Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull Earns 2021 Distinguished Graduate Award from West Point Association of Graduates


Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull, U.S. Military Academy Class of 1973, has been named a 2021 Distinguished Graduate Award recipient by the West Point Association of Graduates. The award honors USMA graduates whose character, distinguished service and stature exemplify West Point’s motto of “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Shull is a Soldier for Life with a lasting legacy of dedication to service members, Veterans and their families. His father served 30 years in the Army, spending more than 40 months in World War II. Shull graduated from West Point in 1973, three years after his brother, John. Early in his Army career, Shull led several platoons, including a Scout Platoon, and Commanded C Company, 1/22nd Infantry Regiment.

While on active duty, Shull was selected to attend Harvard Business School, where he graduated with an MBA. Subsequently, Shull was selected as a White House Fellow in 1981 and served in the Reagan administration. He taught leadership at West Point and, in his last active-duty assignment, served as Military Assistant to National Security Advisor Robert “Bud” McFarlane. Shull conducted a comprehensive review of the National Security Council and coordinating low-intensity conflict policy initiatives. Shull also represented the White House to facilitate the construction and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He secured required approvals for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, clearing the way for its groundbreaking on March 26, 1982.

During his extensive business career, Shull served as CEO of Barney’s New York, Hanover Direct and Wise Foods, successfully turning around these iconic American brands.

In 2012, Shull became the first civilian to lead the Exchange, the Department of Defense’s largest retailer. As American retailers struggled during the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Shull expertly led a turnaround of the Exchange, making an indelible difference to troops’ readiness and resiliency.

Through his leadership, the Exchange’s profitability nearly doubled since 2011, and the organization provided $1.6 billion in dividends for critical Quality-of-Life programs. Other successes at the Exchange include:

  • Pivoting to provide safe, sanitized, secure shopping while protecting the force and Exchange associates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Securing a lifelong shopping benefit at for 15 million honorably discharged Veterans.
  • Introducing a program allowing Exchange shoppers to donate to Army Emergency Relief and the Air Force Assistance Fund, with more than $3 million in donations to date.

Shull joins a distinguished list of award recipients, including Secretary of Defense GEN(R) Lloyd Austin; former CENTCOM Commander and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia GEN(R) John Abizaid; and GEN(R) Norman Schwarzkopf.

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  1. Belinda Casperson on February 5, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you for your service Sir!

    • Loyd Brumfield on February 18, 2021 at 9:23 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Belinda!

  2. James E. Thompson on February 8, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Impressive indeed and it’d be truly great if you could please help our AAFES families by stepping up and help by opening a path for them to use the on Base/Post AAFES Facilities. They’ve also devoted their lives, right along side of us, to serve our Military Men and Women and, their families throughout the World. This Base/Post-Entry request has already taken years to do with no decisions made of as yet. The AAFES Family of Retirees have served with honor, dedication and loyalty to the AAFES’ Mission to always be ready to serve our Military men and women wherever they may be.

    Kind Regards,

    • Loyd Brumfield on February 24, 2021 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you for your comment, James. As of now, the Exchange shopping policy is guided by Department of Defense Instruction 1330, which dictates eligibility for Exchange privileges.

      As of now, Exchange privileges are authorized for active duty military, retirees, Reservists, National Guard members, dependent family members of aforementioned authorized patrons, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, all veterans with service-connected disabilities, and individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

      Some government civilian employees have shopping privileges when they are assigned or TDY overseas, or they are TDY and residing in government quarters on military installations within the United States.

      All honorably discharged Veterans can shop the online stores maintained by the exchange system. This privilege does not include shopping in brick-and-mortar military exchanges.

  3. Mary Trujillo-Gaiter on June 30, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Mr. Shull, Congratulations on your award! Such a high honor for all of us who work right along with our large Exchange family. My nephew is currently attending West Point and knowing that you not only attended West Point but have served in so many areas of your career it truly shows your unselfishness to our great country something that I know my nephew can also do. Thank you for always putting others first and leading the Exchange to yet another great but challenging year. As a USMC spouse to now Ret. MSGT. Terry Gaiter the Exchange has always been in huge part of our life, I clearly remember joining AAFES 17 years ago while stationed in Okinawa not knowing it would be a career for me, and I can say I have never regretted accepting the job and now my Marine follows me where ever the Exchange may take us. It is such a pleasure to be a part of this unique family! Oorah and Simper Fi!

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