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BG William T. Bester (Ret)

21st Chief of the Army Nurse Corps

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Lessons in Leadership of Major Health Care Projects

William T. Bester, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Brigadier General (Ret)



Brigadier General Bester recently completed seven years of work serving as the Senior Advisor for the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program.  Prior to taking that position, he served as Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University (USU) from June 2006 to December of 2007, Vice President for External Affairs at USU from 2008 to 2012 and was USU’s Acting President for six months in 2011.  He also had a short assignment as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in 2011.


Bester holds a BSN degree from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota and an MSN from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.  He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Nurse Anesthesia Program at Madigan Army Medical Center.


His distinguished 32 year career in the U.S. Army culminated with his selection as the 21st Chief of the Army Nurse Corps.  While serving the Army as its Nursing Service Chief, Brigadier General Bester was also assigned as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Health Policy and Services (2000-2002) and as Commander of the Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (2002-2004).


Highlights of earlier assignments include sole anesthesia provider for the Cuban Refugee Operation at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas (1980); Chief Nurse of the 67th Combat Support Hospital during its deployment (1995) to Taszar, Hungary in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, later serving as Medical Task Force Commander with responsibility for all medical assets in Hungary and Croatia; and Commander, Moncrief Army Community Hospital, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina (1998-2000).


As a Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Texas, Brigadier General Bester was asked (2005) to be Director of Nursing for a health care team, organized by Project Hope, to assist the victims of the tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.  He is a sought after lecturer on topics of nursing and health care leadership and disaster relief.  He is the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from Catholic University (2001), the Sister Alice Lamb Alumni Award from the College of St. Scholastica (2002), Luther Christman Award (2005), New York University’s Agnes and Rosemary Ludden Award for Innovative Nursing Practice (2013) and 2 honorary doctorates; College of St. Scholastica (2001) and Seton Hall University (2003).  He has been invited to speak at seven college/university commencements.  His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, 3 Legion of Merits and 4 Meritorious Service Medals.  He is also the recipient of the Expert Field Medical Badge and the Parachutist Badge. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.  He is a member of the California Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the Military Officers Association of America, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Association of the United States Army.

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