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Sen. Frank Church Honored by U.S. Military

Three men smiling around a plaque.
Left to right: Retired Col. John Ionoff, president of the OCS Alumni Association; Chase Church; and retired BG Pete Jones, president of the National Infantry Museum Foundation.

Former United States Sen. Frank Church has been selected posthumously as a “Distinguished Graduate” of the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School. A March 24 ceremony was held at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia, where he and others will be highlighted in a new exhibit.

Sen. Church is the namesake of Boise State University’s Frank Church Institute. He served four terms as a U.S. Senator from Idaho between 1957 and 1981, and chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Each year, the museum honors exemplary graduates of officer candidate school, including those “nationally or internationally recognized for their military or public service.” Since 1941, 500,000 soldiers have become second lieutenants after graduating from Officer Candidate School. Since then, about 2,000 have been inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame for exceptional contributions, both military and civilian.

Other distinguished graduates include U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and William F. Buckley Jr., among 21 honorees. Sen. Church was represented at the ceremony by his son, Chase Church, a member of the Frank Church Institute board of directors.

Sen. Church received his commission from Officer Candidate School during World War II, after which he served as an intelligence officer in China.

The Frank Church Institute was established in 1982 as the Frank Church Chair of Public Affairs at Boise State to honor the achievements and to carry forward the principles of one of Idaho’s most distinguished native sons.

The institute, which is housed within the School of Public Service, emphasizes to its students those ideas which the senator held dear – a strong belief in the rule of law, eloquence firmly based on reason and an unwavering faith in the American political system.

The Frank Church Institute’s mission is to “promote civic engagement and understanding of public policy with focus on foreign relations.” The institute is non-partisan. It seeks to “provide a forum for open and informed discussion characterized by civility, tolerance and compromise.” The institute fulfills its mission through the sponsorship of the annual Frank Church Conference, the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs, and the Frank Church Scholarships at Boise State University.