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It might be Sun Tzu or Genghis Khan, Napoleon or Marshal Zhukov.

Or, if it’s an American military leader you fancy, then what about George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, John Pershing, Dwight D. Eisenhower or Colin Powell?

Think of a great military leader you would want to meet — past or present — and write a few hundred words. That’s the challenge facing college-bound American students interested in taking a shot at a $1,500 scholarship.

The odds aren’t bad. Last year, of the 331 applicants, 51 scholarships were awarded by the Defense Commissary Agency.

“Our goal is to give out at least one scholarship at every store,” said Gerri Young, spokeswoman for DECA-Europe.

For those students who haven’t committed pen to paper but want to, there’s still time. The deadline to submit an essay, application and grade transcript is Feb. 22, Young said.

Since the program began six years ago, DECA has given cash scholarships to 280 students in Europe, totaling $443,500. Worldwide, the agency has awarded nearly 3,000 scholarships to the tune of more than $3.2 million.

Money for the program, called Scholarships for Military Children, is donated by individuals as well as by corporations, Young said. Last year, for example, a Salt Lake City high school donated $10,000.

The Fisher House Foundation administers the program, and a private firm screens the applicants.

“We have nothing to do with how the winners are selected,” Young said.

For more information on the program, or to download an application, go to or Applications also are available at commissaries.


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