheel chair on Trophy Point and Lindsey, not present at West Point then.


President of the USMA Association of Graduates putting the medal on me


Indoor, Washington Hall, remarks by many. General Cushman who nominated me for the DG Award  is behind the Speaker. Announcement of Donations given to West Point by various Classes every year. Cadets, Alumni, and families all present.


Son Ed at the Great Chain on Trophy Point. It was stretched, on logs, across the Hudson River at West Point in 1778 to stop British War Ships from reaching Albany and splitting the Colonies. July 1st, 1946 I stood on Trophy Point with all new cadets from my Class on 1940,  and swore the Oath of Office. The view is north from West Point.





Mike Verlarde who was with me as a PFC in the battle for Hill 347 in Korea while we were in the 7th Cav - we stand in front of Custer's grave in the Cemetery at West Point. We called the Battle we won Custer's Revenge



Patsy and I in front of our Quarters (top Floor) when I taught at West Point, 48 years earlier


Patsy and her oldest, longest, friend - Cindy Adams - at West Point. Charlie Adams and I served together with our families three times - at Univ of Penna getting Masters Degrees, at West Point in the English Department, and on the beach near Schofield Barracks on Oahu in Hawaii.



Distinguished Graduate Pin which I wear on Civilian Clothes.

I appear to be the only Grad who lives in Colorado who is a DG, even though there are several thousand retired graduates and many retired General officers, none of whom are DG's, who live in Colorado. 


Me, Mounted during the Colorado Springs Rodeo Parade as Grand Marshal after winning the Distinguished Graduate Award.




















Denver Chamber of Commerce Military Award - 1946 (High School Level)

Freedom's  Foundation Award for Korean Wartime Writings - 1951

Recognition for Korean War service in the US Congressional Record - 1952

Meritorious Service Award - American Bicentennial Administration 1976

Recognition Award for Historic Preservation - Old Colo City Hist Society -1978

Seratoma "Service to Mankind Award" - 1980

Certificate of National Merit for Old Colorado City Redevelopment - HUD - 1984

Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award - along with Vint Cerf, 1993

Naming Walkway "Dave Hughes Cyberpath", City of Colorado Springs, 1998

Salute as one of  'The Wired 25' - dreamers, inventors, mavericks - November 1998 

Writing Included in "The 50 Greatest Letters from America's Wars" - 2002 

Distinguished West Point Graduate Award - West Point Assn of Graduates - 2004

El Paso County Commissioners Recognition for Distinguished Graduate, 2005

Grand Marshal Colorado Springs Rodeo Parade for Distinguished Grad - 2006

Colorado State Historic Preservation Award for Old Colorado City - 2009

1st Colorado Springs "Spirit of the Springs" Mayor's Award - 2014