RUSI – The Royal United Services Institute – The Normandy Institute


The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) led by Dr. Karin von Hippel is the world’s oldest independent research-led think tank and is the podium of choice for world thought  leaders and senior policy makers engaged in cutting-edge defense and international security research. Founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, RUSI is recognized as the home of strategic scholarship in defense.

WellingtonThe Duke of Wellington by Goya

In February 2017 his Grace the 9th Duke of Wellington and General Sir Nicholas Houghton – Chief of the defense staff from 2013-2016 became trustees of RUSI.

The Royal Air Force’s 2016 Air Power Conference delivered in partnership with RUSI drew upon a high level international audience to examine the themes of Inspiration and Innovation. The RAF Air Power Conference was held in London at the Institute of Engineering and technology (IET). Four themes framed the debate: technology, “fighting systems”, leadership and organizational culture.

Speakers at the conference included: Air Chief Marshall Sir Andrew Pulford – Chief of the Air Staff Royal Air Force, four-star General Frank Gorenc – NATO Commander of US Forces in Europe and Africa, General Michael Hood – Commander Royal Canadian Air Force, John Dowdy – Director Global and EMEA Mc.Kinsey & Co. and Dr. Peter W. Singer – Senior Fellow at New America Foundation.

Ray2General Ray and his crew on the famous “Rommel” steps at Chateau de Bernaville in June 2016

The Secretary of State of Defence, Michael Fallon, equally addressed delegates. Also present was Lt. Gen. Tim Ray, who had recently visited Picauville and the Normandy Institute at Chateau de Bernaville for the 72nd commemoration of D-Day.

After the RUSI conference Dorothea de La Houssaye and Sir Andrew Pulford raced off to the RAF Club for the Legion of Honor ceremony for Tom Neil, Rose Davies and Arthur Jones, all WWII veterans.

IMG_3455Standing from left to right: the French Air Attache , Sir Andrew Pulford, Dorothea de La Houssaye, John Michaelson, Fred Ruggero. Sitting from left to right: Arthur Jones, Rose Davis, Wing Commander Tom “Ginger” Neil.

Susan Eisenhower – Normandy 2016

On June 5, 2016, Susan Eisenhower, Normandy Institute advisory board member, received her Legion of Honor at La Fière bridge. Susan Eisenhower was then special guest at a Legion of Honor ceremony at chateau de Bernaville in Picauville. Attendees included four-star General Nicholson who also received a Legion of Honor that day, General Townsend, Henry Montgomery, grandson of General Montgomery and the Prefet de La Manche, Jacques Witkowski.

IMG_3137Susan Eisenhower and Henry Montgomery

Susan Eisenhower is the grand-daughter of General Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, Supreme Allied Commander Europe during WWII. Susan is an author, educator and respected international security affairs expert on Russia and nuclear issues. Susan Eisenhower is currently a member of the American Legion’s 100 anniversary honorary committee.

Susan’s grandfather’s “Legion d’Honneur” medal was gifted by the family to the Legion of Honor Museum in Paris. Tom Hanks, Tom Brokaw and Dr. Nick Mueller insisted on being photographed together in front of Ike’s portrait at the Museum at their ceremony.

thumb_IMG_2926_1024Dr. Nick Mueller, Tom Brokaw and Tom Hanks in Paris on May 20, 2016 at the Museum of the Legion of Honor before their ceremony.

Earlier in the year, in March 2016 a group of students on the SALTT program – Strategy and Leadership in Transformational Times- led by Susan Eisenhower and Gettysburg College visited the Normandy Institute for a conference.

IMG_2471Susan with her students in March 2016 at Chateau de Bernaville in the marble room, checking out a WWII Thompson machine gun!

Local D-Day specialist Ben Trumble took the group to visit a local monument near Picauville “Lucien’s Wall”. Ben narrated the story of Lucien, who as a 10-year old boy had witnessed D-Day. In 1982, Lucien Hasley had built a memorial wall at the side of his house with his own hands. Sculpturing the names of 82nd Airborne troops who had fought in the tiny hamlet of Port Filliolet. There had always been a sad exception to the honor-roll. The name of the American medic who went out of his way to help Lucien’s brother and subsequently died during the battle of Port Filliolet in June 1944.

DSC_2098Ben Trumble and Susan in front of the Memorial Wall with Lucien and his brother.

After hearing the story of Lucien Hasley, Susan Eisenhower, Col. Fullenkamp, a 30-year veteran of the US Army and author, and their students made it their mission to help Lucien identify the name of the American medic who had saved his brothers life. On the 4th of June 2016, a 72-year circle was finally completed when Susan revealed the name of the veteran to Lucien in a moving speech that was video recorded by the US Army:

The medic was called Frank E. Mackey of the 508 PIR and his grave is at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. Susan went to lay flowers on his grave on June the 6th and contemplate his heroic deeds.

IMG_3192Susan  at the grave of Frank Mackey at the American cemetery at Omaha Beach


Marquis de Lafayette

The Chateau de Bernaville was bought in 1856 by the Marquise Arsène Martel de Janville. She was the grand daughter of Major General René Adrien le Seigneur du Chevalier, page of King Louis XV, adopted father and aide-de-camp of Lafayette, the famous brother-in-arms of George Washington in the American War of Independence.


Marquis de Lafayette

Tom Brokaw receives Legion of Honor

Tom Brokaw received the French Legion of Honor in Paris on May 20, 2016 with Tom Hanks and Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller.


Dorothea de La Houssaye and Tom Brokaw

In May 2016, 32 years after Tom Brokaw set foot on the sand of Omaha Beach, Dorothea de La Houssaye and Simon Rock de Besombes recommended Tom Brokaw for a “Chevalier de La Legion Honneur” for his continuing work and advocacy on veterans issues and preserving the legacy of “The Greatest Generation”.

Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism and political reporting is a special correspondent for NBC. He was inspired to write his best-selling book “The Greatest Generation” during a trip to Normandy in 1984, the 40th anniversary of D Day and the Battle of Normandy.

Tom Brokaw was in Normandy to produce a documentary and listened to the stirring stories of Omaha Beach veterans and airborne paratroopers like Congressman Gibbons. Listening to them Tom Brokaw was transported back to his childhood in the Great Plains of South Dakota during the 40’s and 50’s.

Tom Brokaw began to write the veterans war time accounts under the keen eye of Kate Medina, Random House editor and commander-in-chief of “The Greatest Generation Project” and he had the unswerving support of NBC. He realized how much the veteran’s opinions were formed by the deprivations and lessons of the Great Depression. The surviving veterans of the Greatest Generation are indeed living reminders of the good that can prevail during difficult times and the lesson that working together to organize our lives around what we need and not what we want is of paramount importance.

“The Greatest Generation” was published in 1998 to great critical acclaim and then in 2005 followed “The Greatest Generation Speaks”, the latter inspired by the mountains of mail Brokaw received after the success of his first book.

Tom Brokaw, General Georgelin, Tom Hanks, Ambassador Hartley, Dorothea de La Houssaye and Dr. Nick Mueller.

Tom Brokaw was the only network evening news anchor to report from Normandy in June 2004, the 60th anniversary of the D Day landings. Brokaw interviewed President George W Bush at the American cemetery in Normandy on the 6th June. NBC used our chateau in Normandy as their headquarters.

Tom Brokaw currently serves on the Franklin Project leadership council with Normandy institute advisory board member Stan McChrystal.

Kate Medina, Tom Brokaw’s editor was among the guests for the ceremony with her husband Leo Guthart.