Leaving a Legacy
General Carlton Fulford ’66, USMC (Ret.)
When Carlton Fulford Jr. graduated from the Academy in 1966, his classmates noted in the Lucky Bag yearbook that he was "bound for a successful career." That's an understatement.
Entering the Marines at the height of the Vietnam conflict, he commanded Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Later command assignments ranged from Commanding Officer, Task Force "Ripper" during Operation Desert Storm to Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command. Following his retirement, he was a National Security Council envoy to East Africa's Great Lakes Region, became the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and was a negotiator in the Sudanese peace process resulting in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Accord. It's not surprising that he was named a U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate in 2010.
It's also not surprising that Fulford and his wife, Mary Ann, have made the Naval Academy one of their top philanthropic priorities.
"I consider the lessons I learned at the Naval Academy as the foundation to whatever success I enjoyed in my almost forty-year career in the U. S. Marine Corps," said Fulford, who has also served as member of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation Board of Directors. "The life lessons have also served me well, and the many friendships are enduring. I also am concerned about our nation, our world and the complex environment in which today's Midshipmen will be destined to lead. The federal government supports our Academy, but that margin of excellence needed to prepare our graduates for the difficult and demanding tasks ahead will come through philanthropic support."
The Fulfords have supporting the Naval Academy for more than 30 years, beginning with relatively modest annual gifts and increasing over time, inspired by the example of Colonel Robert Means Thompson, the Academy's first major philanthropist.
"While I could never hope to match Colonel Thompson's accomplishments, I do share his passion about the Naval Academy," said Fulford. So, in an effort to ensure his and Mary Ann's commitment to the Academy endures beyond their lifetime, the two have documented their plans to support the Academy in their estate and become members in the Robert Means Thompson Society, which recognizes those who include support for the Academy in their planned giving—and they hope others will join them.
"I encourage you to consider becoming a member today," said Fulford. "Through your participation, you will demonstrate your patriotism, your gratitude to the Naval Academy and your support for future naval leaders. You will not regret it!"
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