Former Rowan senator Cal Cunningham receives Army leadership award
WINSTON-SALEM ó Cal Cunningham, a Winston-Salem attorney who formerly represented Rowan County’s in the N.C. Senate, was recently presented with the Army’s top leadership award, the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, at a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Cunningham is a litigation attorney with the Kilpatrick Stockton law firm.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey presented the MacArthur Award, a 15-pound bronze bust of the general, to 28 company-grade officers of all three Army components. Each officer was recognized for exhibiting outstanding military performance, leadership and achievement, and for reflecting the ideals for which Gen. MacArthur stood: duty, honor and country.
Cunningham was one of seven Army Reserve officers to receive this year’s award. In the 25 years the award has been given, only two other attorneys have been selected.
“These award winners demonstrate the tremendous quality that we are privileged to have throughout our Army,” Casey said at the awards ceremony. “These are top performers that have led in the most difficult and dangerous missions and brought out the best in the men and women they led.”
Earlier this year, Cunningham received the Bronze Star while serving in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A captain and paratrooper in the U.S. Army Reserves, Cunningham received the medal for “exceptionally meritorious service to the United States” as the senior trial counsel in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, at Camp Victory in Iraq from December 15, 2007 to November 19, 2008.
As the senior trial counsel, Cunningham presided over the largest court-martial jurisdiction in the Army and helped in supervising, training and overseeing 27 attorneys and 70 paralegals, executing criminal law missions within the Multi-National Corps-Iraq theater of operations.
Cunningham deployed with the XVIII Airborne Corps of Fort Bragg. His work resulted in a comprehensive system for ensuring contractors are held responsible for crimes committed while in Iraq, and he personally served as the lead trial counsel for the first court-martial of a civilian since the Vietnam War. While in Iraq, he traveled throughout the Iraqi Theater of Operations.
Cunningham also served as an advisor to the Command Initiatives Group, MNC-I, where he personally assisted the commanding general with congressional delegation visits, including the visit by then-Sen. Barack Obama.
In January, Cunningham returned to his legal practice in Kilpatrick Stockton’s Winston-Salem office, where he focuses on conflict resolution and litigation in complex business disputes, including construction, real estate, environmental and contract cases.
Before joining Kilpatrick Stockton, Cunningham served 23rd N.C. Senate District representing Rowan, Davidson and Iredell Counties.
He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.