Back to News Professor Joseph Skelly Receives MacArthur Leadership Award

Professor Joseph Skelly Receives MacArthur Leadership Award


Riverdale, N.Y. – Joseph Skelly, Professor of History at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, was one of 28 Army officers who received the 2016 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award on June 1 in Washington, D.C., which was presented by General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army.

Dr. Skelly—also known as Captain Skelly—joined the Army Reserve in 2001. Motivated by the thought of serving his country after the events of 9/11, he enlisted in the Army Reserve and was assigned to the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.

“I joined the Army Reserve to defend the United States in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11,” says Capt. Skelly. “I had served in the Army National Guard from 1996 to 2000, and determined in the days following 9/11 that I should fight for my country, the Army Reserve presented the best opportunity for deploying to a combat zone.”

He eventually deployed with the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion to Baquba, Diyala Province, near Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 to 2005. There, he served as the provincial education officer assisting not only the U.S. Army, but also other U.S. government agencies such as USAID, and local Iraqi officials with the renovation of schools, technical colleges, and universities. He also supported the first national elections in 2005, and participated in numerous counterterrorist operations while deployed to Iraq.

In 2007, Capt. Skelly received a direct commission as a Medical Service Corps officer in the Army Reserve, and is now the chief staff officer responsible for logistics, supply, and movement for the 405th Combat Support Hospital (CSH).

His skillset, knowledge, and leadership in professionalism made him stand out when his name was submitted as a candidate for the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.

“He is one of the best junior officers I have had the privilege to work with,” says Col. Lesley Watts, commander of the 405th CSH. “As a commander, I’m able to give guidance regarding medical missions and Capt. Skelly is able to interpret that information and begin to execute the tasks for his logistics section. That ability to execute without continued guidance is just one thing that sets him apart from his peers.”

The MacArthur Award recognizes company grade officers from the active Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve. Recipients embody leadership qualities demonstrated by General MacArthur, a U.S. five-star general during World War II, and exhibit exceptional ability to ensure their soldiers are trained and ready to meet the highest standards necessary for the United States’ global missions.

The recipients of the award were nominated by the soldiers within their unit, and receiving the award is a great reflection of Capt. Skelly and everyone he works with.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.