Retired Indiana general receives Italian award

Apr 07, 2013 939

INDIANAPOLIS – Retired Indiana National Guard Maj. Gen. Dave Harris was presented with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Jan. 18 in Washington for his work with the Italian government in 2009 and 2010.

While assigned as the Kosovo Force chief of staff, Harris was instrumental in reforming political and military relationships between KFOR, Kosovo and Serbian leadership after communication had stalled for five years.

"Re-establishing the professional relationships with Serbia was truly our key to success in Kosovo," said Harris. "It is truly just an honor to be considered for this award."

The Order of Merit was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second president of the Italian Republic in 1951. It is the highest ranking honor of the republic. It is awarded for "merit acquired by the nation" in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities. It is also presented for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers.

KFOR's mission is to contribute to a secure environment; ensure public safety and order; support and coordinate the international humanitarian effort and civil presence; support the development of a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo; and support the development of the Kosovo Security Force.

Harris, Somerset, Ind., retired from the Indiana National Guard in August 2012, and he had more than 37 years of service in the U.S. military.

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