President Trump on Monday named a Philadelphia native, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to serve as his national security adviser.
Herbert Raymond McMaster, Jr., 54, was tapped after Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced out last week and another candidate, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, reportedly turned down the position.
Known in military circles as an intellectual strategist, McMaster grew up in Roxborough and graduated in 1980 from Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Radnor. Four years later, he graduated from West Point.
During the 1991 Gulf War, McMaster was awarded the Silver Star for a battle in which his armored cavalry troop of nine tanks destroyed more than 80 tanks and other vehicles from an Iraqi mechanized brigade.
He later earned a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writing a dissertation that he later turned into a widely acclaimed book, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, published in 1997.
A 2006 article in the New Yorker that focused on McMaster's service during the Iraq War said the book "assembled a damning case against senior military leaders for failing to speak their minds when, in the early years of the war, they disagreed with Pentagon policies. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, knowing Johnson and McNamara wanted uncritical support rather than honest advice, and eager to protect their careers, went along with official lies and a split-the-difference strategy of gradual escalation that none of them thought could work. Dereliction of Duty won McMaster wide praise, and its candor inspired an ardent following among post-Vietnam officers."
The same year, CNN called the book "the seminal work on military's responsibility during Vietnam to confront their civilian bosses when strategy was not working."
McMaster also wrote a 2003 monograph for the Army War College's Center for Strategic Leadership, titled "Crack in the Foundation: Defense Transformation and the Underlying Assumption of Dominant Knowledge in Future War."
The New Yorker piece noted that McMaster, "who describes himself as 'a bit of a Luddite,' argued against the notion that new weapons technology offered the promise of certainty and precision in warfare."
McMaster echoed his arguments in a 2013 opinion piece in the New York Times: "Be skeptical of concepts that divorce war from its political nature, particularly those that promise fast, cheap victory through technology."
His education at Valley Forge included serving in various leadership roles and playing for several athletic teams.
"We are very proud of H.R. McMaster's distinguished career in the defense of our nation," said Col. John C. Church Jr., president of Valley Forge Military Academy and College.
During his senior year, McMaster was class vice president and commander of A Company. He was a member of the National Honor Society and won the Superintendent Award, Gold and Silver Stars, the school's interscholastic debate medal, the American Legion Military Excellence medal, and the National Guard medal, according to school officials.
McMaster was also the co-captain of the football team and played on the baseball team. He participated in intramural soccer, basketball, wrestling, and swimming.
In Tom Clancy's 1994 book Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment, the famed author interviewed McMaster about his life and career.
McMaster, born July 24, 1962, in Philadelphia, told Clancy that his father was an infantryman during the Korean War, and his mother was a schoolteacher and administrator. His younger sister, Letitia, graduated from Villanova University.
In 2011, he served as a deputy to Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan and led a special anti-corruption task force at International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul.
Most recently, McMaster has served as director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Eustis, Va.
In 2014, Time included McMaster on its list of "The 100 Most Influential People." In a brief essay written for the magazine by Dave Barno, a retired lieutenant general, McMaster was called "the architect of the future U.S. Army."
Barno wrote that McMaster "might be the 21st century Army's pre-eminent warrior-thinker," and "also the rarest of soldiers — one who has repeatedly bucked the system and survived to join its senior ranks."