Former Austrian Defense Attaché to Washington, Brigadier General Guntmar Heck was recently awarded the “Legion of Merit.” (It is the highest decoration of the US armed forces that can be bestowed upon a foreign officer). The award was presented by U.S. Ambassador to Austria Susan McCaw on November 6 in the presence of high-ranking representatives of the Austrian Ministry of Defense and the Austrian Foreign Ministry. The American Ambassador honored the Brigadier General for his many years (1998 - 2007) as Austrian Defense Attaché at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and thanked him for the outstanding cooperation with the Pentagon and U.S. Armed Forces.
In a speech given by Brigadier General Heck at the award ceremony held at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, he expressed his thanks to the US civilian and military leadership at the Pentagon for recognizing and honouring a candid and trustworthy working relationship on security and defence matters. He recalled the impact and consequences of 9/11, which changed America and the whole word, and also cited examples of past US events and its tremendous impact on Europe and the transatlantic relationship as well on the United Nations System.
Brigadier General Heck is a graduate of the Austrian Theresan Military Academy. During his distinguished career, he served in several staff and command positions. He is also a graduate from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth/Kansas and was Military Advisor to the Permanent Austrian Mission to the UN in New York. Prior to his assignment to Washington, D.C., he was the Director of the Defense Attaché Services and Bilateral Military Relations and also Deputy Principal Director of Security and Military Policy in the Austrian Ministry of Defense.