Each year the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) presents awards to those who have made great achievements in preserving or interpreting the commonwealth’s history.
As part of this Kentucky Historical Society awards program, KHS presents the Brig. Gen. William R. Buster Award to an individual who has made sustained, significant contributions to Kentucky’s military history. KHS is honored to sponsor this award in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs.
Winners of the Buster Award have consistently shown their support for military history and related projects in their communities or across Kentucky. Recipients frequently have initiated military history projects that have brought wide recognition to the Bluegrass State’s martial past.
Brig. Gen. William R. Buster
It is appropriate that this award is named for General Buster, a highly-decorated veteran and a former KHS executive director.
A 1939 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a veteran of World War II, Buster earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Legion of Merit, the WWII Victory Medal, and the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal. In 1944, he became the youngest battalion commander in the 2nd Armored Division. General Buster served six years in the U.S. Army Reserve before transferring to the Kentucky National Guard. After having served seven years as deputy adjutant general of Kentucky, he retired in 1969.
With an avid interest in both military history and the commonwealth’s past, in 1972, General Buster joined the KHS staff, where he oversaw the renovation of the Old State Capitol. A year later, he became KHS executive director and ultimately served on the KHS Governing Board. His World War II memoir, Time on Target, was published by KHS in 1999.
Col. Al Alfaro, a long-time supporter of the Kentucky Historical Society, created the Buster Award.
Past winners of the Brig. Gen. William R. Buster Award include:
- 2015—Bill Niekirk
- 2013—Maj. Gen. (R) Verna Fairchild
- 2014—Joseph E. Brent
- 2012—Tom Fugate
- 2011—John M. Trowbridge
- 2010—Nicky Hughes
- 2009—Col. (R) Armando J. Alfaro